How To Get Hired for a National Park Job
Is a National Park job the perfect career for you? Do you enjoy soaking in the beauty of our National Parks? Are you flexible and at least a little adventurous?
Then it just might be! Today, we’re sharing tips for how to get hired for a National Park job.
How To Get National Park Jobs
One of the easiest ways to get a National Park job is by working for concessioners. These businesses offer a wide range of experiences, food, and lodging. However, to get a job with one, you’ll need to go through the individual concessioner. Luckily, the National Park Services’ Authorized Concessioners page is a great resource to help you find the perfect National Park job.
The CoolWorks website is another great resource. This resource allows you to easily see all of the concessioner jobs available on one easy-to-navigate website. CoolWorks is certainly great for connecting people with cool jobs in unique and exciting destinations, including National Parks. Whether you’re looking to work in a National Park or be close to one, you’ll find an abundance of incredible jobs here.
What Are National Park Concessioners?
Concessioners operate in many different forms of hospitality in day-to-day park operations. The National Park Service doesn’t typically offer these services, so the concessioners fill that space. The needs will vary from park to park but often include food, lodging, off-road adventures, and even white water rafting!
Concessioners usually provide their services during peak season and sometimes in the off-season. But don’t think this makes it a tiny operation. They employ over 25,000 people annually! Could you be their next hire?
What Types of National Park Jobs Are There?
There are many job categories available for National Park jobs. For example, jobs often range from customer relations and tour guides to food services and maintenance. As a result, no matter your skill set, something is bound to be a good fit for you!
Those who love the indoor education portion of the National Parks might enjoy working at the information desk at Acadia NP or the retail areas of Gateway Arch NP. On the other hand, the more adventurous might enjoy taking visitors on a ranger-guided hike at Zion NP or through the forest at Congaree NP. Or, you could experience the thrill of doing off-road jeep tours at Capitol Reef NP. Working at a National Park surely provides something for every personality.
How To Get Hired for a National Park Job
#1 – Apply Early and Often
Don’t limit yourself to one specific job in one specific place. Make a list of all of the National Parks where you’d be open to accepting a position and apply to all of them. Remember, there are many excellent National Parks. Keeping your options open increases the chance that you’ll land a job in one of them.
#2 – Be Flexible
Be open to various opportunities. Be flexible with both the type of work you’ll do and the hours you’ll work. Apply to any position that you would be happy doing in the locations you want to be in. Keeping yourself flexible increases your chances of landing a great National Park job. Who knows? Maybe you’ll snag a dream position that you’d have never otherwise considered.
#3 – Use Multiple Websites
As with any job hunt, utilizing as many avenues as possible to scout out positions is recommended. Take advantage of the National Park Services’ Authorized Concessioners website to apply directly with the park system. Furthermore, keep an eye on CoolWorks as jobs are frequently added to their library.
One thing you may not think to do is look for a position at a resort near the National Park you’d like to be located at. This will get you familiar with the area, give you access to the park and help you make important people connections.
#4 – Plan Way Ahead
It isn’t just National Park campsites that get booked a year in advance. It’s common for National Park jobs to be posted a year before they begin, especially those in high demand. Start looking as soon as you know the desired location or what you’re hoping to do. And don’t give up if you don’t find anything that meets your criteria at the time. Keep regularly checking all of your resources. You never know when that perfect job might just pop up.
Logistics Of Getting a National Park Job
Knowing you want to work at a certain National Park isn’t enough. Indeed, there are some things you’ll have to consider that go beyond some of the amazing adventures you’ll be having.
Where will you live? Concessioners have often been known to assist with housing in some capacity, but not always. Housing looks different from job to job. They may provide lodging, assist with finding nearby housing, or even provide an RV spot.
Some concessioners don’t provide any housing or housing assistance. Be sure to investigate the housing plan when it comes to your role. That dream job may not be possible based on the housing situation.
How will you get there? Will there be transportation provided from your housing to your National Park role? If you don’t have access to your own transportation, this is an important thing to know. Even if you have your own transportation, park-provided transportation might make your commute dramatically easier during the peak season.
Hours and Pay
You want to pay your bills. Right? While these can be jobs that you deeply love or are passionate about, you don’t want to do them for free. The pay varies greatly depending on workload, experience, and skills required.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of working at Grand Teton National Park and forget you will have bills to pay. So, be sure you’re ready for the cost of living in your job-specific area.
It is important to note that not all National Park jobs are on weekdays, from 9 to 5. Keep in mind some jobs might come with hours during nights, weekends, and often peak seasons.
Your Dream National Park Job
If you’re ready to help visitors create lifelong memories while also enjoying some epic adventures of your own, a National Park job might be for you. What National Park do you think you’d enjoy working at the most?
Expert tip: Before applying for a job in one of the National Parks, check out our list of the best and the worst seasonal National Park jobs.
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