How to Find a Job With the U.S. National Park Service

Make a Career Celebrating the Nation's Majestic Parks

Park Ranger leading childrens field trip; Acadia National Park, Maine
••• Johann Schumacher/Photolibrary/Getty Images

If you enjoy being in nature and meeting new people, U.S. National Park Service jobs may appeal to you. The work provides opportunities to learn about the environment, interact with interesting people and wildlife, and explore some of the most beautiful protected lands in the country. Here's some information to help you find these opportunities.

Research National Park Service Jobs

When it comes to working with the National Park Service, you have options.

First, figure out if you are looking for full-time, part-time, seasonal, temporary, or even volunteer work. The National Park Service has approximately 16,000 permanent employees and hires up to 10,000 temporary positions annually. When you figure out how much time you can commit, you can narrow your search drastically.

The National Park Service's website will serve as your best resource in looking for a position. There you can narrow your search based on location, type of work, and 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 (e.g., food, lodging, gas, gifts, etc.).

Government Positions

Government jobs are filled in accordance with Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations. If you can't go through NPS to apply, you will be able to register through OPM where you can browse job announcements that will explain the position, salary, educational requirements, 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.

Concessionaire Positions

Without amenities, national parks would indeed be less popular. Private companies are contracted to parks to staff hotels, lodges, restaurants, and gift shops.

They also may coordinate horseback riding or whitewater rafting excursions.

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 U.S. 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'll 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.

Summer Camps

The summer months are an ideal 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 geographic location.
  • CoolWorks provides links to selected camps by region.
  • CampJobs offers a directory of job opportunities searchable by position or by geographic area.

    Tips to Remember

    Keep your preferences open when searching for a job, and apply for numerous open positions to increase your chances of being hired. You might even want to apply to a broad area.

    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!). Consider volunteering or taking a temporary position to see how you fit and how much you enjoy the work and location.