Jobs in Colonial America

Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 10951

Someday you will be working for a living. What would you like to do? What would you have done centuries ago? Research colonial jobs with online sources, then make a poster or video for a colonial job!


United States

learning style
Auditory, Kinesthetic
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Think of everything you have learned about colonial America. What types of jobs do you think were important to the success of the colonies and the individuals living in the colonies? What would the colonies have needed to produce in order to be able to grow and survive? What types of jobs would have been needed to enable them to participate in the global economy? Today, you will learn about 15 important colonial jobs!

When the first English colonists arrived at Jamestown in 1607, they arrived with few possessions, and the land had never been settled by Europeans.

They literally had to build their communities from the foundations to the roof tops. By the time all of the 13 colonies had been established, each colonist had acquired a unique skillset that helped the colonies grow and prosper.

Individuals became known for their skills and trades, and thus the colonists made their livings accordingly –- their skill became their job. Some of these jobs are still essential today, while others have faded into obscurity with the evolution of industry and technology.

Let's take a closer look at some of these jobs, and how they helped the colonies continue to grow for more than 300 years.

This chart will provide a list of 15 colonial jobs. Using the following websites, research and record the job description for each:

After you complete the chart, think about the significance of each job during the 1700s.

  • Are there any jobs that are still significant in the United States today?
  • How have these jobs changed during the past 300 years?
  • If you were a colonist, which job do you think you would have had?
  • Discuss your responses with a friend or family member.

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