To qualify, you MUST meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of the announcement.
BASIC REQUIREMENT AT ALL GRADE LEVELS:
A. Degree: Applicants must have completed 4 years of college with a degree or coursework equivalent to a major (24 semester hours) in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or a closely related discipline appropriate to the position.
SELECTIVE FACTOR: The qualifying degree must have included at least 20 semester hours in coursework such as agronomy, cell biology, botany, entomology, forestry, horticulture, mycology, nematology, plant pathology, soil science or other closely related courses. Applicants who do not possess or fail to submit documentation of completion of this requirement will be found not qualified. OR
B. COMBINATION OF EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE AT ALL GRADE LEVELS:
Courses equivalent to a major, as shown in "Selective Factor" above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.
APPLICANTS WHO MEET THE BASIC REQUIREMENTS QUALIFY AT THE GS-5 GRADE LEVEL.
IN ADDITION TO MEETING THE BASIC REQUIREMENT AS LISTED ABOVE, SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-7/9 GRADE LEVELS: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience equivalent in level of difficulty and responsibility to the next lower level in the federal service. This experience is typically in, or related to, the work of the position being filled. OR
SUBSTITUTION OF EDUCATION FOR EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-7 GRADE LEVEL: Successful completion of one full year of related graduate level education from an accredited college or university in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to the position. OR
Superior Academic Achievement: To qualify based on superior academic achievement, you must have completed the requirements for a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution AND must meet certain GPA requirements. For more details click: Superior Academic Achievement.
SUBSTITUTION OF EDUCATION FOR EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-9 GRADE LEVEL: Successful completion of 2 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's degree or master's or equivalent graduate degree from an accredited college or university in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or closely related disciplines appropriate to the position.
Examples of qualifying experience include, but are not limited to at the GS-5/7 Grade Levels:
- Professional knowledge of pertinent regulations, policies and procedures of agricultural quarantine principles and biological and scientific principles, techniques of collection and identification.
- Experience in multiple program areas and/or multifaceted programs, such as post entry quarantine, emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, grasshopper/Mormon cricket, etc.
- Drafting proposals or work plans and financial plans to be used for survey, sampling, control, trace back, regulatory methods development, etc.
- Planning, conducting various treatments and remedial measures, such as disinfection, sterilization, fumigation, cold treatment, hot water treatment, etc…, for plant and animal pests and disease.
Examples of qualifying experience include, but are not limited to at the GS-9 Grade Level:
- Planning, coordinating and conducting all aspects of operational activities, including special programs, newly emerging programs or operational functions with cooperators, other government entities, industries, etc.
- Planning, coordinating and conducting plant pest surveys and anticipating and providing solutions for problems in program areas.
- Professional level experience executing containment facility inspections.
- Professional level experience issuing Phytosanitary certificates.
- Planning, conducting and/or supervising various treatments and remedial measures such as disinfection, sterilization, fumigation, cold treatment, hot water treatment, etc…, for plant and animal pests and disease.
- Preparing and making formal presentations to internal and external audiences.
AT THE GS-7/9 GRADE LEVELS: Combinations of successfully completed related graduate level education and specialized experience may be used to meet total experience requirements. Only graduate level education in excess of the amount required for the next lower grade level may be combined with experience.
TRANSCRIPTS are required if:
- This position requires specific coursework or a degree in a specific field to be basically qualified.
- You are qualifying for the position based on education.
- You are qualifying for this position based on a combination of experience and education.
- You are qualifying for this position based on Superior Academic Achievement. [
This education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college, or university. For more information on submitting transcripts, click: Transcripts.
- U.S. Citizenship
- Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with the Selective Service
- DD214 (Member 4 copy)/veterans' documents for veterans' preference
- Valid state driver's license required at time of hire
- Travel (e.g., 3-5 nights per month) may be required
- As a condition of employment, a background investigation may be required for this position.
- Subject to satisfactory completion of one year trial period.
- The individual selected for this position must be certified under the USDA, APHIS, PPQ, pesticide applicator certification program within 12 months after assuming the duties of the position. Failure to achieve certification within the specified time will result in appropriate corrective action.
- Automobile Driving Requirements: Plant Health Safeguarding Specialists are required to operate a motor vehicle and must possess a valid State Driver's License at time of appointment.
- ATTEND BASIC AGRICULTURE SAFEGUARDING TRAINING (BAST). The purpose of BAST is to provide relevant training to help PPQ Officers acquire new skills and knowledge to enable them to accomplish PPQ's mission. Officers certified through BAST will be able to conduct plant health safeguarding activities authorized by the Plant Protection Act of 2000 and related regulations.
- The core instruction will take place at the Professional Development Center in Frederick, MD. Additionally, portions of this training will be completed at the employees' work unit. The time frame for completing BAST is within the first year of employment, but may be extended by the PPQ Program beyond this period, if necessary.
HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED:
To preview questions please click here.
- Your application will be rated on the extent and quality of your experience, education and training relevant to the position. Your resume must support that you meet the specialized experience requirements described above and are proficient in the following skills or competencies below. Please note you are not required to provide specific narrative responses to the skills and competencies described in this section.
- Ability to perform entry and development level plant protection and quarantine work as a plant health safeguarding specialist.
- Ability to conduct inspections and/or surveys to detect existing or potential threats to U.S. agriculture or other interests.
- Knowledge of the methods and programs used to control, treat, eradicate and manage native and exotic pest populations and/or disease in the U.S. and ability to perform regulatory and complex treatment duties.
- Knowledge of Federal Plant Protection and Quarantine programs pertaining to plant pests and the related importation and/or exportation of products.
- Ability to facilitate safe trade and export certification in order to make U.S. agriculture competitive in world markets.
- Ability to carry out permitting and compliance activities.
- Ability to manage program and organizational effectiveness and efficiency.
- Oral, written and interpersonal communication.
- Category rating procedures will be used to rank and select eligible candidates. The following quality categories will be used: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, and Qualified. Within each quality category, veterans' preference eligibles will receive selection priority over non-veterans.
- Your final category placement will be based on your responses to the assessment questionnaire. Please ensure your resume provides enough detail to support your responses.
- If, after reviewing your resume and / or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your score can / will be adjusted to more accurately reflect your abilities. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Deliberate attempts to falsify information may be grounds for not selecting you.