Many people think that to work in the outdoors you need to work for the federal government in one of the many national parks like Yellowstone or a national forest like Alaska’s Chugach. Luckily this isn’t true.
There are all sorts of amazing places to play and work across the country at the state level. Lots of place you may not be so familiar with. And if you’re looking for seasonal state park employment you may want to check out places like:
And this list is just the tip of the iceberg!
Every state has at least one agency that hires for outdoor jobs and some have as many as four different hiring agencies. You can do similar jobs in similar places, but without the same intense competition for the national parks jobs. Jobs at the state level are easier to get for newcomers and will help out later if you do want to work in one of the more coveted positions in a more name brand location.
It’s also good to note that staffing the state level jobs is often a problem because there are not enough applicants. This means more chances for you. States offer a lot of the same sweet jobs that the federal government offers.
Think about spending a season as a forest firefighter, park ranger, lifeguard, greeter, conservationist, forest technician, research assistant, trail crew, or wildlife biologist.
Another great benefit of working at the state level is that you can stay closer to home if you want.
That means you can still make it to college parties, visit the family, or work in your favorite outdoor stomping ground. But if you feel more adventurous you can venture across the country to play in the mountains or discover the coast.
State parks often offer cheap accommodations, so you don’t need to worry about that.
The pay scale is quite similar to that of similar outdoor jobs for the federal government. Plan on $8 to $15 an hour for most positions. And also it’s important to note that state governments are as strict on the rules as the federal government – the rules are as demanding, the application not as complex, and the attitude is all around a little bit more laid back.
State outdoor jobs may really be the best way to get your foot in the door of an amazing outdoor career.