Internships at State Parks
A quality field experience facilitates and enhances the education process. Internships provide opportunities for qualified students to apply learned theory to practical situations and observe the organization up close. It is also an excellent opportunity for the State Park Service to observe and recruit students seriously interested in a career in park management, interpretive education, or a natural resource management field.
Traditional Student Internship
Traditional Student Internships are designed specifically for college students enrolled in a four-year curriculum relevant to the State Park Service. The internship is a training program that provides practical work experience and insight into the careers at the State Park Service. The Park Manager or someone from the park management team will assume the role of mentor for each internship.
Special Project Internship
Special Project Internships are designed primarily for graduate students and occasionally other qualified students having special education, training, interests and skills in a particular field that can be used to address a specific need identified by the State Park Service. These internships supplement the park staff to accomplish projects while providing the intern with practical experience in their area of study.
Interns work at a specific park location during the internship. Students may apply directly to the Park Manager at the location of interest. If there is no preference to park location indicated, the State Park Service Intern Coordinator will assign a park location. The Park Service will work to match the specific strengths, interests and needs of each intern to the park location where they may best be used. Special needs and interests of each student will be considered. Even though an intern is assigned to a single location for the internship, there may be times when the intern will be involved in special exercises or assignments at other Park Service properties.
The training period for the Traditional Student Intern should be at least 10 weeks. Since most students are available to participate in this type of internship during the summer, it is normally conducted mid-May through mid-July. However, Traditional Student Internships may be conducted at other times when funding is available. To request an internship outside the normal period, a written request must be attached to the intern application.
The training period for Special Project Internships will vary depending upon the project assigned and the availability of a qualified intern.
The Work Schedule
Since the Traditional Student Internship is a training program designed to give the intern a realistic overview of the duties of park managers, rangers, and interpreters, the intern should expect to follow a work schedule very similar to those personnel. Most State Park Service personnel work a 40-hour workweek.
The work schedule for Special Project Internships will be discussed during the interview.
The Intern Supervisor
Generally, interns will be responsible to the Park Manager where the intern is assigned to work. On occasion, Special Project Interns may be responsible to a central office staff person. This will depend upon the special project the intern is assigned. Interns are welcome to contact the Intern Coordinator in the central office at any time for help with reports, moral support, etc., but the Park Manager will address day-to-day problems.
Each intern is paid by the public they serve, so an intern’s appearance should be pleasing to the public. The intern uniform is discussed in the personal interview. Any questions regarding appearance should be cleared up at that time.
Interns normally are paid an hourly wage the same way all other temporary personnel are paid. Specific hourly wages should be discussed during the personal interview after application.
Lodging and Meals
Interns will be permitted to stay (at no cost) in the personnel barracks at their assigned work location where barracks is available. (There is a barracks facility at Table Rock, Kings Mountain, Santee, Hunting Island and Myrtle Beach.) A bed is provided, and the intern will have access to a fully equipped kitchen. Each intern will need to provide their own linens, cookware, dishes, and food for meals. Interns will be responsible for keeping their quarters clean according to the guidelines set forth by the Park Manager.
Traditional Student Internship Duties:
Ranger Duty - The intern will accompany the duty ranger as he/she patrols the park, registers campers, checks facilities, and executes other routine ranger duties.
Programming - The intern will work with park staff in conducting experiential educational and interpretive services. The intern may be asked to develop and deliver a specific educational program for park visitors.
Park Office Duty - The intern will be exposed to many of the forms and reports used in day-to-day responsibilities and will be asked to assist in completing some of these reports, answering the telephone and other routine office duties.
Retail Sales Duties - The intern will assist in various retail or specialized operations that are a valuable element of each park property and will serve to bring the intern closer to the park visitor.
General Park Maintenance - The intern may have an opportunity to participate in facility and grounds maintenance as well as facility and equipment repair. However, the greater focus will be on teaching the fundamentals of quality resource stewardship.
Assigned Project - Aside from the curriculum requirements each intern will be required to complete a work project that is consistent with park objectives and intern strengths and interests.
Special Project Internship:
Duties - The Special Project Intern duties will vary depending upon the type of project assigned and the capabilities of the intern. These duties will be discussed in detail during the internship interview.
Contact the South Carolina State Park Service at 803.734.0156, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or from individual parks.
Completed applications should be submitted directly to the Park Manager where the internship is being sought.
The South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, age or handicap and is an equal opportunity employer. If anyone feels that he/she may have been discriminated against, a complaint may be filed with the Equal Opportunity Office, US Department of the Interior, Washington, DC 20240.