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Career Opportunities

Career Opportunities

The Natural Resources Conservation Service has many professions to carry out its business.  Come of these careers are in human resources, budget, procurement, and clerical assistance.  The majority, however, are "specialty or technical" professions.

Careers Requiring a High School Diploma

Soil Conservation Aid/Technician - Assists the soil conservationist in planning and applying terraces, waterways, windbreaks and other conservation practices.

Engineering Aid/Technician - Assists professional engineers in surveying construction sites, working with contractors, inspecting construction in progress and similar duties.

Careers Requiring a College Degree
(With a major in Natural Resources or Agriculture)

Soil Conservationist - Provides technical advice on installing conservation practices such as terraces, dams and planting of grass, trees or wildlife cover.  Provides advice to landowners and government agencies in the development of natural resources.

Civil or Agricultural Engineer - Assists in engineering design of dams, road structures and terrace systems.  Makes on-site inspections, computes quantity and cost of materials, and gathers basic planning data for these structures.

Soil Scientist - Makes sample drillings in the field to identify and classify soils, gathers information for soil surveys such as land use and crop data, and is generally responsible for soil surveys.

Range Conservationist - Assists ranchers develop good grazing systems by developing a conservation plan, gives advice on the best grasses to grow and ways to improve and protect rangeland.

Other Career Positions - Biologist, Foresters and Economists.

Student Career Experience Program

Under a working agreement between the Natural Resources Conservation Service and an educational institution, a student must work a minimum of 640 study-related work hours before completion of the education requirements for graduation.  The student may work full-time during the summer and vacation periods or part-time while attending classes.  Students are hired on a temporary basis (usually at the GS-3 or GS-4 level) subject to all the conditions of a career-conditional appointment.  They are eligible for noncompetitive conversion to a career-conditional appointment upon completion of the education requirements and the minimum work hours.

Employment Opportunities While Attending College

Student Trainee positions under the Student Career Experience Program are available in a variety of job areas.  A trainee position acquaints the student with field application of conservation practices learned in the classroom.  The program provides for periods of study mixed with periods of study-related employment.  Work is under the guidance of a trained NRCS employee in the specialty.

These positions can lead to careers requiring a college degree, usually with a major in natural resources, agronomy, or other agriculture areas.  Some are:

Soil Conservationist - Provides technical advice on installing conservation practices such as terraces, dams and planting of grass, trees or wildlife cover.  Provides advice to landowners and government agencies in the development of natural resources.

Civil or Agricultural Engineer - Assists in engineering design of dams, road structures and terrace systems.  Makes on-site inspections, computes quantity and cost of materials, and gathers basic planning data for these structures.

Soil Scientist - Makes sample drillings in the field to identify and classify soils, gathers information for soil surveys such as land use and crop data, and is generally responsible for soil surveys.

Range Conservationist - Assists ranchers develop good grazing systems by developing a conservation plan, gives advice on the best grasses to grow and ways to improve and protect rangeland.

For more information about employment opportunities in South Dakota, contact the Human Resources Section, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Federal Building, 200 4th Street SW, Huron, South Dakota 57350-2475 or phone 605-352-1200.