8 Internships at National Parks to Kickstart Your Career

Chaco Culture National Historic Park by Karen Blaha

Going to work each day at some of the nation’s most significant and iconic lands is quite a feeling. And the competition for jobs with the National Park Service is a reflection of that. That’s where internships with the Student Conservation Assocaiton (SCA) — in partnership with national parks — become uniquely valuable experiences. Whether you dream of conducting research in the field, leading presentations for visitors, or writing press releases, there’s an internship for you!

Joshua Tree National Park

Do you love working with plants or in the garden? This natural resources internship at Joshua Tree National Park in California places you at the native plant nursery working alongside the NPS Nursery Manager. You’ll plant seedlings, clean seeds, and care for and water plants. You might be mixing soil one day and working with volunteers the next. All the while, you’ll be living at the intersection of two major deserts (Mojave and Sonoran). Much of the park is federally designated wilderness, so get out and hike into untouched landscapes!

Chaco Culture National Historic Park

Chaco Canyon is located in a remote corner of northwestern New Mexico high atop the Colorado Plateau. There you could serve as a physical scientist alongside the park’s resource management team. Chaco Culture National Historic Park contains 34,000 acres of the most significant and best-protected natural resources in the San Juan Basin. Museums more your thing? There’s a duty-stationed internship at the park museum facility, located on the University of New Mexico campus in Albuquerque. You’ll get training in public interpretation and Department of Interior collections management.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park needs your help to solve crowding and congestion problems! Sitting astride the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the park covers 1,182 square miles of varied wilderness ecosystems, from river valleys to alpine meadows to lofty 13,000-foot-high peaks. As the outdoor recreation intern, you’ll collect valuable data to help manage the park’s 5 million annual visitors. Tired of working indoors? This internship is 80% fieldwork in one of the most iconic national parks.

Big Bend National Park

Located in southern Brewster county, the park occupies over 800,000 acres of protected lands in Texas—one of the largest national parks in the lower 48 States. Get hands-on experience in vegetation and wildlife management as a resource technician at Big Bend National Park. You’ll help restore grasslands and riparian corridors along the Rio Grande. Plus, the work office is a five-minute walk from your provided housing!

Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park

Want to help connect the public to trails? This trails partnership internship at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park will assist with two public trail celebrations, develop and conduct youth service-learning projects on trails, and update digital trail maps. You’ll also work to further an initiative to develop a connector trail from the park to the nearby Appalachian Trail. Don’t forget to try local restaurants located in the year-round resort community of Woodstock, Vermont!

Capitol Reef National Park

Annual park visitation at Capitol Reef National Park is approximately 1 million. Are you up for the challenge? To serve in the park interpreter position, you must be comfortable leading educational talks about archaeology and hiking frontcountry and backcountry trails. If you’re good with the public, youth, and are a jack of all trades, this may be the internship for you.

Philadelphia: NPS Northeast Regional Office

The national parks need writers, too! As a communications coordinator intern you’ll help with newsletters, reports, websites, and briefing books for the NPS National Heritage Areas Program. You will work closely with partnership organizations in an effort to conserve natural, cultural, and historic resources. This gives you the National Park Service experience while working at an office in downtown Philadelphia. It’s the best of both worlds!

Dinosaur National Monument

Resources at Dinosaur National monument include not only the world-famous dinosaur fossils, it boasts dramatic river canyons, diverse wildlife, and an extensive record of human history beginning over 10,000 years ago. As an education intern with Dinosaur National Monument you’ll inspire youth and visitors! You’ll develop and deliver educational programming at the park onsite and in schools through distance learning. Not to mention, by working alongside rangers and park guides, you’ll fine tune your interpretive skills.


Looking to jumpstart your career? Browse SCA internships at national parks, forests, and other protected lands across the country.