Have you ever dreamed of spending a summer in Alaska?
We never did.
Before getting jobs in Alaska, Gabby and I were decidedly “indoor kids.” We never dreamed that the most memorable summers of our lives would be spent drinking around campfires, watching bears, and camping in the mountains.
Alaska changed us.
How to Get a Summer Job in Alaska
We were in a tough situation before we got our Alaska summer jobs. Our landlord in Oregon had given us 30 days to move, and on day 10 I lost my job.
We needed jobs and a place to live. Fast!
Luckily, finding a job in Alaska is easy!
What to Know about Alaska Seasonal Jobs
1| Alaska’s cruise ship industry brings millions of visitors to Alaska every summer.
2| There is money to be made, and enough to go around.
3| In many places, there aren’t enough local people to fill the jobs. **this is where you come in**
4| Tipped employees are required to be paid Alaska minimum wage.
5| Alaska has no state income tax.
6| Many Alaska seasonal jobs offer employee housing.
What Do I Need?
A resume. Think about the jobs you’ll be applying for, and be sure to include your most relevant experience.
References. Have a list of a few references on hand. If your employer is going to hire you without meeting you, they’ll probably want some good references. Give them a mix of past employers and professional people you’re close with.
A plane ticket. Your employer most likely will not pay for your flight to Alaska (not your first summer at least). If you’re tight on money talk to your employer. They might be willing to work something out with you.
An Adventurous Spirit.
What Kinds of Jobs are Available in Alaska?
Think about the kinds of things people do when they get off of a cruise ship in Alaska.
Then imagine yourself working for one of those companies.
Get creative and try to imagine where your skills could fit in.
Keep in mind, these jobs will give you some basic training.
Just because you've never manned a dog sled doesn't mean, you're unqualified for dog handling at a dog sledding tour company
CDL/ Tour Bus Driver (some companies will even pay for your CDL)
Dog Sledding Tours
Gold Mining Tours
You Name It Tours
Food and Beverage
Who is it for?
Anyone who’s excited by nature and wilderness.
People with few attachments to home.
People looking for a new adventure.
People who need a job and housing for the summer.
How to Find a Job in Alaska in 3 Simple Steps
1| Develop a timeline.
2| Choose a location
3| Apply Apply Apply
Step 1: Develop your timeline
When do you think you could fly up there? When would you need to leave?
Most jobs in Alaska start as early as the last week in April and last until October.
Companies often hire for late arrivals sometime in June.
Be open with your employer about your availability. If you need to leave early to return to school, they’ll want to know that.
Step 2: Choose a Location
Southeast Alaska has a huge cruise ship tourism industry.
These massive vessels stop at beautiful small towns and cities along Alaska’s Inside Passage.
Alaska’s capital, is the biggest city in Southeast Alaska. Juneau has all the same jobs you’d find in a regular city, plus the massive tourism industry. Living in Juneau gives you access to all of the nature, with the added benefit of living in a city. You won’t need a car for most things, but Juneau is very spread out and the bus system doesn’t go everywhere.
Tip: Juneau doesn’t have any roads leading out of the city, so the only way to get a car there is by ferry
Haines is a beautiful small community located in the northern part of the inside passage between Juneau and Skagway. Haines is quite spread out, so having a car here is helpful. Luckily, there is a road that connects out of Haines to the North American Highway System. Haines has amazing access to nature. There are mountains to hike, rivers to raft, and glaciers to traverse.
Each summer the Southeast Alaska State Fair is held in Haines, and each fall the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve is home to the largest concentration of bald eagles in the world.
Ketchikan is one of the larger communities in Southeast Alaska. Ketchikan has been described as the “Salmon Capital of the World, making it a great option for commercial fishing jobs in addition to tourism jobs. There is no road leading to Ketchikan, so the only ways to get there are by plane or ferry. Ketchikan has plenty of outdoor recreation options with lots of publicly maintained trails to explore as well river access for rafting/fishing.
