Involved With the Earth
is the Natural Resources Conservation Service?
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), formerly known as the
Soil Conservation Service, can trace its roots to the Dust Bowl days of the
1930s, when dust storms covered the Midwest, sending clouds of dust as far
east as Washington, D.C.
of the Natural Resources Conservation Service work in cooperation with locally
sponsored soil and water conservation districts on programs aimed at:
and reducing flood damages
water, air, plants and animals.
NRCS employees serve landusers
through field offices serving all counties. A state office staff provides
leadership, coordination, and technical assistance to the county offices in
delivering NRCS assistance through its various programs.
a World of Difference.
Our environment needs people like
you who enjoy working with people. Help people
improve their natural resources and be recognized
as a community leader.
concerned about our environment. Be a part of the solution to environmental
Working for the Natural
Resources Conservation Service is interesting, challenging, and rewarding. You
will know that you can make a difference by helping to conserve, sustain, and
enhance our nation’s resources.
careers are available with NRCS?
are several careers available with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
They are unique, but have at least one thing in common - they require a
commitment to protecting the country’s soil and water for future
generations. Opportunities for conservation careers exist on a nationwide
basis. Read on for information about some of the careers available with the
Natural Resources Conservation Service.
soil conservationists spend most of their time working with farmers and other
land users. Soil Conservationists suggest ways to conserve soil and water.
They offer conservation planning and technical assistance to farmers, land
developers, town government or any organization looking for suggestions for
efficient use of natural resources. You qualify for a soil conservationist
position if you have a college degree in soil conservation or a related
natural resources field, such as agronomy, forestry, wildlife, water quality,
and others. At least three credits of soils and a minimum of 12 credit hours
in a combination of soils, crops, and plants are required.
soil conservation technicians usually work in local field offices. The
technician’s most important job is assisting farmers and others design and
install specialized conservation practices. Technicians work closely with
contractors to make sure that practices are built according to NRCS design and
specifications. Technicians often make follow-up visits to make sure that
practices are working according to plan.
soil scientists map and classify soils. They identify soils in the field and
delineate the location on aerial photographs. They prepare detailed
information about them and help users understand their soil resources. Time is
spent in the field and in the office gathering and interpreting the
information. They use computers to help analyze the data and they prepare soil
maps for use in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). For a soil scientist
position, it is necessary to have a college degree in soil science or a
closely related field of biological, physical, or earth science. Fifteen
semester hours of soils are required.
Engineering is an important
part of the conservation program. NRCS employs many engineers skilled in
erosion control, water management, water quality, structure design,
construction, hydraulics, soil mechanics, and related subjects. Although job
assignments are varied, this work can be very specialized and technical. NRCS
engineers may design concrete and earthen dams and streambank
and channel erosion-control systems. An NRCS engineer must have a bachelor’s
degree in engineering. The engineer can then specialize in agricultural,
environmental, civil, and other areas of engineering.
engineering technicians assist engineers in planning, design, and construction
work of conservation practices but also work on their own. The jobs of a
technician are as varied as those of an engineer. A two-year college degree in
civil engineering, survey crew experience, or construction experience may
qualify you for a civil engineering technician position.
can I join the NRCS team?
NRCS employees begin their careers as student trainees or in a co-op program
through their college. If you are attending college or graduate school you may
qualify for one of these programs. You earn while you learn and you learn by
doing. Contact your campus placement office for more information.
are also opportunities to gain practical job experience by becoming an Earth
Team volunteer. Volunteers provide assistance to full-time employees of NRCS
and perform many of the same duties as NRCS professionals.
To learn how to apply for
jobs, become a student trainee, or be an Earth Team volunteer with the Natural
Resources Conservation Service, contact or write: U.S. Department of
Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Special Examining Unit,
P.O. Box 37636
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in its
programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age,
disability, political beliefs and marital or familial status. (Not all
prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require
alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large
print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the USDA Office of Communications at
To file a complaint, write the
Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture,
, or call (202) 720-7327 (voice) or (202) 720-1127 (TDD). USDA is an equal
employment opportunity employer