Community Assistance: Internship, Volunteer, and Professional Development Programs

Man and students in canoe on urban river

Internships | Volunteer Opportunities | Professional Development

The National Park Service administers internship, volunteer, and professional development programs. These programs occur both in and outside the national parks and engage the public in the conservation, preservation, and interpretation work of the NPS. Many of these opportunities are offered in collaboration with youth and community organizations.


Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units Network

  • Cooperative Ecosystem Study Units Network National Office Minority Fellowship Summer and fall fellowship opportunities are available to graduate students enrolled in academic institutions within the CESU network. Applicants must be a member of a minority group.

Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), Historic American Landscape Survey (HALS) Heritage Documentation Program, Historic American Building Survey (HABS)

National Park Service Business Office

  • National Park Business Plan and Consulting Internships Graduate students in the Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Policy, environmental and/or public lands management fields participate in a summer program to explore consulting, park management, strategic and operational planning, commercial services, and public-private partnerships in national parks.

Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation

  • Apprenticeship & Internship Program Provides opportunities to gain professional experience in cultural landscape preservation. Internships and apprenticeships are typically six month positions offered to students, recent graduates, and professionals in the fields of landscape architecture, horticulture or related disciplines.

Rivers, Trails, Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program

  • Community Assistance Fellowship This fellowship provides undergraduate and graduate students with an opportunity to work with RTCA field staff and partners. The 11-month Community Assistance Fellowship begins in January of each year.

Youth Programs Division: Interpretation, Natural and Cultural Resource Management, Park Maintenance, And Recreation

  • American Sign Language Conservation Crew Program Young people with hearing impairments work on maintenance projects in national parks in the Pacific West Region. These projects introduce participants to career opportunities with NPS and help park staff recognize the ability and work ethic of these youth.

  • Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps Native American youth living on tribal lands near NPS sites join a conservation team. Youth create cultural enrichment and community development programs for the community in the areas of traditional farming, hiking, and oral histories.
  • Centennial Volunteer Ambassador Program The Centennial Volunteer Ambassador is a 52-week internship position designed to support parks around the country in expanding volunteerism, service-learning and community engagement efforts. Ambassadors ages 18-35 support the Volunteers-In-Parks Program.
  • Cultural Resources Diversity Internship This program offers summer internships in the cultural resources field with National Park Service units and administrative offices, other federal agencies, state historic preservation offices, local governments, and non-profit organizations. Intern sponsors provide work experiences that assist interns with building their resumes in this field.
  • Geoscientists-in-the-Parks Internship This program offers 3-month to year-long internships in the geosciences and other natural resource science fields for college students and recent graduates doing research, inventory and monitoring, interpretation, and education programs in NPS units to help park staff better understand and manage its natural resources.
  • Historically Black Colleges & Universities Internship (HBCUI) Program Students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities work in various NPS park units and connect to the natural and cultural resource conservation field.
  • Latino Heritage Internship Program This program advances employment opportunities in the NPS with a specific emphasis on cultural resource stewardship, interpretation, and community outreach. Interns are placed in parks and programs for 10 weeks in the summer.
  • Mosaics in Science Diversity Internship Program (MIS) Diverse college students and recent graduates explore various careers in the STEM fields through science-based internships and career opportunities within the NPS. The internships are comprised of 11 weeks working in a park followed by a week-long career workshop in Washington DC.
  • National Council for Preservation Education (NCPE) Internship This internship program offers undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to gain practical experience in cultural resource management programs in the National Park Service headquarters, field offices, parks, and in other federal agencies. Internships are available in the summer and during the school year.
  • NPS Academy College students from diverse communities across the country are introduced to career opportunities within the NPS. This 10-week internship includes a week-long orientation at either Grand Teton National Park, New York City, or Alaska.
  • Urban Archeology Corps This program uses archeology as a vehicle for young people ages 16-25 to learn about urban national parks and surrounding communities. Youth conduct research projects for parks and communities, working with National Capital Parks-East, Richmond National Battlefield Park, Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park, and Santa Monica Mountains.
  • Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) This program, geared for 15-18 year olds, offers 8-10 week summer conservation internships. Participants work on a variety of projects including exotic plant removal; constructing or repairing boardwalks, bridges, trails, campsites, and fences; teaching environmental education programs; and habitat preservation.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Girl Scout Ranger The Girl Scout Ranger program invites scouts to connect with their environment and history, while engaging in fun and meaningful volunteer service and educational activities that foster resource stewardship and leadership at national parks.
  • Scout Ranger Resource Stewardship Program The Scout Ranger program invites scouts of all ages to participate in educational and/or volunteer service projects at national park sites to spark awareness of national parks and to provide scouts with the opportunity to learn more about protecting our natural and cultural resources.
  • Volunteers-in-Parks Program Volunteer opportunities are available at national park units across the country.
  • International Volunteers-in-Parks Program Offers international university students and professionals in the fields of environmental science or cultural heritage with volunteer opportunities in US national parks.
  • Research Learning Centers Provides opportunities for educators to bring real-world, place-based science to students in accordance with state education standards. Helps external researchers conduct research in a national park.

Professional Development

  • Artists in Residence Program Programs for visual artists, writers, musicians, and others are offered in participating national parks each year.
  • Teacher Ranger Teacher Program Offers four to six week career develop opportunities to teachers each summer in national park units. Priority is given to teachers who work at Title I schools.

See more information about community assistance.

Last updated: July 24, 2017