How Old Do You Have to Be to Work at McDonalds

Many teens work in fast food restaurants
Many teens work in fast food restaurants

How old do you have to be to work at McDonalds? The legal working age for most states is 16. McDonald's employment age varies from state to state and country to country.

State Laws: How Old Do You Have to Be to Work at McDonalds

In New York, for example, potential McDonald's employees must be 15 years old. In Australia, the age is 14. If you are interested in working for McDonald's, you should contact your local franchise to determine their age requirements. Each state determines legal age for employment. Some areas of labor are strictly prohibited to those under the age of 18 if they those areas are considered harmful, dangerous or could affect their health.

At McDonald's, employees under the age of 15 typically cannot work with the preparation of food because of the danger associated with burning. They also cannot work longer than four hours on any given shift.

Jobs at McDonald's

Primary jobs at McDonald's are counter service, drive thru window, food preparation, party coordinator, shift management and store management. In many cases, the party coordinator also works counter service, drive thru or food preparation. Food preparation is usually left to the adults, although mature and reasonably responsible employees age 16 and older may work fries and some burger preparation stations.

Potential employees should contact their local McDonald's for an application as well as talk to the manager about expectations, regulations and training. If you are under 18, you should also speak to your parents prior to applying for a job. You will need a state issued identification card or driver's license to verify your identity as well as a copy of your social security card for application purposes.

Safety at Work

McDonald's requires procedures for all jobs at their establishments. These procedures require employees to follow key steps in the delivery service, preparation of food, cleaning service areas and the handling of cash exchange.

No matter how old you have to be to work at McDonald's, you will be required to undergo on the job training, performance evaluations and to follow procedures. The procedures are tested by safety specialists, organizational psychologists and marketing professionals to improve job performance, job safety and sales.

College Credits

The American Council on Education recognizes McDonald's for their restaurant curriculum. Employees who participate in the management training programs may earn up to 46 credits towards their 2-year or 4-year degrees.

Good First Job

McDonald's service restaurants are often the site of a teenager's first 'real' job where they earn a weekly or bi-weekly paycheck. McDonald's employment is easy to obtain, relatively easy to maintain and pays at or just above minimum wage. For high school students, a 4 hour shift is a reasonable amount of time to spend working, earn some extra cash and gain real world experience while still keeping up on homework and studies.

Management at many locations offers their employees flexible scheduling in order to accommodate academic obligations. When applying for your job at McDonald's, discuss your available work hours and required scheduling concerns ahead of time.


Hourly employees may enjoy one free meal per shift worked, a wage review every six months, training classes and McCrew Care Insurance. McDonald's employees are able to use the Gold Card Plus Program that offers discounts on car rents, shoes, clothes and movie tickets. Employees will also receive a 10 percent discount from Kinder Care, LaPetite Academy and Childtime Child Care, Inc. Employees are also eligible to apply for the McDonald's scholarship to pay for college expenses. Some benefits are restricted to full time employees, so be sure to ask for the benefits package when you apply.

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How Old Do You Have to Be to Work at McDonalds