GENERAL CAREERS OVERVIEW
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
How do I find the job opportunities with the Forest Service?
Forest Service job openings are listed in the USAJOBS database at www.usajobs.gov.
How many does the Forest Service employ?
There are more than 30,000 men and women who serve in Forest Service career positions in locations across the country.
What occupations does the Forest Service hire the most?
The occupations for which the Forest Service hires in significant numbers each year generally include (in relative descending order) Foresters, Forestry Technicians, General Biological Scientists, Fish and Wildlife Biologists, Civil and General Engineers, and Engineering and Biological Science Technicians.
How can I become a Forest Service Volunteer?
There are hundreds of opportunities for you to work as a Forest Service volunteer, and the opportunities are constantly changing. Here are some of the types of volunteer help we've needed in the past; for more information contact your local Forest - or your dream destination. Visit the Volunteer Opportunities section of this site for more information.
I've just finished high school and I'm having trouble figuring out what I want to do with my life. What sort of career opportunities does the Forest Service offer?
Forest Service employees have varied skills and serve our mission in very different ways. After all, we have more than 30,000 men and women working in locations across the country. Whether you're interested in being a biologist, forester, computer specialist - or something completely different, the Forest Service may have a career that matches your skills and interest. .
I am interested in natural resource careers. But I don't know where to start. Can you help me?
The Forest Service is one of several Federal agencies with natural resource careers that span a wide range of natural resource fields, from biological to physical science disciplines, to engineering. Forest Service jobs are extremely competitive and require considerable study and hard work. Degree programs in forestry, forest management, ecology, botany, biology, wildlife and fisheries management, or other related natural resource disciplines will certainly help prepare you for the demands of a career with the Forest Service. Besides academic coursework, there are many avenues and opportunities you can use to guide your career interest in natural resources. Pursue what drives your thirst for knowledge, challenges and motivates you to contribute. A practical way you can gain hands-on experience and be exposed to a variety of natural resource programs is to become a Forest Service volunteer or temporary employee. Gaining insight about the natural resource mission and learning about career experiences of others in the organization might be good places to start. Exploring the range of programs described on the Forest Service website and following the links to other partner organizations may also expand your view of natural resource careers and career venues. You might also survey your career interest using the self-help tools available in the Federal Career Information Center located on the Internet at http://career.usajobs.gov/.
I am a college student and am interested in employment with the Forest Service. How do I go about finding student openings, and where/how do I apply?
The Forest Service has opportunities for part-time and temporary employment for students. We offer internships, student opportunities and even scholarships for promising student candidates. You can find more information in the Student Employment with the Forest Service section of this site.
I am considering applying to several different schools with natural resource degree programs. Before I proceed, I only want to pursue programs that will help me qualify for Federal employment in USDA, and particularly the Forest Service. How can I find out which school programs are accredited?
Below is the link to the U.S. Department of Education's accreditation information. This page has links to a list of accredited programs and institutions, and links to accrediting agencies (such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) that accredit most colleges and universities. The accrediting agency is usually listed on the college/university's website.
Which college courses will make me most marketable for Forest Service employment?
Forest Service careers are extremely competitive and require considerable study and hard work. Degree programs in forestry, forest management, ecology, botany, biology, wildlife and fisheries management, or other related fields will certainly help prepare you for the demands of a career with the Forest Service. We recommend speaking with your college counselor or student advisor for help planning the best course of study for you. You may also consider contacting a Forest Service office to speak to professionals in program areas most relevant to your field of study for coursework planning.
I have a daughter in college who loves the outdoors. She has not declared a major yet and has not chosen a career path. My son is in high school and has no particular field in mind for his future career. I would like to suggest they investigate a career with the Forest Service. Where do we start?
We're excited that you think your child may be a good match for a career with the Forest Service. But the reality is that jobs with the Forest Service are extremely competitive and require considerable study and hard work. We recommend that you and your child explore the For College Students, For High School Students, Volunteer and Temporary Employment sections of this website so that they may take ownership of a decision to pursue a Forest Service career.
What kind of schooling is needed to become a Forest Ranger?
Forest Service careers are extremely competitive and require considerable study and hard work. Degree programs in forestry, forest management, ecology, botany, biology, wildlife and fisheries management, or other related fields will certainly help prepare you for the demands of a career as a professional with the Forest Service. The Forest Service hires in many natural resource degree fields and technical skills areas. As employees work on a variety of natural resource problems and opportunities, they become recognized as a Forest Ranger by the many publics they serve. The best quality of experience you can gain while in school toward this type of career is the hands-on experience as a Forest Service volunteer, a temporary or student employee.
What do Foresters do who work on a Ranger District? Is there a special certification?
As a forester in the 21st century with the Forest Service, you will find yourself challenged by the new technologies, advances in science and rewards of working with colleagues and the public. The American people own the national forests, and you manage the resources and opportunities on these lands.
As a forester you need to be able to integrate a variety of resource options into a coherent management plan and meet the targets associated with those plans as directed by Congress and Public input. The forester not only deals with forest health and watershed restoration through a variety of silvicultural applications (i.e., growing trees, maximizing tree growth and return, manipulating tree species to meet objectives), but also with wildlife habitat, clean water and air, and provides a safe and clean place for people to recreate away from urban environments. Fire management is a priority consideration on the job of protecting human life, property and resources. Your knowledge of ecosystems will grow as you work in a variety of national forests and a variety of uses. No matter what the work, GIS/GPS is a part of your life.
On one ranger district you may serve as a recreation and lands officer. On another ranger district you may serve as the silviculturalist and forestry staff officer. The resource forester on a ranger district may have the responsibility to work with forest health, wildlife habitat improvement, and livestock grazing. Whatever your position you will have the opportunity to grow as a person, develop your professional knowledge and skill sets, and implement new ideas as part of a larger team for the American people.
To begin a career in one of these starting positions on a ranger district with the Forest Service, you need a degree in forestry or forest management. There are no additional certification requirements. Once starting in a ranger district forester position, you will move over time to other positions as a district or forest staff, and to management positions. Career direction is a choice you make in the Forest Service as you develop your competencies in various areas at the ranger district level.
I want to be a full time Firefighter. How do I apply, or where can I receive training?
The Forest Service fire program on our website at www.fs.fed.us/fire contains a wealth of information on firefighter training, job opportunities and applying for firefighter jobs.
I applied for a career with the Forest Service but haven't received a response. How long should I expect to wait?
Applicants applying for career Forest Service openings posted on www.usajobs.gov may self-select an option within the online application which will direct the Forest Service to send you a response.