How Old Do You Have To Be To Work at McDonald’s?

How Old Do You Have To Be To Work at McDonald’s?

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With over 13,500 locations across the United States, it’s no surprise that McDonald’s is a typical first job for many people entering the workforce. Knowing the minimum age requirement for employment at your local McDonald’s is essential for those eager to get working.  

The minimum age to begin working at McDonald’s is 16 years old for most McDonald’s locations across North America. At select McDonald’s locations in certain states, the minimum age to work is as young as 14 and 15 years old. 

Are you ready to put McDonald’s as your first employer on your resume? In this article, I answer your questions on age requirements for employment based on your location, working requirements for those in certain age groups, the types of positions available at entry-level, the experience and requirements needed, and the perks of choosing McDonald’s for your first job. 

Can a 14-Year-Old Work At McDonald’s?

As I mentioned earlier, starting a job at McDonald’s at 14 is permitted in some specific locations. 

A 14-year-old can work at select McDonald’s locations as a Crew Member or a Guest Services Representative with parental consent and a work permit. Some states that allow applicants at 14 years of age include Pennsylvania, Virginia, Missouri, Ohio, and Kentucky. 

Additionally, under the Department of Labor guidelines, 14-year-olds are protected by child labor laws and can’t work overnight shifts, eight-hour shifts, or more than three hours on a school night. 

Certain states have lowered the application age due to severe labor shortages. There’s also some acknowledgment that if a 14-year-old can gain a learner’s permit in some states and babysit, they can also operate a cash register and hand customers their food.

However, every state’s individual child labor laws may restrict a 14-year-old on how involved they can be with preparing food. For instance, Virginia’s child labor laws do not allow 14 and 15-year-olds to cook in retail restaurant industries. If you’re unsure of what limitations you may have as a teenager entering the workforce, be sure to check out your state’s labor laws for more information!

Can a 15-Year-Old Work at McDonald’s?

Some locations have chosen to set their minimum hiring age to 15 years old, seeking teens with a tad more life experience. 

A 15-year-old can work at select McDonald’s locations as a Crew Member or a Guest Services Representative. These states include Indiana, Tennessee, Idaho, Florida, and any state that allows 14-year-olds to work. A 15-year-old still needs parental consent and a work permit to work at Mcdonald’s.

A 15-year-old is still considered a child under the Department of Labor guidelines and therefore can’t work long shifts, overnight shifts, or more than three hours on a school night. 

As child labor laws vary from state to state, it makes sense that specific locations require an applicant to be 15. Just like those who start working at McDonald’s while 14 years old, 15-year-olds can’t hold any managerial roles and may be limited on kitchen duties depending on the state’s child labor laws.

For instance, the state of Florida does not allow a 15-year-old to maintain or clean equipment or work in freezers or meat coolers. They also limit the 15-year-old’s ability to cook. Again, if you aren’t too sure, a quick look at your state’s labor laws will help you figure out any work limitations. 

Can a 16-Year-Old Work at McDonald’s?

By the age of 16, a teen is free to work various jobs in the United States. 

A 16-year-old can begin work at virtually any McDonald’s location across North America as a Crew Member, Guest Services Representative, or Cook. There’s no request for parental consent to work when you are 16 years of age unless one is requested for working an overnight shift. 

16-year-olds also have more flexibility on working longer and later shifts during school nights. 

Although 16-year-olds can’t take on supervisory roles, these teens can cook and handle more challenging roles at McDonald’s.

Are you planning on having McDonald’s as your first-ever job? Keep reading to learn what it takes to join one of America’s largest employers.

What Positions Can I Start At While Working at McDonald’s? 

McDonald’s has a few entry-level opportunities available for younger teenagers and for older teens and adults. These positions include Guest Services Representative, Crew Member, and Cook. 

Let’s take a look at what each of these positions requires workers to do.

