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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Physical Scientist, ZP-1301-3
Department:  Department Of Commerce
Agency:  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Job Announcement Number:  OAR-ESRL-2013-0023

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

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$50,287.00 to $78,355.00 / Per Year
Thursday, September 05, 2013 to Wednesday, September 11, 2013
This is a Term Appointment NTE 2 years. - Position will be in the Excepted Service.
1 vacancy - South Pole Station, AY  View Map
Public Non-Status Positions (DE): - Open to all qualified candidates, including
Federal employees.
Public Non-Status Positions (Public Notice): - Open to all qualified candidates, including Federal employees. "Excepted Service Appointment"


OAR is where science comes to life. Become part of a team that develops innovative ideas and technologies and collaborate with the many talented and dedicated people who work to solve the mysteries of the deepest oceans to the surface of the sun. Explore the facets and trends of the earth's environment that will influence the future. Become a part of the team that provides the nation with scientific information to thrive in an ever-changing world.

The Office of Oceanic & Atmospheric Research, Earth System Research Laboratory is looking for bright, innovative, and results-oriented individuals to join our fast-paced organization. Make a difference by joining our team!
Post Differential (Hardship) for AY: The Post Differential for this position is 25% of the locality salary and maybe federally taxed. The Post Differential is not reflected in the locality salary shown in this vacancy announcement.
Positions are located in the Office of Oceanic Atmospheric Research, located in the South Pole, Antarctica and may receive administratively uncontrollable overtime (AUO) pay as a percentage of the employee's annual rate for work which requires substantial amounts of irregular or overtime hours in excess of the normal 8 hour workday and cannot be controlled administratively.
Positions are advertised at the ZP-03 band level, the ZA-03 band level is equivalent to the GS-11/12 on the Federal General Schedule salary table. 


  • Must be a U.S. Citizen.
  • Must be suitable for Federal employment.
  • Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable(
  • Relocation expenses are not authorized.
  • Must be able to pass rigorous physical and psychological evaluations.
  • Must be able to work in harsh and remote Polar environments.


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The Earth System Research Laboratory's Global Monitoring Division maintains a baseline atmospheric observatory located at the geographic South Pole, Antarctica. The South Pole Observatory (SPO) was established in 1957. The National Science Foundation (NSF) provides the infrastructure for the GMD scientific operations at the pole.
A two-person staff is required to run the NOAA component of the South Pole Observatory both for science duties and safety as the NOAA observatory is remote from the main South Pole station. Since 1975 the Station Chief position has been filled by the NOAA Corps and the Physical Scientist/Technician/Engineer position has been filled by GMD. Staff positions are rotated out once each year.
A new staff member is hired for the South Pole observatory position every eighteen months to two years on a rotating basis. The extra time beyond a year is for training and travel to and from the station which can take 3 weeks or more each way. The NSF does not permit any permanent
staff assignments to SPO.
The GMD operates the observatory at South Pole to measure long-term trends of trace gases, aerosols, and solar radiation and to investigate the influence of these gases and aerosols on the Earth's radiation balance that controls climate.
The work and activities of the GMD position include, but are not limited to:
- On a daily basis maintaining, repairing, calibrating and error checking a wide range of electronic instrumentation and understanding the measurement data,
- Interpreting the data collected in near real time to make decisions on altering measurement strategies,
- On a weekly to twice-weekly schedule filling and releasing large helium balloons carrying instruments to heights in excess of 100,000 feet,
- Preparing, calibrating and monitoring the data from ozonesondes carried on the high altitude balloons,
- Collecting weekly air samples outdoors in temperatures as cold as -80°C,
- Maintaining outdoor meteorological instruments on a tower including removing rime ice as needed by regularly ascending the tower in cold and windy conditions,
- Operating a LIDAR for measuring aerosol profiles,
- Maintaining an inventory of critical calibration gases in high pressure tanks and switching out these tanks as required,
- Conducting Dobson Ozone measurements from a room at ambient cold temperatures often for periods spanning up to 14 hours on end,
- Conducting weekly safety checks of station operations and being up-to-date on first aid and fire fighting techniques,
- Being capable and comfortable working outdoors in high winds and cold temperatures over a year with six months of darkness.


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The experience must have equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities (competencies) to perform the duties of the position. The experience need not have been in the federal government.
The applicant must possess at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the ZP-2 (GS-9 or equivalent), which is typically in or related to the position to be filled. 
Specialized Experience is defined as experience with operating procedures for data collection from atmospheric monitoring equipment and to evaluate the data to ensure proper equipment performance. Experience troubleshooting and repairing scientific equipment used for atmospheric monitoring. 
NOTE: Your resume must document specialized experience and support your responses to the vacancy questions.

This position is located in
Assists scientists and others with various technical procedures and practices.
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 A above that included at least 24 semester hours in physical science and/or related engineering science, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

Applicants must meet the basic entry requirements and the individual occupational requirements as stated in the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Qualification Standards for General Schedule (GS) Positions Policies and Instructions:

Applicants must meet ALL application requirements, to include a complete online resume, by 11:59 p.m. EASTERN TIME (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.


Applications will be evaluated based on the Qualifications described below. Please be advised that this position in the Excepted Service. As such, these position is not covered by the usual civil service hiring procedures. There are no numerical rating system through which to apply veterans preference; however, we will consider veterans preference eligibility as a positive factor in hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans preference are encouraged to include that information in their cover letter or resume, and to attach supporting documentation. Applicants must demonstrate an ability to manage a complex organization and tackle challenging organizational issues that include the ability to (1) operate, recognize, diagnose, and repair malfunctions scientific equipment including chromatographs, spectrophotometers, and upper-atmospheric sounding instruments; (2) operating procedures for data collection from atmospheric-monitoring equipment and the ability to evaluate the data to assure proper equipment performance;(3) quantitative analysis techniques including trend and error analysis; and (4) develop, implement, and document changes to the procedures used in equipment operation in order to improve efficiencies and data quality.    
To preview questions please click here.


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The Department of Commerce offers a comprehensive benefits package. Explore the benefits offered to most Federal employees at
The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, membership in an employee organization, or other non-merit factor.
Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.


Veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and were separated under honorable conditions may be eligible for veterans' preference. For service beginning after October 15, 1976, the veteran must have served the required length of time and have a Campaign Badge, Expeditionary Medal, a service-connected disability, or have served in the Gulf War between August 2, 1990, and January 2, 1992.
The Veterans Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA) gives veterans access to job vacancies that might otherwise be closed to them. The law allows eligible veterans to compete for vacancies advertised under agency's promotion procedures when the agency is seeking applications from outside of its own workforce.
To claim veterans' preference, veterans should be ready to provide a copy of their DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, or other proof. Veterans with service connected disability and others claiming 10 point preference will need to submit Form SF-15, Application for 10-point Veterans' Preference.


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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  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 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 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 another format, please contact: Latasha Archer Human Resource Specialist at 301-713-6330 or email at between 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET no less than 24 hours before the posted announcement closing date.


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.  Your resume may be used to validate your responses to the assessment tool(s).  
*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.

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 - 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 when requested will result in lost consideration.


Latasha Archer
Phone: 301-713-6330
Fax: 000-000-0000
Agency Information:
WFMO/Oceans Client Services Div
1305 East West Hwy
Room 12237
Silver Spring , MD
Fax: 000-000-0000


Applicants will be notified that their application has been received. Interviews may be arranged at the discretion of NOAA for those subject to further consideration based upon qualifications.

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