NPS Academy

NPS Academy Students
NPS Academy Students
NPS Academy Students
NPS Academy Students
NPS Academy Students
NPS Academy Students

NPS Academy

The National Park Service (NPS) Academy is an innovative and immersive program designed to introduce a diversity of participants, ages 18 to 30 (or Military Veterans up to 35) from backgrounds historically underrepresented in the National Parks, to career opportunities with the NPS. Participants come away equipped with knowledge about the NPS mission and the NPS Universal Competencies that are considered the foundation of all careers in the NPS and are critical to all park service employees. The NPS Academy maximizes career opportunities with NPS through training and hands-on experiences.  This program is generously funded by Grand Teton National Park Foundation.

NPS Academy Logo

Interested in learning more?
Check back in the fall to learn more about the 2025 cohort!

Questions? Please contact Deja Charles at

Program Goals
  • The major goals of the NPS Academy are to: 

    • Connect a diverse group of young adults sharing a passion and curiosity for careers within the NPS
    • Deepen participants’ knowledge of and personal network within the NPS by fostering an NPS mentorship relationship
    • Develop a network of emerging conservation and park leaders by building ambassadorship, storytelling, and leadership skills
    • Create a more inclusive future for public lands
History and Vision
NPS Academy was launched in 2011 by the National Park Service and partners. Since 2011 more than 500 interns have successfully completed the NPS Academy. ACE facilitated the program in 2019 for the first time.

The vision of NPS Academy is to develop a more representative workforce by connecting talented, dynamic young adults and offering an experiential, transformative program designed around three themes – Connections, Diversity, Legacy – that builds a conservation ethic, cultural awareness, and career readiness. Through career exploration, students are introduced to the NPS Universal Competencies that are a foundation for all National Park Service career paths.

Ideal Candidate
  • Individuals who self-identify as being from any background historically underrepresented in the NPS
  • Not required to have experience with conservation or National Parks
  • Committed to creating a more inclusive future for public lands
  • Available for the Spring Academy experience week in March (dates TBD) and a summer position (lengths vary by position, specified in individual postings)
  • Eager to act as an ambassador for ACE and the NPS
  • 18-30 years of age to apply, Military Veterans up to 35 are encouraged to apply
  • US Citizens or Permanent Residents
  • Able to provide references with an application
  • $600 per week living allowance 
  • Housing provided
  • Eligibility for AmeriCorps Education Award of ~$1,824.07
  • Travel reimbursement for approved expenses
  • Opportunity to participate in an expense paid week long orientation in March
  • Experiential career development and exploration opportunities
  • Additional career preparation and ongoing support
  • Connecting with a network of 400+ fellow NPS Academy alumni to find and share professional resources and opportunities
  • Eligible to receive pro deals providing 30 – 50% off retail prices on established outdoor gear brands
Project Locations

2024 locations include Acadia National Park, Cabrillo National Monument, Glacier National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Yellowstone National Park.

We asked NPS Academy participants if they would recommend the program to others. Here are a few examples of responses that we received:

“Yes, absolutely. Rocky (Rocky Mountain National Park) is amazing, and I think this position did a great job at showing the beauty of it – the landscape and the people. This position is incredibly rewarding and could give anyone who participated a new sense of appreciation for the small things we can do to help preserve our environment.”

“Absolutely, I have already recommended the program to my friends, one of which has a great interest in applying for next summer season.”

“Yes because I learned a lot about working for the park service and I was treated as any other crew member, which was nice to get an accurate feel for how this job would be.”

“I absolutely would. GRTE (Grand Teton National Park) is a phenomenal partner and nearly everyone, from our supervisors up to park leadership let all of us know how much they value this program, which is truly special.”



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