Park Concessions Job Outlook

Have you ever visited a park close to your house or while you were on vacation and thought how great it would be to work so close to nature? Would you love to have a state park as your backyard and playground for the whole summer? If you have been thinking about working outdoors in the parks, but the process of applying and getting hired by the state government sounds too intense, then you should know that there are other options.

In fact, you can begin working in the park quickly and easily without the need to deal with the government whatsoever.

The concession stands, restaurants, hotels and other services provided to park guests and visitors are generally run by private companies called concessioners. These companies are responsible for hiring and managing the staff that runs these businesses within the state and national parks. Often, getting a job with one of these companies is no more difficult than getting a job at your local burger joint, but the burger joint isn’t anywhere near as much fun. When you work in a park, you’ll get to enjoy nature, wildlife, and breathtaking scenery.

Did You Know? Privately operated park concessioners hire thousands, and their jobs are the easiest to get. Private concessioners hire more than 80,000 people to work in the state and national parks every season.

Concessions Job Outlook

Each year, more and more people choose to avoid the hassle and expense of traveling by air for family vacations, honeymoons and family reunions. Instead, they’re hitting the road to explore the beauties and splendor of our national and state parks. As the number of annual visitors increase year after year, so does the need for employees to help maintain the parks and deal with the needs of the park visitors. This, of course, is great news for anyone looking for a unique and rewarding summer job.

Although it is seasonal work, the easiest way to start working in the great outdoors is to be hired on by a private concessioner who provides services for the state or national parks. As visitors to parks increase, concessioners need more people to work in gift shops, snack stands, hotels and as tour guides on the trails.

Applying for jobs with a concessioner is a simple and straightforward process. Most of them have applications online or take applications through local employment agencies. You don’t have to apply separately for every position in which you have an interest, either. Usually, a single application will allow you to be considered for any open position within the company, from cooking at the hotel lounge to selling shirts at the gift shop. If you have specialized skills, you may even be considered as a tour or trail guide.

Work and pay for concessions can vary slightly from company to company and park locations. Usually pay is by the hour and depending on the location of the park, lodging or food may be subsidized by the state. Many seasonal workers live close enough to commute to parks, but others love the thrill of going across the country to experience a park they have never been to. Any summer where your backyard is a huge lake, forest, mountain ridge, glacier or sea is guaranteed to be a summer you’ll never forget.

Working as a park concessioner will not guarantee that you can move into the government sector the next year, but it does give you a foot above other candidates. The concession sector is a great place to test the waters and see if this is something you would like to keep pursuing. If you like it, you’ve racked up extra experience for next summer when you apply for bigger and better positions.

Top Parks Employers

Job Outlook Summary:

  • The need for people to work with private concessioners in the parks increases each year as the number of people taking advantage of our nation’s resources increases.
  • Concessions jobs are an easy way to start working in the parks without going through the strict government hiring process.
  • Concession jobs usually provide some type of service, such as meals, snacks, gifts and souvenirs or tours to park visitors and guests.
  • A job in park concessions won’t guarantee your success in the government agencies, but it will give you the experience they are looking for in applicants.
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