Job Opportunities with ISB

An ISB Special Agent crouches near a stream bank. She wears a green jacket with the words "Police" and "Federal Agent" printed across the back.
Our core mission is the immediate and long-term protection of park resources, visitors, assets, employees, and residents.

NPS photo of an ISB Special Agent.

Thank you for your interest in a career with the Investigative Services Branch

While we do not currently have an open position, we hope you will take a look at our sample vacancy announcement (scroll down). It may help you prepare for a future opportunity with the Investigative Services Branch. Please check for our next Special Agent vacancy announcement, and filter by Series 1811 (Criminal Investigator).

We offer Inclusion and Diversity, Detailer, and Internship programs as well - ask us about them!

For more information about becoming a law enforcement officer (US Park Ranger) with the National Park Service, please click here. For information about law enforcement training and employment processes in the National Park Service, please click here.

US Park Rangers and Special Agents often work with both fixed wing and rotor aircraft - some are even pilots. Please click here for information about aviation jobs with the National Park Service (NPS). Operations and locations are explained in further detail on "Aircraft Pilot Positions with the National Park Service."

Current and future student employees of the National Park Service may find a wealth of helpful information at the NPS Student Employees social media page. This network is a student-focused Employee Resource Group that aims to foster idea sharing and professional development for current and future students employed by the National Park Service. Comprised of student employees, hiring officials, and other advocates from all seven NPS regions, the network acts as a liaison between hiring officials, human resources, and students, to facilitate discussion about challenges specific to student employees and to seek innovative solutions where possible. They work to make the NPS a healthier and more fulfilling place for students to find their careers.

Sample vacancy announcement for a Special Agent with the NPS Investigative Services Branch:
Note: Past and future vacancy announcements may vary from this sample.


Job Title: GS-1811 Criminal Investigator

Department: Department Of The Interior

Agency: National Park Service

Job Announcement Number: [N/A]


Number of Vacancies: [NONE] at this time. This announcement may be used to fill additional similar vacancies nationwide.

The National Park Service (NPS) is one of the most visible and most beloved of all Federal agencies. We care for and conserve special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage. From the Statue of Liberty to the geysers of Yellowstone, to the vistas of the Grand Canyon and the volcanoes of Hawai'i, the National Park Service is part of the fabric of American life. You can be part of this exciting and important mission.

This position is a Criminal Investigator (Special Agent) with the incumbent reporting to an Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) for the Investigative Services Branch (ISB). As part of the NPS Visitor and Resource Protection Directorate, ISB resides within the Division of Law Enforcement, Security and Emergency Services (LESES). This division provides policy formulation, oversight, support services, guidance, and leadership to assist park managers and law enforcement staff in accomplishing NPS visitor protection goals and objectives.

ISB Special Agents provide critical investigative and other law enforcement support to park and regional law enforcement programs with a Core Mission to provide immediate and long-term protection of park resources, visitors, assets, employees and residents. This is accomplished through detection, investigation, apprehension, and successful prosecution of persons who violate the laws of the United States of America while within, or while affecting, the National Park System.

LAUTENBERG AMENDMENT: Any person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence cannot lawfully possess a firearm or ammunition. Candidates who have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence are not eligible for this position. Candidates under consideration will be required to certify whether they have ever been convicted of such an offense. False or fraudulent information provided by candidates is criminally punishable by fine or imprisonment.


  • Occasional Travel
  • This position may require extensive travel, often with short notice. Travel may include Temporary Duty assignments of up to 120 days at NPS areas throughout the United States of America

RELOCATION AUTHORIZED: PCS (Permanent Change of Station) allowance To Be Determined


  • Must obtain and maintain a National Park Service Law Enforcement Type 1 Commission
  • Must have prior experience in a primary law enforcement position
  • Must be able to legally possess firearms under the Gun Control Act of 1968
  • Must have and maintain a valid driver's license
  • Must pass a pre-employment medical examination
  • Subject to pre-employment and random drug testing
  • Must sign a Mobility Agreement
  • Follow Physical Efficiency Battery (PEB) guidelines
  • Must submit your complete application and all supporting documents


Investigations involve the full range of such law enforcement activities as:

  • Surveillance
  • Participating in execution of warrants
  • Interrogating suspects
  • Filing affidavits for and obtaining search warrants for physical evidence
  • Seizure of contraband, equipment and vehicles
  • Serving search warrants
  • Securing arrest warrants
  • Transporting prisoners
  • Collecting evidence for presentation to U.S. Attorneys and other legal officers
  • Preparing detailed reports
  • Conducting covert operations

As a Special Agent you will:

  • Work in cooperation with other federal and state agencies, the parks and other National Park Service entities in enforcing laws.
  • Coordinate, cooperate and enlist the assistance and support of federal, state and local law enforcement officers and coordinate investigative efforts with them.
  • Determine and direct the most effective manner for developing and executing an investigation.
  • Continually evaluate each investigation and determine at what stage to initiate major actions, purchase of evidence, conducting searches and seizures, expansion or curtailment of cases and apprehension and arrests of persons suspected of violating the provisions of the law.
  • Prepare investigative reports presenting necessary aspects of the investigation in sufficient detail with proper emphasis and highest degree of accuracy in support of prosecution.
  • Analyze intelligence and use link analysis to determine relationships of individuals and organization of criminal enterprises.
  • In coordination with regional office and park staffs, consult with U.S. Attorneys during development of investigations and all aspects of preparation for trial.
  • Testify in federal and state criminal or civil proceedings.


All qualifications and time in grade requirements must be met by the closing date of this announcement.

To qualify at the GS-11, applicants must have 1 year of specialized experience at the GL-9/GS-9 level in the federal service. Specialized experience is that which has equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills and abilities to perform successfully the duties of this position. This experience must have involved the performance of law enforcement duties including experience investigating, apprehending, arresting and detaining individuals related to alleged violations of federal or state laws; testifying in federal or state court; securing search and arrest warrants through process of affidavit; collecting evidence in compliance with applicable laws and procedures; developing intelligence data on individuals and organizations known or suspected of criminal activity; and performing undercover assignments.


You must have a Ph.D. or doctoral degree in a field related to law enforcement, or successfully completed three (3) full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree in a field related to law enforcement.


A combination of specialized experience as described above and more than two (2) years graduate education as described above which totals at least one year. To compute, divide your total months of qualifying experience by 12. Then divide your semester hours of graduate education beyond two (2) years by 18. Add the two (2) percentages. The total percentage must equal at least 100% to qualify.

To qualify for the GS-12 grade level you must have at least one year (12 months) of full-time specialized experience at the GS-11 grade level in the federal service. Specialized experience at the GS-11 level includes: Planning and conducting complex and sensitive investigations; researching evidence or clues; conducting surveillance operations; participating in raids and/or seizures; interviewing and interrogating arrested suspects; and consulting with U.S. Attorneys.

This position requires the applicant have prior experience in a primary law enforcement position.

Requirements when selecting Specialty Codes: Please refer to the specialty code requirements below when selecting a specialty code for consideration.

001 – Merit Promotion

  • Current National Park Service employees who are eligible for promotion


  • who are on a permanent Career or Career-Conditional appointment at a grade below that for which you would like to be considered (i.e., must be currently at a GS-9 or GS-11 grade level). (Applicant must have been in either the GS-9 or GS-11 grade for 52 consecutive weeks at the close of this announcement.)


  • Current, permanent (non-temporary) National Park Service employees on a Career or Career-Conditional appointment who is at the GS-12 or higher grade level or who has previously competed for a position that has the same promotion potential as shown in this announcement.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) and/or Competencies:

Your qualifications will be evaluated on the basis of your level of knowledge, skills, abilities and/or competencies in the following areas:

  1. Knowledge of U.S. criminal statutes; federal rules of criminal procedure; rules of evidence; precedent court decisions; and laws and decisions relating to search, seizure, arrest.
  2. Knowledge of investigative techniques and methods to include: evidence collection and analysis; intelligence gathering; use of informants; physical and electronic surveillance; undercover operations; search warrant service; court orders; grand jury subpoenas; use of technical equipment such as remote sensors, covert cameras, tracking devices, and body wires; and interviewing and interrogation.
  3. Ability to successfully conduct a wide range of criminal investigations into the following: fatalities, violent crimes, property crimes, crimes against hchildren, natural and cultural resources crimes, and controlled substance crimes.
  4. Ability to prepare accurate and detailed written reports of investigation; affidavits in support of criminal complaints; affidavits in support of search warrants; prosecution referrals; and other documents supporting criminal investigations.
  5. Demonstrated skill in oral communications to include presenting cases for prosecution and testifying in criminal proceedings.


