How Old You Have to Be to Work in Colorado

male teenage caddy giving golf club to man
Getty Images/Alan Thornton

If you live in Colorado and need some extra cash to pay for dates, to buy your favorite new video game, or to get your first car, don't start looking for a job without first learning the minimum age you must be to work in the state. Colorado is pretty lenient. It allows juveniles of all ages to work in some capacities.

How Old Must You Be to Work in Colorado

Federal child labor laws require that a minor be at least 14 years old before they can work, and that's generally the case in Colorado. There are some exceptions, however. For example, 9-year-olds can deliver handbills, advertising, and advertising samples. They can work as shoe shiners, gardeners and golf caddies. Twelve-year-olds can also perform these jobs, but they can also sell newspapers and other merchandise, as well as babysit, and perform agricultural work.

Child labor laws in each state have their own minimum age to work and requirements for permits. Before children begin working in jobs that are age-appropriate for them, it is important to review the local rules and restrictions. Here is an overview of the requirements for children to work in Colorado.

Youth Workers Require Work Certificates in Colorado

Colorado state law requires that youths under age 16 obtain a child employment certificate. These are provided by schools. Workers under age 18 will be provided with an age certificate by request, but it's not required under Colorado state law. Age certificates will not be issued to minors under age 16 for work during school hours.

What Teen Workers Can Do in Colorado

Teens have a number of options available to them in the workforce. They can do all the jobs that younger juveniles can do, as well as work as public messengers, elevator operators, janitors, office workers, car washers, cashiers, models, packers, stockers, baggers and more.

But they cannot operate power-driven tools or work under hazardous conditions. Sixteen-year-olds may perform all the same functions, but they may also drive as part of their jobs. When teens turn 18, they are no longer subject to child labor laws. They're legally considered legal adults.

How Many Hours Minors Can Work in Colorado

Minors cannot work more than 40 hours per week or more than eight hours per day. Teens under 16 may not work more than three hours on school days. During school hours, minors under age 16 can't work without a school release permit. Superintendents of the school district where youths are enrolled can issue the permits.

Young workers under age 16 can work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the school year and until 9 p.m. during summer months. Older teens or youth who work as actors, models or performers don't have to adhere to these hours. For more information on the minimum age to work in Colorado and how to obtain employment certificates, visit the Colorado State Labor Website.