This Position Is No Longer Available
  1. Overview
  2. Duties
  3. Qualifications & Evaluations
  4. Benefits & Other Info
  5. How to Apply

Job Title:Microbiologist (Staff Officer)

Department:Department Of Agriculture

Agency:Food Safety and Inspection Service

Job Announcement Number:FSIS-MCE-2012-0184

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.


$68,809.00 to $106,369.00 / Per Year


Wednesday, October 03, 2012 to Wednesday, October 10, 2012




Full-time - Permanent




1 vacancy in the following location:
Athens, GA, USView Map


1. All U.S. Citizens.
2. Officers on active duty in the Public Health Service (PHS)
Commissioned Corps, PHS Inactive Reserve Officers, and current
applicants to the PHS.

For those applicants who have federal competitive status (hold or previously held a permanent competitive appointment in the federal government) and are eligible for any non-competitive authorities, you may apply to Merit Announcement #FSIS-MMP-2012-0930.


The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is a public health regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Our mission is to protect consumers by ensuring that the commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products moving in interstate commerce or exported to other countries is safe, wholesome and correctly labeled and packaged.

  • This is an AP-04 pay band position which is equivalent to the GS-12/13 level. We offer opportunities for future merit-based promotion, career enhancement and professional development;
  • Flexible work schedules, and transit subsidies in some locations.
  • For more information about the agency, visit
  • This position is covered by the Public Health Human Resources (PHHRS) Demonstration Project. Effective July 19, 2009, FSIS began operating under the PHHRS, a Pay Banding and Pay for Performance Demonstration Project, in which non- bargaining unit positions will be classified by career path, occupational series, and pay bands rather than the traditional General Schedule (GS) grades in the Federal Service. PHHRS will offer flexibility to offer exceptional candidates higher salaries than most other Federal agencies. Additionally, employees will be eligible to receive an annual pay increase based upon performance. For more information on PHHRS, including information on its pay tables and how it will benefit employees, please visit PHHRS.
  • This position may be eligible for telework and other flexible work arrangements. 




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This Microbiologist position is located in the Laboratory Quality Assurance/Quality Control Division (LQAD) with the Office of Public Health Science in Athens, GA. This Branch is responsible for providing scientific expertise within and beyond FSIS on a variety of microbiological issues related to Agency laboratory accreditation, quality assurance guidance and oversight, auditing, and development of policy, procedure and microbiological methodology documents. Some of the incumbent's duties would be:

  • Ensure that state, federal, international and/or industry laboratory activities comply with accreditation standards, recognized laboratory program requirements, and regulatory requirements through audits and record reviews. 
  • Lead effective, results driven teams responsible for development of analytical method validation protocols, proficiency testing schemes, and operational standard operating procedures for microbiology laboratories. 
  • Provide accurate information using oral and written scientific expertise  to assist and resolve problems on technical issues including quality assurance/quality control, ISO 17025 accreditation, proficiency testing, method equivalency, method study design/validation and statistical data analysis. 
  • Maintain detailed records and produce well constructed, clear and concise, unambiguous, science based writing of methods, analytical study reports, audit reports, written procedures, data collection forms, laboratory capacity contracts, evaluations of technical information. 
  • Utilize electronic systems to organize, store and evaluate information. Perform data mining to track analytical results in a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS).


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To qualify at the AP-04 (GS-12/13 equivalent) you must have one year specialized experience equivalent to at least the next lower band/grade level in the federal service.


Examples of specialized experience at the AP-04 level would include: Design and implementation of microbiological food safety research study or survey. Design, refinement and/or implementation of a food safety program on behalf of industry or government. Development, refinement, validation and application of microbiological sampling and testing methods for detecting foodborne pathogens and other bacteria from food products. Development of scientific reports, manuscripts for publication, poster presentations related to microbiological and food safety science presentations at scientific meetings related to microbiological and food safety science.


Basic Education Requirements:

  • To be considered for this position, applicants must demonstrate successful completion of a full four-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree in microbiology, food microbiology or other subjects directly related to the study of microorganisms, that included at least 20 semester hours (or 30 quarter hours) in microbiology-specific coursework, and completion of 20 semester hours (30 quarter hours) in the physical and mathematical sciences combining coursework in organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics, college algebra, or their equivalent.
  • Report only attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Refer to the Office of Personnel and the U.S. Department of Education websites. Click here for more information.
  • There is no education substitution for the experience requirements at the Pay Band 4.

