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The US Forest Service Is Hiring More Than 1,900 Seasonal Workers for 2019

A park ranger speaks to a tour group.
A park ranger speaks to a tour group prior to descending to the ancient Anasazi ruins of Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde National Park on July 26, 2008


Labor Day may have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean all of the summer hiring sprees have, too.

The U.S. Forest Service is on the search for more than 1,900 seasonal workers — but not for this year. The organization is already looking to fill positions for spring and summer of 2019.

An agency of the Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Forest Service oversees 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands.

To support such a vast expanse of land, the Forest Service employs a large temporary workforce, especially during the summer months. In the 2015 fiscal year, the agency reportedly hired over 12,000 temporary employees.

The Forest Service is divided into nine regions. The Pacific Northwest region announced it is filling over 1,000 positions, and the Rocky Mountain region is looking to employ over 900. The remaining regions have not specified any numbers but have plenty of openings available.

If you’re dreaming of a job in the great outdoors, snagging a temporary job with the Forest Service could be the first step to securing a permanent career.

Seasonal US Forest Service Jobs

You might think the Forest Service only employs extremely outdoorsy-type positions like park rangers, but think again. The agency has a wide variety of roles that need to be filled, so don’t count yourself out.

The types of seasonal jobs available vary by region, with categories such as fire, timber, recreation, trails, archaeology, hydrology, wildlife, botany, fisheries and customer service.

Some specific positions currently available include forestry technician, visitor information assistant, laborer, archaeologist and biological science technician — and that’s just to name a few.

Note that if you’re interested in a fire position, applicants must be able to complete the work capacity test annually. To pass, you have to do a 3-mile hike while carrying a 45-lb. bag in 45 minutes.

Jobs with the Forest Service are broken down into a pay system called General Schedule, or GS, with grades from GS-1 to GS-15. Each grade is determined by the job’s level of difficulty, responsibility and qualifications required, with GS-1 being the lowest. So the lower the grade, the lower the pay and required qualifications.

Most of the jobs listed pay between $11 and $20 per hour, with full-time schedules. Some will come with health benefits, but it depends on the position and hours worked.

How to Apply

If you’re interested in applying for a temporary job with the Forest Service, you can browse available positions on their outreach site, but applications have to be submitted through the USAJobs.gov.

Here’s what you need to do to apply:

  • Head over to USAJobs.gov and create an account, or login into your existing account and update any information as needed.
  • Upload or create a resume — you can save up to five versions.
  • Upload any relevant documents such as college transcripts or training certificates — up to 10 documents can be saved to your account.
  • Search available jobs using keywords such as the job title, agency name or job announcement number.

You can apply for multiple Forest Service positions, but make sure you’re checking the location and qualifications first, and then tailoring your resume to fit the position.

If you don’t see a position that catches your attention, there may be more posted later. Each region will have a designated period for applications.

Check out the application timelines for each region:

Since the application timelines vary by region, the hiring process and employment dates will as well. Most of the final hiring decisions will be made between November and January, and employment could start anywhere between March and August.

Kaitlyn Blount is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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