Theme park jobs

Amy White |

Are you a rollercoaster junkie? Can't get enough cotton candy and corn dogs? Want to know what it's like to dress up in a furry mascot costume? Then try a job at an amusement park on for size.

Theme park job details

Concession staff, ride technician, admissions attendant, lifeguard, game attendant, janitorial worker and costume character are just some of the theme park jobs available in this industry. Concession stand workers accept money for food and beverages and need to move quickly to keep lines to a minimum. They also have to clean their equipment at the end of their shift and make sure food is properly stored. Ride technicians operate a ride by ensuring all riders are seated and strapped in properly, stopping and starting the ride, and making sure everyone exits the ride safely. Admissions attendants accept payment for tickets purchased as well as take tickets from patrons as they enter the park.

"Step right up folks, and spin the Wacky Wizard Wheel for your chance to win!" OK, we made up the Wizard Wheel - but game attendants do recruit players by shouting for patrons to play their game, so make sure you have a strong set of vocal cords. When someone wins - which doesn't happen often - you'll be the one to give them that coveted seven-foot-tall plush platypus.

While you'll definitely work up a sweat, the joy you bring to the kids at the park is well worth it for a costumed character. Dressed as your local amusement park's mascot, you'll greet and entertain patrons, hand out balloons and snap pictures with the kids - and maybe even some adults.

Theme park working conditions

Amusement park attendants are outside in the sun for their entire shift, so stamina - and sunscreen - are necessary. Many employees walk around the park or stand on their feet for long hours, so invest in some comfortable shoes as well. Janitorial workers have quite a dirty job and are required to clean bathrooms, pick up trash around the park and empty garbage cans. The majority of their work is done at night when the park is closed, but they maintain the park's cleanliness during the day as well. Risks include sunburn, ride-related injuries and overheating, especially for mascots in heavy costumes. Be sure to stay hydrated, slather on lots of sunscreen, and if you notice any maintenance problems with a ride, report it immediately before you or someone else gets hurt.

Theme park job requirements

Some jobs, like clean-up crew, game attendants and ride technicians, typically don't need any experience and are trained on the job. Lifeguards at a water park, however, must be certified in CPR, complete a safety program and usually be at least 15 to 18 years of age. All theme park employees should be pleasant, enjoy working with people, and be able to tolerate loud noise and difficult customers. Cindy may have missed every shot on the basketball toss game, but her dad is determined to give her that pink fluffy bear prize. No matter how much he berates you, you have to keep your cool and stick to the rules. If you give Cindy a bear, you have to give everyone a bear, and where's the fun in that?

Good communication skills are a must in order to explain safety procedures and instructions to riders. Background checks and drug tests are often performed on employees in this field, so make sure your record is squeaky clean. Once you get enough experience and training, advancement opportunities include management positions such as park supervisor and entertainment manager.

How much can you make at a theme park job?

Theme park jobs earn about $8 an hour to start, but the real compensation is in the benefits. Park employees normally have access to free admission and are often given free tickets for friends and family. Discounts on food and beverages, merchandise and company-owned hotels can also be given to employees, and some establishments offer medical, dental and vision plans after 90 days of employment. Of course, you can't put a price on the fabulous tan you'll be getting by working outside all day, or the experience of dressing as Walter the Wallaby for a whole summer. For more specific information, check out our salary calculator to help you determine how much you could earn at a theme park job in your area.