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

Job Title:Soil Conservationist (Non-Status)

Department:Department Of Agriculture

Agency:Natural Resources Conservation Service

Job Announcement Number:PI-955560-TS

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

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.


$31,960.00 to $62,948.00 / Per Year


Friday, September 06, 2013 to Friday, September 20, 2013




Full Time - Permanent




1 vacancy in the following location:
Hilo, HI United StatesView Map


United States Citizens


Be Remarkable, Make a Difference! Join the Natural Resources Conservation Service team and help us conserve our nation's Natural Resources!! 

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is known worldwide for its accomplishments and innovations in conservation. The employees of NRCS are recognized for their talent, dedication and ingenuity in making the agency's programs work as they take necessary steps to reduce erosion, protect wildlife, promote good land use, and other measures to preserve the Nation's natural resources for future generations. Join us in protecting and conserving natural resources on America's private lands! (

This is a Non-status vacancy announcement, open to all U.S. citizens/nationals.  Those eligible for Merit Promotion consideration (current or former Federal employees, VEOA or those with Special Hiring Authority) should apply to the Status announcement PI-955559-TS that runs concurrent with this announcement.  Only one position is being filled between the two announcements.

This position is located in the Hilo Service Center in Hilo, Hawaii.  The incumbent serves as a Soil Conservationist in the field office.  The incumbent assists the Conservation District in carrying out soil and water conservation programs.  The incumbent will spend some time in the field working with producers and other land users.

Travel, transportation and relocation expenses will not be paid by the government.  Any travel, transportation and relocation expenses associated with reporting for duty to this position will be the responsibility of the selected employee.


  • U.S. Citizen or National (American Samoa or Swains Island)
  • Suitable for Federal Employment, determined by Background Investigation
  • NRCS utilizes e-Verify to identify and determine employment eligibility
  • Males born after 12-31-59 must be registered with Selective Service
  • Valid Motor Vehicle Operators License


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  • Provides technical assistance to individual and groups of landusers in the development, application and maintenance of resource conservation plans and conservation contracts.
  • Assists the District Conservationist in the development and execution of a follow-up and maintenance program to provide for periodic review of resource conservation plans and progress made in the application of practices, and to encourage and assist landusers in the application and maintenance of practices.  Secures cooperation of landusers in the installation of practices which require group participation.
  • The incumbent meets and maintains requirements for conservation planning certification and other locally releveant certifications as prescribed by NRCS policy.
  • Other duties as assigned.


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To meet the Basic Requirements for this position, you must have:

  1. Bachelor's or higher degree that included a major field of study (including 300 and 400 level courses) in Soil Conservation or a related agricultural or natural resource discipline such as agronomy, soil science, forestry, agricultural education, or agricultural engineering that includes 30 semester hours in a natural resource or agricultural field, 12 semester hours in a combination of soils and crops or plant science. Of the 12 semester hours, a minimum of 3 semester hours must have been in soils and 3 semester hours in crops or plant science.


  2. Combination of education and experience -- at least 30 semester hours in one or more of the disciplines as shown in (1) above, including at least 12 semester hours in a combination of soils and crops or plant science, plus appropriate experience or additional education. Of the 12 semester hours, a minimum of 3 semester hours must have been in soils and 3 semester hours in crops or plant science.

This position has a positive education requirement.  You must submit a legible copy of your college transcripts to be considered.  Unofficial copies are acceptable if they clearly show the name of the student, coursework completed, degree and date conferred (if applicable).  If selected, you will be required to submit an official copy of your college transcript(s).  

  If you wish to have education acquired outside the United States credited for the educational requirements of this position, you must prove that it has been evaluated as equivalent to the education gained in accredited United States colleges and universities. Submit documentation of your education to a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign educational credentials for a determination.  The Council on Postsecondary Accreditation may be of assistance in providing information on these organizations (  The processing of this vacancy announcement will not be delayed pending receipt of your evaluation materials.


In addition to meeting the Basic Qualifications Applicants must meet the required Specialized experience or higher education required for the position.  Specialized experience is defined as the following:

To be eligible for the GS-05 level, you must: Meet the basic education qualification requirements as stated above.

To be eligible for the GS-07 level, in addition to the basic requirements, you must have:
One year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-5 level. Experience performing duties under the direct supervision of a soil conservationist assisting landowners with conservation planning; providing technical advice to producers on keeping their plans current; providing resource planning assistance from initial inventory and evaluation through to completion; and other related duties relevant to the occupation. -OR- Superior academic achievement (upper third of graduating class, 3.0 or greater GPA overall or 3.5 or greater GPA within Major, or honor society membership). -OR- At least 18 semester hours of progressively higher graduate education working towards my Masters degree from an accredited college or university in soil conservation or related agricultural or natural resource discipline such as agronomy, soil science, forestry, agricultural education, or agricultural engineering.

