NPS Academy

Since 2011, more than 500 interns have “graduated” from SCA’s NPS Academy, an innovative, experiential learning program designed to introduce undergraduate and graduate students, ages 18-35, to career opportunities with the National Park Service.

This program aligns with the National Park Service’s goal to enhance professional and organizational excellence in the next century by recruiting and retaining a workforce that reflects the diversity of the nation (A Call to Action, 2013).

Interns attend a week-long orientation over spring break and serve in 12-week summer internships tailored to various NPS career tracks. Summer internships are available in a variety of fields, including visitor services, education, resource management – and many more!

NPS Academy is conducted in partnership with the National Park Service with philanthropic support from the Grand Teton National Park Foundation and additional support from the Teton  Science Schools.

Benefits include:

  • Weekly Living Allowance
  • Travel Allowance
  • Housing or Housing Allowance
  • Assigned NPS mentor
  • Hands-On Experience
  • Additional Career Preparation and Ongoing Support
  • Week-long orientation in March
  • Eligible for AmeriCorps Education Award

The ideal candidate pool includes:

  • Students who self-identify as being from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds
  • US Citizens
  • 18-35 year-olds
  • Current undergraduate & graduate students

The ideal candidate is:

  • Available for one week in March and twelve weeks in the summer
  • Open-minded and has an adventurous spirit
  • Toward the end of a college career, with some significant work experience
  • Not necessarily experienced in conservation or National Parks
  • Eager to act as an ambassador for SCA and the NPS
  • A licensed driver
  • Able to provide references with an application

Download the NPS Academy Flyer (PDF) for more information or to spread the word.

The application period for the 2018 program is now closed. Please check back in the fall for more information about 2019.

“Four months ago I couldn’t even dream of where I’d be right now. I love going to work every day and the people I work with are amazing. The people I’ve met and the work I’ve been doing has made me more confident in the outdoors and more concerned with the conservation aspect of our work. Now I have much more concrete goals in the NPS as well as potential for promotion and training opportunities.”

—Evan Gerry

“I got accepted to NPS Academy in March 2012, and I got flown to the Great Smoky Mountains. I absolutely loved it. It completely changed my life. I got to meet people who were super passionate about their jobs. I think that was the first time in my life that I met someone that was so passionate about what they were doing that I could feel it walking into the room. After that week, I thought to myself, ‘This is exactly what I want to do with my life. I want to put on the uniform, and I want to wear the awesome flat hat.”

—-Millie Jimenez


Related Posts & Program Information

SCA NPS Academy members take in the New York skyline

Two years ago, I was an SCA NPS Academy member in the Grand Tetons. Thirty other college students and I had made the trip out to the Teton Science School in Wyoming to go through a week-long orientation, before we would all go on to serve in SCA internship positions with the National Park Service that summer.

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Members of a new generation of American conservationists, as diverse as the nation from which they hail, began a year-long exploration of National Park Service careers this month with the launch of SCA’s 2016 NPS Academy.

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SCA Junior Ranger Intern Aurelia Casey works with children near Rock Creek Park, Washington DC

Aurelia Casey’s extensive SCA portfolio includes a Hurricane Sandy recovery crew, an internship with Hudson River Park, and numerous ConSERVE NYC projects. This summer, she was a Junior Ranger intern at Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC as part of SCA’s NPS Academy.

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Just in time for National Park Week, an inside look at one of the ways we’re working with the National Park Service to build a public lands workforce that’s as diverse as the Americans it serves.

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ABOVE: Ranger Glenn leads SCA NPS Academy members on an ecology hiking featuring the flora and geology of the Great Smokies.

Each spring for the last 5 years, young conservationists of diverse background have come together from colleges and universities all over the country, converging at select national parks to begin a year-long conservation service experience called SCA NPS Academy.

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The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is a supportive, inclusive community of young adults leading the way to a more sustainable world.

In partnership with the National Park Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal agencies, SCA empowers young Americans from all backgrounds by offering formative conservation internships and proven professional pathways. We also ensure that people of all cultures and identities see themselves in our shared natural heritage by helping federal resource management agencies achieve greater workforce diversity.