Project Paleontologist

Requisition Number
# of Openings
Office Location
Hire Type

About the opportunity

SWCA Environmental Consultants is seeking a Project Paleontologist to support our West Region that includes California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. The Project Paleontologist is a core member of the program, responsible for preparing defensible paleontological resources reports and other related documents, serving as a technical specialist for multi-disciplinary projects, leading field and laboratory efforts as needed, supervising and mentoring or training junior staff, developing client and agency relationships, contributing to and on-occasion leading proposals, and executing all stages of project implementation on-time, within scope, and within budget. This is a regular, full-time position and is a wonderful career -growth opportunity for the right candidate to join SWCA’s expanding paleontology practice. Remote work locations within California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, and/or Washington will be considered for highly qualified candidates.  Main office locations include:  Pasadena, San Diego, Sacramento, Half Moon Bay, and San Luis Obispo, CA; Las Vegas and Reno, NV; Tucson, Flagstaff, Phoenix, AZ; and Portland, OR.


SWCA Environmental Consultants is a growing, 1,650+ staff, employee-owned firm, providing a full-spectrum of environmental services.  Our Vision (the North Star) is to make SWCA the best workplace and industry leader in sustainability, bringing sound science and creative solutions to global environmental challenges while maintaining a dedication to employee-ownership. We live our core values: we collaborate as #OneSWCA; we are #AlwaysLearning, we #NeverSettle, and we #GiveBack.

What you will accomplish

  • Act as the lead paleontology professional on project teams, serving as a permitted Field Agent or Principal Investigator, working under the direction of other Principal Investigators, Project Managers, Environmental Planners, and/or the Paleontology Team Lead.
  • Lead small- to medium-sized paleontology projects and/or lead aspects of interdisciplinary projects that include paleontology to ensure projects meet client expectations and are delivered on time and on budget.
  • Assist in the preparation of proposal scopes and budgets; lead small- to medium-size proposals in their entirety and contribute to large/interdisciplinary proposals.
  • Organize and track schedules, budgets, and project key performance indicators to ensure project requirements are met.
  • Supervise and mentor personnel in the field, office, and laboratory; assign or delegate project tasks to junior staff, and communicate technical needs to Principal Investigators, Project Managers, Environmental Planners, and/or the Paleontology Team Lead.
  • Manage quality and completeness of data collection, analysis, and report completion from start to finish.
  • Oversee and perform QA/QC of deliverables, including impact assessments and management recommendations; perform technical peer review of documents.
  • Contribute to the development and implementation of technical methodologies, tools, and standards.
  • Develop and nurture productive relationships with relevant regulators, industry experts, academics and clients.
  • Build collaborative relationships across offices/geographies to share resources and expertise.
  • Comply with SWCA and client safety programs, and assist in the development of such programs.

Experience and qualifications for success

  • M.S. or Ph.D. in paleontology, geology (with an emphasis on paleontology), biology (with an emphasis on paleontology and experience with geology), or a closely related field is preferred. A B.S. may be accepted if the candidate has at least two full years working as an assistant to a Principal Paleontologist with administrative and project management experience and reporting experience in the states in the West Region (California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, and Washington).
  • Seven (7) years of professional consulting experience on a variety of project types, sizes, and agencies, with increasing levels of responsibility.
  • Minimum of three (3) years of supervisory or mentorship experience, whether in a field, laboratory, or office setting.
  • A commitment to fiscal and scheduling responsibilities for projects of all sizes and scopes.
  • Knowledge of local geology and paleontology with paleontological field and reporting experience in California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. 
  • Must meet the criteria to be approved as a “Principal Investigator” or “Field Agent” on the California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, and Washington BLM Paleontological Resource Use permits and other local state-level permits.
  • Laboratory techniques, including fossil identification, matrix screening, and fossil preparation, and museum curation experience.
  • Field skills, including ability to locate, document, excavate, and identify fossils while documenting their geographic, taphonomic, and stratigraphic context. 
  • Prior experience with paleontological mitigation projects including construction monitoring is highly desirable.
  • Exceptional technical writing skills and a record of completing and editing technical reports in a timely fashion.
  • Past peer-reviewed publication record and conference presentation experience preferred.
  • Ability to adapt quickly to changes in project needs, agency requests, and more.
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively with a variety of colleagues, clients, and agency representatives.

SWCA Environmental Consultants is a growing employee-owned firm, providing a full spectrum of environmental services. With offices across the United States, SWCA is one of the largest environmental compliance firms and ranks among Engineering News-Record’s Top 200 Environmental Firms. 


If you are seeking an opportunity to work in a culture of exceptionally skilled and diverse professionals who embrace sound science and creative solutions, then SWCA will be a great fit for you!  If you would like to contact SWCA regarding the accessibility of our website or need assistance completing the application process, please email or call 480-581-5378. This contact information is for accommodation requests only and cannot be used to inquire about the status of applications.


SWCA is committed to salary equity and salary transparency for all its employees.  In alignment with this commitment, SWCA posts good faith pay ranges on all its advertised job postings to promote pay equity and transparency.


An employee in this Pasadena, CA - based position can expect a salary of $75,465 - $96,525/year. Actual pay within this range may depend on experience, qualifications, geographic location, client requirements where applicable, and other factors permitted by law. Regular-status employees are also eligible for performance bonuses. Candidates are also encouraged to consider SWCA’s Total Rewards package, which includes a competitive Benefits package, forward-thinking workplace flexibility, outstanding corporate culture, award-winning career development, and more.


EOE - women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans are encouraged to apply.


Sorry the Share function is not working properly at this moment. Please refresh the page and try again later.
Share on your newsfeed

Connect With Us!

Not ready to apply? Connect with us for general consideration.