The US allows teens to start working at 14 -- here's how to get a first job in every state

  • The United States allows teenagers to get a job at 14.
  • Each state has different child labour laws, and the federal government has outlined only a few jobs that 14- or 15-year-olds can have.

In the United States, a teenager is legally allowed to get a job at age 14.

Jobs permitted for 14-year-olds and older teenagers by the federal government include office and clerical work, cooking with an electric or gas grill (no open flames), cashiering, price marking, and bagging.

But every state has different laws on how to get a job at 14, and what it takes to get on a payroll. In some states, you just need documents to prove your age. In others, you’ll need a form from your school.

Here’s what it takes to take a job at 14 in every state:


Alabama

Teens need a work permit that is completed by a school official.

Download the form here.


Alaska

Young workers need a work permit that is signed by the parents.

Download the form here.


Arizona

Minors don’t need a work permit in Arizona.


Arkansas

Those under 16 need a work permit that is signed by the parents.

Download the form here.


California

Those under 16 need a work permit that is signed by the parents and then filed with the school.

Download the form here.


Colorado

Minors don’t need a work permit in Colorado.


Connecticut

Young workers need “working papers” that must be obtained from the minor’s school.


Delaware

Young workers need a work permit that is signed by their parent or guardian, employer, and then filed with their school or local Department of Labour office.

Download the form here.


District of Columbia

Young workers need a work permit that is signed by the school, parent or guardian, and prospective employer.

Download the form here.


Florida

No permit is needed for minors to work in Florida.


Georgia

POPKOV ALEKSANDR/Shutterstock.com

Young workers must fill out a work permit online that is authorised by his or her superintendent or principal.

Fill out the work permit here.


Hawaii

Young workers need a work permit that is signed by his or her parent or guardian.

Download the form here.


Idaho

Charlie Litchfield/AP Photo, Idaho Press-Tribune

Work permits are not required for minors in Idaho.


Illinois

Young workers need a work permit, but it can only be completed by a school superintendent or another issuing officer.

Issuing officers can download the form here.


Indiana

Accredited schools must issue and complete all work permits for employees aged 14 to 17, after they are hired.

Download the form here.


Iowa

Employees aged 14 and 15 must have a work permit that is completed by his or her parents and the employers.

Download the form here.


Kansas

Workers aged 14 or 15 only need a permit if they are not enrolled in secondary school.

The permit is not available online. Contact the Kansas Department of Labour here.


Kentucky

No permit is needed for minor workers in Kentucky, but employers must have the worker’s proof of age.


Louisiana

The parent or guardian and the employer must fill out an employment certificate application, which is then sent to the local School Board, minor’s high school, or another issuing authority. That authority will furnish an employment certificate.

Download the application here.


Maine

Young workers need a work permit that is signed by the school and parent or guardian.

Download the form here.


Maryland

Work permits are required, and must be filled out by the minor, his or her parent or legal guardian, and the employer.

Complete the form online.


Massachusetts

Scott Eisen/AP Images for Pearson Publishing

The superintendent must approve the minor’s employment permit and those aged 14 and 15 must also obtain a doctor’s approval that indicates sound health.

Download the form here.


Michigan

The parent or guardian, employer, and school official must complete a work permit for all minor workers

Download the form here.


Minnesota

Work permits are not required for minors in Minnesota, but employers must have the worker’s proof of age.


Mississippi

Forms are only needed for those who will work in mills, canneries, workshops, or factories.

Forms are not available online. Contact the Mississippi Department of Labour here.


Missouri

A work certificate must be issued by the superintendent or principal of the young worker’s school. The certificate will include parental consent and a statement of intent by the employer.

Download the form for non-school term employment here or school term employment here.


Montana

No permit is required for minors to work in Montana.


Nebraska

School superintendents complete, sign, and file the employment certificate.

Download the form here.


Nevada

A work permit is only needed for workers younger than 14.


New Hampshire

A youth employment certificate is required for working youth aged 12 to 15, and is issued by the employer. After the employer completes the form, the worker takes it to his or her school, who issues the certificate.

The form is not available online, because it’s issued by the employer. Here’s more information about the certificate.


New Jersey

All minors under the age of 18 who work in New Jersey need an employment certificate, which needs to be filled out by the school and parents or legal guardian.

Teens also need a doctor’s note showing that the teen is healthy enough to work.

Download the form here.


New Mexico

Work permits are issued by school superintendents, school principals, designated school officials, or the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. Proof of age is required to receive the permit.

Learn more about requirements here.


New York

New York minor workers must obtain an application for working papers at a public high school. Then the application must be signed by a parent or guardian, and returned to the school.

There are different requirements for those who live in Buffalo or New York City.

Learn more about requirements here.


North Carolina

Employment certificates must be signed by the youth, the parent or legal guardian and the employer. They are filed with the employer.

Complete the application here.


North Dakota

Certificates must be complemented by the minor, employer, and the parent or guardian. They are then distributed to the employer, minor’s school, and the North Dakota Department of Labour and Human Rights.

Download the form here.


Ohio

Minors must apply for a work permit at his or her school, after the parent or guardian and employer fill in the necessary details.

Download the form here.


Oklahoma

Forms are available only through the minor’s principal office. They must be completed by the principal, employer, minor, and parent or guardian.

Learn more about the application here.


Oregon

Permits are not issued in Oregon.


Pennsylvania

The parent or guardian, minor, and employer must complete a form, with the parent providing approval of the youth’s duties and hours.

Download the form here.


Rhode Island

The minor and the parent or guardian must complete an application for a “special limited permit to work.” Then, they bring it to the local school department with documents verifying the youth’s age.

Download the form here.


South Carolina

Permits are not required in South Carolina.


South Dakota

Permits are not required in South Dakota.


Tennessee

Permits are notrequired in Tennessee.


Texas

Permits are notrequired in Texas.


Utah

Permits are notrequired in Utah.


Vermont

A child labour certificate must be completed with the child’s school record, written approval from the Commissioner of Education, doctor’s note, and evidence of age. The employer approves the form.

Download the form here.


Virginia

Employers, parents, and youth must complete the employment certificate application, which can be done online or through the mail.

Apply online here
or learn how to apply manually here.


Washington

The minor, parent or guardian, and school must complete a form that will be kept on file with the employer.

Download the form here.


West Virginia

Tim Boyle/Getty Images

The employer, parent or legal guardian, principal, and county superintendent must complete a form that will be mailed to the West Virginia Division of Labour.

Download the form here.


Wisconsin

The minor must visit their school office with birth certificate or other proof of age, a social security card, a letter from the employer describing the job, written parents’ consent, and a $US10 permit fee. (The fee must be reimbursed in the first paycheck.)

Read more on how to obtain a permit here.


Wyoming

Permits are notrequired in Wyoming.

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