How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Job?

What Is the Minimum Age Limit For Employment?

Specific laws bar or allow people of certain ages to work specific jobs. 16 years old is the minimum age to get most jobs. Employers can hire people under 16 years old in certain circumstances, but in other circumstances, employers cannot hire people under 18 years old.

The list of exceptions is long. This page lists all of the exceptions to the rule that a 16-year old can work most jobs. 13-year old, 14-year old, 15-year old, 16-year old, and 18-year old workers should study this to avoid applying for jobs they cannot be employed at.

13-Year Old or Younger People Can Work These Jobs

  • Newspaper Delivery
  • Baby-Sitter
  • Actor/Performer in Theater, Radio, Television, Motion Pictures
  • At a Business Solely Owned/Operated By Your Parents
  • On a Farm Owned/Operated By Your Powers

How Old Do You Have to Be to Work?

Note: Parents cannot employ their children in mining, manufacturing or other jobs considered potentially hazardous.

14 & 15 Year Old People Can Work These Jobs

  • Acting
  • Agriculture: Farming, Orchards
  • Baby-Sitting
  • Banks
  • Golf Course: Caddy
  • Hospitals, Rest Homes, Hotels, Motels (Except Food Service, Laundry)
  • Household Chores for a Homeowner
  • Insurance Companies
  • Newspaper Delivery, Shoe shining
  • Professional Offices: Lawyers, Accountants
  • Summer Camps (Licensed)
  • Town Offices: Recreation Departments, Libraries
  • Yard Work for a Homeowner

14 & 15 Year Old People Cannot Work These Jobs

  • Barber Shops
  • Manufacturing Industries
  • Mechanical Industries
  • Recreational Locations
  • Restaurants or Food Service
  • Retail Stores, Grocery Stores*
  • Service Industries
  • Theatrical Industry
  • Any Other Job Not Specifically Listed Under the “Can Work” List

*Note: A 15-year old can work at a grocery store under two circumstances. One, only on Saturdays during the school year. Two, during non-school weeks. Both of these apply to work as a stock clerk, bagger or cashier.

You Must Be 18 To Work These Jobs

  • Making/Storing Explosives
  • Mining
  • Driving a Car or Truck on the Job
  • Using Electric Tools, Electric Equipment or Circuits
  • Logging
  • Working in a Saw Mill
  • Manufacturing Brick, Clay or Tile
  • Operating Metal-Shearing, Metal-Punching or Metal-Forming Machinery
  • Any Job That Exposes You to Radioactive Material
  • Demolition or Ship Breaking
  • Roofing
  • Excavation
  • Animal Slaughtering, Meat Packing or Meat Processing
  • Food Processing
  • Tar Processing
  • Processing Leather, Tanning Leather
  • Bottling Beverages
  • Glazing, Glass Cutting
  • Dry Cleaning or Laundry Work
  • Manufacturing Ice
  • Manufacturing Paper, Plastic Products
  • Manufacturing Pharmaceuticals
  • Manufacturing Synthetic Fiber
  • Manufacturing, Processing Rubber or Synthetic Rubber
  • Operate Power Presses, Foot Presses, Hand Presses
  • Pressure Testing
  • Sewing Machine Operation
  • Tire Recapping, Tire Vulcanizing, Tire Manufacturing
  • Textile Machinery Operation
  • Working With Trash Compactors, Cardboard Compactors
  • Maintaining, Repairing Electrical Machinery/Equipment
  • Spray Painting, Dipping
  • Construction Work*
  • Motor Vehicle Maintenance/Repair**

*Construction Work Exceptions – 18 Year Olds Can Work These Jobs

  • General Yard Work, Cleaning (Except Riding Reel Lawn Mowers)
  • Landscaping: Planting Trees, Shrubs
  • Brush Painting
  • Window Cleaning (No Ladders Over 6-ft tall; Can’t Work with Flammable Cleaners/Thinners)
  • Clerical Work for Construction Firms
  • Shipping, Stock Work for Construction Firms

**Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair Exceptions

  • Changing Tires on Passenger Cars, but no Trucks
  • Island Work
  • Use Air Hand Tools
  • Sanding, Masking Cars in Preparation for Painting
  • Hand Cleaning, Washing Motor Vehicles
  • Clerical Work for Motor Vehicle Maintenance Company
  • Bench Work for Motor Vehicle Maintencance Company

If you know of any additional exceptions or information that we should have included in this “how old do you have to be to get a job” article, please leave a comment.

See also:

    1. Questions to Ask During a Job Interview
    2. How Old Do You Have to Be to Rent a Hotel Room?
    3. How Can You Get Paid to Drive a Car?
    4. Which Colleges Earn Their Graduates the Most Money?
    5. How Old Do You Have to Be to Babysit?
    6. How Old Do You Have to Be to Be a Bartender?
    7. How Old Do You Have to Be to Rent a Car?