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The 10 Best Jobs for Teenagers

image for mangostock / Getty Images
mangostock / Getty Images

Not every teenager has or should get a part-time job, but those that do rarely regret it in the long run. While the day-to-day grind might seem grueling, working during the summer or the school year teaches high school and college students responsibility, time management and, of course, the satisfaction of earning their own money. If you're tired of shelling out cash to your teens every time they go out, it might be wise to suggest that they get one of these jobs.

A retail gig can amount to a lot more than ringing up items and stocking shelves. This job requires attention to detail (got to watch out for shoplifters!), greatcustomer service and a knack for persuading people to make purchases. These are critical skills in many fields, so your teen could be gaining valuable experience for his or her postgraduate career. Learning to handle irate customers is great practice for dealing with future angry bosses and co-workers, too.

Another good industry that will help build future career skills is food service. The work may not be fun or glamorous at times, but having to take, prepare and/or serve people's orders involves important abilities like listening, memorization and following requests. According to a recent Gallup poll, Americans ranked math as the most valuable school subject later on in life, so cash register operation will keep those basic math skills sharp.

Late nights and weekend shifts might deter some teens from taking a job at a movie theater, but if films are your teenager's thing, this might be the perfect gig. Theater employees and their guests get to see the latest blockbusters for free (plus, they have access to the concession stand). For aspiring entertainment journalists, this job could double as research for film reviews on a personal blog or school news outlet.

Live in a suburban area? Your teen could make easy money taking care of your busy neighbors' yard work for them, especially now that fall is here. Landscaping companies will cut the grass, but they don't necessarily do the tasks that most homeowners don't have time to do themselves, such as weeding, planting and leaf raking. A good pair of work gloves and a few lawn tools are all a kid needs to profit from these simple outdoor tasks.

Babysitting is a popular (and potentially lucrative) job choice for middle and high schoolers. Working parents often need someone to supervise their young children after school until they get home from work, which coincides well with a typical student's schedule. Teens can also sacrifice a Saturday night here and there to babysit and make the cash they need for their own weekend activities.

A teenager who is good with animals can spread the word to friends and neighbors that he or she is available to watch their pets while the owners go on a vacation or weekend trip. Pet owners often feel more comfortable leaving their furry friends in the care of an individual rather than placing pets in a boarding facility, so getting referrals shouldn't be too difficult. If you can't commit to lodging animals in your home, a dog walking, waste cleanup or pet grooming business are other great alternatives.

For musically gifted teenagers, offering lessons to others who want to learn an instrument can be a great source of income. Unless your teen is teaching piano, students can bring their own instruments to your home for hourlong lessons. Stock up on sheet music or songbooks in varying genres and aimed at various skill levels so potential clients have a wide selection to choose from. Voice lessons can also bring in a lot of money if your teen advertises to his or her high school and community theater groups.

Many high schools have peer tutoring programs where students that excel in particular subjects can help their classmates. This is especially beneficial for teens that want to study education in college. While in-school tutoring is often an unpaid volunteer position, your teenager could start an outside tutoring business for students that don't want to be stuck in their school building after-hours.

What teen wouldn't want to spend their summer days getting paid to be on the beach? Lifeguards may not be required to jump in the water and save someone every day on the job, but the CPR, first aid and rescue skills training required for certification are definitely advantageous to have. Though this is typically a seasonal job, gyms with lap pools employ lifeguards year-round.

As camp counselors, teens can build invaluable leadership, communication and conflict resolution skills that they can take with them into any future career. This is a popular summer gig for high school and younger college students, especially since sleepaway camps allow them to live independently for the duration of the job. If your teen would rather stay close to home to see his or her friends, plenty of positions are available at local community day camps.