A Labor of Love for Our National Treasures

August 31, 2017Pursuits
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore — National Park Service
How to Use Your Skills at National Parks

Ever wish you could extend your national park vacation indefinitely? If you're itching to get more out of your national park experience than a simple visit will allow, it might be time to think about working in a national park. 

The National Park Service offers a host of opportunities to get involved with your national parks, from full-time and part-time jobs to internships and volunteer programs. Read on to learn all about how you can put your unique skills to good use at a national park.

Work at a Park

Lionfish intern scuba diving at Biscayne National Park

Lionfish intern at Biscayne National Park

National Park Service

Although there’s certainly plenty of demand for park ranger positions, the national parks employ a large and varied workforce that extends far beyond these admired roles. The National Park Service workforce is comprised of engineers, educators, landscape architects, mechanics, data analysts, firefighters, law enforcement officers, artists-in-residence, and countless other specialists for full-time work in national parks.

Of course, some of the greatest demand is for seasonal work. The National Park Service hires thousands of seasonal employees every year for an incredible range of positions. Most seasonal workers join the National Park Service for either the summer (March to September) or winter (October to February) seasons, though plenty of them come back again and again. You can find additional information on how to apply on nps.gov and three additional tips here

Intern at a Park

A blond female wearing an intern outfit smiling at Rocky Mountain National Park

Intern Alexis at Rocky Mountain National Park

National Park Service

For many, working and learning in a national park go hand in hand. Thousands of options exist for youths, students, and recent graduates to find jobs or internships at a park. Many internships come with a stipend for travel and housing expenses, and all provide invaluable hands-on experience in an incredible setting. 

Many internships are filled at an individual park level, while others are part of regional or nationwide programs. You'll find programs for every area of interest, including historic preservation and architecture, natural sciences, conservation, and trail construction. 

Volunteer at a Park

4 People wearing yellow hardhats doing trail work at Yellowstone National Park

Volunteers at Yellowstone National Park on National Public Lands Day

National Park Service

You can explore a wide variety of volunteer opportunities at national parks across the country. To do so, use the National Park Service's Find a Park tool to locate volunteer programs nearest to you – including one-time and recurring volunteer options. Know other people who’d be interested in working beside you? There are ways to get a group or an entire family involved!

Unique volunteer events take place throughout the year at many parks, providing countless chances to help out, from removing invasive plants to helping scientists inventory migratory birds. You can even join a park as an artist-in-residence, or head to a Research Learning Center to gain deeper knowledge and contribute valuable information to parks as a citizen scientist.

A woman with gloves handling artifacts at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Museum management program intern at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

National Park Service

Whether you're looking for a seasonal job, long-term employment, a stepping stone to a full career, or simply a way to give back to your favorite park, the National Park Service provides many options for accomplishing your goals. And with more than 400 national parks across the United States, you're sure to find an opportunity that's just right for you.

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