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    The anticipated start date for all selectees is September 16, 2019.

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    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is seeking bright, innovative, results-driven individuals for the NOAA Honors Program (NHP).  The NHP is a highly competitive one-year training and development program designed to train entry-level personnel for subsequent advancement to the journey-level in professional, scientific, administrative, and technological career fields and requires each qualified candidate to undergo an assessment process.

    The NHP is a premier program for exceptional recent graduates looking for careers at NOAA.  Qualified candidates apply for a limited number of positions and are selected based on their academic performance, experience and other criteria.  Those selected for this program will be offered an enhanced developmental experience, including agency rotations; formal Individual Development Plans; mentorships; focused-on-the-job training and leadership training.  Candidates will be required to complete established training through on-the-job assignments, cross-training, rotational assignments, and formal training (e.g. classroom, distance learning, web-based training, conferences and seminars).

    Candidates selected for this program will put their academic achievements and intellect to use while developing for permanent positions within NOAA.  If selected, you will have the opportunity to apply concepts, protocols and tools acquired through course work in the real world by working side-by-side with agency experts. 

    Candidates are appointed through the Pathways Programs Recent Graduates Hiring Authority that targets individuals who have recently graduated from an accredited educational institution within the past two years.   Candidates enter the program at the Pay Band II level or GS-09 equivalent grade level with promotion potential to the Band IV or GS-13 equivalent grade level.  After completion of the one-year developmental program, candidates are eligible for non-competitive conversion to a permanent position within NOAA.

    The incumbent for this position will serve as a team member participating in work in the biological sciences. Tasks generally have established precedents and guidelines though some initiative and adaptation may be required for the completion, tracking, and assessment of assigned work. Refers unexpected, complex technical or managerial problems to the supervisor who approves suggested procedures. Serves as a team member for larger, more complex projects and develops overall competencies and experience in assigned areas. Performs some of the following:

    • Assists in the preparation and conducting of biological analysis: serves on interdisciplinary teams, writing and reviewing biological inputs to environmental assessments, biological assessments, and resource management plan.
    • Works with complex databases and models to predict specific impacts of assigned area. Inputs data, performs QA checks, and generates reports from established databases.
    • Participates in the preparation of briefings of results to be delivered to interested personnel.

    Travel Required

    Occasional travel - Less than 5% of travel may be required.

    Supervisory status


    Promotion Potential

    4 - There is no obligation to provide future promotions if you are selected. Promotions are dependent on your ability to perform the duties at a higher level, meet all the performance requirements, and supervisor’s recommendation to the next grade.

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    Conditions Of Employment

    • Appointment to this position requires a background investigation.
    • Must be suitable for Federal employment.
    • Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable (www.sss.gov)
    • Appointees must sign a NOAA Pathways Programs Agreement.
    • Time spent in the Recent Graduate Program constitutes a trial period.

    This position is being recruited with an opportunity for non-competitive conversion eligibility to a permanent OR term position upon completion of all Recent Graduate program requirements. Conversion is not mandatory nor guaranteed (see Other Information).

    This position will be filled under the DOC Alternative Personnel System (CAPS). This system replaced the Federal GS pay plan and structure. Under CAPS, positions are classified by career, pay plan, and pay band. The ZP-2 is equivalent to the GS-09. This position will have promotion potential to the ZP-4. The ZP-4 is equivalent to the GS-13/14.

    • Appointees must sign a mobility agreement that confirms your understanding and agreement to accept relocation to any location depending on the needs of NOAA upon completion of the Recent Graduate Program requirements.
    • Upon Conversion, participants’ official duty location of position will be determined by NOAA based on bureau need. (Candidates must be willing to relocate to duty location of permanent position).
    • You must be a U.S. Citizen to be eligible for Conversion to the Competitive Service
    • Upon appointment, selectees will be required to attend a two-week Orientation Session upon appointment. This orientation will take place in Silver Spring, Maryland.
    • Relocation/Moving expenses will not be authorized.
    • Student Loan Repayment will not be authorized.
    • This position is not in the bargaining unit. 
    • Appointees must be able to obtain a Federal Travel Credit Card.  
    • Appointees may be responsible for all travel costs associated with the two-week orientation. NOAA will reimburse selectees for all associated travel expenses.

    This vacancy may be used to fill other Biologist, ZP-0401-2 FPL 4 positions throughout NOAA. The position must be alike (e.g.: the same qualifications and eligibility requirements as indicated in this vacancy announcement).


    Qualification requirements in the vacancy announcements are based on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Qualification Standards Handbook, which contains federal qualification standards.  This handbook is available on the Office of Personnel Management's website located at: https://www.opm.gov/policy.

