The U.S. Forest Service Resource Assistants Program (RAP) is a rigorous and immersive, paid experience for individuals who are interested in conservation, natural and cultural resources, environmental management, research and development, or other career opportunities with land management agencies (16 U.S. Code Chapter 37, Subchapter II).
The program emphasizes the engagement of current students, recent graduates, and underrepresented populations in natural and cultural resources work.
The RAP facilitates work and learning experiences for participants, under the mentoring and coaching of Forest Service staff, while contributing to mission-critical work that demonstrates leadership, critical thinking, and strategic communication. Although there is no limit on the total number of hours RAs can work or the time period in which they can serve, RAs may not work more than 3,500 hours over a given 2-year period. After completing a minimum of 960 hours of satisfactory work as a Resource Assistant (RA) and obtaining a post-secondary degree (associate degree or higher), RAs may become eligible for the RAP direct hire and noncompetitive hiring authorities.
The hiring eligibility is effective 2-years from the date listed on the certificate. Former RAs may use the hiring certificate to apply to permanent positions and may be considered for conversion into permanent, wage grade, temporary and seasonal positions.