How to get a U.S. census job
Posted Mar 24 2009, 06:44 AM by Karen Datko Rating: Filed under: family, Bargaineering, budgeting, getting started, income
This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.
If you're out of work or looking to supplement your income, you might want to consider working for the U.S. Census Bureau to help conduct the 2010 census. According to CNNMoney, the 2010 census will put 1.4 million people to work and is projected to cost $14 billion.
If you want to make some extra cash and you have the time, you might want to get the ball rolling on securing a job with the Census Bureau.
Available jobs. Pay varies depending on the region, but census takers in Maryland earn anywhere from $11.34 an hour to $15.21 an hour. To find the pay schedule in your region, go to this regional offices map and click on your region. Then click on "Regional Employment" on the lefthand side to open up the page listing all the possible openings. You may or may not find the pay schedules for each position on the Regional Employment page. The jobs include four days of paid training.
Census taker. Most of the positions are for census takers, people who go around the community to verify address lists, conduct interviews and collect the census. The work schedule will be 20 to 40 hours a week, with much flexibility involved. In the case of address canvassing (verifying address lists), you'd be expected to do it during daylight hours. In the case of interviewing tasks like non-response follow-up (finding out why people haven't filled out and sent back the census), you'd be doing it at night or on weekends when people are home.
Crew leaders/assistants. These are office and clerical jobs where you manage and coordinate the schedules of census takers and meet with each census taker daily. At local offices, there may be standard office work during normal business hours, including shifts, and there's a little flexibility involved.
How to apply. The U.S. Census Bureau has a very easy to understand page about how you can apply. First, call the jobs line at (866) 861-2010 to schedule an appointment to take the employment test. If you use TTY, the number is (800) 877-8339 to get relayed. You can also download the census employment application and Form I-9, employment eligibility verification, from this page. You will need to bring both to your test along with the necessary forms of identification.
The census employment test. The census employment test is a 30-minute test designed to test your suitability for field work. The bureau offers a sample test for field employee positions (.pdf file) to help you prepare. There are five sections: clerical skills, reading skills, number skills, interpreting information and evaluating alternatives, and organizational skills. It's not a difficult test but it does test a variety of areas, things you probably never saw on a standardized test before.
Regional offices. When you call the number, you're calling the national office, but hiring is done at the regional level. After you schedule your exam, I recommend that you contact your regional office to find out if there are jobs there that you can apply for. The main number is for census takers ("field employee positions") but there may be alternatives in the regional offices. You can look on this map to find your regional office (there are 12) and drill down to the local centers (there are 150).
Act quickly if you are seriously interested. They hope to hire most of their employees by May 2009.
The wait list for testing is full right now, here is the St. Louis # to call to get on it: 314 802 9410