How Old to Work

Minimum Age Requirements to Work for Teens

“How old do I have to be to work?”

One of the most common questions of young people looking for employment is, “How old do I have to be to work?” With the exception of a paper route or a job with the family businesses, minors must be of a certain age before they can enter the workforce. Though many companies require enry-level employees to be at least 16 years old, there are some businesses that employ kids as young as 14. So How can teens find out if they are old enough to start working.

State Requirements

Every state has its own set of child labor laws that determine when a minor can receive employment. These guidelines outline the types of jobs each age group may perform, and the maximum amount of hours they can work. Though the specific age limits differ, there are a few general requirements that many states have In most cases, a minor must present a potential employer with a work permit or proof-of-age certificate to prove that they can legally work in their state.

Work Permits

While school guidance counselors typically provide students with applications for work papers, teenage workers may not understand how to get a work permit in the summer. Browse your state’s page for information on minimum age requirements and acquiring work permits, and to find answers to the following questions:
  • Where can I get a work permit besides school?

  • How to get a work permit during the summer?

  • Do you need a work permit during summer?

  • Do you need a work permit at 15?

  • Do you need a work permit at 16?

  • Do you need a work permit at 17?

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