Amusement Park Workers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Most larger amusement parks require their employees to be at least 16 years old. Many high school students work at amusement parks every summer as a way to supplement their income while in school. If you want to stand out from the other applicants, consider taking classes such as mathematics, if you want to work ticket booths, gift shops, or anyplace where calculating and giving correct change is important; mechanics or industrial arts, if you want to work and maintain thrill rides; or speech and theater, if you want to be a performer. Unless you bear an uncanny resemblance to Bugs Bunny or Goofy, then it will be helpful to know how to dance and sing!

Postsecondary Training

Training for entry-level jobs such as a ride operator, game booth attendant, or fast-food worker consists of on-the-job training lasting about a week or two. Most parks train their employees on the particulars of the job, park rules and regulations, and grooming and behavior guidelines.

Most companies prefer college-educated individuals for their management positions. Consider majors in recreation, business management, or marketing (or performance art, if you want to be involved with the entertainment side of the business).

Other Education or Training

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) offers a variety of continuing education and online learning opportunities to members. The World Waterpark Association also offers a variety of webinars. Contact these associations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions offers voluntary certification at three levels: certified attractions manager, certified attractions leader, and certified attractions executive. Applicants become certified through a combination of classroom work and on-the-job experience. Contact the association for more information.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

No experience is needed for many amusement park jobs, but those with prior work experience will increase their chances of landing a job, getting promoted, and possibly earning higher pay.

People go to amusement parks for fun and excitement. Employees, because they have frequent contact with the patrons, should always be courteous, enthusiastic, and friendly. When dealing with the public, patience is key. The ability to communicate well is important when explaining game rules or park regulations—over and over again.

There are many employment opportunities available for workers with physical challenges. Some examples include traditional positions in the business office—accounting, personnel, and marketing. A ticket booth can be adapted to accommodate an employee who uses a wheelchair. It is best to contact each amusement park and check out their policies on such matters. Also, get in touch with your school counseling center, state office of vocational rehabilitation, or state department of labor for guidelines.