To be eligible for the GS-09 level, in addition to the basic requirements, you must have:
One year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-7 level. Experience performing most of the following duties under the guidance of a senior soil conservationist: developing portions of conservation plans or whole plans of a routine nature; assisting in the gathering of crop history, soil erosion data, drainage characteristics, land use data, and other resource information and planning map preparation; assisting in the evaluation of onsite urban, rural, or wetland conservation needs and application of land treatment measures including the installation of erosion and water control practices. -OR- A Masters Degree or 36 semester hours of progressively higher graduate education leading to a Masters degree from an accredited college or university in soil conservation or related agricultural or natural resource discipline such as agronomy, soil science, forestry, agricultural education, or agricultural engineering.

Credit will be given for appropriate qualifying (paid/unpaid) experience or volunteer work.  To receive proper credit for your experience or volunteer work, fully describe your responsibilities and show the actual time (years, months and hours per week) spent in such activities.  If we cannot determine, from the materials submitted, that you have the full amount of qualifying experience, you may be rated as ineligible.

Other Requirement: You will be required to travel, 1-5 nights per month.


You will be rated under Category Rating procedures based on the extent to which your experience meets the knowledge, skills and abilities for the position as shown below.  Additional points are not added for veteran's preference; however, preference is still applied within each category. Applicants eligible for veteran's preference will receive selection priority over non-veteran's within their category. If you meet the basic qualification requirements, your application will be placed in one of three categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified or Qualified.  Only those candidates in the Best Qualified category will be referred. 

Your application will be evaluated based on your responses to the on-line assessment questionnaire and specialized experience documented in your resume. If materials are not received, your application will be evaluated solely on the information available and you may not receive full consideration or may be considered ineligible. All the information you provide will be verified by a review of your application, reference checks, interview process and through other means. The Human Resources Office makes the final determination concerning applicant ratings.  It is essential that your resume provide sufficient information to substantiate your responses in the self-assessment questionnaire.  If you rate yourself higher than is supported by your application materials, you may be rated ineligible for this position.  Any exaggeration of your experience, false statements, or attempts to conceal information may be grounds for not hiring you, or for removal after employment begins.

Your assessment questionnaire will be scored based on your responses. The score is a measure of the degree to which your background matches the following knowledge, skills and abilities: 

  • Knowledge of soil and water conservation programs
  • Skill in planning and implementing resource management systems
  • Ability to organize workload, set priorities and schedules and analyze accomplishments
  • Ability to develop and maintain working relationships with others
  • Skill in verbal and written communication

To preview questions, please view the questionnaire: View Assessment Questions



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Working for NRCS 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. Additionally NRCS offers FlexiWork, Telework, Transportation Subsidies and a family friendly work environment. The following Web address is provided for your reference to explore the major benefits offered to most Federal employees. To find out more click here

NRCS has determined that the duties of this position are suitable for telework and the selectee may be allowed to telework with supervisor approval.


In addition to salary, compensation will include a 6.24% Cost of Living Allowance (COLA). COLA is not subject to Federal income tax and is not calculated as salary for retirement purposes.

Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) / Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP): The Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) or Agency Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) provides eligible displaced Federal competitive service employees with selection priority over other candidates for competitive service vacancies. If your agency has notified you in writing that you are a displaced employee eligible for ICTAP/CTAP consideration, you may receive selection priority if: 1) this vacancy is within your ICTAP/CTAP eligibility, 2) you apply under the instructions in this announcement, and 3) you are found well-qualified for this vacancy (score of 85 or above). You must provide proof of eligibility with your application to receive selection priority to include a copy of 1) your written notification of ICTAP/CTAP eligibility or separation SF-50, 2) current or most recent performance rating, and 3) SF-50 showing the full performance level or career ladder of your current (or previous) position at the time of your application. Information about ICTAP/CTAP eligibility is on OPM's Career Transition Resources website at

Veterans' Preference: If you are entitled to veterans' preference, you should indicate the type of veterans' preference you are claiming on your résumé and submit documents to support your claim. Your veterans' preference entitlement will be verified by the Human Resources Office.

  • In order to verify your veterans' preference entitlement, please submit a copy of the Member Copy 4 of your DD-214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty); official statement of service from your command if you are currently on active duty; or other official documentation (i.e. documentation of receipt of a campaign badge or expeditionary medal) that shows your military service was performed under honorable conditions.
  • In addition, if you are a disabled veteran, a Purple Heart recipient, or widow/widower of a veteran, the spouse of a disabled veteran or a natural mother of a disabled or deceased veteran, you must submit a signed and dated Standard Form (SF) 15, "Application for 10-point Veteran Preference," and the other required documentation identified on the reverse side of the SF-15 to support your preference claim.

