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Job Opportunities

Protecting the Public, Employees, and Natural Resources
Two men in flight suits, one holding a flight helmet, stand in front of a helicopter cabin.The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service is an exciting, dynamic, multicultural, and many-faceted organization, with employees engaged in a wide variety of professional areas. Reflecting the Nation's diverse population, the Forest Service is a leader in offering equal employment opportunities. The Forest Service is dedicated to the management, protection, and efficient use of the national forests and grasslands, ensuring that they continue to provide sustainable yields of renewable resources such as water, forage, wildlife, timber, and outdoor recreation.

Here is where your future could begin! If you are looking for a challenging career in natural resource law enforcement, the Forest Service is the agency for you. Our Law Enforcement and Investigations (LEI) Staff is charged with protecting the public, employees, and natural resources throughout 192 million acres of National
Forest System lands—from Alaska to Puerto Rico and throughout the continental United States.

Law Enforcement on National Forest System Lands

Two men on horseback and a third standing.Law enforcement is essential to the effective management, use, and protection of National Forest System lands and associated resources. The Forest Service currently employs approximately 650 law enforcement personnel nationwide. With an increasing number of visitors to the national forests and grasslands, the need for law enforcement personnel continues to grow.

Criminal Investigator (GL/GS-1811 Series)

Criminal investigators plan and conduct criminal and administrative investigations as they relate to laws governing the National Forest System. Criminal investigators primarily conduct investigations involving archeological, timber, fire, and wildlife violations.

In addition, criminal investigators/special agents:

  • Work cooperatively with Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies
  • Conduct complex criminal and civil investigations involving Drug Trafficking Organizations, domestic terrorism, and claims for or against the Government
  • Conduct undercover and surveillance operations
  • Present cases to the U.S. Attorney's Office
  • Testify in court on behalf of the Government

Initial appointments may be made at grades GL-5, GL-7, or GL-9. Most career nonsupervisory positions are GS-12. Supervisory positions range from GS-13 to GS-15. GL/GS-1811 personnel also receive 25-percent premium pay.

Law Enforcement Officer (GL/GS-1801 Series)

Uniformed law enforcement officers enforce Federal laws and regulations governing National Forest System lands and resources. They establish a regular and recurring presence on vast amounts of public land, roads, and campgrounds, taking appropriate action when illegal activity is discovered.

In addition, uniformed law enforcement officers:

  • Work cooperatively with Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies
  • Conduct informational and educational programs
  • Enforce controlled substance laws
  • Assist outside agencies with search and rescue missions on National Forest System lands
  • Assist special agents in conducting investigations
  • Respond to unplanned incidents such as environmental protests, threats to employees, and requests for assistance from other law enforcement agencies Initial appointments may be made at grades GL-5, GL-7, or GL-9. Most journeyman, nonsupervisory officers are GL-9. Supervisory 1801 positions are at the GS-12, GS-13, and GS-14 levels. GL/GS-1801 series personnel are eligible for up to 25-percent premium pay.

Some Conditions of Employment

A US Forest Service law enforcement officer is standing while his K-9 in laying down.Special Agents and Uniformed Law Enforcement Officers Must:

  • Meet basic educational and experience prerequisites
  • Be younger than 37 years old at the time of appointment; prior service in approved Federal law enforcement
    positions may be subtracted from the applicant's actual age when
    making this determination
  • Successfully complete the appropriate law enforcement course
  • Pass a special background investigation conducted initially and periodically
  • Pass a drug urinalysis test
  • Successfully complete a 1 -year probationary period
  • Possess a valid driver's license
  • Pass a battery of physical efficiency tests prior to starting work
  • Pass a 12-week field training and evaluation program

Applicants are ineligible for this position if, at any time, they have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, unless such conviction was expunged, set aside, or the applicant received a pardon.


As Federal employees, Forest Service law enforcement personnel are eligible for many benefits, including:

  • Vacation and sick leave
  • Life and health insurance
  • A retirement program
  • Basic and follow-up training
  • Advancement opportunities

Law enforcement positions are covered under the special retirement provisions of 5 U.S.C. 8336(c) for Civil Service Retirement System and 8412(d) for Federal Employees Retirement System.

How to Apply

Two US Forest Service employees rappel out of a helicopter hovering overhead.Forest Service vacancy announcements typically list the steps to follow in preparing and submitting an application for Federal employment. These announcements provide brief job descriptions, opening and closing dates for applications, and the address to which applications must be sent.

For additional information, please contact the following:

USDA Forest Service
Albuquerque Service
Center-Human Resources Management
3900 Masthead Street, NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109
1-877-372-7248, ext. 2


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