Employment Process Details

How to Apply

The State of Montana is committed to fair employment opportunities. Each recruitment and selection procedure is developed before reviewing the application materials. The selection procedures have written job-related criteria to evaluate the applicant's qualifications.

State job listings and the online employment application may be found on the State of Montana Employment Information Website, a site devoted entirely to State of Montana job opportunites. These listings are also available at Montana Job Service Workforce Centers. Agencies also post job listings on their public bulletin board.

The State of Montana has a decentralized human resources system. There is no central recruitment or testing. Recruitment and selection are handled by the individual state agencies. For information concerning specific job listings, contact the state agency human resources staff identified on the job listing.

In addition to job listings found on the State of Montana Employment Information Website, you may check classified ads in major Montana newspapers for some job listings. Ads usually appear on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Vacancy Announcements

Vacancy announcements also referred to as job listings, contain information such as title, grade or band, salary, location, full-time or part-time, permanent or temporary, and descriptions of duties, and qualifications. They also include educational requirements, position closing dates, and additional requirements such as supplemental questions, proficiency tests, and transcripts.

A vacancy announcement is a VERY IMPORTANT document to applicants seeking state employment. Applicants should read the duties, knowledge, skills and behaviors VERY CAREFULLY so they can tailor their application and any additional requirements to the specific position.

Employment Preference

Employment Preference allows applicants to claim a preference under the Veterans' Public Employment Preference Act or the Persons with Disabilities Public Employment Preference Act. Applying for a preference is voluntary. All information related to a preference will be kept confidential and used only during the hiring process. Applicants hired by the state will have this information placed in a separate confidential selection file.

Contact your local Job Service Workforce Center for details on veterans' preference. Contact your local Montana Vocational Rehabilitation Services Office, Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) for details on obtaining persons with disabilities preference certification.

Immigration Reform and Control Act

In accordance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act, the person selected must produce, within three days of hire, documentation that he or she is authorized to work in the United States. Examples of such documentation include a birth certificate or social security card along with a driver's license or other picture I.D., a United States Passport, a Permanent Resident Card, an unexpired Employment Authorization Document that contains a photograph, or a Resident Alien Card.

Compliance with Military Selective Service Act

In accordance with the Montana Compliance with Military Selective Service Act, men selected for state government employment must produce documentation showing compliance with the federal Military Selective Service Act. Examples of this documentation include a registration card issued by Selective Service, a letter from Selective Service showing they were not required to register, or information showing by a preponderance of evidence that their failure to register with Selective Service was not done knowingly or willfully.

Supplemental Questions

Supplemental questions may be part of the application process. They provide applicants an opportunity to expand on their qualifications and demonstrate their writing and communication skills.

Other Documents

Resumes, transcripts, and letters of recommendation are not required, unless specifically asked for on a vacancy announcement. Providing additional paperwork, beyond that which is required, may slow the screening process, and may not be reviewed if not specifically requested.

Proficiency Testing

The position may require proficiency testing. Local Job Service staffs administer these tests. The most common examples are typing and ten-key. As part of the testing process, the score and error rate are provided to the applicant. However, it should be noted that the Job Service staff does not interpret scores for applicants or make determinations about minimum qualifications. For additional questions contact helenajsc@mt.gov or call the Helena Job Service Workforce Center at (406) 447-3200.

The Screening Process

Job listings for State of Montana vacancies are highly competitive. As mentioned earlier, agencies utilize a screening process to review and evaluate the applicant's qualifications. Information provided on the state application and, if required, the responses to the supplemental questions are used to determine which applicants will advance to the next step in the selection process.

Agency staffs evaluate each application, responses to supplemental questions, and any performance tests for training and experience as it relates to the job. Applicants, whose experience and training/education most closely match the position, continue in the selection process.

The Interview

Interviews are most commonly conducted in person. A telephone interview may be arranged under special circumstances. A telephone interview may be followed by a second, face-to-face interview. During an interview, the applicant is asked structured, objective, job-related questions. Interviews may have written and oral components. Each interview panel has rating criteria and suggested responses to evaluate the applicant's responses.

