(Updated Dec. 2016 with new links for Summer Jobs in 2017)
Looking for an opportunity to change up your life and do something adventurous? Worried you can’t afford to take a vacation, but are dying to try something new?
Well, it’s more possible than ever to get the experience of a lifetime while getting PAID to travel by taking summer work in Alaska… even if you have never been to the state!
From June to September, all kinds of work in Alaska is available for all ages. It is an unparalleled chance to not merely visit the arctic wilderness, but to live in it! The probability of seeing a brown bear on a week-long visit in May is low, but living in Alaska for the entire summer gives you a chance to have multiple wildlife encounters and to really begin to feel what this land has to offer. Alaska in May is VERY different from in August! Give yourself the opportunity to get the full experience of summer in the Great North!
Alaska is one of the best places in this world to view breathtaking scenery, stunning mountains and unbelievable concentrations of wildlife. Once in a lifetime opportunities abound during the summer months when the sun rises and never sets, fireweed covers the open meadows, and animals like brown and black bears come out to enjoy all that their natural habitat has to offer.
Entering into the wild makes close-up animal encounters possible, ones you normally only see in movies such as observing a moose and her calf swim across a pond, humpback whales rising above the surface to feed in unison and herds of caribou running over tundra. Travelers flock from the corners of the globe to see the untamed north for a couple of days, but the experience is never enough and the costs can really add up.
Taking work in Alaska at one of the numerous jobs around the state gives you time to work hard (earning money!), then climb, ATV, bike, dive, camp, raft, hike, fish, zipline and more under that midnight sun. Many adventure jobs hire people with little to no previous experience, so this could be your chance to learn how to raft guide or navigate guests through the forest! What better way is there to maximize your chance at experiencing the unbelievable moments in nature than staying for several months, rather then just a few days, and getting paid great money to do it?
There is a wide variety of work available for those interested in embracing the wilderness for a few months. You don’t have to be a bush pilot or expert botanist. You too can enjoy a season in the wild getting paid for the skills you already have as well as new ones that you can learn working in many roles such as a cook, dog handler, hiking guide or hospitality worker.
Imagine spending your work day at a luxurious hotel refreshing rooms or at a remote lodge cooking breakfast and baking bread, then kayaking through glacial chunks during your lunch break, and spending your time off in the evening exploring the most untouched section of wilderness in the United States, finishing the day around a campfire on the beach with your new friends! And due to the seasonal nature of work in Alaska, most employers provide food and housing free, pay well, and encourage employees to join in on the world-class excursions that are being offered!
Get inspired by these Alaska summer job opportunities, apply quickly, and go see the wild while it is still wild! Many application deadlines are in April and May! Find more similar Alaska jobs at http://www.coolworks.com/alaska-jobs.
1. Work in Alaska as a Chef, Cook, or Kitchen Assistant!
The great thing about knowing your way around a kitchen is that everyone has to eat. This means almost every lodge, hotel, and restaurant will be hiring people with a culinary background for the summer rush! The work is hard and the days are long but the pay is usually pretty good as well. In the remote areas your housing will more than likely be covered, keeping your expenses to a minimum. Being so far removed from the lower 48, available ingredients can vary, so you get a chance to widen your skill-set using creative menus and substitutions! Check out:
- Work Arctic http://www.workarctic.com/ .
- Ciri Tourism http://www.ciritourism.com/alaska-jobs.html.
- Yes Bay: https://apply.coolworks.com/yesbay/job-list.asp.
