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Great Summer Jobs for Retirees

Work at the ballpark, amusement park or state park

3. Amusement Parks

The nitty-gritty: Still got rollercoaster rushes racing through your blood or a cotton candy sweet tooth? Thousands of seasonal gigs are available at amusement and theme parks across the country each summer. But be warned — you may have to elbow out earnest teenagers for the slots. Jobs run the gamut from rollercoaster ride technician — you make sure riders are seated and strapped in safely and stop and start the ride — to waiting tables to hawking souvenir shirts and unwieldy stuffed animals. There are crowd control and security patrol openings, custodial work picking up trash and repairing benches. And the list goes on from ticket-selling at the entranceway to parking lot attendants and grounds maintenance (such as watering, planting and pruning). If you have entertainment chops, you might score a role as a dancer or storyteller, even a musician. The drawbacks: The summer heat and humidity can sap you. Expect to slather on the sunscreen and drink lots of water. You may also be required to walk around the park or stand for stretches. Loud clanging rides filled with screaming passengers, combined with tired and testy customers, in the heat of the day can be nerve-jangling.
The hours: Full- and part-time shifts and night and weekends are available.

Median full-time pay range: $8 to $13 an hour. Six Flags jobs, for example, pay anywhere from minimum wage to $10 an hour. Employees normally have access to free admission and are often given free tickets for friends and family. Discounts on food and beverages, merchandise and hotel stays, depending on the venue, may be offered, too.

Qualifications: Hiring managers will typically look for areas where you have experience or education. A pleasant and outgoing personality can sweep you to the front of the line. On- the-job training is standard. Good communication skills are prized. Expect background checks and drug tests. Look for local job fairs sponsored by the theme parks in your region. Sites such as JobMonkey and CoolWorks have sections dedicated to amusement/theme park jobs. Adrenaline junkies wanted.

Expertise in history or geology can help you land this job. >>

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