Bureau of Land Management Job Descriptions
The Bureau of Land Management is a major department under the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The BLM offers a long list of full- time and seasonal job opportunities, as well as volunteer opportunities for people who want to work in the great outdoors.
Most of the bureau’s offices are located throughout the westernmost states of the U.S., although there are several offices located in the more remote areas of the east coast as well. The office is responsible for managing much of the country’s publicly owned land and is responsible for programs involving wildlife habitats, mineral deposits, energy, conservation, time, recreation, paleontology, historical land use, and more. People who choose to work for the BLM may work in a wide variety of environmental conditions, including forests, high mountain areas, arctic tundra, prairie grasslands, and deserts.
FACT! The BLM manages over 40 percent of the land managed by the U.S. government. That’s roughly 13 percent of the total U.S. land surface today.
Seasonal Job Descriptions
Each summer, the BLM hires thousands of individuals to work as aides and technicians within the park system. Most of these positions are located in the west, and are ideal for students and teachers, as well as for others who want to spend their summer working out in the American wilderness. Many of these positions require specialized skills, but others are open to anyone who has an interest in them.
- Biological Aides and Technicians work in the field surveying land for the BLM. The surveys may include locating, counting and categorizing soil, plants, and wildlife and fish habitats.
- Range Management positions provide security and protection for various areas of the parks. Individuals who take these positions patrol the grounds for trespassers and handle incident reports.
- Surveying Aides assist surveyors in the field, helping keep track of important data, as well as monitoring and maintaining equipment. Most of these positions are located in very remote areas with little to no contact with individuals not involved in the project.
- Forestry Aides and Technicians often perform a great deal of manual labor. The forestry division provides the largest and broadest categories for summer work. While all of the forestry aide and technician positions are in the outdoors, they are not all located in remote locations. Aide and tech duties may involve cutting and trimming trees, planting trees for reforestation, inspecting trees and plants for diseases and assessing the health of the forests. They may also mark trees, gather seeds and assist in fire prevention and firefighting. The most popular of these positions is smokejumper.
- Conservation Aides and Technicians generally work closely with full-time employees. Their duties are varied, but they all have the goal of promoting good stewardship of the land, promoting conservation and improving the land without harming the environment.
Career Paths Within the BLM
Many people start their careers with the BLM as part-time summer employees, and then find that they love the work and environment too much to do anything else. Most of the positions available as part-time summer employment have full-time counterparts. In addition to the many permanent, full-time aide and technician jobs, the bureau also employs geoscientists who work in the fields of geology, physical science and civil engineering, as well as areas like mining, petroleum, hydrology and land conservation.
In addition to field crews, BLM also has positions common to any type of office or business, such as those in accounting, marketing, human resources, web technology, security and general office administration. People who want to make a difference in land and natural resource conservation, but who aren’t comfortable or capable of doing field work, are often drawn to these support positions within the Bureau of Land Management.
Did You Know? The BLM is responsible for maintaining over 245 million acres of surface land and just over 700 million acres that are considered subsurface lands.
The BLM offers many advantages for the job seeker who wants a creative and challenging work environment. Those advantages include diversity of jobs and job sites, opportunities for advancement, excellent benefits, great co-workers and a high level of job security.
- The BLM hires thousands of seasonal summer workers and many full-time permanent employees
- Most seasonal employees work outdoors in the wilderness, usually in one of the western states.
- The most popular BLM seasonal job is smokejumper, a position in which individuals parachute into fire areas.
- Not all people who work for the BLM work outside. The BLM also employs many support workers in all sorts of office positions.