High School jobs

A step into the world of adults


Michael Barbuti, Author

The quintessential action that teenagers take to display their sense of responsibility and maturity to their parents and peers is attaining their first job. In Virginia, and the United States as a whole, teenagers can get their first job starting at the age of 16; however, adolescents can start working earlier if they acquire a workers permit. Getting hired for the first time is a person’s initial step into the adult world, a step that, despite the implications, most kids are eager to take.

Due to their lack of experience in the workplace, in most cases high school students cannot get a very high paying or specialized job. The majority of the time, high school students get some type of job involving the food service industry or physical labor. Either way, a teenager’s job is not going to require a lot of skill or training.


In the Haymarket and Gainesville area there are dozens of businesses that offer employment to teenagers: Chick-fil-A, McDonalds, Smoothie King, Mission Barbecue, Mod Pizza, Tony’s New York Pizza, Domino’s Pizza, Regal Cinemas, Giant Supermarket, Target, Walmart, and Wegmans to name but a few. Battlefield students can be found working at all of these locations.

Sophomore Vincent Tran works as a host at a local Japanese Steakhouse, Musashi. Tran says, “Having a job as a high schooler has taught me time management, organization, and responsibility.” Tran sees these skills as the most beneficial part of having a job at such a young age.

Due to the low level of training and education required for most of the jobs teenagers can be hired for, they are not usually paid much more than minimum wage. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, and the state of Virginia has adopted the same minimum wage. However, Virginia has the lowest minimum wage in the DMV. Maryland’s minimum wage will be $10.10 an hour as of July 1, 2018, and Washington DC’s minimum wage will rise to $13.25 an hour on the same date.

Junior Danielle Velasco is an employee at the Dunkin’ Donuts off of Heathcote Boulevard. Velasco says, “Yeah I think we make a fair amount, but it all depends on where you work.” Velasco has no complaints about the wages she earns, and enjoys having the extra money to spend on whatever she wants.

Tran is agreement with Velasco, he believes that teenagers usually make a fair amount of money given their workload. Tran says, “Plus, not only do we make good money; we gain work experience that can go with us a long way.” The value of the experience he is gaining is not lost on Tran.

A first job is often the first step that an adolescent takes into adulthood, and it can be a crucial one. Despite the low pay, it can teach valuable lessons that will serve teenagers well for many years to come.