Should My High Schooler Get a Job?

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There are a lot of good reasons for a high school student to get a part time job, but there are also some drawbacks. You need to start off by having a serious conversation with your teen about working while going to school.

If your student comes to you and wants to get a job, find out why. Is it something they really want to do, or are they just looking for spending money? Is money tight in the household, or do they have something specific they want to save up for?


Getting a job does teach your teen valuable life skills. They will have to fill out applications, and interview for a position. They will also develop teamwork and communications skills. And hey, I am all for my kids to learn what the “real world” really is all about, but you really need to take into consideration a few things.

You will want to take a hard look at how much extra time your child actually has to spare. Are they involved in sports, music, or other extracurricular activities that take a lot of time? You don’t want your teen to be stressed all the time. You also don’t want them to not have enough free time for homework and studying.

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A job is a great way to learn responsibility and great practice before going off to college. There is a huge difference in the level of responsibility as they make their way from high school into college. Your student needs to learn responsibility to handle some things on their own, and job experience can help them grow a lot in this area. Time management skills are critical in the future, so having a job can go a long way in developing these skills in your teen.

Whether or not your child is going to college right after high school, having some job experience is a good start to a great resume. College applications look at grades, but also at extracurricular activities, and managing school while working does show that your teen has some maturity and level of responsibility.

One last thing to think about is sleep. Teens need a lot of sleep, and if having a job cuts into those hours, then you may have a very distracted and grouchy kid on your hands. Look at both the positives and the negatives before deciding to let your student get a job.

Will you encourage your high schooler to get a job?

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41 comments

  1. Can’t imagine my toddlers at that age yet but I thought that you hit the nail in the head on the importance of work and responsibility for teenagers. Great post!

  2. I had my first job, at 15, scooping ice cream at a local ice cream shop! I made pennies but the experience taught me how to be responsible and to be on time…a lesson I still benefit from. 15 minutes early is on time! I also used that job to purchase my own trumpet and I cherish that purchase still, almost 20 years later!

  3. I personally didn’t let my high schooler get a job. She finally got one when she went to college. It’s really up to the parent and child. My son however is in high school now and would love to get one.

  4. When I was 16 my parents told me I could not have car privileges without a job. This same standard was not enforced with my younger brothers and that frustrated me. However, I am glad my parents did make me get a job. I feel like I am more responsible and independent because of it.

  5. I think most likely yes, but I definitely want to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit. I started working at a summer camp in 8th grade, and continued doing that through summers. I had two other shorter time jobs, one at an ice cream shop and one at a little knick knack shop. But, most of my normal school time was spent in music rehearsals through high school, and I didn’t have as much time to work.

  6. My 17 year old son wants to get a job. he gets good grades in school and participates in sports. I told him to enjoy his time as a kid while he can. Once he turns 18 he can go get a job. He is only a sophomore at high school. By the end of the year he will be working. As he will be 18 years old. Still have 2 1/2 years in school.

    I worked since I was 16 years old. I want my kids to be able to enjoy their child hood while they have chance.

  7. My kids are still in elementary school but I will encourage them to get a job if they want one. I think if they would like spending money and money for things outside our budget then they need to finance that.

  8. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a student getting a job even if they want just spending money. If they want something, let them earn it! However, in my own personal opinion, I don’t really want my kids focusing on a job, part-time or not, while they’re in school. School along with its activities takes up enough of their life, no need to have a job and take up more. there’s plenty of time for a job after high school.

  9. It will depend on my highschooler. I think a involved and busy high schooler is a good thing. wether its sports, a job, or volunteering will depend on their interests.

  10. I’ve got two teens and we have decided that until junior year they will work during the summers only. We will revisit it when they are in 11th grade and we’ll see how it balances with the school work load and extracurricular activities. I’ll probably check back here when we do!

  11. It’s depend really on the kids. Some kids want to have job ealier while they’re still in highschool, but some prefer to do that a litte bit later. As long as they can manage it, why not.

  12. Oooo this is such a tough one!!!! I was in so many extra curricular activities when I was a kid, my parents made me try a job since they bought me a car. I had to pay for gas, insurance etc, and everything suffered for it. Money is definitely nice. I LOVED being able to buy ANYTHING I wanted, but Ughhh… Looking back I just don’t know. Would
    Of been nice to spend that extra time on sport.

  13. It’s all about balance, of course. But I hope my kids will do some kind of job outside the home in their teens It’s important to learn about responsibilities and how it feels to earn money.

  14. I think it all depends on the kid. If they have a handle on school and can handle the schedule then by all means! I had one and it was a great experience. But I know plenty of people who would have really struggled adding that to their lives as teenagers. So I think it should be a case by case decision.

  15. I’m 19 and have had 3 jobs since I was 16. Ever since I was 14, my mom was pushing me to work and I’m SO glad she did. I’ve been able to support myself for a long time and working has given me more independence than I could’ve gained from school. I did lose a lot of sleep working 6 days my senior year but I had the highest GPA I’d had in all 4 years of school and I was financially stable enough to buy a car. All of my friends have jobs and I wouldn’t want it any other way!

  16. I think its a good thing for high schoolers to get a job. They get to learn the value of money and saving, plus learn different life skills that will take them far into whatever career that they choose.

  17. Way back when I only worked when school was out–but a bunch of the kids held down part time jobs during the school year as well. If I had children would I let them work part time while going to high school? I’m not really sure–it totally depends on the child!!

  18. I had a job in high school, and I do feel it was beneficial. However, I worked every day after school which was too much. I missed out on a lot of the social aspects of high school.

  19. My teen is 13 and with the schedule she keeps due to being in High School Marching Band, I can honestly say that we probably won’t tell her she has to get a job. Between the hours she spends on homework and band, to force something else on her but cause an overload. My husband and I both had jobs in high school and were very active in school. We knew if we wanted to drive around in our cars, that costed money and we had to have jobs to pay for it. Now though as a parent, I don’t know if we would.

  20. I was not allowed by my parents to get a job until after graduation. I worked for about 3 months and saved a pretty chunk of change to take to college with me that fall. I think it all depends on the child. I was in a lot of extracurricular activities and heavy classes in high school so my parents didn’t want to overburden me.

  21. I think it all depends on the child if they want to get a job or not. Our role as a parent is to make sure that they do not have to sacrifice the time that should be spent for their studies and that the place they plan to work in is safe. I think it would teach a child to be more responsible and they’d learn the value of hard work.

  22. A job is good for teens to learn responsibility. Just have to measure hours out so nothing is taken away from school work.

  23. I got a job in high school and it was a really valuable experience for me. I’d definitely want my kids to try it, at least during the summer time when they have a lot more availability.

    Be the author of your own story,
    Rebecca Kelsey Sampson

  24. i had two jobs in high school. Not at the same time but I loved it, and being able to earn my own money. I don’t see why not if it doesn’t affect school work and learning!

  25. Well, a job would prevent the ‘I’m bored’ thing, that’s for sure. And it would help them save to pay their car insurance, or towards car ownership. 🙂

  26. I got a job when I was 16. My husband got a job when he was 14/15. I think it should be required for teens! When I was 22 and getting ready to graduate, it blew my mind that some had never ever had a job before!

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