- Best of Alaska: https://www.bestofalaskatravel.com/alaska_travel_adventures/pages/employment.htm
2. Guide on the Ice as a Glacier Hiking / Ice Climbing Guide
If you love the idea of working outside, taking guests climbing and you cherish the challenge of an ever-changing climbing route, guiding adventures on ice and glaciers may be more up your alley! These jobs are usually day tours and take a little more technical background than just hiking on a trail. It offers you a chance to live an everyday adventure and show people the beauty of the famous glaciers in Alaska. Check out:
- Ascending Path: https://www.ascendingpath.com/employment.html
- St. Elias Alpine Guides: http://www.steliasguides.com/about-us/employment/
- Alaska Mountain Guides: http://alaskamountainguides.com/why-amg/employment/
- Mica Guides: https://micaguides.com/employment/
- Exit Glacier Guides: http://www.exitglacierguides.com/
- Above and Beyond Alaska: http://beyondak.com/about/employment/
3. Fly Through the Trees with a Ziplining Company
These canopy tour positions often require less experience and more of a love of working outdoors and a high level of physical activity. If you consider climbing and rappelling to be a good day at the park, this could be your opportunity! This job has a little bit of everything including instructing and leading participant groups onto the zip course, as well as entertaining guests! There is an extensive training program at the beginning of the season to get all guides prepared. Check out:
- Denali Zipline Tours: http://www.denaliziplinetours.com/employment
- Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures: http://www.stoneycreekca.com/employment.
- Alaska Excursions: https://www.alaskaexcursions.com/employment/.
4. Spend Your Summer Catching Big Fish!
Spending the summer taking guests fishing can be the ultimate chance to put your expertise and passion to use as a professional. Some of these positions are reserved for people with extensive experience in ocean fishing and some jobs will happily teach you on the job. You can spend the summer on big sea-going crafts taking tourists out to reel-in monsters or run the rivers of Alaska chasing the salmon runs. Either way it is a great way to spend the summer making use of the hobbies you enjoy back home! Check out:
- Whaler’s Cove Lodge: http://www.whalerscovelodge.com/Employment-Opportunities_W4447.cfm.
- Chinook Shores: http://chinookshores.com/jobs/.
- Above and Beyond Alaska: http://beyondak.com/about/employment/
5. Lead Guests on Multi-Day Tours as a Tour Leader
Adam and I have both actually held this job in Alaska and it was an amazing experience! Tour Leader jobs come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes so these are great for all ages and backgrounds. You can sift through a multitude of different varieties to find the one that fits you best. Some Tour leaders take their group from place to place and turn them over to the local experts, some tour leaders ARE the experts and show their group all over Alaska on their own. Some tours can be sightseeing based, photography based or adventure based, taking your clients flower watching, dog sledding, horseback riding, river rafting, glacier hiking, or bear watching! Choose your activity level and then chose the tour you want to lead. If in your free time you find yourself hiking through the woods or searching for the best viewpoints, why not get paid to lead others along with you?!? Get paid to LEAD the excursions most people PAY big money to go on! Check out:
- Alaska Wildland Adventures: http://www.alaskawildland.com/employment/index
- Rasberry Island: http://raspberryisland.com/lodge/employment/.
Check out our first experience with summer work in Alaska as tour guides!
6. Glide Through the Water on a Canoe/ Sea Kayak/ Raft
Alaska has no shortage of rivers, lakes, and shoreline. It is a great place to make a summer living exploring these waterways. The rivers can range from an easy Class 1 to a tricky Class 5 with everything in between. The only constant is that you will be playing in cold water.
Adam had the chance to learn to read and run rivers last year when we went to work in Alaska on the famous Kenai river and he had a blast! River kayaking and rafting are big in Alaska. Some companies hire only the experienced and some have easy rivers to train a newbie on. Leading ocean kayaking trips is another great way to turn a passion for aqua adventure into a summer paycheck.
There are plenty of coves and islands to paddle to and TONS of marine life to enjoy with guests. Orcas, humpback whales, sea otters, and harbor seals make daily appearances and can get nearly close enough to touch in a silent peaceful kayak. Check out:
- Alaska Summer: http://www.alaskasummer.com/pages/employment.html.
- Denali Raft Adventures: http://www.denaliraft.com/apply-for-a-job/ .
- Alaska Wildland Adventures: http://www.alaskawildland.com/employment/index.
- Copper Oar: http://www.copperoar.com/about-us/employment-alaska-rafting-guides/
- Gastineau Guides: http://www.stepintoalaska.com/about-us/jobs-applications
7. Make Guests’ Dream Vacations Come Alive Working in Front Desk/ Hospitality/Driver Positions
If leading guests is not your thing, or if even the idea of interacting with strangers makes you break out into a cold sweat, don’t worry there is summer work in Alaska for you as well. Almost every resort and lodge in Alaska needs a face for the company and the front desk personal is usually that face.
