Summer Job Opportunities for Teens

The Dream: Your teenager gets a paid internship for the summer working in a safe environment in an exciting field, supervised by caring adult mentors.

The reality: Your teenager divides his summer between handing burgers through the drive-in window and "hanging out with the guys."

Are those really the choices? There are only five summers between junior year of high school and graduation from college and each one can be a terrific opportunity for learning or earning. Some planning, research and goal setting can enhance your teen's summer. Here's how to get started.

Set Goals

First, sit down with your teen and talk about the goals for the summer. Is earning money for college or other expenses the top priority? If so, how much is a reasonable amount to earn and save (after expenses and some spending money)?

Some colleges require recipients of financial aid to earn $1,500 toward expenses during the summer. If your child makes $6 an hour and works 40 hours a week for 10 weeks, gross pay will be $2,400. Taxes will eat up about 10-12% of that leaving $2,150. If expenses (gas, car insurance) and spending money total $40 a week, your child could have over $1,700 squirreled away before school starts.

  1. Set goals with your teen
  2. Determine whether earning money is a priority
  3. Set up an automatic savings program
  4. Do the research
  5. Let your teen be involved
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