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  • Can a 16 year old work at an animal shelter?

You are relieved to have your resume put together and obtained a work permit if necessary (for information on work permits in your state click here). You are now ready to look for a job.

You are not exactly sure where you would like to work, however you love animals and think you would enjoy working at an animal shelter. You wonder if it is possible to get a job at an animal shelter when you are 16 years-old.

Every animal shelter works differently; whether you can work at an animal shelter at 16 will depend upon the individual shelter’s rules.  The best place to start is to find out the hiring requirements of the shelters near you.

This blog post will cover:

  • Hiring at animal shelters
  • How to get hired at an animal shelter
  • Other opportunities for 16  year old’s to earn money

Hiring at Animal Shelters

While there are a variety of positions at animal shelters, each shelter runs differently. There are some positions that may have certain age requirements; for example, jobs that require driving will likely require that an applicant have a certain number of years of driving experience.  Other positions require a certain level of education, like a Bachelor’s degree, so as a high school student you would not be eligible.

Make sure that you have an idea of the child labor laws and work permit requirements in the state where you live prior to beginning your job search. Click here for more information on child labor laws and work permit requirements in your state.

How to get hired at an animal shelter

Since each animal shelter will be different, it is best to check on the hiring policy at any shelter you are interested in working at prior to taking the time to apply. You can find out the age requirements for hiring at each shelter by looking at their website or contacting them by phone. Should you decide to call the shelter, you can simply ask what their minimum age is for employment.

Getting hired at an animal shelter will require that you submit an application. In many cases this can be done online. Another option is to complete the application and bring it to the shelter in person.

It is always preferable to submit your application in person, as this will allow your application to stand out from the many applications the shelter may get online. By dressing well (nice pants and button-down shirt, for example), and showing good communication skills, you have the opportunity to make a good impression.

Before going to the shelter look online to see if it has a website.  If so, look and see if there is an application available for you to print. If you are able to print an application from their website, go ahead and print the application and fill it out prior to going to the shelter.

If you are unable to print an application, stop by the shelter and request an application for employment. When you enter the shelter, ask if you can speak with a supervisor. If no supervisor is available, and you do not have an application, go ahead and ask for one. You can then ask the staff person you are speaking with when they expect the supervisor to be there so that you can return the completed application to them.

Should you have already completed the application, still ask when the supervisor is expected. If possible you will want to give your application to the supervisor so that you can be certain they have received it. This will also give you the chance to show the supervisor how you present yourself.

If a supervisor is available and they come to meet you, you will want to introduce yourself and then give them your application. Express that you are interested in a job and ask if they have any openings. Should the supervisor state that they are not hiring, go ahead and ask when they anticipate openings being available. Sometimes the supervisor will ask a few questions and let you know that they will keep your application on file.

Ask the supervisor their name and when the best time would be to follow up with them on your application. Obtaining the name of the supervisor and having the opportunity to meet them is a valuable part of job searching. Even if there is no current opening, the supervisor will see that you present and communicate well.  They will not have had this chance with many of the other applicants, allowing your application to stand out from the others.

If there are no positions available at the animal shelter, or while you are in the application process, it is a good idea to offer to volunteer. Serving as a volunteer at the place you are interested in working will help you to gain experience as well as show through your work that you would make a good employee. Volunteers will often be the first considered for an open position.

For more information on applying for a job in person, click here.

Other Opportunities for 16 Year Old’s to Earn Money

At 16, there are many opportunities to earn money. If you are passionate about animals, in addition to the animal shelter, you might want to consider opportunities with a veterinarian’s office or at a pet store. Outside of working with animals, retail establishments, grocery stores, restaurants and movie theaters will likely be open to hiring 16 year-olds. Other options to consider are online jobs and side jobs.

With an online job, you can earn money on your own schedule from your home computer. Creating websites or blogs is a way to earn money and you can even focus your efforts on businesses that work with animals.  With some effort, businesses and individuals will be willing to hire you to build or maintain their website or blog.

This may sound like a big task but there are pre-designed templates that you can use to get started. More than anything, this work requires patience and creativity. Consider offering to create your first few websites for minimal cost or for free. Once you have designed a few sites or blogs, you can create a portfolio that can be used to attract new business.

You can also design a website or blog for yourself around a particular interest. Then, you can learn how to drive traffic to your site and how to earn money by doing so.

If you enjoy writing, online freelance writing is a flexible way to earn money. Freelance sites like Upwork.com and Fiverr.com offer you a place to build a profile and apply for short and long term writing jobs. You can focus on applying for jobs where the writing you do is focused on animals. In many cases, the jobs will involve creating content for existing websites and blogs. How much you are paid will depend upon the client.

Are you able to speak another language fluently? You can earn money by translating documents or articles. Upwork.com offers translating opportunities. You can review options and apply for jobs you are interested in.

These are just a few of the jobs that you can do online. For more information and opportunities, click here.

If you would rather not work with your computer, consider a side job. With a side job you can set your own hours while meeting the needs of your clients.

If you like animals, consider pet sitting and dog walking. This will be great experience for a future job at an animal shelter or veterinarian’s office. You can offer to walk dogs and check on and feed animals when their families are out of town. You can charge a rate per visit or walk.

If you feel comfortable with certain subjects in school, a good option is to offer tutoring services. You can tutor the subjects you choose and schedule hours that work for you and the person you are tutoring. You can start by charging $10 per hour and negotiate an increase as the child improves their grades.

Another potential side job is offering homework help services for younger kids. Parents will appreciate having someone to spend an hour or so with their kids to help them get their work done. This may be even more appealing for parents with several young children. Rates would be similar as those when tutoring.

Consider running an errand service. You can use your bike or walk to stores, helping clients with grocery shopping, going to the post office, holiday shopping, etc.  Should you provide excellent service, you will likely be referred to the friends of your clients.

For more information on side jobs click here.

Depending on the animal shelters near you, you may or may not be able to work at one at the age of 16. If you are unable to find a job at an animal shelter, consider volunteering there as way to get your foot in the door. Fortunately, at age 16, there are many other options available to you in order to earn money and gain experience.

So, what do you think about whether 16 year olds can work at an animal shelter?  Do you agree with what was said above?  Comment below to let us know!

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