Frequently Asked Questions
Check out these FAQs for more information on Montana State Parks AmeriCorps program.
Q. How does the application and selection process work?
A. Decide which term is right for you, then follow the instructions listed under the corresponding tab. If your application meets our minimum criteria, we will contact you to set up a phone interview. If your phone interview goes well, we will ask you to let us know which park(s) you are interested in serving. We will then forward your application materials to the park manager at the corresponding park(s), and he or she will contact you for a final phone, skype, or in person interview (locals only). The park manager is responsible for deciding whether or not to hire you as an AmeriCorps member.
Q. How do I know if my application meets the minimum criteria?
A. You must meet AmeriCorps citizenship eligibility requirements, be at least 18 years of age, and have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be considered for any of our placements. Those seeking a full time position must have a college degree or equivalent.
Your application must be complete and professional. You must be able to document a genuine interest in our program. Some applicants describe a professional or volunteer experience similar to our program, while others have pursued a related educational field. Some successful applicants do not have a direct relevant experience or background, but they are able to articulate how our program aligns with their values and interests.
Q. How can I prepare for my interview?
A. Research the program and Montana State Parks as much as possible. Be prepared to demonstrate how you plan to be successful in your term, including describing how you would live on the modest living allowance, what types of experiences you hope to have, and the professional, volunteer, and educational experiences that have prepared you to be a strong member of the team.
Q. If I move to serve my term, would my costs to relocate in Montana be reimbursed?
A. No, you are responsible for arriving at your service site on your own.
Q. Is housing provided?
A. No, members are responsible for finding housing on their own. However, site supervisors work to identify low cost housing options for members, and the program provides suggestions and resources for exploring low cost housing.
Q. Would there be other AmeriCorps members at my site?
A. You might be the only AmeriCorps member or there might be another member with you, depending on the site. AmeriCorps members are treated as part of the team at the State Park, so you would find support among parks staff and volunteers. In addition, Montana hosts several AmeriCorps programs, and you are likely to find a fellow AmeriCorps member with a different program living in your host community.
Q. Would I have health insurance?
A. That depends on the term. Full time (45 week) members are eligible for health insurance. Part time and Quarter time (24 and 12 week) members are not eligible for health insurance.
Q. Would I be eligible for food stamps?
A. You might be. Food stamps, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is available to individuals who meet the appropriate criteria. Information on the criteria can be found at SNAP.
Q. Could I defer payment on my student loans during my service term?
A. Individuals performing a term of service in an approved AmeriCorps position, including all Montana State Parks AmeriCorps positions, may be eligible to temporarily postpone the repayment of their qualified student loans through an action called loan forbearance. While your loan is in forbearance during your term of service, interest continues to accrue. However, if you successfully complete your term of service, the National Service Trust will pay all or a portion of the interest that accrued on your qualified student loans during your service period. To request that your loan company (your “loan holder”) approve forbearance for your qualified student loans during your service period visit My AmeriCorps.
Q. What is the program’s leave policy?
A. The policy varies based on your service term. Summertime (12 week) members are not eligible for vacation days, and all sick leave must be approved by the site supervisor. Hours missed for sick leave must be rescheduled and fulfilled during the service term. Full time seasonal (24 week) AmeriCorps members have five days total to use for holidays, sick days, or vacation days. Absolutely all leave must be arranged with and approved by site supervisors.
Q. When would I receive my living allowance? How much would I receive?
A. The total living allowance is based on the type of position and is listed under Available Positions on the Montana State Parks AmeriCorps main page. You will receive a check for your living allowance every two weeks. The living allowance is subject to state and federal taxes.
Q. How does the Education Award work?
A. The education award takes the form of an electronic voucher and is accessed through My AmeriCorps. Members who successfully complete their terms of service in good standing will receive their awards. The Education Award can be used for a variety of purposes, including paying for college and graduate school and qualified student loans. For more information on the Education Award, visit the AmeriCorps website.
Q. What would my work schedule be like?
A. Members will serve a minimum of 40 hours per week. The days and specific work hours will be set by the site supervisor.
Q. Will I have a uniform?
B. Yes. Members will receive a work shirt, polo shirt, hooded sweatshirt, cap, and nametag for use during their terms of service. Members must provide their own jeans (blue or black, without holes) and sturdy work shoes (hiking boots or hiking shoes are the most common).