    Basic Requirements: This position requires applicants to meet a Basic Education Requirement in addition to at least one year of specialized experience, substitution of education for specialized experience, or a combination of education and specialized experience  in order to be found minimally qualified. You MUST meet one of the  following basic education requirements: 

    A. Degree: biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to the position.


    B. Combination of education and experience: Courses equivalent to a major, as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.


    To qualify at the ZP-2 (GS-09) level:

    EDUCATION: A master's or equivalent graduate degree, or two (2) full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry , or a related field.


    SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: One full year (52 weeks) of specialized experience equivalent to the ZP-2 (GS-07) in the Federal service. Specialized experience MUST include all of the following:

    • Assisting in the planning and coordination of biological and environmental assessment projects.
    • Generating reports using biological and environmental databases and models.
    • Participating in presenting scientific briefings and reports.


    COMBINATION: A combination of education and experience as described above.

    Note: Only graduate education in excess of one year is qualifying for combination.

    SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: Applicants must possess one year of specialized experience equivalent in difficulty and responsibility to the next lower grade level in the Federal Service.  Specialized experience is experience that has equipped the applicant with the particular competencies/knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position.  This experience need not have been in the federal government.
    Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.


    This position has a positive education requirement.  A copy of all college transcripts are required when applying.  Failure to submit a copy of all college transcripts will result in your application being rated ineligible/incomplete.

    Proof of Qualifications – Academic transcripts sufficient to demonstrate that you meet the minimum qualification requirements for this positions, as described in this announcement, where you are seeking to qualify, at least in part, on the basis of your education. 

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications.  Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degree from schools accredited by The Office of Education: http://www.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/

    Additional information

    PROGRAM COMPLETION AND CONVERSION: Upon completion of the minimum 1-year career development program, Program participants may, at agency discretion, be non-competitively converted without a break in service, to a career or career conditional appointment. There is no guarantee for conversion.

    To be eligible for conversion, Recent Graduates must:
    • Successfully complete the one year developmental period identified.
    • Demonstrate successful job performance.
    • Meet the Office of Personnel Management’s qualifications for the position to which the Recent Graduate will be converted.
    • Complete 40 hours of formal interactive training within developmental period.
    • Sign a Pathways Programs Participant Agreement upon appointment.
    • Meet established goals outlined in the Recent Graduate’s Individual Development Plan (IDP).
    • Recommended by supervisor/manager for conversion to permanent OR term position.
    NOAA participates in e-Verify. E-Verify is an Internet based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) that enables participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees.

    Cover letters are not mandatory and will not be used to verify experience, but may be submitted.

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    Your resume, supporting documents and responses to the online questionnaire will be reviewed to determine if you meet eligibility and minimum qualification requirements. Veterans’ preference applies to all selections made under the Pathways authority in accordance with CFR, Part 302.

    Applicants meeting the Recent Graduate Program eligibility and minimum qualification requirements identified in the vacancy announcement will be evaluated against the competencies described below:

    Team Building – Inspires and fosters team commitment, spirit, pride, and trust.  Facilitates cooperation and motivates team members to accomplish group goals.  

    Written Communication – Writes in a clear, concise, organized, and convincing manner for the intended audience.  

    Problem Solving – Identifies problems, determines accuracy and relevance of information; uses sound judgment to generate and evaluate alternatives, and to make recommendations. 

    Individuals selected for an interview will be further evaluated through a structured interview process on the following competencies:

    Planning and Evaluation – Organizes work, sets priorities, and determines resource requirements; determines short- or long-term goals and strategies to achieve them; coordinates with other organizations or parts of the organization to accomplish goals; monitors progress and evaluates outcomes.   

    Conflict Management –   Manages and resolves conflicts, grievances, confrontations, or disagreements in a constructive manner to minimize negative personal impact. 

    Oral Communications – Expresses information (for example, ideas or facts ) to individuals or groups effectively, taking into account the audience and nature of the information (for example, technical, sensitive, controversial); makes clear and convincing oral presentations; listens to others, attends to nonverbal cues, and responds appropriately.  

    To preview questions please click here.

