18-Year-Old School Work: How Many Hours Can You Really Handle?

18-Year-Old School Work: How Many Hours Can You Really Handle?

There are several federal and state-based restrictions on the employment of under-18s. These depend on factors like age, the job, the day of the week, time of the year, etc. Some restrictions don’t apply to minors if their parents or guardians employ them. Additionally, where there are different guidelines between federal and state laws, the most protective law for the minor always applies.

Once you are 18, there are no restrictions on the hours you are allowed to work since labor laws don’t apply. However, if you are still at school or have started your tertiary education, how many hours can you really handle?

1.     Max Work Hours for 18-Year-Old Students

The maximum work hours for 18-year-old students vary depending on the country, state or province, and local labor laws. It’s essential to check the specific regulations in your area, as they can vary widely. In many places, there are laws to protect student workers’ rights and well-being. Here are some general guidelines to consider:

Part-Time Work: Typically, 18-year-old students can work part-time during the school year without specific limitations on the number of hours, but this can vary.

Full-Time Work During Breaks: Students may be allowed to work full-time during school breaks or summer vacation, but there might still be restrictions on working overnight or for extended hours.

Nighttime and Weekends: There may be restrictions on working late at night or on weekends for young workers, including 18-year-olds.

Hazardous Jobs: Some jobs, especially those involving heavy machinery or dangerous conditions, might have stricter regulations for young workers.

Your local labor department or school’s career services office can give you more accurate information about the labor laws that apply locally. It’s crucial to ensure that employers and students are aware of and adhere to these laws, ensuring the rights and safety of young workers remain protected.

2.     Work Hour Restrictions for 18-Year-Olds

Chron gives a detailed account of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. The FLSA provides rules about the minimum wage, overtime rules, and other worker classifications. The act also contains certain rules and exemptions for workers as young as 14. However, many of these laws don’t apply once you turn 18.

Fourteen and 15-year-olds can work certain hours when school is in session, according to the FLSA. Still, they can’t work in hazardous occupations that are dangerous or that jeopardize their safety or education.

Sixteen and 17-year-olds can work as many hours as they want, but not in dangerous occupations. Employees that are 18 years old aren’t subject to many of these regulations. There are no provisions in the federal act for compulsory school attendance or age certifications. However, in states where these are required, they are issued by the state’s labor department.

Indiana, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico require age certifications from 18 to 21 years old. State laws also require compulsory school attendance. Some states are until 16, others until 17, and quite a few until 18. According to Florida Labor laws, 16 and 17-year-olds cannot work before 6:30 a.m. or after 11:00 p.m.

3.     Balancing Work and School: 18-Year-Olds’ Limits

Whether you’re still at school or have started your tertiary education, finding a job can help you pay for your education without committing to student loans. It’s best to seek part-time employment to help you cope with your educational commitments. Some 18-year-olds prefer to get a summer job since they can work more hours during their school break and save more money.

However, if you prefer to work throughout the year at a job while studying, balancing work and school is vital to ensure you don’t exceed your limits. Here’s how:

Find a Balance

Success hinges on balancing study, work, and play. Considering that there are only 168 hours available to you each week, remember that your education will require 30-40 hours. Having time to sleep, work, eat, and commute is essential.

Ideally, studies have shown that you should not work more than 15 hours a week if you don’t want to feel stressed.

However, finding a balance requires a plan. Use your program from school or college at the start of each semester to plan around paper deadlines and examinations so that you can let your employer know which days and hours you are available. Ensure that your employer understands your need for study time and prove your dedication by working harder when you have breaks in your school program.

Find the Right Job

The more flexible the work, the easier it is to earn money while still at school or studying. Jobs to consider are temp jobs where you can work part-time during school and full-time during the holidays.

If you already have some skills, like research, writing, or graphic design, you could consider freelance work by creating an online gig. Internships provide an excellent opportunity to get training and network in an industry of your interest, but these are often without pay.

On-campus jobs are trendy for college students because they save on commuting time and feel safer.

Cafés, bars, and restaurants provide perfect work opportunities if you prefer to work over weekends. Retail stores, caterers, and event planners offer great weekend employment opportunities.

Finally, if you prefer to work during your holidays, look for seasonal work at hotels or farms.