Although veterans' preference points are not assigned under the category rating procedures described under "How You Will Be Evaluated," veterans' preference eligibles are listed ahead of non-veterans within each category for which they are qualified. In addition, qualified veterans with a compensable service-connected disability of 10% or more are placed at the top of the highest quality category (i.e. Best Qualified), except when the position being filled is scientific or professional at the GS-9 level or higher.

Probationary Period: If appointed on first competitive appointment or appointment in new line of work selectee is subjected to 12-month probationary period and can be removed for performance, budget, suitability, background review or other reasons.

Reference Checks may be conducted prior to any interviews being conducted. By applying for this announcement you are giving consent for these reference checks. Checks may include current supervisor, prior supervisor or others in line of sight within previously held positions.

Promotion Potential: When promotion potential is shown, and if selected at the lower grade, the agency is not obligated or committed to promote you to the higher grade.  Promotions depend on your ability to perform the duties, requires a minimum of 12-months time-in-grade and provided you are found otherwise eligible, you'll need to be recommended through the supervisory chain.  Promotions are not automatic.


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To apply for this position, you must complete the occupational questionnaire and submit the documentation specified in the Required Documents section below.

The complete application package must be submitted by 11:59 PM (EST) on Friday, September 20, 2013 to receive consideration.

  • To begin, click Apply Online to create a USAJOBS account or log in to your existing account. Follow the prompts to select your USAJOBS resume and/or other supporting documents and complete the occupational questionnaire.
  • Click the Submit My Answers button to submit your application package.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure your responses and appropriate documentation is submitted prior to the closing date.
  • To verify your application is complete, log into your USAJOBS account,, select the Application Status link and then select the more information link for this position. The Details page will display the status of your application, the documentation received and processed, and any correspondence the agency has sent related to this application. Your uploaded documents may take several hours to clear the virus scan process.
  • To return to an incomplete application, log into your USAJOBS account and click Update Application in the vacancy announcement. You must re-select your resume and/or other documents from your USAJOBS account or your application will be incomplete.

Faxing Applications or Supporting Documents:

You are encouraged to apply online. Applying online will allow you to review and track the status of your application.

NOTE: If you applied online and your application is complete, do not fax the paper application (1203FX) as this will overwrite your prior online responses and may result in you being found ineligible.

If you completed the occupational questionnaire online and are unable to upload supporting document(s):

  1. To fax your documents, you must use the following cover page and provide the required information. The Vacancy ID is 955560.
  2. Fax your documents to 1-478-757-3144.

If you cannot complete the Application Package online, you may fax all of your materials. The complete application package must be submitted by 11:59 PM (EST) on Friday, September 20, 2013 to receive consideration. Keep a copy of your fax confirmation in the event verification is needed.

To complete the occupational questionnaire and submit via fax:

  1. Click the following link to view and print the occupational questionnaire View Occupational Questionnaire.
  2. Print the 1203FX form, follow the instructions and provide your responses to the occupational questionnaire items
  3. Fax all six pages of the completed 1203FX form along with any supporting documents to 1-478-757-3144. Your 1203FX will serve as a cover page for your fax transmission.


Applicants must submit the following documents:

1.  Resume [Maximum of 10 pages, any pages in excess of 10 pages will not be included in your application package. Unsolicited materials (i.e. position descriptions, publications, etc.) will not be included in the review process.]
2.  Responses to the occupational questionnaire
3.  Transcripts to support Education requirements, unofficial copies are acceptable (See the Qualifications section)

AND, If applicable:
1.  Documentation supporting eligibility for veterans' preference (See "Other Information")
2.  ICTAP/CTAP documentation for displaced Federal employees (See "Other Information")

Failure to provide all required documents by the closing date of this announcement will result in non-consideration for this position.


Tracy Sakato
Phone: (808)541-2600x154
Agency Information:
300 Ala Moana Blvd
PO Box 50004
Room 4-118
Honolulu, HI


Once your Occupational Questionnaire and resume have been received, you will receive an acknowledgement email that your submission was successful. All information provided may be verified by a careful review of your resume, questionnaire responses, education transcripts, reference check, etc. After a qualification review of your complete application package, you will be notified of the status of your application. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted. Any exaggeration of your experience, false statements, or attempt to conceal information may disqualify you for consideration. A job offer is typically made within 45 days after the deadline for applications. You can track the progress of your application package in your USAjobs account at

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