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance


    Drug test required


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    Required Documents

    The following documents are REQUIRED and must be received by the closing date of this announcement:

    • Resume showing relevant experience; cover letter optional. Your resume must include information about your paid and nonpaid work experience related to this position including: job title, duration of employment (mm/dd/yy – mm/dd/yy), hours per week, duties and accomplishments, salary, and your education. For work in the Federal service, please include the grade level for the position/s. Your resume may be used to validate your responses to the occupational questionnaire.
    • Education-Please see the following:
    1. To verify Pathways Recent Graduate eligibility requirements: Applicants MUST submit a copy of unofficial transcripts or proof that degree is conferred. (Transcripts must show date degree was conferred, name of the student/applicant and the name of the school. The absence of this information will result in an ineligible rating. You will be required to submit a copy of your official college transcript if you are selected.
    2. To verify minimum qualification requirements: At the time of application, applicants MUST submit an unofficial transcript or a list of courses that includes the following information: name of accredited institution, grades earned, completion dates, and quarter and semester hours earned. An official transcript from an accredited educational institution is required if you are selected for the position. Education completed in foreign colleges or universities must be evaluated in terms of equivalency to that acquired in U.S. colleges and universities. Applicants educated in whole or in part in foreign countries must submit sufficient evidence, including transcripts, to an accredited private organization for an equivalency evaluation of course work and degree. A listing of these accredited organizations can be found on the Department of Education's website. You must provide a copy of the letter containing the results of the equivalency evaluation with a course by course listing along with your application. Failure to provide such documentation by the closing date of the announcement will result in lost consideration.

    NOTE: You are REQUIRED to submit transcripts or proof of enrollment with your application to verify eligibility requirements for this appointment.

    Other Supporting Documents: (Only submit if applicable to you)

    • If you are a veteran with preference eligibility and you are claiming 5-points veterans' preference, you must submit a copy of your Member 4 DD-214 stating disposition of discharge or character of service or other valid proof of eligibility (i.e., statement of service that shows service dates AND character of service). If you are claiming 10-point veterans' preference, you must also submit an SF-15, "Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference" plus the proof required by that form. For more information on veterans' preference see http://www.opm.gov/staffingPortal/Vetguide.asp#VeteransEmploymentAct1998
    • Active Duty Service Members-- You must submit a statement of discharge/certification of release or an official written document from the armed forces that certifies you are expected to be discharged or released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions no later than 120 days from the date the announcement closes. Enlisted Record Briefs and military identification do NOT qualify as official documentation. If the appropriate information is not submitted to confirm the discharge status, dates of service, etc., you will not be considered for this job opportunity under Veteran Preference procedures. To gain access to your DD-214 online please visit https://www.archives.gov/veteranttp://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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    A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding.

    NOAA offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, paid vacation; sick leave; holidays; life insurance; health benefits; and participation in the Federal Employees Retirement System.  This link provides an overview of the benefits currently offered to Federal employees:  http://www.usa.gov/Federal-Employees/Benefits.shtml

    Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

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    How to Apply

    Your complete application, including required documents, must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.

    To apply on-line, you must complete and submit an application by accessing the USAJOBS website at https://www.usajobs.gov/. To begin, click the Apply Online button near the bottom of this screen and follow the prompts to register into your USAJOBS account, answer the questions, and submit all required documents.

    To return to your saved application, log in to your USAJOBS account at http://www.usajobs.gov and click on "Application Status." Click on the position title, and then select Apply Online to continue.

    If you have problems completing your on-line application, including problems submitting your supporting documents, please contact the Help Desk by e-mail at mgshelp@monster.com or by phone at (866) 656-6831. The help desk is available Monday-Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET

    For instructions on submitting your application in an alternate format, please contact the number listed in this vacancy announcement.

    Agency contact information

    Julia Schroeder


    Silver Spring, Maryland 64106
    United States
    Learn more about this agency

    NOAA is seeking bright, innovate, results-oriented individuals to join the Recent Graduates Program which is an entry level program that targets individuals who have recently graduated from an accredited educational institution. Successful applicants will be placed in a dynamic, career development program. Throughout the program, you will participate in formal interactive training, job assignments and provided a mentor to develop competencies applicable to the target position.  

    More information on the Pathways Programs for students and recent graduates can be found at https://www.opm.gov/students

    Next steps

    You will be notified of your application status through USAJOBS at four points during the hiring process, as applicable. You can check the status of your application by accessing the USAJOBS website at https://www.usajobs.gov/ and clicking on “Track Your Online Application.” The four points of notification are:

    1. Application Received or Application Incomplete
    2. Minimum Qualification Requirement Met or Minimum Qualification Not Met;
    3. Eligible (Application Referred to the Selecting Official) or Ineligible (Application Not Referred to the Selecting Official); and
    4. Selected or Not Selected.

    By submitting your application, you are certifying the accuracy of the information contained in your application. If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired; you may be terminated after you begin work; or, you may be fined or jailed. After making a tentative job offer, we will conduct a suitability/security background investigation.

    You will be required to submit official documentation prior to appointment. The agency will then verify the information provided on your application (i.e., degree, veterans’ preference, disability, etc.).

Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy And gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:

  • An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Legal and regulatory guidance

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/536128900. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.