Insider

Uncle Sam has 20,000+ job openings right now. We spotlighted 17 vacancies — from Yosemite park ranger to FBI special agent— and asked experts how to get hired.

Summary List PlacementDo you dream of reading polygraphs for the CIA, setting intentional fires for the Forest Service, or officiating youth basketball on an Air Force base in Germany?  Behold your big chance.  Federal jobs are available everywhere from Omaha, Nebraska, to Bangkok, Thailand, according to an Insider survey of the...

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Summary List Placement

Do you dream of reading polygraphs for the CIA, setting intentional fires for the Forest Service, or officiating youth basketball on an Air Force base in Germany? 

Behold your big chance. 

Federal jobs are available everywhere from Omaha, Nebraska, to Bangkok, Thailand, according to an Insider survey of the government hiring website usajobs.gov. More than 20,000 federal jobs are currently accepting applications. 

“The landscape is that the government is hiring and there are a lot of jobs that are coming up with different agencies,” said Kathryn Troutman, a federal career coach and the founder and president of The Resume Place Inc.

The government’s hiring process is often a slog and its jobs website clunky. That’s not ideal for millennial and Gen Z applicants the government wants to recruit, said Michelle Amante, vice president of federal workforce programs at the Partnership for Public Service. 

“You lose a lot of people, just in the process,” she said. “If they even get through the search and find a job that they want to apply to, the application process is really lengthy. It’s just not conducive to a generation that is used to doing everything on their phone.”

But if you’re patient and you know where to look, you can find some gems. There are park ranger postings. Civil rights historian openings. Opportunities for helicopter flight instructors.

Many pay into the low six-figure range. And even more cool jobs are likely to soon emerge, Troutman said. 

That’s because President Joe Biden is trying to make public service appealing again after many federal workers felt demoralized under the Trump administration. Biden is also trying to push through big federal initiatives that could spark more hiring, especially if Congress passes a major infrastructure spending plan. 

Troutman’s advice: make sure your resume is tailored to match the job, present your skills clearly, and get your resume ready early. Job application windows can close quickly — some positions say they’ll close the process after they receive 100 applications. 

“You have to be very fast,” Troutman said. 

Here are some of the coolest jobs available right now, according to a review by the Partnership for Public Service and Insider:

Civil rights historian

The National Park Service has an opening in the Southeast region for a historian who can coordinate and direct the history program’s efforts on “the African American experience.” 

Pay: $81,638 to $106,134 per year. 

Park ranger at Yosemite

Yosemite National Park in California — the iconic home of Half Dome and El Capitan — is hiring a supervisory park ranger. The job entails keeping tabs on a multi-million-dollar budget, overseeing the park museum collection and artifacts, and supervising dozens of staffers. 

The salary: $108,885 to $141,548 per year. 

Other national parks are hiring, too. 

The National Park Service needs a superintendent for three sites in St. Croix, Virgin Islands — Christiansted National Historic Site, Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve, and Buck Island Reef National Monument. 

All together, that’s more than 20,000 acres of land and surrounding water. 

Interpretive rangers are also needed in more than 100 other national parks, including Tuskegee, Alabama; Ochopee, Florida; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Those posts pay between $16.73 and $20.72 per hour. 

Helicopter flight instructor

The Air Force is hiring a helicopter flight instructor in Moffett Field, California. You’ll need experience and a pilot certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration or the appropriate military certifications. 

The salary range is $133,506 to $172,500 per year. Members of Congress only make slightly more than the upper range; their salary is $174,000 per year. 

CIA polygraph examiner

Do you have analytical skills? Investigative experience? These are qualifications the CIA values. They want someone who can “assess the credibility of individuals” during examinations — mostly in Washington, DC — as part of the personnel security process for access to classified information. 

The polygraph examiner job entails working every day in a “potentially confrontational environment,” collecting and interpreting physiological data and writing detailed reports on the sessions. Polygraph examiners typically conduct two sessions per day.

Pay: $59,534 to $112,240 per year.

Animal health assistant

The Army Medical Command is hiring an animal health assistant at the Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming. 