All supporting documents in the "How to Apply" section must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date of the announcement.


Applicants are evaluated in accordance with Delegated Examining Procedures using category rating. All applicants are rated on the extent and quality of experience, education, and training relevant to the duties of the position. An automated ranking system, based on the on-line application process is used. Before any certificate can be issued to the selecting official, the resume is reviewed carefully by an HR Specialist to assure that:

  • Minimum qualification requirements are met and
  • The resume supports the answers provided to the job-specific questions.
  • All responses to the job-specific questions must be substantiated by the resume submitted on-line.
  • Applicants who do not respond to the application questions and who do not submit a supporting resume will be rated ineligible.
  • Please note that your resume must thoroughly support your responses to the applicant assessment questions. High self-assessment in the applicant questions that is not supported by information in your resume may eliminate you from best-qualified status, and subsequent referral to the selecting official.
  • There are several parts of the application process that affect the overall evaluation of your application: the applicant assessment questions, the core questions, supplemental documentation submitted, and your resume.
  • This automated application system simplifies the application process, by replacing the former KSA job-element questions with the on-line applicant assessment questions.
  • Your resume is an integral part of the process for determining if you meet the basic qualifications of the position, and whether you are found to be best qualified. Therefore, it is important to explain what you did and how you did it, rather than just listing your current and former employers.

To preview questions please click here.


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Working for FSIS 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. The following Web address is provided for your reference to explore the major benefits offered to most Federal employees.

To find out more visit: Benefits Of Working For The Federal Government.



  • If you have not held a federal competitive status position (been a permanent civilian competitive service employee), or you do not qualify under the other hiring authorities, this position is also announced externally open to all US citizens under Announcement #FSIS-MCE-2012-0184.
  • Entitlement to the payment of relocation expenses will be determined in accordance with the provisions outlined in FSIS Directive 3820.2
  • Multiple selections: This announcement may be used to fill additional, like vacancies should any occur in the commuting area. Selectee may be required to work occasional weekends or holidays.
  • Selectee may be required to serve a probationary period. Full performance level of this position is AP-4.
  • If you are selected, you will need to complete a Declaration for Federal Employment (OF-306) prior to being appointed to determine suitability for Federal employment and to authorize a background investigation. False statements or responses on a resume or application can jeopardize employment and may be grounds for disciplinary action, including removal from Federal service.
  • This position requires a background investigation. Incumbent will be subject to the successful completion of a background investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements could lead to adverse action proceedings including possible termination.
  • FEDERAL LAW REQUIRES ALL EMPLOYERS TO VERIFY THE IDENTITY AND EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY OF ALL PERSONS HIRED TO WORK IN THE UNITED STATES. FSIS utilizes E-Verify to verify identity and employment eligibility by providing to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and, if necessary the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) information from each new employee's Form I-9 to confirm work authorization. E-Verify cannot be used to pre-screen job applicants or to re-verify current employees and may not limit or influence the choice of documents presented for use on the Form I-9. If you have concern that there has been a violation of the E-Verify program or you feel you have been discriminated during the verification process based on your national origin or citizenship status, contact the Office of Special Counsel at 1-800-255-7688 (TDD: 1-800-237-2515). For more information on E-Verify you may contact DHS at 1-888-464- 4218.
  • EEO/DIVERSITY POLICY: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.  Please see: EEO/Diversity Policy
  • This Agency provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process, please notify the Agency prior to the closing date. Decisions on granting a reasonable accommodation will be on a case-by-case basis.
  • We are a qualifying employer of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. For more information on the Public Student Loan Forgiveness Program, please visit: PSLF Program.


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Completed applications include:

  1. Answers to all core questions (Completed when registering on-line in USAJOBS and as part of the initial application process)
  2. Answers to all vacancy-specific questions (Completed for each job)
  3. Your on-line resume. Resumes are entered into USAJOBS. Resumes can be copied and pasted into the personal information area of your application from other word processing documents at any time prior to the closing date.
  4. Any supplemental documents needed. Announcement closes at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date. Applicants who do not respond to the on-line vacancy questions and who do not submit a supporting resume or required documents will be rated ineligible.


