Types of Outdoor State Agency Jobs

One of the best things about state seasonal work is being able to make money doing the things you love to do. State park departments hire thousands of seasonal staff members in ecology, park management, forestry, agriculture, engineering and more. In most cases, state park jobs are much like the jobs offered by the Department of Interior in federal parks and preserves and in the private sector.

There are Many Different Types of Positions in State Agencies

However, because the pool of workers is much smaller, there’s much less competition for state jobs, making it easier to get hired for your preference of jobs.

Every state and most U.S. territories have state parks, so the first and often the hardest thing you’ll do is to decide just where you want to go to work. Do you see yourself being a lifeguard on Myrtle Beach, doing forestry work at Vermont’s Silver Lake or maybe performing land surveying in Nevada’s Valley of Fire? These are just a few of the many options you’ll have working within the state park system. Once you’ve narrowed down the types and locations of state parks, you can start checking the job boards for each state parks department to see which jobs are available. You could soon be working on the shores, in the mountains or in the forests of your favorite states, helping to conserve and preserve our national heritage for us and our future generations.

FACT! The view from the summit of Mount Diablo in California’s Mount Diablo State Park allows you to view more land surface than any other vantage point in the United States. The only place in the world where you can view more is the top of Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro.

State Agency Jobs

The U.S. is home to some of the most stunning and breathtaking landscapes and natural terrain in the world. Each year, billions of visitors take advantage of the state park system to enjoy the hills, mountains, lakes and oceans of our land. As an employee of a state park, you can have the privilege and the honor of enjoying what our land has to offer in a way reserved for very few others. Many career employees within the state park systems began with a part-time summer position during their vacation and found they couldn’t give it up. You, too, can make a summertime state park job the first step in a long-term career path. It’s the perfect way to get your hands a little dirty, gain some experience and some wonderful memories. Seasonal jobs usually fall under the following categories:

  • Concierge jobs include positions dealing with sales and visitor assistance. In a concierge job, you may man information booths, sell concessions at the snack stand, or sell souvenirs, T-shirts and maps at the park gift shop. They’re among the easiest positions to get, but like all positions within the state parks, they can lead to bigger and better things.
  • Park Rangers oversee the daily operation of the park, including scheduling other positions and managing all other aspects of the park.
  • Forestry Technicians perform many park and maintenance related duties. That includes repairing trails, repainting and installing signs, painting buildings and other structures and just about any other tasks required to keep the parks in operation.
  • Scientists work both behind the scenes and with the public to maintain ecological balance, track animal and plant populations, and work with the state’s other branches to ensure that the park’s needs are met. Scientists who work for the park service may monitor weather and conditions, animal migration and behavior patterns and other factors important to ecology. They may work in biology, ecology, botany and engineering, as well as many other branches of science.
  • Tree Planting is one of the important behind-the-scenes activities in most state forests. Reforestation helps maintain and restore the health of the forest and nearby lands. Many state parks hire additional seasonal help to get plants out in the spring.
  • Firefighters may work on call or take shifts for the state parks during fire season. These are among the most sought-after positions in most state parks.
  • Naturalists often act as nature guides in state parks. They may lead visitors on guided walks, answer questions about flora, fauna and natural history and give presentations about the park, both on site and in the community.
  • Office Workers are the backbone of the business end of the park business. Like any other business, state parks need receptionists, accountants, web designers and human resources officers. These are most often permanent, year-round positions, though some parks may add additional staff in certain seasons.

Some state park positions, particularly those in remote areas, provide or subsidize lodgings and meals, making it easier to save money. Others may offer a stipend for the season rather than an hourly wage, and bolster it by providing meals and lodging.

Did You Know? Franklin D. Roosevelt often visited Georgia’s Warm Springs Park because he thought it would cure his polio. He may not have found a cure but he did find comfort and relief there.

Quick Summary:

  • All parks offer work that is great for a summer, a year or a lifetime.
  • The best way to experience and see America’s natural wonder to is work in it.
  • Working for a state agency is simple for people with little to no experience.
  • Wilderness tourism is on the rise in the U.S., and so are the career opportunities for outdoor jobs.
  • The hardest part of getting a job with a state park is deciding which park you want to work in. After that, the application and hiring process is straightforward and simple.


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