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National Park Service: Seasonal Employment for Working Campers and RVers

The National Park Service (NPS) employs a permanent workforce and a seasonal workforce. Seasonals are hired every year to help permanent staff at national parks.

Various work camper positions may be available with the NPS:

  • campground rangers
  • tour guides
  • lifeguards
  • carpenters
  • fee collectors
  • landscape architects
  • firefighters
  • laborers
  • historians
  • naturalists
  • law enforcement rangers
  • clerks

Entry-level grades for National Park Service seasonal positions generally range from the GS-2 to GS-7. GS levels indicate the rate of pay for most federal government positions. For current salary information for these grades, check with any federal agency or the Office of Personnel Management in that geographic area where you desire employment.

Recruitment for certain positions is centralized: park ranger, guide, and visitor use assistant. Applying for these jobs requires a special computerized form, a 10-139, Application for Seasonal Employment. Copies of that form, including the list of parks hiring for a particular season, are available from the National Park Service’s Seasonal Employment Program office.

All applicants must complete the required forms and file them with the Seasonal Employment Program during the specified filing period. The filing period for winter employment is June 1 through (postmarked by) July 15. The filing period summer employment is November 15 through (postmarked by) January 15.

Seasonal jobs are limited. The number of work campers applying far outnumbers the position available every year. This is especially true for those applying for camp jobs at the larger, well-known national known parks.

In the summer season, when most seasonal employees are hired, employment opportunities are extremely competitive. However, there are excellent opportunities, especially for applicants who have qualifying law enforcement experience or training.

Most seasonal positions require irregular hours of work, including weekends, holidays, and evenings.

Most seasonal employees are required to wear the official Park Service uniform. Specific requirements and ordering information are contained in the employment package sent to successful applicants. For positions requiring a uniform, an allowance is allotted which partially covers its cost.

Address specific questions about housing, area living conditions, and similar matters to the park or office where you desire employment.

Although the National Park System reports to be an Equal Opportunity Employer, some preferences are given. Some positions are filled by experienced seasonal employees who have worked previously for the NPS. Office of Personnel Management regulations require that veterans of the United States Armed Forces may be given preference.

Information, including the necessary forms will be sent to you when your letter, e-mail message, or telephone inquiry is received.

Other types of positions may be available in NPS parks and offices. Contact the park or office where you are interested in working for information.

The National Park Service started in 1916 and today has 360 sites. Besides the United States, it covers those in Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Its purpose is to preserve and manage natural, historical, and recreational areas. Every year, millions of people from the United States and abroad visit our national park areas.

The National Park Service is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Do not confuse it with the U.S. Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture.

The address and contact information for the National Park System is:

Seasonal Employment Program
Human Resources Office
National Park Service
P.O. Box 37127
Mail Stop 2225
Washington DC 20013-7127
Telephone: 202-208-5074
Website: http://www.nps.gov

For ways you can get involved with the National Park System, such as volunteering, internships, or employment, go to http://www.nps.gov/gettinginvolved/index.htm.

Information for this article is courtesy of the National Park System website.

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