Must be submitted prior to closing date:

  • If you are qualifying based on education you must submit your transcripts (undergraduate AND graduate) by the closing date of this announcement. This information should include course title, school name/location, date completed, grade, and number of credits earned. Transcript must document specific coursework completed & credit hours earned. You will not be considered for this position without this information. An unofficial photocopy of your transcript is acceptable. When academic credit on a transcript is expressed in terms that differ from U.S. conventional semester/quarter hours, it is the responsibility of the applicant to provide an official evaluation of such credits in order to equate them to the semester hours specified in the Qualifications Standard Handbook (
  • If you claim CTAP/ICTAP eligibility, please provide a copy of your most recent performance appraisal (at least "fully successful" or equivalent), and proof of eligibility, i.e., a RIF separation notice or Certification of Expected Separation, and an SF-50 noting current position, grade level, and duty location.  Click here: for more information.
  • Officers on active duty in the Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps, PHS Inactive Reserve Corps Officers, and applicants to the PHS Commissioned Corps do not apply on-line.  These applicants should send electronic applications (i.e. curriculum vitae) to CAPT Lou Ann Rector at
  • If you claim eligibility for consideration via a variety of non- competitive special hiring authorities, supporting documentation must be provided. For more information on non-competitive appointments, Click here.
  • Additional Supporting Documentation should be sent using the fax imaging instructions after you have applied to the vacancy announcement.

Faxing Supporting Documentation:

  • The next step of the application process is to fax all the required supporting documentation specified in the Required Documents section of this vacancy announcement.
  • You do not need to have all of your supporting documentation submitted in order to continue with the online portion of the application process.
  • Please carefully follow the instructions below to ensure your supporting documents are properly faxed and received.
  • All required documents must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date of the vacancy announcement.  Not all of the document types listed will pertain to you; only submit documents needed to complete your application package. For example, the Schedule A Certification document must only be submitted by individuals applying based on eligibility for appointment due to a disability.

FAX INSTRUCTIONS for after you apply to the vacancy announcement:

  1. If you have previously faxed supporting documentation the status of those documents will indicate Received. There is no need to resubmit documents which show a status of received unless you are submitting an updated copy. (If a document is resubmitted, it replaces the previous submission, which means the previous document is no longer available to the human resources office. If you are adding to, rather than replacing, a previous submission, you must fax both the old document and the new document for them both to be accessible to HR.)
  2. You must use a separate cover sheet for each category of supporting documentation (i.e., transcripts, SF-50, DD-214). Choose the document cover sheet(s) you would like to print by selecting the appropriate check boxes in the Selected Documents column.
  3. Click the [Print Cover Sheets] button. A window will pop up containing the fax cover sheet(s) you selected. Print the cover sheet (s). NOTE: You must be connected to a printer in order to print the cover sheets. Additionally, you must allow pop-ups. 
  4. Once you have reviewed the list of documents and printed any required fax cover sheets click on [Done]. You will be moved forward in the application process.
  5. Before faxing your document(s), take care to ensure the document is legible and all information is complete and signed, if necessary. Fax only documents which are clear and legible. Original documents with light or faded print and/or dark or patterned backgrounds will not be legible upon receipt. Illegible faxed documents cannot be used for qualification or verification purposes.
  6. Place the corresponding cover sheet on top of the document and fax the cover sheet and document together to the fax number specified on the cover sheet. NOTE: If you are faxing documents from more than one category of supporting documentation, you must submit them with the appropriate cover sheet. EACH DOCUMENT TYPE MUST BE FAXED SEPARATELY under its corresponding cover sheet. DO NOT FAX ALL DOCUMENTS TYPES UNDER ONE COVER SHEET. (i.e., Transcripts are one type of document; fax all pages of your transcript and other education-related documents under the transcript cover sheet; the SF-50 is another document type, if you are faxing more than one SF-50, fax them all under the SF-50 cover sheet.)
  7. Be sure to save these cover sheets in the event you need to re- fax your supporting documents. Each fax transmission includes a unique identification number and bar code, which ensures your document is processed correctly.
  8. You will receive an e-mail confirming the fax has been successfully received by Human Resources. You should retain your e- mail confirmation and confirmation of your fax transmittal report as proof of submission. Your application will be considered incomplete and YOU WILL BE FOUND INELIGIBLE if you fail to submit the required documentation as specified under the required documents section by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date of the vacancy announcement.


Gwen Olson
Phone: 800-370-3747
Fax: 612-370-2062
TDD: 800-877-8339
Agency Information:
Human Resources Field Office
Butler Square West, Suite 420C
100 North 6th Street
Minneapolis, MN
Fax: 612-370-2062


You may check your application status on USAJOBS. Applications are reviewed after the announcement closing date and the best qualified candidates are referred to the selecting official.

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