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

Job Title:Physical Scientist ZP-1301-2/3 (DE/CR)

Department:Department Of Commerce

Agency:National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Job Announcement Number:NOS-OCS-2013-0010

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

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.


$38,790.00 to $97,333.00 / Per Year


Tuesday, March 12, 2013 to Friday, June 14, 2013




Competitive Career/Career Conditional - Full-Time Permanent




few vacancies in the following location(s):
Silver Spring, MD, USView Map
Norfolk, VA, USView Map


*All qualified United States Citizens.


NOS is a scientific and technical organization whose mission is to preserve and enhance the nation's coastal resources and ecosystems and advocates coastal and ocean stewardship. It achieves this through scientific research; monitoring, observing, and predicting scientific phenomena; preserving and restoring ocean and coastal areas; establishing and enhancing state and local governments coastal resources; mapping and charting; and responding to hazardous substance spills.

These positions are located in the NOAA National Ocean Service (NOS), Office of Coast Survey (OCS), Hydrographic Surveys Division in Silver Spring, Maryland and Norfolk, VA. This position will be filled under the Department of Commerce 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-07/10 grade level.  The ZP-3 is equivalent to the GS-11/12 grade level.


Norfolk, VA

ZP-2 $38,790.00-$67,931.00

ZP-3 $57,408.00-$89,450.00

Silver Spring, MD

ZP-2 $42,209.00-$73,917.00

ZP-3 $62,467.00-$97,333.00

This position is also being advertised as a Physical Scientist under announcement NOS-OCS-2013-0011 (Status Candidates). You must apply separately under each announcement to be considered for each announcement.

This position may require a one year probationary period.

This is a non-bargaining position.

Additional vacancies may be filled under this announcement.
Relocation expenses are NOT authorized for this position. 


  • U.S. Citizen
  • Suitable for Federal employment
  • Registered for Selective Service if applicable (
  • Qualification requirements must be met by closing date of announcement.
  • Must be able to obtain/maintain a valid Driver's License.


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The individual selected for this position at the full performance level -ZP-3 will:     

  • Create and share solutions for issues related to hydrographic data acquisition and processing;
  • Apply knowledge of hydrographic survey theory, research of vessel traffic and customer needs to create and maintain hydrographic survey priorities, plan surveys, issue instructions to field units and manage a hydrographic survey from planning through final processing;
  • Use knowledge of underwater acoustics and ancillary systems and their underlying relationships to the practice of hydrography to develop new specifications for hydrographic surveys;
  • Apply detailed knowledge of acoustics, positioning, motion sensors, hydrography, uncertainty models, and how they interact, to evaluate and resolve unexplained artifacts in unique hydrographic data sets, share the solutions developed and update documented processes as appropriate;
  • Stay abreast of new sonar technology and survey methods through review of professional literature and work in the field. Create and analyses new technology and procedures for hydrographic surveys, provide advice and consultation to non-hydrographic ocean mapping groups of NOAA providing hydrographic expertise and making recommendations on improving data acquisition and processing. Make formal presentations of results, leading to publication in professional literature;
  • Deploy up to 30 days a year in a field underway on board survey vessels to stay up-to-date.


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Qualification requirements in vacancy announcements are based on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Qualification Standards Handbook, which contains federal qualifications standards.  This handbook is available on OPM's website at:  Qualification Standards

Degree: physical science, engineering, or mathematics that included 24 semester hours in physical science and/or related engineering science such as mechanics, dynamics, properties of materials, and electronics.
Combination of education and experience -- education equivalent to one of the majors shown in the paragraph above that included at least 24 semester hours in physical science and/or related engineering science, plus appropriate experience or additional education. 

This announcement requires transcripts.

*You must provide all transcripts from all degrees received (unofficial copies are acceptable) by the closing date of this announcement. Individuals who are selected must be prepared to provide official transcripts. 

*If course content cannot be easily identified from the title of the course as listed on your transcript, you must submit an official course description from the college/university that reflects the content at the time the course was taken.

Applicants must possess one year of specialized experience equivalent in difficulty and responsibility to the next lower grade level (GS-6 for the ZP-2 level or GS-9 for the ZP-3 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.

For the ZP-2 level:  Specialized experience at this level includes: Experience using industry standard software to manipulate map data to create a product; performing trainee tasks under close and detailed technical supervision, using equipment, instruments, or software related to a technical professional field (in science, engineering, calibration, computing, economics, social science, statistics, or mathematics) and recording the result.

