US Forest Service Reviews

Updated July 14, 2014
Updated July 14, 2014
41 Reviews

4.1
41 Reviews
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  1.  

    It was a wonderful experience in which i help customers daily resolve issues and problems related to their operating sys

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Technical Support Advisor  in  Sandy, UT
    Current Employee - Technical Support Advisor in Sandy, UT

    I have been working at US Forest Service full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    The through training. Positive feedback. Hours of operation. Potential for overtime. The opportunity for advancement within the company was very appealing.

    Cons

    None really. I mean your just have to make sure that you are on time. Sometimes you might be on a call at the end of your shift and that call may go an hour over.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2.  

    Loved the people I worked with but impossible to get a permanent position.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Redding, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redding, CA

    I worked at US Forest Service as a contractor for more than a year

    Pros

    Once you are permanent there are plenty of opportunities to advance and learn new skills. Good benefits. Co workers are typically awesome

    Cons

    Getting a permanent position is a joke even for veterans. They advertise that they hire vets but it doesn't actually happen. Politics are really bad, therefore unqualified people are placed in positions instead of hiring well qualified people from outside the agency.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Look at all applicants.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  3.  

    Agency Bogged Down by Politics

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Bishop, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bishop, CA

    I worked at US Forest Service full-time

    Pros

    You can occasionally get outside!

    Cons

    Dated processes that are always changing, making administrative tasks take forever!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to your people on the front lines

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  5.  

    Great opportunity. Exposure to large projects.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Civil Engineer  in  Sacramento, CA
    Current Employee - Civil Engineer in Sacramento, CA

    I have been working at US Forest Service full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Central project role ion all phases,

    Cons

    Remote location and extreme weather

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Offer advice to improve advancement chances.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
  6.  

    "Forestry Technician/Aid"

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Forestry Technician  in  Chester, CA
    Former Employee - Forestry Technician in Chester, CA

    I worked at US Forest Service as a contractor for more than 5 years

    Pros

    You get to be a part of a team and see a lot of cool places. This job is great for young people who aren't married. You go on fires for weeks and come back with a bank account full of money.

    Cons

    There are a lot of people in positions that they shouldn't be. Make sure you find a good captain who is knowledgable. Bad decisions can get you in life threatening situations. Also, it can be tough in the summer if you have a significant other at home.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't promote people by sending them off to a different district. Felt like there were a lot of people who had no idea what they are doing in high positions. Feels weird when a captain is asking questions the a first year employee would ask or when your bosses boss calls you an idiot for going to college.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Not the professional organization I thought it was.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Recreation Technician
    Former Employee - Recreation Technician

    I worked at US Forest Service full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    I got tot work in some of the most beautiful countryside imaginable.

    Cons

    Very Veteran unfriendly despite what the official publications say. Your co-workers and supervisors generally (with exceptions) fall into two categories. petty bureaucrats, drunk with the power they hold of their minute slice of of the Federal pie. The second folks who started out with good intentions, but have had their will broken by the system but are caught up in it because they have a substantial amount of time in or it provides benefits.
     Very top down. You cant even write an letter on FS letterhead without a 3 week process of back and forth to the Supervisors office.
    Poor, poor, leadership They are just there for their paycheck. If you have problems its all self-service.
     I could go on but I'll stop.
    If you want to work for a Federal land management agency, try the NPS I've heard they are better. BLM is just as bad as is NWS. Better yet go with a State agency.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Put the Service back into the Forest. Let the Districts run themselves. Get rid of dead weight, which is most anybody above the grade of GS-9

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  8.  

    Great work but horrible pay and treatment by HR

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Wildland Firefighter
    Former Employee - Wildland Firefighter

    I worked at US Forest Service full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Your co-workers will become your best friends, your supervisors are (for the most part) outstanding, you will be rewarded in measure for how hard and effectively you work, you will see the entire western US and all the great outdoors it has to offer. Getting the winter off is a huge plus if you view it that way.

