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For many young adults, their first experience in the job world is a position at a fast food restaurant such as McDonald's. But how old do you have to be to work at McDonald's? Is this a job that is available for the majority of high school students, or is it a more likely choice for college-age young adults?
Age Limits for Full-Time Employment
In the US, the answer to this question varies from state to state. Different states maintain different labor laws, and these laws determine the minimum age for employment at McDonald's and other fast food restaurants. In some states, the minimum age can be as low as fourteen. In others, the minimum age is sixteen or eighteen, often with other added limitations on employment.
McDonald's sometimes imposes other limitations on employment, as well, because some states place different age limitations on jobs that involve food preparation or jobs that can be considered dangerous, such as frying French fries in hot oil or dealing with hot grills and ovens. For this reason, the minimum age for a cashier at McDonald's might be different in some states than the minimum age for someone who works flipping burgers and frying French fries.
Another consideration is the amount of time you expect to be able to work. States often put limits on the number of hours people under a certain age are allowed to work per day and/or per week. Those looking for full-time work will likely have to wait until their eighteenth birthday.
How to Find Out Age Limits for Employment
Because of the different requirements in individual states, the best way to find out how old you have to be to work at McDonald's is to call a local store or franchise owner, or check the Internet for the laws in your state. A little research can help you determine if you are old enough for a job like this, and if the laws of your particular state will allow you to work part time or full time, behind the counter or in the kitchen.