Tips for Successful Balance

  • Correct Planning – Use only one calendar where you add all your commitments. First, add your assignment due dates and examination dates before adding your work and personal commitments. Prioritize things according to their importance.
  • Time needed for Each Activity – Write down the time required for each activity. Additionally, it’s easier to plan your week by including your obvious regular activities in your diary.
  • Plan for the Unexpected – Don’t create such a tight schedule that prevents you from being flexible. Always leave some free time in your calendar for the unexpected, for example, a doctor’s appointment, delays in your commute, or an assignment that took longer than expected.
  • Keep On Top of Things – If you don’t let things pile up, then you won’t have a problem working while at school. Therefore, plan to do homework and revise and stick to the schedule instead of going out with friends or wasting that time on social media.
  • Gain More Time – Waking up half an hour earlier can give you 3.5 extra hours weekly. But always make sure you get enough sleep. It’s always better to wake up earlier to study than to stay up half the night.
  • Set Achievable Weekly Goals – If you set a goal and you have met it, give yourself some personal time as a reward.

4.     18-Year-Olds’ Work Hours: What to Know

When it comes to 18-year-olds and their work hours, there are several essential things to know to ensure they have a positive and legal work experience:

Labor Laws

Familiarize yourself with local and national labor laws, varying by location. These laws dictate the maximum hours you can work as an 18-year-old, minimum wage, overtime rules, and other employment regulations.

Minimum Wage

Zippia informs us that the national minimum wage per hour is $7.25,  but the minimum wage for workers under age 20 can be as little as $4.25 without legal consequences during their first 90 days on any job. Ensure that the pay rate complies with minimum wage laws in your area. Some places have separate minimum wage rates for workers under 18.

Maximum Work Hours

The maximum hours you can work daily as an 18-year-old are not always regulated. Most states regulate them only for younger ages. These limits are in place to protect young workers from excessive work hours that could interfere with their education and overall well-being.


Be aware of any overtime regulations. In some regions, workers who exceed a certain number of hours in a workweek must get overtime pay. Overtime pay is typically higher than the standard hourly rate.

Breaks and Rest Periods

Labor laws often require employers to provide breaks and rest periods during the workday. Understand the rules about meal breaks, rest breaks, and the timing of these breaks.

Safe and Appropriate Work

Ensure the work environment is safe and does not expose you to hazardous conditions or inappropriate tasks. Some jobs may be off-limits to young workers, especially those involving heavy machinery or dangerous materials.


Understand taxation and whether your employer will withhold taxes from your paycheck.

Employment Contracts

Read the terms of your employment contract, including the duration of employment, responsibilities, pay, and any benefits or perks offered. Keeping yourself informed allows you to report workplace violations against you to the appropriate authorities.

Educational and Other Priorities

Remember to balance work with your educational commitments so that it doesn’t impact your ability to attend school and complete your studies. Don’t overload your program, but prefer to maintain a healthy school, work, and personal balance. Consider how your employment fits your long-term goals, including your career plans.

5.     Finding the Right Work-Life Balance at 18

Finding the right work-life balance while still in school can be challenging, but it’s essential for your well-being and academic success. Follow these tips:

Set Priorities – Prioritize your education since school is your primary responsibility. Create a weekly or monthly timetable that outlines your class times, study hours, and other academic commitments.

Time Management – Efficient time management is crucial. Allocate specific time blocks for studying, attending classes, and completing assignments on a calendar or to-do list to track your tasks.

Work Flexibility – Choose a job with flexible hours that won’t interfere with your school schedule. Communicate with your employer about class timings and upcoming exams or projects. Plan your work schedule around your school commitments. Avoid taking on too many work hours during exams or when significant academic projects are due.

Limit Work Hours – Be mindful of how many hours you work weekly. Don’t overcommit to work; it can lead to burnout and negatively impact your academics. Take regular breaks to recharge your focus and productivity.

Seek Support – Talk to your teachers or academic advisors if you struggle to balance work and school. They may be able to offer guidance or suggest educational resources that can help.

Self-Care – Prioritize self-care activities like exercise, relaxation, and socializing with friends and family. You’re more likely to excel in both work and school when well-rested and emotionally balanced.

Learn to Say No –  Be selective about additional commitments, such as extracurricular activities or social events. These are important, but overcommitting can lead to stress and fatigue.

Set Realistic Goals and Monitor – Make your goals achievable to help you maintain balance and avoid unnecessary stress. Regularly assess how well you’re balancing work and school and make the necessary adjustments if you notice one negatively affects the other.

Create a Conducive Study Environment – A good study environment minimizes distractions, helping you study more efficiently.

Remember that finding the right work-life balance is an ongoing process that may require trial and error. Be kind to yourself and make the necessary adjustments to maintain a healthy equilibrium between your work and school life. If both demands are too challenging to manage, consider seeking guidance from academic advisors, counselors, or mentors who can provide personalized advice and support.

