How Can I Get A Job In Antarctica?

All US research stations in Antarctica are operated by the US National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF handles high level decision making for the US Antarctica Program (USAP), and is in charge of anything involving the actual science taking place in Antarctica. For day to day operations, the NSF has contracted to Raytheon Polar Services Company, a division of Raytheon Technical Services, division of Raytheon. Hopefully those divisions within divisions give you an idea of how big, and sometimes evil, Raytheon can be. On top of Raytheon many positions are also subcontracted to an Alaskan company, NANA.

Raytheon and NANA combined run the stations, and their employees are the majority of the inhabitants at each of the three US research stations. Raytheon handles nearly all station tasks except for those related to food or cleaning. NANA on the other hand only handles tasks related to food and cleaning.

So what job is right for me?

If you don’t have any technical skills, ex. you majored in English or Philosophy, then your best bet is to work for NANA. The two entry level jobs are Dining Assistant (DA) and Janitor. DA is probably the most popular first year job in Antarctica. The DA position involves general food service work such as cleaning, putting out food etc etc, and the fun stuff like washing dishes for 1000 people. The job is bad, the pay is bad, but you get to hang out in Antarctica and the people are great, which makes it worth it.

If you have a specific trade skill such as information technology, electrical, plumbing, or heavy equipment operation, then you’ll most likely want to work for Raytheon. Think of any technical job that a small city would need, and most likely Raytheon hires for that position. The only issue you’ll encounter is many people here come back year after year, and those people get the first chance to apply for their existing position so some positions have no openings year after year.

Where to apply?

There are several methods for getting a job. The first is applying online. This is how I got my position in Antarctica and many other people simply apply online and are hired. For Raytheon you can apply online at www.rayjobs.com. You create an account and state your region of interest. They send you updates every time a new job matches your profile. For NANA you can apply online at jobs.nana.com. I don’t know anything about how this works since I don’t work for NANA, but I would assume it’s a similar process to Raytheon’s. There is also the job fair, which the majority of the entry level workers I have spoken to attended. This helps to put a face to your resume and might be what you need to actually get a job. Raytheon Job Fair Site

2 comments

  1. Jeffrey Jacobs

    Hello,

    Thank you for the incredible amount of information that you have posted. This information is so helpful for first-timers trying to get on the ice. I am probably considered “non-technical” and am currently applying for support function roles for Summer 2014. Gana-A ‘Yoo is managing the food, housing, recreational, retail, janitorial and postal positions this year so that’s where I’m starting. In addition, I’m very interested in the GA position. From what I understand Raytheon used to manage these contracts, but that has since shifted to Lockheed. These positions are not yet posted, however.

    Are you familiar with the GA application process and who is managing those contracts this year? Is there anyone that you would recommend connecting with for more information?

    Warm regards,
    Jeff

  2. Robert S Sloan

    I still have a year to go befor I retire . I am a WL10 work leader working on all types of hummers .Just looking to see whats type of jobs are available.

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