National Park Job Options for Retirees
Many retirees choose to combine their desire to travel to the almost 400 national parks in the United States with the opportunity to earn extra money and gain lifetime memories by obtaining seasonal employment at the parks. While National Park Service (NPS) employees are part of the federal government, most positions, particularly the seasonal and part-time jobs, are actually offered by the concession companies who provide the food and lodging services for the parks, as well as many of the activities. According to the NPS, these companies are responsible for employing approximately 25,000 seasonal park workers. Below are just some of the many job opportunities available for retirees at national parks.
|Job Title||Median Hourly Rate (2017)*||Job Growth (2016 - 2026)*|
|Reservation Sales Agent||$15.81 (for customer service representatives)||5% (for customer service representatives)|
|Guest Service Agents||$10.99 (for hotel, motel and resort desk clerks)||4% (for hotel, motel and resort desk clerks)|
|Maintenance Technician||$18.11 (for general maintenance and repair workers)||8% (for general maintenance and repair workers)|
|Transportation Driver||$19.61 (for bus drivers, transit and intercity)||9% (for bus drivers, transit and intercity)|
|Grounds Maintenance Worker||$13.31 (for landscaping & groundskeeping workers)||11%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Information on Jobs at National Parks for Retirees
Reservation Sales Agents
Reservation sales agents are responsible for handling phone and Internet reservation requests and inquiries. There are specific software reservation packages that companies use, and, while training is offered, applicants will need to be comfortable using computers. Many reservation sales agents work in call center environments and are on the telephone for their entire shift, assisting guests with their reservations, answering questions, and providing knowledgeable information on the park's features. A high school diploma is typically required.
Guest Service Agents
Guest service agents are many times the first real interaction that lodging guests will have, and this first impression can impact their entire experience, so applicants must have a true desire to help others along with superb customer service skills. Guest service agents assist guests with their check-in, but their duties do not end there. Guest service agents need to have extensive knowledge on the activities and amenities provided not only by their lodge, but within the park as well, and they must be able to provide the guests with this information. This position usually requires a high school diploma.
Maintenance technicians are responsible for keeping everything working, which is a huge job within any national park. Maintenance technicians are responsible for repairing and installing equipment, as well as performing a wide variety of general maintenance duties including painting, carpentry, and plumbing. A high school diploma is typically required, and previous experience with specialties like plumbing or electrical may also be required.
Transportation drivers provide a variety of services to park guests. Many lodges offer pick-up and drop-off services from/to the airport, and transportation drivers are used to shuttle guests to many of the park's various features and amenities. In this capacity, transportation drivers may also take on the role of tour guide, providing information on various park features and answering numerous questions. A high school diploma is typically required, as well as prior experience driving shuttles and/or buses, a valid commercial driver's license (CDL), and the ability to entertain and inform passengers.
Grounds Maintenance Worker
Given the vast size of national parks, the work opportunities for grounds workers, who are responsible for maintaining and ensuring the attractiveness and cleanliness of the parks' outdoor areas, are numerous. As the job title suggests, grounds workers perform a variety of landscaping duties including mowing, hedge/tree trimming, leaf blowing, mulching, and even snow blowing (depending upon the season), to name a few. In addition, grounds maintenance workers are responsible for maintaining walking/horse riding paths, picnic areas, and other outdoor public amenities. This position can be physically demanding and typically requires working outdoors in all kinds of weather. While there are no specific education requirements, previous grounds maintenance or landscaping experience would be a plus.