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Beat the Heat: Four Cool Summer Jobs Outdoors

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When the summer sun is blazing, having to put on a suit and tie and sit in commuter traffic feels like one of Dante’s circles in hell. Even worse is then sitting for eight or more hours each day in a cubicle, knowing that the world outside is sunny and bright and beckoning you to soak up its rays. If this sounds familiar, and if the lack of vitamin D is giving you the summer blues, you may want to consider taking a temporary outdoor job while the weather is sweet and sultry.

Pack your picnic basket and head to a national park.
Our country’s national parks offer seasonal positions, as well as full-time careers, for outdoorsy folk who would rather make their living exploring the woods than typing at a computer. National park jobs allow employees to live, work, and play in some of the most beautiful settings in the world. And because there are a wide range of park locations in the United States, applicants for these jobs also have their pick of mountain, desert, seashore, lake, geyser, glacier, and forest as outdoor “office” settings.

According to the National Park Service’s (NPS) personnel Web site, while temporary and seasonal jobs are available in a variety of fields, applicants will field most open positions as visitor use assistants, park guides, biological science technicians, park rangers, and seasonal maintenance workers.

NPS advertises and fills job openings through its Seasonal Recruitment Operations Center (SROC) and lists them on, the official job site for the United States Federal Government. Check these sites often, as new positions become available regularly. Don’t forget to check with your state’s park service as well, since seasonal work is also available there.

Book a resort vocation.
Who wouldn’t want to spend her summer soaking up the sun at a four-star resort or getting a taste of the Wild West at a dude ranch? Better yet, why not pay your way with a seasonal job at one of these cool spots? Beach resorts, guest ranches, and amusement parks have an influx of visitors in the summer months, and therefore need plenty of extra hands to help keep their businesses running. Their employees benefit, too, since most of them (especially resort workers) can list travel and room and board as job perks.

If you’re interested in seeking employment at ski lodges, don’t assume that they hire only in the winter; many of them remain open to guests who are interested in hiking and other outdoor summer adventures, and provide great work opportunities for seasonal job-seekers. Even the lodges that aren’t open during the months when there’s no powder on the ground still need maintenance workers and other support to keep their businesses running smoothly.

Search for summer work in the hospitality field through and You’ll find a wide range of possibilities at these two sites.

Taste the bug juice and find your inner child at a summer camp.
Summer camp isn’t just for kids. The adult counselors, program directors, nurses, accountants, and other support staff get to spend those hot, humid days in the great outdoors, too.

The benefits of camp jobs aren’t limited to spending time outdoors and working with kids, either—individuals in the athletics, sports management, coaching, teaching, dance, theater, fine arts, child development, child psychology, and management fields can find practical and meaningful experience to add to their resumes in a summer camp position.,,, and are just a few of the sites that post camp openings. Asking friends who have kids if they know of any camps where you can apply is also a good strategy.

Board a cruise ship and hit the high seas.
Cruise ships need plenty of employees to provide their guests with all the amenities that make an ocean vacation fun and relaxing. Like resort employees, these workers get room and board in luxury facilities, but what makes cruise liner positions unique is that, whereas land-based resort employees stay in one location for the whole summer, cruise ship employees get the opportunity to travel the world on someone else’s dollar.

There are additional benefits, as well. Citizens of certain countries do not have to pay taxes on the income they have earned aboard cruise ships (unless they are U.S. citizens employed by a U.S.-based cruise line). They’re also entitled to free medical insurance and discounted cruise rates for family members.

In addition to general hospitality positions, cruise ships have openings for cosmetologists, croupiers, performers, doctors and nurses, photographers, and computer technicians. Find these opportunities at or by checking individual cruise line company Web sites.

Get paid to get away.
If you want a fun way to collect some cash this summer, or even if you just want a temporary escape from a boring desk job, there are myriad opportunities to keep you outdoors at some of the world’s most beautiful locations and pad your wallet at the same time. After all, despite the fact that they have financial responsibilities, adults are entitled to a summer vacation, too.



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