You’ve reached the sweet age of 16. Though you’re still two years away from calling yourself an adult, you’re probably ready to start earning an income. Good news! At 16, there are many opportunities for work — especially in the retail industry. A variety of stores are open to hiring 16-year-olds in entry level positions. Of course, there are still limitations, so it’s important to know about them before you start hitting the pavement, looking for a job.

Keep reading to learn more about working at 16 and a list of places that hire 16-year-olds.

In This Article

Are There Any Restrictions on Working at Sixteen?

Once you turn 16, there are no federal rules limiting the hours you may work (like there are at 15). But several limitations do still apply. At 16, the Department of Labor (DOL) doesn’t allow you to work some hazardous jobs, you may be paid the lower youth minimum wage, and you might need to get working papers to present to your employer. Keep reading to find out more about these restrictions.

Are There Any Jobs 16-Year-Olds Can’t Work?

At 16, you may not work in a job that the DOL considers hazardous.

Some of the hazardous jobs banned by the DOL for those 18 and under include:

  1. Manufacturing or storing of explosives
  2. Driving a motor vehicle or working as an outside helper on motor vehicles
  3. Coal mining
  4. Forest fire fighting and forest fire prevention, timber tract, forestry service, and occupations in logging and sawmilling
  5. Using power-driven woodworking machines
  6. Roofing, or work performed on a roof
  7. Using power-driven hoisting apparatus or metal-forming, punching and shearing machines
  8. Jobs that expose one to radioactive substances and ionizing radiation
  9. Manufacturing brick, tile, and related products
  10. Working in wrecking, demolition, and ship-breaking operations

The DOL maintains youth employment rules regarding hazardous jobs.

What Are the Minimum Wage Laws for Minors?

Sixteen-year-olds must be paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, in most cases. Of course, exceptions do apply, and it depends on where you work. Some states have their own minimum wage requirements, so you could be making more money, depending on which state you live in.

Unfortunately, though, at age 16, your employer may pay you the youth minimum wage — as little as $4.25 per hour — for the first 90 consecutive calendar days of your employment. Any time you switch jobs, up until you are 20 years old, your new employer can pay you with the youth minimum wage for the first 90 days.

The DOL fact sheet on youth minimum wage details the youth minimum wage laws.

Do You Need Working Papers?

Depending on where you live and the type of work you decide to do, you may need to obtain working papers in order to work legally. The rules about who needs working papers (officially called Employment Certification and Age Certification) vary from state to state. For reference, the DOL has published a list of state guidelines for working papers.

If the guidelines apply to you, you can obtain Employment and Age Certification at your school or at your state department of labor office.

Retail Stores That Hire at Sixteen

1. Aeropostale

2. American Eagle Outfitters

3. Banana Republic

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Brand associate, sales associate
  • Other information: The minimum age for working at Banana Republic was verified on the how to apply page of the Gap Inc. website. (Banana Republic is a Gap Inc. company.)
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

4. Barnes & Noble

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Bookseller, maintenance clerk (positions may vary by location)
  • Other information: The minimum age for working at Barnes & Noble was verified by contacting a customer service representative. Learn more at the Barnes & Noble careers site.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

5. BJ’s Wholesale Club

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Stock/cart retriever, member services, cashier, recovery clerk
  • Other information: The minimum age for working at BJ’s Wholesale Club was verified by individual job descriptions on the hourly position listings page. Learn more about positions at BJ’s career site.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

6. Charlotte Russe

7. CVS

8. Food Lion

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Various associate positions (sales, grocery, bakery, etc.)
  • Other information: The minimum age for working at Food Lion was verified by contacting a customer service representative. However, specific positions for teens may vary by location. Contact your local store for verification.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

9. Forever 21

10. Gap

11. Giant Eagle

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Cashier, parking lot attendant, customer service, courtesy clerk, stock clerk, fuel station attendant
  • Other information: The minimum age for working at Giant Eagle was verified by individual job descriptions on the website.Each Giant Eagle location has its own minimum age requirement, but most hire at 16. Be sure to call your local store for verification.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