Other Selection Procedures

The position may require a performance test or work sample. Examples include: researching a job-related issue and giving a presentation, preparing written or oral responses to situational problems, using job-related equipment, or submitting work samples.

Reference Checks

Reference checks provide the hiring authority an opportunity to confirm information provided by the applicant. Calls or written requests are made to the applicant's current or previous supervisor(s). On the state application, you may request notification before your current employer is contacted.

Rights of Applicants

Agencies should notify applicants who are not selected.

An applicant may contact the department's human resource staff for an explanation of the selection process and the evaluation criteria. If an applicant has any questions about the process or feels he or she has been discriminated against on the basis of race, creed, national origin, color, religion, sex, marital status, age, political ideas, or disability, he or she should contact the department's human resource officer.

Overview of State Government

MONTANA GOVERNMENT: According to the Montana State Constitution, ratified by the people of Montana on June 6, 1972, the "power of the government of the state," is divided into three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. The laws governing the state are enacted by the legislative, implemented by the executive and interpreted by the judicial branch of state government.

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH: The legislature, which meets in regular session every two years for not more than 90 days, is composed of two bodies: the House of Representatives, with 100 members elected for two-year terms, and the Senate, with 50 members elected for four-year terms. One half of the senators are elected every two years. Divisions of the legislative branch including the Legislative Services Division, the Legislative Audit Division, and the Legislative Fiscal Division assist the legislature. The Environmental Quality Analyst, the Consumer Counsel and various interim committees provide additional support. The governor must approve laws so enacted. The legislature may override the governor's veto by a two-thirds vote of both the house and senate.

JUDICIAL BRANCH: The judicial power of the State is vested in the Supreme Court, district courts, justice courts, and such other courts as may be provided by law. The Supreme Court consists of one chief justice and six associate justices, elected by popular vote for an eight-year term. The judges of the twenty district courts in Montana are elected for six-year terms. Each county elects at least one justice of the peace for a term of four years to carry out the judicial functions at the local level.

EXECUTIVE BRANCH: The agencies of the executive branch are headed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Superintendent of Public Instruction, State Auditor, and the Public Service Commission. Each officer is elected to office for a term of four years. Districts elect the five members of the Public Service Commission for staggered terms of four years each.

GOVERNOR: The executive power is vested in the governor who sees that all state laws are faithfully executed. A summary of the purposes of each of these departments is included in the section titled "Organization of the Executive Branch." Offices directly attached to the Governor's Office include Citizen's Advocate, Budget and Program Planning and Coordinator of Indian Affairs.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: The lieutenant governor performs the duties provided by law, and those delegated to him by the governor. If the office of the governor becomes vacant by reason of death, resignation, or disqualification, the lieutenant governor becomes governor.

SECRETARY OF STATE: The Secretary of State is the official record keeper for the state of Montana. These records include the record of official executive acts, corporate records, uniform commercial code fillings, certain bonds, mortgages and the maintenance of state department records. In addition to the record keeping duties, the Secretary of State compiles and maintains the Montana Administrative Register and Administrative Rules of Montana. The Secretary of State acts as the state's chief election official and helps to ensure the right of participation in federal, state and local elections by its electors.

ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Attorney General, the chief law enforcement officer of the state, supervises the Department of Justice. The Department has broad authority to provide public safety services to Montanans. Through 9 separate divisions, the Department provides legal services to the state of Montana; assists local law enforcement agencies with forensic science services, criminal investigations, criminal prosecutions, and victim compensation; regulates all legalized gambling activities except the state lottery and horse racing; enforces traffic laws through the Montana Highway Patrol; provides driver licensing and motor vehicle titles and registration; and trains Montana law enforcement officers.