The job involves assisting during surgical procedures, administering vaccines, and preparing prescription medications for animals. While the pay isn’t great, you will get to spend your days working with furry, four-legged working animals, as well as the pets of military families.

The pay: $28,884 to $29,322 per year. 

Fish biologist for the Great Lakes

Do you have a soft spot for invertebrates? A love for open water? The US Geological Survey is hiring a biologist to study fish, invertebrates, algae, and physical habitats of the Great Lakes. You’ll need to drive and maintain a boat that’s less than 26 feet long and pass a motorboat operator course. 

The job is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and pays $58,673 to $76,274 per year. 

Internet investigative analyst

Calling all internet sleuths: the Consumer Product Safety Commission is hiring an investigative analyst to conduct daily surveillance to track down recalled and banned products. 

You’ll look for banned products being sold or marketed online, and send warning letters to the sellers. The job requires a background investigation. 

The pay: $87,198 to $113,362 per year. 

Forestry technician

The Forest Service is hiring forestry technicians to manage intentionally-set fires in dozens of locations across California. Such fires help prevent uncontrolled wildfires.

These technicians are responsible for overseeing fire plans’ “preparation, ignition, holding, mop-up, and rehabilitation.” 

Pay: $47,899 to $68,777 per year. 

Recreation specialist in Germany

If your dream is to organize volleyball and flag football in Germany, Uncle Sam has a job posting for you. The Spangdahlem Air Force Base in Germany is hiring a sports official to oversee youth sports. 

Primary responsibilities include officiating basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball, flag football, and other organized sports. Qualifications: must have experience as a referee, game official, or umpire in youth leagues and tournaments. 

The pay: $11.26 to $32.10 per hour. 

Dairy scientist chemist

Wanted: a dairy scientist to perform lab analysis of raw milk using infrared and wet chemical techniques. 

The Agriculture Department is hiring for the post in Bothell, Washington, and the annual salary range is $42,042 to $154,781 per year.

CIA sign language interpreter

Flexibility is key when it comes to assignments for this sign language interpreter post with the CIA because of the variety of positions held by the agency’s deaf and hard-of-hearing employees. The job requires a diverse vocabulary and strong commitment to customer service. 

Pay: $92,091 to $133,465 per year. 

Supervisory cartographer

Are you a map nerd? The State Department is hiring a senior mapping authority in its Bureau of Intelligence and Research. The cartographer provides advice on geographic, cartographic, international boundary and sovereignty activities. 

You’ll be the State Department’s senior expert on foreign geographic names, advising department offices on the proper use and application of geographic names in publications, foreign interactions, and media statements.

Pay: $144,128 to $172,500 per year. 

National Park Service architect

The National Park Service is recruiting three full-time historical architects who also have historic preservation skills. 

You’ll be based in the Park Service’s Southeast region, and be responsible for the planning, treatment, and preservation maintenance and rehabilitation of historic and prehistoric structures. 

Pay: $66,829 to $86,881 per year.

NOAA meteorologist

Snag a gig with the National Weather Service in Fairbanks, Alaska, where winter temperatures routinely dip below -40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

As a meteorologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, you’ll forecast weather, water, and climate hazards and “produce and communicate life-saving impact-based warnings, advisories, outlooks and general forecasts.” 

Pay: $39,438 to $112,659 per year. 

Gardener at the National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, needs a gardener. You’ll help maintain 10 acres of exterior landscape, the six-acre sculpture garden, four interior gardens, nine greenhouses, and three specialty gardens. 

The job requires being able to lift 80 to 100 pounds and being able to walk for a period of four to eight hours. 

Pay: $22.75 to $26.53 per hour.

FBI special agent

If you’ve got a background in psychology and counseling, this special agent job with the FBI may be for you. 

The FBI says a social science background could significantly contribute to their work “by analyzing motives and providing professional insight to help keep people safe.”

Pay: $62,556 to $80,721 per year. 

Plant protection and quarantine officer

The Department of Agriculture needs a plant health safeguarding specialist in Houston, Texas, who can serve as a federal liaison for plant quarantine programs. The work includes import exclusion, complex treatments, export activities, permitting and compliance, and pest detection. 

Key perk: your subjects won’t give you back talk.

Pay: $50,227 to $65,297 per year.

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