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Find Your Career at NOAA Research

Have you ever considered working for NOAA? The Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) offers a range of opportunities depending on your career stage and aspirations. Within OAR, there are career opportunities for scientists, data analysts, engineers, technicians, software developers, sociologists, meteorologists, and other roles pertaining to studying our Earth system. There are also many occupations in OAR that pertain to the business of government. These include positions such as budget and policy analysts, and human resources, communications, information technology, and administrative support staff.

Each of these types of careers may be available at one of OAR’s 10 research laboratories, six program offices, or within OAR headquarters offices. Currently, there are over 2,300 people working across OAR as federal employees, contractors, university employees, or as short-term interns or fellows. Here are some of the key differences between the types of different roles:

Federal Employees

Federal Employees are directly employed by the government. NOAA federal positions are filled through USAJobs and can be searched for using the keyword “NOAA.” For more information on the federal hiring process, please visit NOAA’s Work With Us or the Office of Personnel Management’s help center.


Contractors are hired by companies awarded periodic contracts to support the NOAA mission. Specific locations can provide additional information about contracting companies who provide services at their location.

Cooperative Institutes

Cooperative Institutes and Cooperative Science Centers are formal partnerships with universities across the United States who support NOAA’s research mission. These university employees often work side-by-side with NOAA employees and may be based within one of OAR’s 10 laboratories. Please visit each Cooperative Institute or Cooperative Science Center webpage to learn more about their science focus and available positions.

Sea Grant State Programs

Sea Grant State Programs are located on 34 university campuses in every coastal and Great Lake state, Puerto Rico, and Guam. This network of university employees includes more than 3,000 scientists, engineers, public outreach experts, educators and students who strive to help citizens better understand, conserve and utilize America’s coastal resources. There are many different career and student opportunities available from Sea Grant.

Learn more about what we do and how we do it by reading about our workforce.

Additional Career Opportunities and Resources

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