There are two types of internships: Academic and Volunteer-In-Park (VIP) Internships.
VIP Interns hail from all across the country. VIP Internships are usually long-term internships, requiring a full-time commitment for 6 - 12 months. Many VIP interns live in historic, dormitory-style park housing. There are dozens of VIP Internships every year, and positions open on a rolling basis. Interested applicants should apply to individual postings on volunteer.gov and the Parks Conservancy’s Jobs page.
Academic Internships are available only to students from College of Marin, City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University. Just as their VIP counterparts, Academic Interns are found across the Golden Gate National Parks. Many participate in their internship for the just spring semester, but some extend their internships into the summer. Academic Interns contribute to the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives that interns bring to the park. Applications are accepted each September and October.
Yes. Each VIP Internship is posted individually, so interested applicants should apply directly to individual internships. Academic internship applicants submit just one application but can select multiple internships in their application.
Yes. However, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy does not sponsor visas. International applicants may apply for a J-1 visa through the National Park Service. It is up to every applicant to obtain an appropriate status before securing an internship.
All international applicants that are selected for an internship must obtain a Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number before beginning their internship. This is necessary so that The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy meets federal and state wage and tax reporting regulations. The timeline for obtaining a Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number can be very lengthy, so applicants should plan accordingly.
Yes! The Golden Gate National Parks offer a wide variety of internships – from public affairs to media to natural resource stewardship. Don’t be discouraged from applying to an internship just because it’s outside of your field of study. Mentors value passion and a willingness to learn!
Interns at the Golden Gate National Parks are National Park Service volunteers. Interns are not employees of either the National Park Service or the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. While interns may be covered for internship-related accidents through the National Park Service, neither the National Park Service nor the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy provide benefits such as healthcare or retirement options to interns.
Each individual's factors are different - please contact your loan servicer to confirm whether your internship qualifies towards PSLF. For more information about PSLF see the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid page.
Interns are signed up as National Park Service volunteers and receive a stipend from the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.
By the regulations of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, international students on F-1 visa are not allowed to work off-campus during their first academic year. There are three programs that enable international students to seek employment after their first year of studies: Curricular Practical Training (CPT); Optional Practical Training (OPT) (pre-completion or post-completion); and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT).
It is up to every applicant to obtain an appropriate program status before applying for the desired internship. Different Universities and Colleges may have individual requirements for their students to apply for these federal programs. Please check in with the International Student Services of your institution to get specific instructions. Also, plan ahead as the process to obtain OPT and STEM OPT can be very lengthy.
It depends. Internships that require the use of federal government (National Park Service) computers and internships that involve direct work with the people with disabilities, the elderly, and children require background checks.
The statutes by the Congress of the United States of America and the regulations set by the President of the United States of America, through regulations, require that certain security procedures are taken to ensure every individual using an internal federal network do not threaten the activity of the federal government and the American people. To comply with those regulations, all interns working with the National Park Service must participate in a background check to access federal government computers.
The State of California requires certain governmental and private organizations to conduct background checks to help determine the suitability of a person in a volunteer position working with children, the elderly, or people with disabilities.
Interns living independently may use the Bay Area's public transit options or drive a personal vehicle. Interns living in park housing may (in some cases) carpool to and from their internship site in park vehicles. Check with your mentor.
Each office has a slightly different dress code, so check with your supervisor about what to wear before starting your internship. Some positions that are primarily field based (primarily work outside) and positions that interface directly with the public (such as internships on Alcatraz) may require specific pieces of clothing. Interns in these roles may receive uniform pieces at no charge to them.
Unfortunately the National Park Service and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy cannot guarantee a job for every intern. However, through internship projects and hours worked, many interns become eligible for the Public Land Corps authority when applying for federal jobs.
Park Academy offers classes that provide professional development and personal enrichment opportunities for interns, staff, and volunteers. Park Academy hosts a variety of classes - from plant identification courses to compass training to resume writing. Every intern is invited to participate in Park Academy classes (with their supervisor’s approval). However, the types of training that interns participate in depend the requirements of their internship.
Every intern must have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or a Social Security Number to receive a stipend, regardless of citizenship status. This is necessary so that The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy meets federal and state wage and tax reporting regulations. Intern applicants should plan accordingly, as the process to obtain a number can be very lengthy.
How much each intern pays in federal and state taxes for their stipend depends on many individual factors. The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy cannot legally provide tax advice, though some organizations offer free tax advice and assist individuals with filing their taxes:
Learn about amazing wildlife, new trails and visitor amenities, fascinating people, expert-recommended hikes, and upcoming park events—all delivered to your inbox, for free.
Subscribe to the Parks Conservancy's monthly e-newsletter, Park E-ventures, for the latest updates from your favorite national park.