Monday, January 31, 2011

A Question About Seasonal Employee Rehire Authority

I received the following question from a reader:

I emailed you a while back about becoming a park ranger.  I had another question that I have been thinking about for a while.  Do temporary park rangers normally get rehired at the same park the following year during the peak season, or when your 6 months or so is up is that the end of the line for that job?  Thanks for your time in helping me in my pursuit to become a park ranger!

In most instances a temporary seasonal employee that worked the previous season in a National Park will be offered the same position the next year under rehire authority.  There is no guarantee or requirement for a supervisor to rehire a returning employee. But if there were no problems with employee's performance the previous year, the money is in the budget for the upcoming season, and the position still exists there is a very good chance a person would be offered the opportunity to come back.

As I said there is a good chance of getting the same position again.  Rehire can not be used to hire someone for a different position, location within a park, or pay grade.  So if you aspire to another seasonal job within the same park you would need to apply and compete for it.  An example that is fairly common is when a person works their first season in a park as a campground or entrance station fee collector.  During the winter they go to a seasonal law enforcement academy and want to go back to the park as a commissioned seasonal ranger.  The individual would have to apply and compete for the commissioned position or could be rehired again without competition as a fee collector.

The main negative to this way of life is the sense of the unknown of budgets and whims of supervisors.  Rehire Status only gives you the ability to be considered for the same job without competition.  It is not a rehire right to a job.  It leaves you uncertain of your future at the end of a season.

In most every case if a seasonal does a good job it is to the advantage of the supervisor to hire them back.  It saves on training and orienting a person to a job.  It also gives the supervisor a known entity to start their visitor season off on a positive foot.

I highly recommend that prior seasonal employees keep in touch with the supervisor or human resources office of the park where they worked the previous year so that they can be kept up to date on the chance of work for the coming season.  As a supervisor I would recommend to seasonal employees who worked for me that would have rehire status for the next year  apply through the regular competitive process for jobs just to make sure all bases are covered.  It is never a good idea to put all your hopes in one bucket.


  1. We call the hiring process NPS Roulette. You apply all over the nation for a job and then hope the first park that calls you is the park you really want. If it isn't, you have to make a pretty darn quick decision as to whether you'll turn it down and hope for another, or take it. My advice: take it. Every park has something unique and wonderful to offer.

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience with our readers.