7 Summer Jobs With Decent Pay

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This summer might be hard on teenagers who are looking for work.

When I was in high school, everyone I knew (myself included) worked for one of the fast-food chains, but the recession changed the game. “Only 16 percent of fast-food industry jobs now go to teens, down from 25 percent a decade ago,” says NBC News.

If you’re in high school — or have a kid who’s looking for a summer job — that isn’t great news, but we have a list of alternatives.

1. Caddie

If you know which club to suggest, don’t mind lugging heavy golf bags, and can keep up a pleasant conversation, caddying can be a summer gig with decent pay. Caddies make both a small hourly wage from the golf course and tips from golfers they work with, which can be lucrative. This job topped Forbes’ list of best-paying summer jobs. According to Forbes, caddies average $16.67 an hour.

2. Baby sitter

If you’re good with kids and don’t mind working weekends, baby-sitting can pay well. However, the rate depends largely on where you live. For example, according to UrbanSitter’s Babysitting by the Numbers infographic, sitters in St. Louis make an average of $9.50 an hour for one child, but sitters in Manhattan make an average of $15.50 per hour. Experienced sitters and those with CPR training often charge more.

3. Lifeguard

Hiring requirements vary, but generally you’ll need CPR and basic first aid training and the ability to pass a speed or distance swimming test. Salary.com says part-time lifeguards make between $16 and $20 an hour on average. Just make sure you check the age requirements before you apply. For example, teenagers 15 years and older can take the Red Cross’ Lifeguard Certification course, but the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation requires all lifeguards to be at least 16 years old.

4. Pet sitter

When I go out of town, I don’t mind paying more for a pet sitter to care for my dog at home. If you’re good with animals, are responsible enough to take good care of someone else’s pets, and don’t mind dealing with anxious pet owners, you can make decent money this summer. Sittercity says the average is $14 per visit or a flat $60 rate if you stay overnight, but it varies. For more details, see “6 Tips to Find the Perfect Pet Sitter.”

 5. Retail

Department stores, grocery stores, big retail chains and warehouse clubs all need workers to stock the shelves, staff the cash register and help customers. Many of them are willing to hire part-time or summer workers to keep things running smoothly. The job isn’t easy. You’ll spend long hours on your feet and you’ll occasionally run into irate customers, but the pay might be worth it. In 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said retail sales jobs had an average hourly wage of about $10.50.

6. Sell your own wares

If you’re a talented crafter, you can make part-time income selling your wares. For example, one of my friends sells her handcrafted jewelry on Etsy and at local craft fairs. She can make up to $800 at an all-day craft fair. But it takes a large time and money investment to sell your own wares. She spends about half of everything she makes on supplies and devotes at least 15 hours a week to making jewelry and promoting her work on social networks.

7. Food service

Yes. Plenty of restaurants and fast-food chains are still hiring teens. And, yes, you can expect to encounter hard work and sometimes hostile customers. But the schedule will be flexible, and the pay isn’t uniformly bad. For example, NBC News says In-N-Out Burger pays $10 to start and has benefits. And while the federal minimum wage for restaurant waitstaff has been frozen at $2.13 an hour for 22 years, you can make much, much more if you work busy weekend shifts at a dine-in, upper-scale location.

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