STATE AUDITOR: The State Auditor's responsibility is to act as commissioner of insurance in order to regulate insurance companies and protect the consumers of insurance products in the state of Montana. The auditor acts as commissioner of securities practices within the state and oversees state regulations for the securities industry. The auditor collects insurance tax premiums, licenses insurance agents, securities salesmen, broker-dealers and investment advisers. The auditor also sits on the State Land Board that oversees regulation of all state lands.

SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION: The major responsibility of the Superintendent of Public Instruction is to provide general supervision of the public elementary and secondary schools. The superintendent also disburses state and federal education funds; accredits public schools; certifies teachers; supervises pupil transportation, school foods and adult education programs; and administers federal and special education programs. The superintendent provides technical assistance to teachers and school personnel in such areas as the basic skills, vocational skills, school finance, in-service education, planning, development and evaluation. In addition, the superintendent is a member of the State Board of Land Commissioners, State Library Commission, Teachers' Retirement Board, Board of Public Education and the Board of Regents.

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION: The Public Service Commission is composed of five members elected from five districts in the state. The commissioners serve four year terms and elect a chairperson from among themselves every two years. The purpose of the Department of Public Service Regulation is to regulate the public utility, motor carrier, and railroad industries. It is responsible for providing safe, reliable, and adequate services at the lowest achievable costs to the consumers, while concurrently providing the regulated industries with a fair and reasonable return on their investment for the services rendered.

ORGANIZATION OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH: The Executive Reorganization Act states that all executive and administrative offices, boards, bureaus, commissions, agencies and instrumentalities shall be allocated among not more than 20 principal departments. Exceptions are the Office of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Superintendent of Public Instruction and Auditor.

The lines of authority in executive branch departments start with a department director, who is appointed by, and is responsible to the governor, and who is responsible for the overall operation of a department. A deputy director may assist the director in this capacity.

A department is composed of divisions, each headed by an administrator. The division, in turn, is divided into bureaus, which are headed by bureau chiefs. The bureau may be divided into sections, which are headed by supervisors.

BOARD OF REGENTS OF HIGHER EDUCATION: The Montana Constitution grants the Board of Regents of Higher Education full power, responsibility, and authority to supervise, coordinate, manage, and control the Montana University System. The seven member board is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. Six of the regents serve seven year terms, and the student regent serves a one year term. The board appoints the Commissioner of Higher Education as the chief administrative officer of the university system. As governing body of the university system, the board is responsible for developing system policies and rules, granting diplomas and conferring honorary degrees, controlling receipt and disbursement of income and property, and approving administrator and faculty appointments.

The Montana University System was restructured into a two university system in July 1994. In addition to Missoula, The University of Montana campuses include the Division of Technology of The University of Montana - Missoula (formerly Missoula Vo-Tech); Montana Tech of The UM at Butte; the Division of Technology, Montana Tech of the UM (formerly Butte Vo-Tech); Western Montana College of The UM at Dillon; and Helena College of Technology of The UM (formerly Helena Vo-Tech). Along with Bozeman, Montana State University's campuses include Montana State University - Billings; the College of Technology, MSU-Billings (formerly Billings Vo-Tech); Montana State University - Northern at Havre; and the MSU College of Technology Great Falls (formerly Great Falls Vo-Tech).

DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION: The Department of Administration provides centralized services for state agencies in the following areas: accounting and financial reporting; capitol complex building maintenance and capitol security; state bonded indebtedness administration; state treasury services; insurance coverage and Tort Claims Act administration; systems development, telecommunication, and information technology; central payroll services; personnel management and labor relations; purchasing and surplus property administration and duplicating, mail and messenger services. The department also administers the State Long Range Building Program, state employee group benefits program, Consumer Affairs Program, and the various state retirement systems and accounting, warrant writing, and financial reporting.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE: The purpose of the Department of Agriculture, established by the Montana Constitution, Article XII, Section 1, is to promote the agricultural industry and enforce agricultural laws, which protect farmers and consumers. The principal functions of the department are: agricultural market development; wheat and barley research; maintenance of comprehensive agricultural statistics; operation of specialized rural development programs which provide assistance to qualified rural families; administer Growth Through Agriculture loan and grant programs; administration of state crop hail insurance; enforcement of grain laws; grain inspection and grading; regulation of commercial feeds and fertilizers; monitor medicated feeds; provision of horticultural inspection and quarantine services; pesticide regulation and enforcement; agricultural chemical and ground water protection; operation of technical and field oriented pesticide service programs; enforcement of apiary laws; and management of noxious weed control.

