Best Summer Jobs For Teens and College Students  

Summer is a great time to make a little scratch money with a part-time job, which can be put toward anything from tuition to a beach vacation. It’s also a good time to start building your talents from the ground up. The only problem is that the options may seem limited at first. If your lack of experience is getting in the way as a teen or college student, it can quickly whittle down the number of jobs that are even available to you. When you’re just getting started in the working world, it may even tempt you to take whatever is offered to you.

As understandable as this is, though, you may have more leverage than you think. At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, we offer training that can help people succeed in an entry-level position and use that success as a stepping stone towards something far better. We’ll look at why it’s important for teens and college students to think carefully about their first few jobs and what they’ll mean for their resume. We’ll also look at the best summer jobs and what you can do to get them.

A Formal Strategy

It’s important to start off with a strategy when searching through job listings. This doesn’t mean that a teenager needs to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives, only that they have some idea of what they hope to get out of a job. At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, we’ve seen how jobs of all kinds can work to a teen or college student’s advantage. It just depends on the angle they’re going for.

For instance, a job at a busy fast-food restaurant is a lesson in time management and organization. A job as a retail associate is a lesson in marketing, salesmanship, and inventory management. Having an overarching idea of the skills you want to focus on should have a lot to do with which jobs you apply for. 

Best Jobs for Teens and College Students

At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, we’ve found that the following jobs can help young people get their careers started on the right foot.

Paid Internships

In the most ideal circumstances, teens and college students should be getting jobs at the place where they ultimately want to work. Even if the tasks are menial, the idea is that you’re showing your face day after day and making relationships that will matter when you’re ready for a full-time gig.


If you’re looking for a job that can potentially pay you more than you imagined making this summer, nannying or babysitting could be your best bet. However, it’s important to take this job with the right intentions because the job can be more taxing than a teen or college student is ready for. If you’re planning to pursue a related career, such as a teacher or child psychologist, this could be excellent preparation for it.


Spending time outside during the summer can be all a teen or student wants to do. (While the Arizona summers can heat up quickly, the shade of the lifeguard chair and the call of the water can be enough to cool you down.) This job is an exercise in watchfulness and emergency response. For future EMTs, nurses, and doctors, the medical training can be an invaluable experience for future jobs.


Many people like the thrill of working for tips, particularly in fast-paced restaurants with plenty of bustle. Plus, there are plenty of ancillary skills that you can pick up along the way. Being a server, whether you’re going upscale or down, can help you become more efficient in anything from cleaning your room to finishing all your homework. For those who might want to pursue a career in hospitality, such as hotel management, it’s also a stepping stone to improve customer service skills.

Grocery Store Cashier

Being a cashier for the summer is a great way to be a part of your community. At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, we can tell you that it’s also a lesson in finances, time management, and conflict resolution. From balancing the drawer at the end of the night to challenging an expired coupon, there are any number of situations that you’ll need to think fast for. Those who want to open their own store or eventually work in retail can learn a lot in this position.


Plenty of summer jobs cater to kids who need help catching up with their schoolwork. This can be a critical time to give them a headstart when the new year starts, particularly when recent events have caused so many students to fall behind. If you enjoy explaining complex concepts (and you can tailor your approach to different learning styles), this could be a part-time job that leads to anything from teaching to corporate training.

Freelance Web Designer

If you like to design websites on sites like WordPress, becoming a freelance designer over the summer can be one of the most lucrative summer jobs for college students and teens. This will require some effort on your part to get the word out there about your services, but it may not take more than a few flyers and some killer social media to get everything going. Make sure to flaunt your own sites to properly showcase your talent.


There’s something about the scent of coffee combined with the ability to work with your hands. Baristas may need to learn dozens of recipes and make countless custom creations, but they also get to perfect their pour and experiment with latte art. If the prospect of working behind a counter and making people smile all day appeals to you, this could be a great way to make some money over the summer.


Working in an office is more than answering phones for the bigwigs of the company. Receptionists are at the center of the operation. They learn about workflows and how different departments interact with one another. The lessons can be great for anyone who pictures themselves as a future CEO.

Camp Counselor

Camp counselors may have to wrangle groups of kids day after day, but they also get to spend their time in the great outdoors doing plenty of fun activities. Plus, kids at camp can be particularly entertaining when they’re free from the standard pressures of work and home.

No-Cost Training Services at Goodwill

If you’re looking to give yourself an edge this summer, Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona can help secure summer jobs for college students and teens. We offer the following no-cost training services for teens and college students:

  • Computer skills: Learn basic functionality, navigation, and internet use.
  • Computer programs: Learn programs like Powerpoint, Microsoft Word, and Excel.
  • Advanced classes: This includes industry-specific credentials that will help your resume shine.

Visiting a career center can be the first step to finding summer jobs that ultimately lead to a fulfilling career. Keep in mind that regardless of the position you choose, you can learn universal life skills that can help you move forward in your professional life.

Exciting Events this Week!

Amazing things are always happening at Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona! Whether you are looking for a daily special or want to participate in one of our job training events, we have something for you.

*Daily deals are valid at select Metro Phoenix, Prescott, and Yuma locations. Please check with your neighborhood Goodwill for details. Dollar Day pricing adjustment goes into effect on Jan. 5, 2023.

Discount valid on used merchandise only. Not valid on food or drink, new goods, seasonal or holiday items. Not valid at Goodwill Clearance Center.