Guest Services

Guest Services is an entry point position for 14- to 16-year-olds at McDonald’s. This role involves placing customer orders, handling customer inquiries, and ensuring customers receive their food. Guest Services Representative is a common position for 14- and 15-year-olds as it doesn’t require cooking food. 

Crew Member

A Crew Member is another entry point position for 14- to 16-year olds at McDonald’s. This role includes placing orders, handling the cash registers, maintaining store cleanliness, and helping prepare food orders. Like I highlighted earlier, food preparation and cooking may not be an available job task to an employee under 16 if the state doesn’t allow it. 


A cook is another entry-level position that is available to those who are 16 and over in most locations, and depending on state child labor laws, may be available to those under 16. A cook prepares McDonald’s food items using the grill, assembles food items, and packages food items for delivery. A cook position is a regular part of the “Crew Member” job title, but busier stores may require someone focusing on just the food. 

How Much Work Experience Do I Need to Start Working at McDonald’s?

McDonald’s prides itself on being a top first employer in North America, so their work experience requirements are next to none. 

Entry-level positions like Crew Member, Guest Services, and Cook don’t require any experience to apply. However, if you have worked a bit in customer service or the restaurant industry, this type of work experience can help you land an interview at McDonald’s!

What Are the Requirements for an Entry-Level Job at McDonald’s?

There are no educational requirements for an entry-level job at McDonald’s. Still, there are some desired behavioral requirements that McDonald’s management looks for, like having a positive attitude, a willingness to learn, and time management/punctuality. 

McDonald’s places value in some behavioral requirements, knowing that these aspects would make someone a great employee:

Positive, Friendly Attitude

As most McDonald’s positions are customer-focused, management will look for a potential employee’s friendly, positive, and upbeat attitude. This fundamental requirement will come in handy while working with a team and handling customer inquiries. A positive attitude is also a teachable attitude! 

Willingness to Learn

With many entry-level positions available at McDonald’s, every applicant must be open and willing to learn. A willingness to learn will keep an employee hungry to learn more, regardless of whether it’s learning company policies, cash handling procedures, or how to communicate with your team.


The final requirement for an entry-level position at McDonald’s is punctuality. 

Arriving on time and prepared to work is crucial, and it’s a fantastic life skill to learn for future career opportunities. Employees who show up to work late will disrupt workflow and possibly upset other employees trying to end their shift, so time management skills like punctuality are essential for employee success.  

Why Should I Choose McDonald’s As My First Job?

There are many reasons why McDonald’s would make a great first job, including the number of locations across the globe. Some perks include a flexible work schedule, free meals, employee discounts, and scholarship opportunities. 

As I’ve mentioned earlier, McDonald’s prides itself on being a top first employer in North America. To support that claim and be an appealing employer to those in the 14-16 age range, some perks of working at McDonald’s include:

Flexible Work Schedule

Are you only available to work one shift a week? Maybe you want to spend just your weekends working? McDonald’s doesn’t have a minimum hour requirement and promises to work with your schedule, especially around your school and extracurricular activities commitments.

Free Meals and Employee Discounts

Enjoy a McDonald’s meal for free while working a shift, and take advantage of employee discounts while visiting another store. McDonald’s also offers McDperks, a program for perks and discounts at other retailers outside of just McDonalds.

Scholarship Opportunities 

With McDonald’s emphasis on “education first” for its high school demographic, the company offers a scholarship incentive to teenagers with outstanding work ethic. Over 4,000 scholarships have already been awarded to chosen employees.  


Most McDonald’s locations require applicants to be 16 years old, though some states allow for applicants aged 14 and up. For those under 16, parental consent and work permits are required. There are also limitations on how many hours minors can work each day and week.

Work experience and credentials aren’t required for a job at McDonald’s, but a positive attitude, willingness to learn, and punctuality are important behaviors to have.

McDonald’s is an excellent first job option due to the number of locations and job perks available. Ready to apply? Check out the careers page for open opportunities!

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