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE: The Department of Commerce facilitates the economic growth of Montana by providing meaningful assistance to businesses and entrepreneurs in the state; encourages companies located outside of Montana's borders to develop facilities and business within Montana; promote Montana as a travel destination to tourists throughout the world; assist in the marketing of Montana made products and services to domestic and international consumers; recommend courses of action and statutory changes which facilitate the growth and health of responsible business enterprises in the state; design and implement licensing and other systems which protect the public from unfair, unsafe, incompetent or deceptive services or products while minimizing the regulatory burden on those individuals who are qualified and ethical in their business practices and produce quality products and services; encourage and assist local communities in developing their public infrastructure to maintain and facilitate a vibrant and healthy environment for their citizens and visitors; encourage and assist local communities in preparing for and accomplishing economic development initiatives which provide economic opportunities for the citizens of that community; and provide a work environment for the employees of the Department of Commerce which is positive and provides intellectual and creative challenges allowing them to achieve and satisfy their personal employment goals.

DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: The Department of Corrections is dedicated to public safety and trust by holding adult and juvenile offenders accountable for their actions against victims through custody, supervision, treatment, work, restitution and skill development. The Department manages Montana State Prison, Montana Women's Prison, Treasure State Correctional Training Center, Pine Hills Youth Correctional Facility and Riverside Youth Correctional Facility. The Department also manages a wide variety of community based corrections programs in 24 communities across Montana.

DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY: The Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) mission is to protect, sustain, and improve a clean and healthful environment to benefit present and future. DEQ strives to make permitting and regulatory decisions that balance public and private needs and outcomes for the greatest public benefit. The intent of the environmental regulations and standards is to protect the public health by preventing serious injury or illness. The DEQ encourages innovative thinking and seeks practical, long-term solutions that serve the public interest and minimize the environmental effect of existing and proposed activities. There are five divisions in DEQ: Centralized Services; Enforcement; Permitting and Compliance; Planning, Prevention and Assistance; and Re mediation.

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY: The purposes of the Department of Labor and Industry are to provide employment and training, to protect conditions for workers, and to protect employer/employee rights. Its functions include providing service to people actively seeking employment and to employers seeking workers; supervising and enforcing labor laws and worker health and safety standards; working to eliminate discriminatory practices; and administering state collective bargaining, workers' compensation regulation and unemployment insurance laws.

DEPARTMENT OF LIVESTOCK: The purpose of the Department of Livestock is to exercise general supervision over the livestock industry and to protect livestock from theft and disease. Its functions are enforcement of livestock laws, including the registration of marks and brands; regulation of livestock markets; rabies control; predator animal control; meat and poultry inspection; dairy, egg and milk inspection, and milk control and regulation. The Department of Livestock provides administrative support for the board of Milk Control and the Board of Horse Racing.

DEPARTMENT OF MILITARY AFFAIRS: The Department of Military Affairs provides a trained and equipped military organization, via the national guard, for the governor in the event of a state emergency; to plan for, respond to, and recover from any disaster, manmade or natural, that might occur in the state of Montana; and to provide assistance to all veterans, their dependents and beneficiaries who may be entitled to veterans' benefits. The functions of the Department of Military Affairs are the operation of the Montana National Guard, the Disaster and Emergency Services Division, and the Veterans Affairs Division.