    Cons

    You make less than half of what city firefighters make for working a much more demanding schedule and more fires in one season than a typical city firefighter sees in a whole career, and if you are temporary (like most guys) you get no benefits either. During fire season, you will be gone from home pretty much the entire time. It makes it hard to have a personal life. Additionally, the work actually is pretty dangerous, and very difficult physically. Especially if you are taller, you can end up with some pretty messed up joints (knees, ankles) if you stick with it long enough. The big ones are that there is no work during the winter, and your seasonal pay is dependant entirely on how many fires there are...which can make it hard financially, especially if you have a family. Of course, satisfied firefighters view these cons favorably in terms of the excitement and adventure they provide.

    The only real complaint is the way the Forest Service HR, admin and Washington Office folks treat firefighters. There is a big dichotomy between those folks and various "relics" of the old-school FS, such as firefighters. As a gung-ho, hardworking individual who believes in getting stuff done, you will be crucified (along with all of your co-workers) by admin every chance they get... don't mean to gripe, but it's hard not to after all the absolute **** that got flung at us. The BLM is a better agency to work for in this regard.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Re-institute the expectation that district rangers and all other admin start out as temporary firefighters (or a similar grunt level position) and work their way up through the ranks. It is hard to make the argument that in an agency that does work as unique as the USFS, that someone who has never done any of it can effectively manage it. The USFS certainly is not being run anywhere near as well under this system as it was back in the day, despite the fact that we do far less as an agency now. You are losing many of your best employees due to this.

    Don't treat firefighters like pawns in some Affirmative Action chess game. If you want more diversity in the ranks, do the real work of outreach and recruitment. Under the current system, you've created a situation where any time someone sees a "diversity candidate" on the fireline, the immediate thought is that that person probably isn't qualified for the job (basically, a watch out situation if you are in that person's chain of command)...definitely not a good situation, nor the way it should be and not the way it needs to be, but unfortunately the way it now is. I should add that I had the pleasure to work with very well qualified and capable "diversity candidates" so I know there are more out there if you would just recruit them.

    Increase pay, provide benefits to everyone, give control over hiring exclusively to supts., with no input from HR or admin (i.e. district ranger, forest supervisor, etc. even FMOs). Control overhead costs on large fires. Plan your budgets multiple years ahead of time and you will save a ton by purchasing higher quality equipment that will last longer. Don't require gloves for chainsaw PPE (leather gloves have no traction, so the saw slipping out of my hands was always a bigger concern than scratching my hands on thorns was. It's always possible to put gloves on before handling the chain).

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  9.  

    Forestry Technician IHC TEMP

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Forestry Technician  in  Foresthill, CA
    Former Employee - Forestry Technician in Foresthill, CA

    I worked at US Forest Service full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Extremely rewarding to be on a Hotshot crew. Great training opportunity, Tons of overtime, PT every day, compared to other agencies it seamed like we did not take as many risks

    Cons

    Moving up can be very difficult depending on your area(Northern California)
    Not much summer recreation time available, compared to state agency, poor medical plans and equipment available.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  10.  

    Civil Engineer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Civil Engineer  in  Ogden, UT
    Current Employee - Civil Engineer in Ogden, UT

    I have been working at US Forest Service full-time

    Pros

    Benefits are better than benefits in smaller companies. The ability to have a maxi flex schedule, management is fairly relax and allows you to come and go as needed as long as you get your work accomplished in a timely manner.

    Cons

    Like most large organizations people tend to create empires in thier respective departments and don't get along well with others. There is a sense of entitlement among some employees who feel the Federal Government owes them more than their current salary.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Grow a spine.

    Recommends
  11.  

    The Most Fun and Adventurous Job I Have Ever Had (I've Had a Lot of Jobs).

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Engineering Equipment Operator  in  Sparks, NV
    Former Employee - Engineering Equipment Operator in Sparks, NV

    I worked at US Forest Service full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Outdoors in America's most beautiful places.

    Cons

    Hard to become permanent employee. Need to be a qualified Armed Forces Veteran or have a Bachelor's Degree, sometimes both or more.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Train your employees to take over permanent positions. You will retain loyal, quality people.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook

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