12. Giant Food

13. Harris Teeter

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Produce clerk, grocery stock clerk, customer service clerk, dairy clerk, cashier, bagger
  • Other information: The minimum age to work at Harris Teeter was verified by individual job descriptions on the applications. Learn more on the careers page of Harris Teeter’s website.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

14. Harveys

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Bagger, cashier associate, grocery associate
  • Other information: The minimum age to work at Harvey’s was verified by contacting a customer service representative. Learn more about applying at Harvey’s careers FAQ.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

15. HomeGoods

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Sales/merchandise associate, coordinator
  • Other information: The minimum age to work at HomeGoods was verified by specific job descriptions for job listings. To apply, find a location near you, download their job application form and hand it into the store manager.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

16. Hot Topic

17. Hy-Vee

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Courtesy clerk, checker, produce clerk, kitchen clerk, stocker, floral clerk
  • Other information: The minimum age to work at Hy-Vee is 16 at the majority of stores. However, a customer service representative verified that since stores are independently operated, they are able to set their own policy. Some may hire as young as 14, but you will need to inquire with your local store.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

18. JCPenney

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Sales associate, merchandise associate
  • Other information: The minimum age to work for JCPenney was verified by contacting a customer service representative.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

19. Justice

20. King Soopers

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Courtesy clerk, grocery clerk, floral clerk, stocker,
  • Other information: The minimum age to work at King Soopers was verified by contacting a customer service representative. Learn more about jobs at King Soopers.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

21. Kmart

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Cashier, customer service associate
  • Other information: The minimum age to work at Kmart was verified by contacting a customer service representative.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

22. Kroger

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Cashier, bagger, grocery clerk, produce clerk, meat clerk, deli clerk and bakery clerk
  • Other information: The minimum age to work at Kroger was verified by a customer service representative. Learn more about jobs at Kroger.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

23. Marshalls

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Merchandise associate, back room coordinator
  • Other information: The minimum age to work at Marshalls was verified by specific job descriptions for job listings. To apply, find a location near you, download their job application form and hand it into the store manager.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

24. Meijer

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Food clerk, retail clerk, general merchandise clerk, bakery clerk
  • Other information: The minimum age for working at Meijer was verified on this customer care page of the website.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

25. Old Navy

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Brand associate, sales associate
  • Other information: The minimum age for working at Old Navy was verified on the careers page of the Gap Inc. website (Old Navy is owned by Gap Inc.).
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

26. Publix

27. Safeway

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Courtesy clerk, stocker, production clerk, cashier, fuel station attendant, food clerk
  • Other information: The minimum age requirement to work specific positions at Safeway can be found by beginning an application. Simply enter your age and location and the positions you qualify for will appear in a list on the following page.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

28. Target

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Cashier, cart attendant, sales floor team member, backroom team member
  • Other information: The minimum age to work at Target retail stores was verified by the job application process. You must be 16 to work in stores and 18 to work in distribution centers.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

29. T.J. Maxx

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Merchandise associate, coordinator
  • Other information: The minimum age to work at T.J. Maxx was verified by specific job descriptions for job listings. To apply, find a location near you, download their job application form and hand it into the store manager.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

30. Walmart

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Cashier, sales associate, stocker, cart attendant
  • Other information: The minimum age to work at Walmart is verified on the career FAQ page of the website. Learn more about the application process and hourly positions available on the same page.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

31. Walgreens

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: customer service associate, beauty advisor, photo specialist
  • Other information: The minimum age to work at Walgreens was verified by contacting a customer service representative. Learn more about jobs at Walgreens.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

32. Wegmans

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Customer service associate, cashier, parking lot attendant
  • Other information: The minimum age to work at Wegmans was verified by the individual job descriptions. Each location’s minimum age for certain positions varies, so be sure to call your local store for verification.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

33. Winn-Dixie

  • Positions available for 16-year-olds: Bagger, cashier associate
  • Other information: The minimum age to work at Winn-Dixie was verified by contacting a customer service representative.
  • Find a location
  • Apply online

In Summary

There are many sweet things about turning 16, including finally being able to work without hour limitations! Many retailers offer a variety of entry level positions to 16-year-olds, although positions are limited to those that aren’t deemed hazardous.