How to Obtain a Job

Many opportunities are available to work in a national park. Each job performs a vital function--that of providing visitors an opportunity to enjoy a unique experience while working hard to preserve natural and cultural resources for future generations. In addition to the avenues listed above, temporary and seasonal employment are opportunities to gain employment. You do not have to be a current or former government employee to be considered for a position.

Avenues for Employment with the National Park Service

Flight Preparation at Kings Mountain National Military Park

Preparing for a flight at Kings Mountain National Military Park, South Carolina

Because applying for federal employment can be a very competitive process, it is recommended that you talk with employees already working for the parks in the jobs you find of interest. They can often provide the greatest insight into how to successfully compete for the job you desire. Many employees do not obtain their first federal job within aviation, but may work in another field and move into aviation after obtaining experience in other areas.

Many aviation-related jobs have additional qualifications or requirements:


The NPS, and other bureaus within the Department of the Interior, hire pilots through two job series which are searchable on USAJOBS.GOV website. The first series is the 2181 professional pilot series. Minimum flight time requirements are 1500 hours Pilot in Command, (PIC) with Commercial and Instrument ratings. Read an article about how to become a NPS pilot.

Dual Function Pilot

Minimum flight time requirements are 500 hrs PIC with Commercial and Instrument ratings.


For most helitack positions, employment is contingent upon passing a Work Capacity Test at the arduous level. The Work Capacity Test at the arduous level consists of completing a walking course of three miles with a 45 pound pack within 45 minutes. Pre-training/preparing for the work capacity test is recommended. Minimum requirements are list in the 310-1 Wildland Fire Qualification Systems Guide.

Park Ranger

Education and work experience requirements vary. Some park ranger positions may require knowledge, skills, abilities or other qualifications that are in addition to those described in this standard. Examples include specialized certification(s), possession of a law enforcement commission, or other qualifications essential to successful performance in the position to be filled.

Aviation Manager

Education and work experience can vary depending on the program level of the aviation manager. Some of the position requirements may include ability to enhance the communication, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of aviation operations and provide technical aviation assistance and leadership to NPS field personnel and staff.

Natural Resource Careers

The National Park Service needs botanists, biologists, fisheries biologists, hydrologists, physical scientists, and other applied specialists in addition to resource program managers. Some of the duties may include executing a wide variety of established natural resource management projects, making field observations of natural resource conditions, evaluating conditions and problems, and recommending management actions based on guidelines in existing park plans. Many of these programs involve aviation or the use of aviation and some lead to careers as a dual-function pilot.