GC Career Opportunities with NOAA

Our reach goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor . . .

Science, service, and stewardship: NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, ocean, and coasts; to share that knowledge and information with others; and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources. This mission makes NOAA the federal government’s premier ocean, weather, space, and coastal conservation and management agency. 

Legal services of the highest quality: NOAA GC’s mission is to advance the mission and objectives of NOAA by delivering legal services of the highest quality. NOAA GC is committed to providing sound judgment, thoughtful analysis, and constructive advice through effective communication. In an environment fostering innovation and professional development, NOAA GC staff apply the rule of law with integrity, respect for people, and commitment to excellence and the public trust.

NOAA GC Value Statements

Integrity, Innovation, Teamwork, Professional Excellence, Effective Communication, Public Service, Organizational Diversity, Inclusion

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

NOAA GC is committed to fostering a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment in which it leverages diversity to achieve mission goals and maximize the potential of individuals and NOAA. NOAA GC is working to ensure that the organization’s management practices and organizational culture reflect this commitment and create opportunities for all employees to fully contribute to the Agency’s mission and serve the Nation. For more information, please visit NOAA’s Diversity and Inclusion page

Commitment to Veterans

NOAA is a strong advocate for and maintains a firm commitment to employing U.S. veterans in all areas of our work. To note, attorney positions within NOAA GC are excepted service positions, and veterans preference does not apply to these positions as it does in the competitive service, though military service is a positive factor that we consider.  

Commitment to Hiring Individuals with Disabilities

Individuals with disabilities are important members of the diverse culture that makes up our workforce. NOAA is committed to improving employment opportunities for all individuals including disabled veterans, individuals with disabilities, and individuals with targeted disabilities.

More information about NOAA’s commitment to hiring veterans and individuals with disabilities is available at the NOAA Work With Us page.

The Role of NOAA GC

Learn more about the work of NOAA GC

NOAA GC provides legal advice to the NOAA Administrator and NOAA line and staff offices on a wide variety of cutting-edge, complex, and interesting legal issues, including:

  • protecting and managing marine resources, such as U.S. and international fisheries, marine mammals, and endangered and threatened marine species; 
  • conserving and managing ocean and coastal areas and marine sanctuaries;
  • enforcing NOAA regulations and laws under NOAA’s jurisdiction;
  • assisting U.S. Department of Justice attorneys in the defense of cases brought under NOAA-related statutes challenging NOAA actions; 
  • assessing and seeking restitution from responsible parties for damage to NOAA-managed resources; 
  • predicting and communicating weather forecasts; 
  • planning and managing Earth-observing satellite systems;
  • negotiating multilateral international environmental agreements; 
  • licensing of commercial satellites; 
  • implementing administrative and federal law requirements and procedures under statutes like the Administrative Procedure Act and the National Environmental Policy Act;
  • and more!
Client Service and Client Agencies

Client service is central to NOAA GC’s legal practice. NOAA GC attorneys work closely with our NOAA line and staff offices, other bureaus within the U.S. Department of Commerce, and other federal agencies to develop, implement, and advise on policies, programs, and strategies that advance NOAA’s mission. Line offices include: 

In addition, NOAA GC advises on cross-cutting issues involving natural resources damage assessment, environmental review, enforcement, and international matters.

In Our Own Words!

Talk directly with NOAA GC employees through the NOAA GC Ambassador Program

If you would like to learn more about working for NOAA GC, please consider reaching out to one of our NOAA GC Ambassadors. Ambassadors currently include attorneys and managers from across NOAA GC. NOAA GC Ambassadors are available to address your questions about working for NOAA GC, including workplace culture, experiences, career paths and career development, and other details. Ambassadors are an informal resource only. If you have questions about a specific career opportunity that is not addressed in the USA Jobs announcement, please contact the appropriate section. 

Hear from NOAA GC employees in their own words

In June 2022, the Environmental Law Institute and NOAA co-sponsored a panel discussion on Careers and Opportunities with NOAA. The panel featured attorneys from four different NOAA GC sections—the Oceans and Coasts Section, the Alaska Section, the Environmental Review and Coordination Section, and the Enforcement Section—and included a former honors attorney. The panel of attorneys discussed their work and backgrounds, and shared what it is like to work at NOAA GC, including the most enjoyable, interesting, and challenging components of our work! The panel also offered suggestions to law students and attorneys interested in entering federal practice and insights on how applicants can distinguish themselves during the NOAA GC hiring process. A recording of the panel presentation is provided below.

How to Apply

Embark on a new career with NOAA GC

We welcome applications from candidates who are interested in positively contributing to the mission of NOAA GC, and we hope that you will consider joining the dedicated public servants at NOAA. 

If you are interested in a career with NOAA, please check:

  • USA Jobs -- we suggest that you specifically filter for NOAA jobs and enter “0905” in the keywords search field for attorney positions; enter “0301” for program specialist positions; and enter “0950” for paralegal positions.
  • NOAA Work with Us.

If you are interested in starting your legal career as a NOAA GC Honors Attorney, please visit our Attorney Honors Program page.

If you are interested in a legal internship/externship with NOAA GC, please visit our Legal Internships/Externships page.