So, you’re headed to Alaska to seek out your fortune, or just get a summer job and explore an absolutely amazing part of the country. Good for you, and good timing, spring is just around the corner and there are a plethora of employment opportunities on the horizon. I thought I’d take a moment and share an insider’s perspective with my fellow travelers on the job market up here. I have been bouncing around Alaska since the fall with my ear to the ground and here is the long and the short of it:
Jobs with Uncle Sam
Denali National Park
Okay, here’s the deal. Denali is one of the most incredible strips of mountains that you can imagine. Between Anchorage and Fairbanks there is a town that goes by the name of Denali and it’s chalked full of shops, pubs, hotels, guest houses, restaurants and adventure services. Guess what? It’s bone empty right now and the entire thing needs staffed. The best route for this may just be to simply Google the business themselves and find the jobs or employment section of their website. There are many job listings with Career Builder, Cool Works and Jobs.net as well. Also, I hear that most of the hotels and some of the businesses in the park will provide lodging along with your salary. Bonus. And that’s just the town. There are a ton of jobs to be had with the National Park Service itself in Denali. Here is the Denali National Park Jobs site.
The National Park Service Alaska
The National Park Service itself employs over 1,000 people in Alaska alone during its peak summer months. They have seasonal positions for everything from Park Guides to Biological Science Technicians. Check out the full NPS Alaska seasonal job site.
Now this one’s not for the faint of heart. I don’t think that they actually let the rookies on the front lines and realistically you would probably spend most of your time the first year digging ditches and clearing shrubbery, but you’d be smack in the middle of god’s country doing it. I’ve heard several stories of folks working their way through the University of Alaska on a wildland firefighter’s summer salary. One guy worked his way up to Smoke Jumper by the time he graduated. Here’s am employment search URL of all wildland firefighter jobs in Alaska, if for some reason that doesn’t work the root site is can be found here. That link is also good for trail crew jobs. I’d be lying if I said that this wasn’t on the top of my list.
Field and Research Jobs
I think this is one of the most overlooked fields by travelers and adventure seekers in general. Don’t let the fancy title scare you off. There are full time and seasonal field research jobs out there for people with education levels high school and above, some of which pay living expenses. The best place to start is the University of Alaska’s Job board. Here are some other possible sources for field and research jobs:
Pacific Seabird Group
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Labor and Construction
I worked as a laborer for a few weeks in Fairbanks this winter. The scoop is not too good unless you’re in the know. From what I’ve seen, this market looks something like the good old boys network dressed in bunny boots and parkas. However, I have heard stories of carpenters and construction workers landing big buck jobs in Alaska over the summer. They are generally skilled labor and in remote villages, but imagine working 65+ hours a week at $35 an hour with overtime and nowhere to spend the coin. Remember, the sun shines pretty much all the time here and summer is really the only window for construction and it goes pretty much nonstop from May until October. Here’s my advice: First, unless you really know someone, you need to be here. Popping into construction sites may not be as easy in remote Alaska so try one of the big cities first, Anchorage or Fairbanks, grab a job if you can, talk to everyone you can and work it out from there. You are just going to have to meet the right person at the right time. That’s all there is to it.
This isn’t my gig, but there’s a ton of money to be make in the oil and gas industry here. Head on over to Google and type in “prudhoe jobs” or “pipeline jobs” if that’s your thing. Drill baby, drill.
If anyone else had ideas or links I can add to this post to make it more useful, please use the comments sections below.
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