The Alabama 4-H Science School provide hands-on, educational experiences that connect people of all ages to the natural world and each other.

Alabama 4-H Science School is a great place to build up your resume if you’re trying to gain experience for full-time employment down the road!

Located on the property of the Alabama 4-H Center, the Alabama 4-H Science School (4-HSS) provide hands-on, educational experiences that connect people of all ages to the natural world and each other, while fostering respect and understanding for the environment and stimulating critical thinking and educated decision making to engender environmental stewardship.

Instructors are hired to provide programming for Science School participants (mostly 4th-6th graders), conference center groups (primarily team building for older youth and adults), summer campers (4-H-ers from clubs across the state), and outreach programs (birds and reptiles).

In 2017, 4-HSS is on track to have about 5,000+ participants through the Science School and close to 40,000 total (many of which are at weekend festivals and schools off site). This is the School’s 23rd year providing residential environmental education programs for youth across the southeast.

What You'll Be Doing

Instructors are hired to provide programming for Science School participants, conference center groups, summer campers and outreach programs.

The Science School program includes a full-time Director of Environmental Education, four Assistant Coordinators, and 8-10 Instructors each season. Seasonal Instructors facilitate a wide range of environmental, outdoor and experiential education programs, including lake ecology, herpetology, canoeing, team building, the climbing wall and challenge course.

Instructors will spend the majority of their time teaching, but also assist in program development/updates, outreach, animal husbandry/training (with raptors, reptiles and amphibians), and materials/area maintenance.

Staff who come to 4-HSS are able to gain a lot of experience for their resume: team building facilitation, belaying, canoe instruction, science-based teaching, live animal husbandry for an extensive collection of native and non-native species, Red Cross lifeguard certification (summer season), Alabama boating license (with reimbursement), and the list goes on and on!

View the Instructor Employment Flyer »

I've been with the program for a year now and am still learning new things every day. The animal collection is second to none, and I’m gaining so much knowledge and experience for my resume. It’s awesome — and the staff love each other! –A.W.


Working at 4-HSS is a wonderful way to see the Southeast and learn more about one of the most biologically diverse areas of the country!

Alabama is home to more species of freshwater turtle, crayfish, and mussel than any other state! The state is number one in aquatic biodiversity and in the top five for overall biodiversity in the country! A lot of folks think of Alabama as only farmland — in fact most staff from across the country note that the thing they are most surprised by is all of the trees. Alabama is rich in cultural history and natural landscapes. From the mountains to the gulf… there’s a lot to explore in your down time! The 4-HSS facility is also home to a $7 million dollar environmental education building (the first 4-H LEED certified structure east of the Mississippi!) and has a wonderful blend of natural spaces and modern amenities.

Season Commitment

Instructors will have the chance to work with raptors, reptiles and amphibians!

Spring: mid-February to mid-May
Summer: mid-May to mid-August
Fall: mid-August to mid-December

Preference will be shown to applicants interested in making a two or more season commitment at the time of hire.

The work week is highly varied. Some weeks you’ll work four days and only 25-30 hours and others you’ll work 6-7 days with 65+ hours. At the end of the season it balances out to an average of 45-55 hours per week. A typical day with schools includes breakfast, class, lunch, class, canteen time, class, dinner, and an evening program. Set-up/take down for classes happens around this time as well. There will be days when staff spends their time traveling to schools for outreach rather than working with on-site groups. Staff usually receive two days off per week.

Perks & Rewards

Relaxing by the lake.

Benefits include a salary of $400/week (paid monthly), fully furnished staff housing, and an extensive 15-day staff educational training program, including animal care, Alabama Boating License online course (with reimbursement), and certification in CPR/first aid.

The staff duplex is located on camp property about one mile from the main camp and includes a room with queen size bed. Off-site housing is provided in two apartments about six miles from camp and two staff share each 2-bedroom apartment with laundry, kitchen and living room. There is a $75 deposit due at the beginning of the season for housing. Having a car to help get to work on colder/rainy days as well as for use to explore the great state in down time is preferred. WiFi is also available (staff share in this cost; $30 per month).

The Essentials

Teaching at the challenge course and climbing wall.

Those who are flexible, genuinely enjoy working with children, and want to better themselves for the future will thrive at 4-HSS. An ideal applicant has high-energy and is attentive, honest, hard working, positive, outgoing, thorough in their work, and able to communicate when they are unsure.

Applicants must have a college degree in education, environmental education, outdoor education natural science, recreation or an outdoor-related field, the ability to pass a criminal background check, and 1-2 season's previous experience in the field is preferred.

There is SO much to learn working at 4-HSS! It’s a wonderful way to see the Southeast and learn more about one of the most biologically diverse areas of the country!

Application & Connections

Alabama 4-H Science School is seeking high energy, dedicated individuals with a passion for the outdoors and making a difference with kids.

To begin the application process, email your resume and the contact information for 3 professional references to Amy Walker. There are no specific deadlines; however, most hiring is completed 8-12 weeks prior to the start of a season. Once hired, seasonal staff are given first priority to stay on for following seasons provided they are in good standing with the department.

Spring 2018 Season Employment
Alabama 4-HSS is currently accepting Instructor applications for the spring 2018 season (mid-February to mid-May). Hiring for summer (mid-May to mid-August) will begin in March/April.

Alabama 4-H — Alabama Cooperative Extension System

Amy Walker
Director of Environmental Education
Alabama 4-H Science School
892 Four H Rd.
Columbiana, AL 35051
(205) 669-4241
(205) 669-1364 fax

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We think working here is an amazing opportunity to learn a tremendous amount about environmental education, outdoor education, and animal care. We feel that our Instructors leave well-equipped for most positions in the field. Teaching students every day is a rewarding experience, but you must have the energy and determination to keep up with them.

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