Cool After-School Jobs for High School Students

By Kathryn M. D’Imperio

An after-school job provides more than just a weekly paycheck for your high school student. You can look forward to a child who learns greater responsibility and discipline, courtesy and social skills, and of course, a chance of scoring an even better job next time around. Helping your high school student find and secure an after-school job can be a daunting task if you don’t know where to start. Thankfully the Lehigh Valley has a lot of options for your child, covering the whole spectrum of interests and skill specialties.

Helping your child graduate from an allowance to a steady paycheck can be invaluable for both of you. Consider these cool after-school job opportunities to help your student ease into the working world:


Perhaps one of the most common jobs, retail offers students a chance to put their math skills to use while also gaining great customer service skills. From department stores to shops in the mall to retail outlet stores, the possibilities of where to work in retail go on and on. You can help your students score an after-school job in retail by driving them to their desired place of work and encouraging them to ask for an application if the store is hiring.

Pros – Lots of places to consider in the Lehigh Valley, employee discounts, possibility of working similar jobs in college as well

Cons – Hours commonly include exclusively nights and weekends (which may impact a student’s social life), easy to get “stuck” in the food and retail business long-term, easy to spend one’s paycheck at work


Sometimes salons and day spas in the Lehigh Valley may need assistance with the front desk and reservations, washing hair before cuts and styles, or other tasks related to beauty and wellness. Teenage girls, especially those who may be interested in a degree in cosmetology, should consider working at a salon or spa to gain some experience and exposure. The job opportunity here may be a delightful experience for your daughter during her high school years.

Pros – Great experience for beauty students, possible perks and easy access to spa and salon treatments

Cons – Jobs may be limited and quickly filled, job environment may be fast-paced and performance expectations may be high


A longtime after-school job of choice for many students rests in the world of food. From bussing tables to dishwashing to becoming a waiter, waitress, host, or hostess, restaurants offer many roles specially suited to the high school student. For a more eclectic spin on the food industry, your son or daughter may enjoy a job working part-time at an ice cream shop, water ice stand, or coffeehouse. Interaction with a wide array of interesting customers will surely help to prepare your child for the real world.

Pros – Easy entry-level job for guys and girls, good fallback job anytime in life, good tips are often common, discounted or free meals or treats sometimes provided

Cons – Entire weekends may be required, easy to get “stuck” in the food and retail business long-term


Movie theaters, theme parks, arcades, and other attractions or local entertainment venues can provide great after-school jobs for high school students. Usually if a student chooses to work at a place he or she enjoys frequenting, the working experience can be more enjoyable as a whole. The experience of working at an entertainment venue or local attraction can be unlike any other, so it’s definitely worth considering these after-school jobs for your student.

Pros – Fun environment, discounts and perks, easy to make new friends
Cons – Jobs may be competitive, easy to spend one’s paycheck at work sometimes


The role of personal assistant is quickly gaining ground in many small businesses as well as corporations. High school students can often find work as a personal assistant for someone with his or her own business, including Realtors, lawyers, communications professionals, and other business owners, sometimes even a neighbor. Administrative work, typing, filing, running errands, and the like can be great after-school jobs for students. Many times these jobs offer a greater flexibility of scheduling for your child.

Pros – Flexible schedule and hours, good experience

Cons – Jobs may not be publicized, projects and tasks can be demanding and/or mentally exhausting


Computer knowhow and technical experience may be more marketable than you think. If your student is good with a computer or a cell phone, it’s very possible that a job as a tech assistant or computer guru could be a perfect fit. From virus removal to restoring lost files to general tutorials for folks who aren’t accustomed to using a computer, your son or daughter can certainly share his or her talents while making an income on the side.

Pros – Natural talent goes to good use, hours can be flexible, feel good helping others solve their problems

Cons – Jobs may be one-offs and infrequent, unreliable source of income


If your child likes helping others and brightening someone’s day, an after-school job in the medical field or working as a caregiver may satisfy this urge. Nursing homes, doctor’s offices, and hospitals may have part-time work available for students who can fill the needs of the medical facility or care center. Your child might also be able to run errands or provide care for an elderly or sick neighbor. Jobs with a doctor’s office or working as a caregiver can be a great way to break into the medical field early in life, serving as a great stepping stone for future doctors, nurses, and other health professionals.

Pros – Great entry level job for a future med student, great interpersonal interactions

Cons – Jobs can be demanding, probably not best for those with easily upset stomachs


Last but certainly not least is the tried and true world of babysitting and animal care. Responsible teens can find great jobs assisting with childcare and animals on nights and weekends in high school. Babysitting often gets easier as the night gets later, with time to do homework, watch television, or catch up with friends on the phone once the children are in bed. Animal care provides great lessons in responsibility, from mucking stalls to feeding pets, and even walking dogs. Look around you – there are sure to be childcare and animal care opportunities in your own neighborhood!

Pros – Increases a student’s responsibility, there may be some free time, may infringe with weekend plans

Cons – Not always a regular gig, not a steady paycheck, these can be messy jobs at times (cleaning up after animals and diapers)

These cool ideas for after-school jobs should help you to find suitable work for your student prior to sending your son or daughter off to college. Choose the best fit from these selections or use them to help brainstorm other perfect jobs with your teenager. Good luck!

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