If you enjoy being in the midst of nature and meeting new people, working at a national park may appeal to you. The work will not only provide opportunities learn about the environment, interact with interesting people and wildlife, and explore some of the most beautiful protected lands in the country. But how do you find such an opportunity. Here you will information to help you get started.
Do the Research
When it comes to work at a national park, you have options. Firstly, figure out if you are looking for full-time, part-time, seasonal, temporary, or even volunteer work. The National Park has approximately 16,000 permanent employees and hires up to 10,000 temporary positions annually. Once you figure out how much time you can commit, you can narrow you search drastically.
The National Park Service will serve as your best resource in finding a position. There you can narrow your search based on location, work type, and by actual occupation. Most jobs at national parks are available through the federal government or through park concessionaires, which are private companies that provide temporary workers to assist in the needs of visitors (i.e., food, lodging, gas, gifts, etc.).
Government jobs are filled in accordance with Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations. If you cannot go through NPS to apply, you will be able to register through OPM, you can browse job announcements which will explain the job, salary, necessary education/experience, and how to apply. The OPM also maintains the U.S. Government's website for employment information, providing a list of current job openings and opportunities to apply online.
Without these jobs, national parks would indeed be less popular. Private companies are contracted to parks to staff hotels, lodges, restaurants, and gift shops. They also may horseback riding or white water rafting.
Visit CoolWorks and check out a list of jobs in national parks, preserves, monuments, and recreation/wilderness areas. It is one of the best tools out there to find work within a park.
Federal Land Agencies
In addition to the NPS, there are several other US federal land agencies that offer full-time or seasonal employment opportunities.
- The Bureau of Reclamation Human Resources Center provides information on how to apply for a job as well as a list of regional offices.
- At the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website, you will find many opportunities, including job descriptions, qualification requirements, benefits, and a list of its regional offices.
- The USDA Forest Service provides general employment information, salary and benefits, and links to regional offices.
The summer months are a great time for adolescents to find work and summer camps offer opportunities for outdoor employment.
- The American Camping Association database houses thousands of summer camp jobs, searchable by type of position and geographical location.
- Cool Works provides links to selected camps by region.
- CampJobs offers a directory of job opportunities searchable by position or by geographic area.
Tips to Remember
No matter what type of position you are applying for, you have a lot of options to consider. Keep your preferences open when searching for a job. Applying to numerous open positions can only increase your chance of being hired. You may even want to apply to a broad area, though keep in mind it is risky to apply to an area you have never visited.
Take it slow. No one is encouraging you to quit your current job, pack up, and relocate to a national park (unless of course that’s exactly what you want to do). You can always start slow and volunteer or take a temp position to see how you fit and how much you enjoy the work/area.
Remember, you are about to embark on an exciting journey. Working at a national park is an exciting and rewarding opportunity, so start you search now!