This position is covered by the Law Enforcement Retirement System and the incumbent is eligible for Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP). This position requires that criminal investigators work, or be available to work, substantial amounts of unscheduled duty based on the needs of the service. This position is designated as a primary law enforcement position for the purpose of retirement. The maximum age for initial entry into this position is 36. If you are 37 or older, or will shortly reach your 37th birthday and have previously served in a federal civilian law enforcement position, you may be exempt from this age restriction. A background security investigation will be required for all employees who do not have a current one on file. Appointment will be subject to applicant's successful completion of background security investigation, including drug screening, and favorable adjudication. Appointment will be subject to the applicant meeting the medical standards qualifications. Applicants must participate in ongoing fitness training. Failure to successfully meet these requirements will be grounds for termination. As a condition of employment, Criminal Investigators sign a Mobility Agreement acknowledging that duty location is determined by the needs of the NPS; therefore may be reassigned to different geographic locations throughout their tenure. This position authorizes the selectee to carry a firearm. You must be able to legally possess firearms under the terms of the Gun Control Act of 1968. In accordance with the Executive Order for a Drug-Free Federal Workplace, applicants selected for this position are required to submit to a drug screening and receive a negative drug test result prior to appointment. In addition, this position is a drug-testing designated position, subject to random testing for illegal drug use. You will be required to complete a Confidential Financial Disclosure Report initially and annually thereafter.


Once the application process is complete, a review of your application will be made to ensure you meet the job requirements. To determine if you are qualified for this job, a review of your application and supporting documentation will be made and compared against your responses to the occupational questionnaire. The score is a measure of the degree to which your background matches the knowledge, skills and abilities required of this position. If, after reviewing your resume and or supporting documentation, a determinations is made that you have inflated your qualifications and/or experience, your score can and will be adjusted to more accurately reflect your abilities.

Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Your qualifications will be evaluated on the basis of your level of knowledge, skills, abilities and/or competencies listed in the vacancy announcement.

ICTAP/CTAP: Qualified individuals applying based on special priority consideration rights under the Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) or the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) must be well-qualified for the position to receive consideration for special priority selection. To be considered well-qualified for this purpose, you must clearly meet all qualification requirements specified for this position including any selective factors identified, and must also clearly meet the fully satisfactory or equivalent level for each of the rating factors (knowledge, skills, abilities, and competencies) required for this position as specified below. This includes a copy of the agency notice, a copy of their most recent Performance Rating and a copy of their most recent SF-50 (Notification of Personnel Action) noting current position, grade level, and duty location. Please annotate your application to reflect that you are applying as a CTAP or ICTAP eligible for this position.


The Federal government offers a comprehensive benefits package; you may explore the major benefits offered to most Federal employees.


Promotion Potential: When promotion potential is shown, the agency is not making a commitment and is not obligated to provide future promotions to you if you are selected. Future promotions will be dependent on your ability to perform the duties at a higher level, the continuing need for an employee assigned to the higher level, and administrative approval.


To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package which includes:

  1. Your Résumé
  2. A complete Occupational Questionnaire
  3. Additional Required Documents (see Required Documents section below)


  • Résumé or application
  • Responses to the questionnaire
  • SF-50 (Notification of Personnel Action) documenting the appointment such as the initial hire, promotion; or reassignment, showing position title, series and grade (do not submit SF-50s for Awards, Within-Grade Increases, or Pay Adjustments)
  • If you are using education for qualification: List of college courses, with credit hours, major(s), and grade point average or class ranking. (Prior to appointment, an official college transcript will be required.)
  • Most recent Performance Appraisal
  • NPS Type I Law Enforcement (LE) Commission Number

ISB: the Investigative Services Branch of the National Park Service
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Please check for future job opportunities with the Investigative Services Branch
Please check for future job opportunities with the Investigative Services Branch

Last updated: October 24, 2018