Ice and Medicine at the end of the earth

50. What are the requirements to work in Antarctica. Who do you have to talk to?


Glad to hear I may have converted at least one person to have the Antarctic dream!!  There are a ton of jobs down here and all you have to do is apply.  Many people apply multiple years before they get accepted.  The most common entry level job is janitor or dining assistant.  They seem to have a lot of fun!  You can also be a general assistant, work in carpentry, be an electrician, a shuttle drive, firefighter, paramedic and any other job you can imagine would be needed to support science and keep a small town functioning efficiently.

The current contractor to provide the support staff at McMurdo, South Pole and Palmer is Raytheon and NANA.  Both fall under the USAP (United States Antarctic Program).  Their contract has been extended by one year.  I believe you have to be at least 18 years old.  And ready to work hard and have an awesome adventure!!  You can get more info at:  Raytheon USAP .  They list the following requirements:

In addition to your skills and experience, you must meet several other requirements that have been established under the guidance of the National Science Foundation. Failure to meet these requirements may result in withdrawal of an employment offer.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • You must have a valid passport or the ability to obtain one.
  • After receiving an offer of employment, you must pass:
    • A pre-employment background check.
    • A pre-employment drug screen.
    • Stringent physical and dental examinations.
    • A psychological examination (winter season only).

Once hired, you must comply with applicable safety, environment, health, and waste management policies and procedures, and be committed to completing your employment contract in Antarctica.


After you sign an alternate or primary contract, you have to pass a age appropriate physical and dental exam, also known as the “PQ exam.”  Once you are PQ’d, you can spend a season on the ice!  If you are still interested in spending time in Antarctica after graduation, I would be happy to chat with you some more closer to application time!

7 responses

  1. Judy Bishop

    Is it true that those who are interviewed to work in Antartica are asked to have their wisdom teeth removed and other items removed to mitigate emergency health care emergencies?

    February 4, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    • In some cases, I do think people have to have their wisdom teeth removed – certain criteria must be met. And all dental work has to be done prior to deployment (ie. cavities etc). The US base does not require workers or scientists to have their appendix removed. You cannot winter over with known gallstones without having your gallbladder removed.

      December 22, 2012 at 6:01 AM

  2. Hi,

    I am Ashwini, a resident of India. I wanted to know whether non U.S ciizens could apply as well for the program? I am a fresh graduate and in search of something exicting. Could you kindly brief me regarding the same, I would be glad to hear from you.


    November 1, 2012 at 7:47 AM

    • dhruv sharma

      Hi ashwini..i too am interested in this and have just begun my research into how one can work in Antarctica.. You can mail me on It would be cool if we coud share our findings.

      April 23, 2013 at 10:18 PM

  3. kenneth Beavers

    do they hire Nurses in Antarctica

    February 28, 2014 at 3:26 AM

    • Yes. There are nurses at McMurdo station

      February 28, 2014 at 2:55 PM

  4. Joseph Johns

    I am a Canadian Citizen I have worked at the North Pole and various places in the north. I would like to work in the Antartica, I have applied for jobs there. I find it frustrating that there is no one to contact to discuss what is required to gain employment.At most some job postings say you must be a US citizen, yet there are people working there from all over the world.It would be nice to have contact with some one who can point me in the right direction as to get employment there as a trade person. I am quite aware of the polar regions, climate, weather, conditions etc. I have been to Greenland Iceland etc. Any help with establishing work in the Antartic would be appreciated.

    November 22, 2018 at 12:55 PM

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