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Can I get paid for internships or small jobs as a 17 year old?

How do I apply and find internships as a 17 year old? Is it possible to find internships that can pay and don’t just give experience? I’m currently homeschooled and have needed a job for a while now, but it’s difficult to find one for a teenager with no working papers so ID, and most jobs require some sort of identification so I really need help

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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Julia !

Thanks for reaching out on this topic because I would be very happy to give you some advice. It is a very interesting situation that one doesn't hear about all that often.

I would suggest that the first thing to do would be to go to 123 William Street, Third Floor (in Manhattan) and obtain a Social Security card. That would be step one. You do need a Social Security card. The next order of business will be to obtain Working Papers. There are two different types of working papers, one for 14 and 15 year olds and one for 16 and 17 year olds. New York State requires that you have working papers to work in New York State. Furthermore, there are two kinds of working papers for your age that you've mentioned. It's great that you are home schooled but the two categories of working papers for 17 year olds depend on whether you are in school or out of school. If you are considered "in school" there's certain work you cannot do like working around or with machinery. If you are considered "out of school" or leaving school to work full time, you are allowed to work in a factory but can't work on construction or cars or certain machinery.

This being said, I would ask your parents and/or the people home schooling you to verify what home school is considered in the state of New York - is it "in school" or "out of school". You can even call or go down to the Department of Labor (actually I don't think they take phone calls in NYC but I may be wrong) or use their website. It's important to do this step if you want to be able to work.

Another thought I have is if your home schooling is being overseen and designed by the Board of Ed, visit your local high school to see if they issue working papers at the local high school. I only say this because many moons ago, that's how I obtained my working papers - right at the school, but I attended school in person at the local high school.

As for internship vs. paid employment, once you get your social security card and working papers, I would advise you to just start working at something you like, retail, food service, etc. Create a Linked In account as well as one on Indeed dot com and read the employment notices every day.

Whatever you do, do not be overwhelmed about this. Everything will fall into place for you and the best thing is that you've reached out at a time when you need answers.

Best wishes to you with this and I also wish you all the best on your first job !
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Janet’s Answer

Hi Julia, you can do both at the same time. Unfortunately, I don't know how to get around working papers (although I know in NJ they have made it easier to do online and not involve the school system any longer). My son is 16 and loves soccer. He got a job this summer at a soccer store, coached soccer at a local University and researched an internship with a minor league soccer team the past two summers. Although he was not paid, they did compensate him with gift cards and meals were paid for while he was working. All the experiences together are setting him up for a great career after Highschool and potentially college. Find what you are most interested in and see if you can get a job learning about that field! Good luck.
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Keyston’s Answer

Finding paid internships or small jobs at 17 can be possible. Look into local businesses, community centers, or online job boards that offer internships for students. While some might be unpaid, there are opportunities out there that provide compensation. Since you're homeschooled, focus on your skills and interests when applying, and consider talking to your parents about any necessary paperwork or identification requirements. Keep searching and stay persistent – you'll find something that suits you.
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Amalya’s Answer

This may seem a challenging situation, but it's rewarding at the same time. Every great and beautiful thing just starts for you. Over the years, you will experience working on different roles and finding what option is best for you.
As for internships, some of them are paid, but many others are not only unpaid, but also require for the intern to pay them. In this regard, it may be a better option to find an entry-level job. It will not only help you gain professional experience, but also make money.
I wish you all the best and incredible success in your future
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