6.     Understanding Work Hour Regulations for 18-Year-Olds

The rights of teenagers to get an education are protected by federal and state rules by providing regulations for the hours they can work.

Younger teens generally have strict work hours, especially during school. The maximum work hours are 18 during a school week and a limit of three hours a day during a school day (not when school is in session). Additionally, they can only work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. while school is in session between Labor Day and May 31.

While school is not in session, they must work no more than 8 hours during non-school days. From June 1 to Labor day, they can only work between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

In many states, there are restrictions for teens between 16 and 17, but there are no restrictions for 18-year-olds, even at school. However, there may be some restrictions in some states in some jobs.

7.     Work Hour Guidelines for 18-Year-Old Students

Work hour guidelines for 18-year-old students vary depending on local labor laws and regulations. It’s essential to check the specific rules in your area, as they can differ from one jurisdiction to another. However, here are some general principles to keep in mind:

  • The maximum number of work hours for 18-year-old students is not regulated. However, when looking for work, you should ensure your employer knows you want to work fewer hours to accommodate your studies. However, it’s good to know that the average American work week is 40 hours.
  • Any time worked above 40 hours counts as overtime, it’s usually paid higher than the standard hourly wage.
  • You must get the minimum wage mandated by local laws.
  • Your employer must give you the required rest and meal break periods.
  • Night work has potential health and safety hazards, and some states restrict employing younger people.

Compliance with the guidelines for 18-year-old students’ work hours requires awareness of local labor laws and regulations. If you have any questions or concerns about your situation, consult legal or labor experts or contact your school’s career services office for guidance and support. It’s also important to communicate openly with your employer about your school schedule and any scheduling needs or restrictions you may have.

8.     How Many Hours Can an 18-Year-Old Work

The law doesn’t set the number of hours an 18-year-old can work. However, as a student, your work hours will depend on your commitment to finishing school and college.

Finding a suitable job that matches your financial needs while giving you the flexibility to work and study is not too difficult. However, balancing your work, school, and personal life is critical to prevent you from becoming too overwhelmed as you try to juggle it all.

Remember that it’s normal to feel exhausted, but don’t only rely on coffee to keep you going. Look for the ideal part-time work that allows you time to rest your mind and body.

Signs You Have Too Much on Your Plate

You might wonder if you’re stretching too thin between work and school. Let’s get real briefly: Your health and well-being are crucial. No job or class is worth sacrificing those for. Here are some telltale signs you might be taking on too much:

  • Constant Fatigue: You’re always tired, no matter how much sleep you get.
  • Falling Grades: You notice a decline in your academic performance.
  • No Social Life: Friends? What are those? If you find yourself ditching social commitments to work or study, you’re off-balance.
  • Irritability and Mood Swings: You’re cranky more often than not, and even small issues make you snap.
  • Health Problems: You get frequent colds, headaches, or stomach issues. These could be stress indicators.
  • Forgetting Things: If you’re usually on point but start forgetting appointments or assignments, take it as a red flag.
  • Lack of Focus: You find it hard to concentrate on one task for an extended period.

If you tick off several of these boxes, it’s probably time for some life recalibration. Consider scaling back on work hours or even taking some time off to recharge and reassess. Speak to your employer and academic advisors about finding a better balance.

  1. Time to Reassess: When to Make Changes

You’re 18, juggling school, work, and probably a dozen other things. Life is a high-wire act, and sometimes, you need to know when to step back. If you recognize some of the signs above, or if your school performance starts to suffer, it’s time to reassess.

  • Open Up: Talk to your family, advisors, or friends about your situation. Sometimes, external perspectives can offer invaluable insights.
  • Consult HR or Supervisors: If work is the issue, speak to someone in charge. Most companies value employee well-being and may offer flexible arrangements.
  • Check School Resources: Many schools have mental health services, academic counseling, or even job placement centers that can help you manage your load.
  • Do Some Soul Searching: Take a weekend to consider your priorities. You may find that you’re committing to things that aren’t that important to you.
  1. Wrapping It Up: Final Thoughts

Okay, let’s wrap this up. Being 18 is both liberating and overwhelming. Sure, you’re technically an adult, but that comes with adult-sized responsibilities. Just remember:

  • Knowledge is power. The more you know about labor laws and your rights, the better.
  • Keep an eye out for the warning signs that you’re over-committing.
  • Never hesitate to seek help or advice. Everyone needs it at some point, and that’s perfectly okay.

Navigating work and school at 18 is not a walk in the park, but with the right mindset and resources, you have this. Cheers to finding that balance and rocking both your work and school life! 🌟