The AAP needs highly-skilled and passionate people to support Australia’s activities on the icy continent, where we undertake world-class scientific research to deliver national priorities and answer key questions of global significance.

General information

The Australian Antarctic Program (AAP) is led by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), based in Kingston, Tasmania, which is part of the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE).

Australia has three research stations in Antarctica – Casey, Davis and Mawson – and one on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island. Each station is similar to a small town with a diverse and dedicated workforce of station leaders, tradespeople, scientists, doctors, chefs and communications experts. Expeditioners are supported by AAD staff based in Hobart, experienced in Antarctic policy, law, operations, medicine and science.

Success as an Antarctic expeditioner relies on being content with your decision to leave your home and family to live and work in Antarctica. Separation can be challenging for you and for those who remain at home, and you should carefully consider what effect separation from your family and friends might have. The AAD Separation Guide is designed to better understand and manage the demands of an extended period of separation from family and friends.

The selection process

Applications for the expeditioner roles for the 2022/2023 AAP commences 14 December 2021. The date will vary from year to year but generally occurs around this time.

The selection process can take up to 8 months to complete. Due to the unique nature of deployment, the process is comprehensive and will include a written application, on-demand video interview, medical checklist, assessment centre (or a behavioural interview for returning expeditioners), technical interview, online behavioural assessment and a medical and psychological assessment.

Selection criteria

It is important you read the position description to understand the requirements and duties of the role.

Within the position’s technical requirements, you must have the essential skills and licences specified to be selected for the role. It is therefore important to clearly state within your online application how you meet the essential skills and attach copies of all licenses and qualifications.

Some jobs also list ‘highly desirable’ and/or ‘desirable’ requirements, and having some or all of these requirements may make you more competitive for a job. If you don’t have them (or only have a few), but you meet the essential requirements, we still encourage you to apply.

Personal Qualities criteria and other criteria such as security clearances are assessed at a later stage in the recruitment process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take me to complete my online application?

Generally, between 45 and 90 minutes.

Do I have to be an Australian citizen?

You must be an Australian citizen, Australian resident with work rights in Australia, or a New Zealand citizen.

Please note: Jobs requiring a security clearance are only open to Australian citizens.

Applications from persons who are not Australian citizens will usually only be considered where there are no suitable Australian applicants.

Am I too old?

There is no age restriction for expeditioner roles but applicants must pass a comprehensive medical assessment.

How long will I be employed for?

This depends on whether you are a summer or winter expeditioner, but generally between 4 and 15 months. The length of your employment will include a period of pre-departure training in Hobart, which is mandatory and can take between 2 and 10 weeks to complete.

Summer expeditioners usually start work in September or October and are employed for between 4 and 6 months, and will return to Australia in March or April the following year.

Winter expeditioners can start as early as July, or as late as January the next year depending on which station you are going to. If you are employed at Casey or Davis you can expect to depart Hobart in October or November, returning approximately 12 months later. If you are employed at Mawson or Macquarie Island, you will generally depart Hobart in March or April and return around the same time the following year. Start dates for expeditioners employed at either of these two stations may be as early as November. Expeditioners employed in winter jobs will complete both a winter and summer season in Antarctica.

When completing your application, you will be asked to indicate your preference for a summer or winter job (or both) when you apply.

Do you employ nurses or other medical professions?

Each station has a qualified and registered medical practitioner who provides complete medical, surgical, and dental care, including aviation and maritime medicine. We do not employ nurses, paramedics, psychologists or other health professions.

I applied in the last three years – am I required to attend an assessment centre again?

All candidates who are shortlisted for the 2022/2023 AAP season will be invited to attend an assessment centre.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements

All persons participating in the AAP will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to deployment.

How can I find out more?

Download the PDF version of this page: Application process for jobs in Antarctica PDF

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