MONTANA ARTS COUNCIL: The Montana Arts Council is the agency of state government charged with promoting and expanding the significant role of arts and culture in the lives of Montanans through a variety of grant and technical assistance programs which benefit citizens of all ages and cultures - as current or future creators, participants or patrons of the arts. The Montana Arts Council strives to no only strengthen the arts in the state, but also help boost Montana's economy, stimulate quality of life and improve education throughout the state.

MONTANA FISH, WILDLIFE & PARKS: The purpose of the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is to conserve and manage wildlife and fish and to administer parks and recreational areas for the benefit of Montanans and visitors to the state. The department strives to create optimum outdoor recreational opportunities, with emphasis placed on wildlife and on natural and cultural resources, which have aesthetic, scenic, historical or archaeological significance. Functions of the department include issuing fishing, hunting, trapping and related licenses; enforcing laws and regulations relating to fish, wildlife and parks; acquiring, developing and maintaining wildlife management areas, state parks and recreational areas; and managing and enhancing wildlife populations.

MONTANA HISTORICAL SOCIETY: The Montana Historical Society was created in 1865 by the Territorial Legislature and reconfirmed by the State Legislature in 1891. It was established in statute for "the use, learning, culture and enjoyment of the citizens of the state." It is charged with the acquisition, preservation, and protection of historical records, art, archival, and museum objects, historical places, sites, and monuments and the custody, maintenance, and operation of the historical library, museums, art galleries, and historical places, sites and monuments.

The society is charged with serving the interests of history and heritage in all parts of the state. It is located on the Capitol grounds in Helena. In addition to operating Montana's Museum across from the Capitol, the Society also has a publications program that includes Montana The Magazine of Western History, a history library established as a separate entity in statute, document and photo archives, the official State Archives, and the State Historic Preservation Office.

MONTANA STATE LIBRARY: The Montana State Library (MSL) serves the work related information needs of state employees in partnership with the other more specialized agency libraries. MSL maintains a comprehensive collection of state publications for permanent public access and an inventory of federal publications selected for their pertinence to Montana state government. The Natural Resource Information System (NRIS) provides technical assistance and access to geospatial data and research information concerning Montana's climate, water, plant and wildlife resources. The Library has one of four Foundation Center cooperating Collections in Montana with extensive information on foundations and grants. MSL also assists agency and other Montana libraries through consulting services and professional development resources and provides direct library service to Montana citizens with visual and other disabilities through the Talking Book Library.

DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION: The Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) is responsible for sustaining and improving the benefits derived from our water, soil and rangeland; to manage the state's trust land resources to produce revenues for the trust beneficiaries; to protect Montana's natural resources from wild land fires through regulation and partnerships with federal, state and local agencies; to promote conservation of oil and gas and prevent resource waste through regulation of exploration and production; to manage and assist in the management of several grant and loan programs including the renewable resource, reclamation and development, treasure state endowment, and waste water revolving fund programs. The department is also responsible for the promotion of stewardship of Montana's water, soil, forest rangeland resources and regulation of forest practices.

STATE OFFICE OF PUBLIC DEFENDER: The mission of the Office of the State Public Defender is to ensure equal access to justice for the State's indigent and to provide appellate representation to indigent clients. The statewide public defender system, created by passage of The Montana Public Defender Act contained in Title 47, Montana Code Annotated, requires the new system to be operational by July 1, 2006.

STATE BOARD OF PUBLIC EDUCATION: The Board of Public Education is charged by the state constitution with the general supervision of the public school system. Functions include establishing policies for the accreditation of schools and teacher training programs, the certification of teachers, and the revocation or suspension of teaching certificates. Also, the board is the governing agency for the Montana School for the Deaf and Blind, and the Certification Standards and Practices Advisory Council.

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: The Department of Public Health and Human Services is responsible for providing a number of services to citizens of the state of Montana. The department administers all welfare, Medicaid, public health, mental health, developmental disabilities and child support enforcement programs, as well as drug and alcohol services and aging and family services. The department employs about 3,000 people in all 56 Montana counties. The department also manages several institutions including Montana State Hospital, Montana Mental Health Nursing Care Center, Montana Developmental Center, Eastmont Human Services Center, the Montana Veterans' Home and the Montana Chemical Dependency Center.

DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE: The Department of Revenue administers approximately 39 state taxes and fees, including individual income tax, oil and coal severance tax, corporation tax, payroll tax, property tax and numerous miscellaneous taxes. The department also controls the wholesale sale of liquor.

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: The Department of Transportation is responsible for constructing, maintaining and protecting the state highway and bridge system; providing protection and promotion of safety in aeronautics and managing state-owned airports and navigational beacons; coordinating public transportation and rate analysis and litigation; and fiscal programming and cost accounting. The department is responsible for enforcing vehicle weight and dimension laws, and the Outdoor Control Act, managing the state motor pool and roadside rest areas, as well as processing motor fuel tax collections and refunds.

Internships, Student Employment & Training Assignments

Student Employment

Students may work full-time or part-time and may be compensated for their work, or they may participate in the internships on a volunteer basis. Students may also apply for temporary positions with state agencies.

Training Assignments

For many vacant positions in state government, the agency may consider using a training assignment.  Employees in training assignments may be paid below the base pay established by the agency pay rules.  Conditions of the training assignment will be stated in writing at the time of hire.  The job posting will indicate if a training assignment will be considered.

Internship Examples

Listed below are examples of internships and temporary positions offered by state agencies in the past. This is not an exhaustive list. To inquire about particular internships available refer to the agency contact information provided. The information is organized alphabetically by individual state agencies. The information includes a phone number for students to call if they are interested in an internship with a particular state agency.

Department of Administration

Contact: 444-4605

Department of Agriculture (Helena)

Contact: 444-3144

Marketing Internship

3 to 7 months

Insect Scout/Pest Management Internship

Late May to mid August

Agriculture Inspector (temporary)

March to September

Grain Samplers (temporary)

Normally July to November

Department of Commerce (Helena)

Contact: 841-2700

Department of Corrections (Helena)

Contact: 444-2828

Probation & Parole Officer Intern

3 to 9 months

Montana State Prison (Deer Lodge)

Contact: 846-1320 ext. 2303

Psychology Intern

9 months

Pine Hills Youth Correctional Facility (Miles City)

Contact: 232-1377 ext. 2234

Social Worker Intern

3 Months

Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education

Contact: 444-0326

Legislative Intern Legislative Session

Department of Labor & Industry (Helena)

Contact: 444-3710

Department of Military Affairs (Helena)

Contact: 324-3334

Environmental Program (temporary)


Department of Public Health and Human Services

Contact: 444-4540

Legislative Branch Contact: 444-3230
IT Intern - (minimum) 1 year

Montana State Hospital (Warm Springs)

Contact: 693-7000

Psychology Intern


Social Work Intern


Montana Developmental Center (Boulder)

Contact: 225-4411

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (Helena)

Contact: 444-5653

Park Laborer/Caretaker

3 - 5 months

Tour Guide - Lewis & Clark Caverns

3 - 4 Months

Parks Division Volunteer Program


Montana Historical Society (Helena)

Contact: 444-2697

Capitol Tour Guides


Sales Clerk


OGM Tour Guide (temporary)


Montana Arts Council

Contact: 444-6489

Department of Natural Resources and Conservation

Contact: 444-4942

Department of Revenue (Helena information)

Contact: 444-9858

Income Tax Season 90 Day Hires

3 Months

Department of Transportation (Helena - Statewide)

Contact: 444-0876

Engineering Intern


Information Technology/Computer Science Intern


Aviation Management Intern


Accounting & Internal Audit Intern


Economics Intern


Drill Operator (temporary)

1 - 12 Months

Planning Aides (temporary)



2 - 9 Months

Engineering Project Aides/Laborer


Truck Driver (temporary)

2 - 9 Months

State Human Resources Division Job Service Centers More Employment Resources Labor Market Information