Work days can be spent in a beautiful resort helping people have a great vacation and days off will be in the most pristine environment. If you are the aforementioned person who is not interested in seeing the vacationers, hospitality is an important part of every operation. If the room isn’t clean or comfortable, the rest of the day can be a struggle to get back on the right track with the front desk having to deal with complaints, the guides entertaining grumpy, sleepy guests, and the guests wondering why it isn’t all perfect.
Hospitality is one of the MOST important parts that exists behind the scenes. Go work in Alaska and be part of an amazing team at work and spend your downtime exploring on your own! Check out:
- Katmailand: http://www.katmailand.com/jobs.
- Copper River Lodge: http://www.copperriverlodge.com/.
- Work Arctic: http://www.workarctic.com/jobs/.
- Alaska Wildland Adventures: http://www.alaskawildland.com/employment/
8. Help Guests Relax and Enjoy Their Vacation as a Masseuse
If being surrounded by nature in the middle of nowhere in a beautiful hotel or resort isn’t relaxing enough, many lodges offer massages to push you over that peaceful ledge. The positions can be well-paid and have great perks. The Copper River Lodge has a pretty sweet offer for any licensed masseuse that wants to apply, an average of over $4,000/ month plus no extra bills for three and a half months. Nice! Check out:
- Copper River Lodge: http://www.copperriverlodge.com/
9. Play in the Water in a Kelp Forest as a Snorkel Guide
Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Snorkel in ALASKA?? This is another job I have had the pleasure of doing and would like to do again! A few summers back, I got to lead up to three snorkel trips a day in Ketchikan and had a great time!
The water is cold so you get wrapped from head-to-toe in a wetsuit and explore some otherworldly kelp forests. On top of just showing off the underwater world, you get to invoke your inner naturalist to educate guests about the awesome marine life that surrounds them.
Massive sea stars, urchins, rock fish, sea pens, and rock crabs are only a few of the amazing critters your will find while freediving in this unique environment! Snorkel Alaska is looking for anyone with scuba diving experience that has at LEAST a rating of Rescue Diver. Check out:
- Talk to Fred at Snorkel Alaska: http://snorkelalaska.com/
10. Explore the Backcountry as a Hiking Guide
Along with rivers, Alaska has no shortage of hiking trails. These trails wind all over the back country and go on for miles! They offer the perfect way to escape the noise and congestion of everyday life and really connect with nature! If this is your idea of a perfect getaway then consider leading others along these trails into the wild!
Hiking and exploring doesn’t have to be reserved for your days off, that can be what you get paid to do! Much like the snorkeling, this position gives you a perfect chance to not only show off the magnificence of Alaska, but also to educate your guests on what they are seeing! Check out:
- Alaska Mountain Guides: http://www.coolworks.com/alaska-mountain-guides-and-chilkat-guides/highlighted-job/6700-alaska-rock-climbing-and-zip-line-tour-guide-posit.
- Alaska Outdoors: http://www.coolworks.com/alaska-outdoors/profile.
11. Play with Puppies Professionally as a Dog Handler
Be surrounded by sled dogs for the summer as guests come to visit the world-famous Iditarod doggies during the summer! Opportunities include working with the dogs, helping maintain the camp, helping guests during their visit by giving informational briefings, taking photos and more! Check it out:
- Alaska Icefield Expeditions: http://www.akdogtour.com/working-alaska-icefield-expeditions-inc.
- Alaska Excursions: https://www.alaskaexcursions.com/employment/.
The Great North is something that has to be experienced to actually understand. Alaska has so much to offer that anyone can get lost in its beauty for a summer. If anything can out-do the excitement of watching wildlife both in the ocean and in the woods, it is the Alaskan landscape itself.
Beautiful mountains concealing hidden lakes and raging rivers, all illuminated by an unsetting sun! And when the sun finally does set at the end of summer, the Northern Lights may just dance by to give a little extra treat to your departure from this still wild land! If you haven’t seen true untouched nature yet, work in Alaska, and get paid to explore America’s last wilderness!