Check for job listings in Ketchikan
Skagway is a tiny town located at the northern tip of the Inside Passage. Skagway is known as the “Gateway to the Klondike” for the role it played during the Klondike Gold Rush from 1898-1900. Downtown Skagway has maintained the 1890’s aesthetic, with false fronted buildings and wooden boardwalks making it look and feel much like it did at the turn of the century. Skagway has a road out of town which connects to the North American Highway System in Whitehorse, YT. Skagway is visited by about a million tourists a year, making it a hot spot for jobs in tourism. Skagway has miles of trail access leading directly from town, rivers for rafting/fishing and lots of great places to camp.
We've already done some research for you. Access our free spreadsheet of hiring companies and available positions in Skagway!
Read more about why we love Skagway so much
Sitka is a small city in Southeastern Alaska. Despite its small downtown area, Sitka is the largest city/borough in America by land area and spreads across several small islands. There is no road out of town which means the only way in/out is by plane or ferry. Sitka sees fewer cruise ship tourists than some other ports-of-call but offers a more remote wilderness lifestyle. There are many options for hiking and wilderness access directly from town. Check out Jobs in Sitka
Denali National Park and the surrounding area is a huge tourist destination. There are some massive resorts and lodges that you can get hired with. Most of them will also provide housing. Living in this iconic location gives you access to a huge national park with plenty of wilderness to explore.
Check out Coolworks for a list of jobs in Denali.
Here are 10 Things you Can't Miss in Denali by Dirt in my Shoes Blog
If you’re looking to really get off the beaten path and into the wild. The small town of Gustavus might be for you. Gustavus is the gateway for Glacier Bay tours. A very special wild area in Southeast Alaska. Gustavus has a lodge and daily boat tours through Glacier Bay. It is only accessible by plane from Juneau.
Over Land Tour Towns
Cruise ship port towns are the major money making locations in Alaska, but there are a number of cruises that offer overland tours. These tours need guides too, and the towns they stop in, have Food & Beverage, Hospitality and Excursion jobs available too!
Step 3: Apply Apply Apply
Get your resume and your references ready, here are some tips for applying to jobs in Alaska.
Find AK job listings online:
Apply to jobs online...then make a phone call!
Some places in Alaska aren’t as connected to technology as they are in the lower 48.
Your best bet for getting in touch with an actual human is to do something totally retro and pick up the phone.
Best believe they’ll move your application to the top of the pile for showing such initiative.
Pay attention to the time zone though, don’t call too early in the morning or your application will quickly move to the bottom of the pile.
+Job finding hack
Go to the TripAdvisor page of your selected destination. Then search for things to do there. Write down the names and telephone numbers of each business.
Call up the places you could see yourself working at and ask if they’re hiring for the summer season. Boom.
20 hours of daylight!!!! thats just incredible
It’s amazing. It starts to get dark around 10PM then starts to get light again around 3:00AM. You can fit so much into a day because your body doesn’t realize it’s night time. Also the bars have heavy curtains to create “artificial darkness” at night.
The Roadtrip Cowgirl
Wow that’s a great story. That’s too bad things didnt work out in Oregon, but I always say things happen for a reason. Sounds like you guys had a wonderful time in Alaska and enjoyed working there. Have you considered moving there, or perhaps you’re afraid of the short winter days (like me!). I loved the midnight sun up North and man, you can fit so much in a day it’s great. I didn’t sleep much though haha! Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures up north!
How amazing. This kind of travel lifestyle is indeed very adventurous and courageous! Salute to both of you!
I just love the wilderness am think Alaska could be the greatest place to start my true passion so how do I get started
Moving to Alaska for us was as easy as finding a seasonal job with housing. Once we had a job that offered housing all that was left to do was book a plane ticket. The wilderness in Alaska is absolutely stunning and very powerful. We had such an amazing time in Alaska and often dream of returning one day.
I’m planning to live a few months in Alaska. Finding a job will be my priority once I get there.