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At the Natural Resources Conservation Service...

Conservation is our purpose, our passion and our promise. We keep that promise – every day – by working with landowners to protect and enhance our nation’s natural resources.

Clean air. Clear water. Productive soil. Healthy forests and prairies. Lush wetlands. Beautiful vistas. Bountiful wildlife and harvests. Wise stewardship of our natural resources brings us all these benefits of a healthy environment and productive land.

For over 80 years, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has been helping people help the land through scientifically-based, locally-led voluntary conservation efforts. Created during the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s as the Soil Conservation Service, NRCS’ work has expanded beyond preventing soil erosion to conserving and improving all natural resources.
Thank you for your interest in employment with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in California! NRCS is the conservation leader in America, helping private landowners, land users, and local governments to reduce erosion, protect wildlife, promote good land use, and implement other measures to preserve the nation's natural resources for future generations. NRCS offers exciting career opportunities in natural resources and the environment to students who are still in college and to those who have already graduated.

Following are resources that can help in your career quest:

The Pathways Program

The Pathways Program allows students to gain paid work experience while pursuing a degree in a natural resources-related career field. The work may be either full-time or part-time depending on the needs of the agency and the student's availability, and the duties are designed to provide hands-on experience and training in the specific discipline for which hired. Upon graduation from college, students may be eligible for non-competitive conversion to permanent full-time federal employment.

To be eligible for this program, you must be currently enrolled or accepted for enrollment as at least a half-time student in a degree program at an accredited 2 year or 4 year college or university, graduate, or professional school; must be a U.S. citizen; must remain in good academic standing (maintain a 2.0 overall scholastic average in a 4.0 scale or have a C or above in your major field of study) and must be mobile to all locations in the state for which selected. Participants in the Pathways Program must sign an agreement of understanding and successfully complete at least 640 hours of full-time career-related work prior to graduation to be eligible for permanent placement with our agency.

Each state hires its own Pathways Program students. In California, we are looking for students interested in long-term employment with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and our hiring for this program is normally done in the early part of the year as funding allows. The announcement for this opportunity will be posted to the USAjobs website at

Advertised Employment Opportunities

In addition to the resources listed above, NRCS routinely advertises for temporary and permanent positions of all types throughout the nation. All competitive NRCS job openings are posted to the Office of Personnel Management's website at We encourage you to become familiar with this site; it contains a wealth of federal job information, and all federal agencies use it to fill new positions. Qualification requirements, application procedures, and application deadlines are outlined in each vacancy announcement. You will need to apply separately, following the procedures outlined in each announcement, to any specific vacancies we have that may interest you. The majority of all federal jobs are filled through announcements posted on the USAjobs website, so make sure you check this site often and apply to opportunities as they become available!

Other Internships and Scholarships

The Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture participate in several internship, fellowship, scholarship, and other special hiring programs, including the Summer Intern Program, the Career Intern Program, the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, the Presidential Management Intern Program, the 1890 National Scholars Program, the Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Internship Program, and more. Information and application procedures for these programs is available on the USDA website at

Earth Team Volunteer Program

Volunteers in NRCS' Earth Team Volunteer Program play an important role in keeping our long-standing commitment to working with people to protect and conserve natural resources. The Earth Team is now recruiting in more than 3,000 locations across the country - that means that the Earth Team is at work near you! The Earth Team needs a variety of people with all types of skills who are willing to commit their time and talents to work directly with local farmers and ranchers in putting conservation practices on the land, organizing and developing conservation tours and exhibits, writing articles and speaking to community groups, entering and editing computer data, providing office assistance, and performing a myriad of other necessary tasks either outdoors or in a local NRCS office. To learn more about the Earth Team or sign up as a volunteer, contact your local NRCS Office or call 1-888-LANDCARE and leave your name, address, and phone number. This national referral network will pass the information on to an office near you.