Forest Service Careers

Pathway Programs

There are many different career options within the Forest Service, and there are many different ways you can obtain a career within the Forest Service. This page will highlight some of the pathway programs students can participate in that could help lead to these careers. This page was made in tandem with our Fire and Career Card sets. These sets show real-life examples of people in careers in the Forest Service and provide information on how they started their journies. Click here to order or download free sets of these cards and explore the numerous opportunities. 

Watch this video for more information:


Youth Conservation Corps (YCC)The U.S. Youth Conservation Corps is a summer youth employment program for teenagers interested in work experiences on national forests and parks, wildlife refuges, and fish hatcheries. Youth work on projects designed to develop an ethic of environmental stewardship and civic responsibility such as: building and repairing trails, preserving and repairing historic buildings, removing invasive species, helping with wildlife and land research, and leading environmental education.


Job Corps: Job Corps is the largest nationwide residential career training program in the country and has been for more than 50 years. The program helps eligible young people ages 16 through 24 complete their high school educations, trains them for meaningful careers, and assists them with obtaining employment.




PathwaysThe Pathway Program offers the perfect career path for students and recent graduates into permanent government work. The program provides paid employment opportunities with the Federal government for high school students, undergraduates, postgraduates, and recent graduates. There are three different program paths in Pathways: Student Trainee Internships, Recent Graduates, and Presidential Management Fellows.




1890 National ScholarsThe USDA/1890 National Scholars Program was established in 1992 as part of the partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the 1890 Land-Grant Universities. The USDA/1890 National Scholars Program is implemented under the USDA Fellows Experience Program (FEP). The goal of the USDA/1890 National Scholars Program is to increase the number of minorities studying agriculture, food, natural resource sciences, and the related disciplines. 



1994 Tribal ScholarsThe 1994 Tribal Scholars Program is designed to integrate academic study with paid work experience, while strengthening the partnership between USDA and the 1994 Land-Grant Institutions. The goal is to increase the number of students graduation in food, agriculture, and natural resources, and other related fields of study, and to develop the pool os scientists and professionals for careers in agriculture, food, and other natural resources. 




Hispanic Association for Colleges and Universities (HACU)The Forest Servicepartners with Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities to place students from Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI's) in paid 10-week or 16-week internships each year. HACU has grown to be the largest national internship program with the highest representation of students from HSIs and self-identified as Hispanic. Objectives include to encourage students to explore careers in the federal sector, and to provide professional work experience for Hispanic students enabling them to make educated career choices. 




Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL)The Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership partners with the Forest Service to onboard students with agency field units for 16-week internships each spring (April). Internship positions are suited for individuals looking to gain real-world federal government experience. CAPAL seeks to empower Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) youth by increasing access to public service opportunities and building a strong pipeline. They offer a diverse set of opportunities for acquiring public policy and management skills. 

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Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF)The Forest Service and Thurgood Marshall College Fund partner to host 16-week internships for students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). TMCF is equipped to handle all administrative details, including marketing, on-boarding, payroll, housing assistance, performance management, and much more. Interns work on challenging projects while attending career readiness workshops and webinars provided by TMCF and receive 1-on-1 coaching. 



Resource Assistants Program (RAP)The Resource Assistants Program is a rigorous and immersive paid internship for individuals who are interested in conservation, natural and cultural resources, environmental management, research and development, or other career opportunities with land management agencies. The program emphasizes the engagement of current students, recent graduates, and underrepresented populations in natural and cultural resources work as Resource Assistants.


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21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC): The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps wirks with ages 15 to 25 and veterans up to 35 to strengthen America's infrasturcture, boost local economies, and modernize the way government works. The 21CSC initiative supports partner organization and service, training, education, and employment opportunities for young people to learn and work on lands, waterways, and cultural heritage sites across the country. 21CSC includes Public Lands Corps, a work and education program for young people and veterans. Please contact your local Forest service unit to learn more or visit the 21st Century webpage



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Indian Youth Service Corps (IYSC): The Indian Youth Service Corps program is a statutory program that authorizes Tribes to enter into agreements with qualified youth or conservation corps to carry out appropriate conservation projects on eligible service land. It also allows the Secretary of the Interior, Agriculture, or Commerce to enter into cooperative agreements with Indian Tribes to provide funding and other support in the establishment and administration of the IYSC Program. 




AmericorpsThe mission of Americorps is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. 


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FS Volunteer:  For more than 100 years, the Forest Service has brought people and communities together to answer the call of conservation. Through campground hosting, trail maintenance, visitor services, research and more, volunteers make significant contributions to the legacy of conservation for the future generation.




MilitaryThere are 6 branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Most people join the military by enlisting in one of these branches. They receive training in different job specialties. Individuals who have served in active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and separated under honorable conditions may be eligible for various special hiring authorities. 


Presidential Management Fellows (PMF)The PMF program is the Federal Government's flagship development program for advanced degree holders across all academic disciplines. The essential mission is to recruit and develop a cadre of future government leaders from all segments of society.  



Peace Corps: The Peace Corps is a service opportunity for motivated changemakers to immerse themselves in a community abroad, working side by side with local leaders to tackle the most pressing challenges of our generation. 

 Note: Program descriptions are from affiliated websites.