For the ZP-3 level:  Specialized experience at this level includes: Experience using industry standard software to compile navigational products from hydrographic survey data for the updating of nautical charts; resolving cartographic discrepancies in surveys; planning and issuing instructions for hydrographic surveys; and evaluating and resolving unexplained artifacts in unique hydrographic data sets. Your resume must document specialized experience and support your responses to the vacancy questions.

For more information about the qualifications requirements for this position:


We will review your resume, optional cover letter and supporting documentation to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications for the position.  If you meet the minimum qualifications stated in the vacancy announcement, we will compare your resume, optional cover letter and supporting documentation to your responses on the scored occupational questionnaire (True/False, Yes/ No, Multiple Choice questions) and place you in one of three pre-defined categories.  These categories are "gold," "silver," and "bronze."  However, your resume and/or optional cover letter must support your responses to the self-assessment questions, or your score may be lowered. Candidates placed in the "gold" category will be identified for referral to the hiring manager and may be invited for an interview.

How you will be evaluated for preference eligibility:  Within each category, those entitled to veterans' preference will be listed at the top of the pre-defined category for which they are placed.  Preference eligibles with a service-connected disability of 10% or more will be listed at 

the top of the highest quality category (gold) depending on the position and grade level of the job. 

The scored occupational questionnaire will evaluate you on the following competencies; please do not provide a separate written response:

  • Knowledge of underwater acoustics and hydrography.
  • Ability to perform detailed analysis and research.
  • Ability to clearly write about complex concepts related to underwater acoustics and hydrography.
  • Knowledge of current methods and procedures to acquire and  process hydrographic data.
  • Knowledge of cartographic application of hydrographic data.
  • Knowledge of complete hydrographic systems, supporting ancillary data and operational theory.
  • Ability to write technical documents and reports about complex concepts related to underwater acoustics and hydrography.
  • Ability to make formal presentations.

 For more information on category rating, please go to:

To preview questions please click here.


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NOAA offers a comprehensive benefits package. Explore the benefits offered to most Federal employees at Benefits.


More than one selection may be made from this announcement.

ICTAP applicants MUST submit the following documents:

1. A copy of your RIF separation notice, notice of proposed removal for failure to relocate, notice of disability annuity termination, or certification from the National Guard Bureau or Military Department that you are eligible for disability retirement.
2. A copy of your SF-50 "Notification of Personnel Action", documenting your RIF separation, noting your positions, grade level, and duty location, and/or Agency certification of inability to place you through RPL, etc.;
3. A copy of your latest performance appraisal including your rating; and
4. Any documentation from your agency that shows your current promotion potential.

The following links provide information on how you may be eligible for various hiring authorities: • VRA30% or more disabled veteranPersons with DisabilitiesICTAP


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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 USAJOBS. 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 USAJOBS 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 ( or 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 another format please contact the HR Personnel listed in this announcement.


A complete application consists of the following: 

* Resume showing relevant experience; cover letter optional.  Your resume must indicate your citizenship and if you are registered for Selective Service if you are a male born after 12/31/59.  Your resume should also list your educational and work experience including the dates (mm/dd/yy) of each employment along with the number of hours worked per week.  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 assessment tool(s). 

* Veterans' Preference documentation. Please indicate on your resume the type of veterans' preference you are claiming and provide the appropriate supporting documentation (DD-214 stating disposition of discharge or character of service, VA letter, SF-15, etc.) to validate your claim. For more information regarding eligibility requirements, please go to: Veterans.

* Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) documentation, if applicable (see other information).

* Education.  If this position requires proof of higher education, you 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.  Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the requirements.  Please refer to for more information.

Note: You are not required to submit official documents at this time; copies are sufficient. You must provide all the required documents by the closing date of the announcement or you may lose consideration for this vacancy.

* Special Instructions for Foreign Education: Qualifying education from colleges and universities in foreign countries 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 at

Qualifications. 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.



Janet Rizzi
Phone: 816-426-3044
Fax: 000-000-0000
Agency Information:
NOAA/WFMO/Kansas City Staffing Division
601 E 12th Street
Room 1737
Kansas City, MO
Fax: 000-000-0000


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: USAJOBS 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 Requirement Not Met;
3. Eligible (Application Referred to the Selecting Official) or Ineligible (Application Not Referred to the Selecting Official)
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.).

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