This position is located in the National Ocean Service (NOS), Office of Coast Survey (OCS), Hydrographic Survey Division (HSD) with four vacancies in Silver Spring, MD.Learn more about this agency
As a Physical Scientist, you will perform the following duties:
- Research historical information, survey requests, national priorities, and other relevant information to define a survey project area, and develop draft project instructions and statements of work using GIS and other tools.
- Assist senior team members with research and planning of hydrographic surveys.
- Acquire, process, and analyze hydrographic data, including all the ancillary data used to transform raw bathymetric soundings to chart datum.
- Search for improved techniques and better technologies.
- Deploy up to 180 days a year to survey vessels to maintain proficiency.
This position will be filled under the DOC 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-07/09 grade levels, however is only being advertised equivalent to the GS-09 grade level. The ZP-3 is equivalent to the GS-11/12.
These duties are described at the full performance level of the ZP-3; the ZP-2 is developmental leading to such performance.
50% or less - Up to 50% of domestic travel may be required. Occasional foreign travel may be required.
3 - If you are selected for a position with further promotion potential, you may be non-competitively promoted if you perform successfully and if recommended by management.
Job family (Series)
Conditions of Employment
- Must be a U.S. Citizen or National to apply.
- Required to pass a background investigation and fingerprint check.
- Must be suitable for Federal employment.
- Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable (www.sss.gov).
- Time-in-grade/band must be met by closing date of announcement.
* A one year probationary period may be required.
* Payment of relocation expenses is not authorized.
* This position is not in the bargaining unit.
College Transcript: If you are qualifying based on education, submit a copy of your college transcript that lists college courses detailing each course by the number and department (i.e., bio 101, math 210, etc.), course title, number of credit hours and grade earned. You must submit evidence that any education completed in a foreign institution is equivalent to U.S. education standards with your resume. You may submit an unofficial copy of the transcript at the initial phase of the application process. 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.
Note: Your college transcript is used to verify successful completion of degree, or college course work. An official college transcript will be required before you can report to duty.
CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT: Physical Scientists in the Hydrographic Surveys Division are deployed to NOAA field units up to 180 days per year. Employees must work aboard small boats on inland and near-coastal waters in extreme environmental conditions and choppy seas.
PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: They must be capable and comfortable ascending and descending rope ladders to embark/disembark small boats from ships for operations. Employees must be able to work aboard a moving vessel and occasionally lift/wear/perform in equipment that weighs up to 50 lbs. All persons embarked on a NOAA ship must be able to perform normal work functions and possibly personal emergency response functions while the ship is underway. Employees must be capable of working up to 12 hours per day of variable hours while deployed to field units, for up to 30 days including weekends and holidays.
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.
Qualification requirements in the vacancy announcements are based on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Qualification Standards Handbook, which contains federal qualification standards. This handbook is available on the Office of Personnel Management's website located at: http://www.opm.gov/qualifications.
To qualify for the 1301 series:
BASIC REQUIREMENTS: This position requires applicants to meet a Basic Education Requirement in addition to at least one year of specialized experience in order to be found minimally qualified. You MUST meet one of the following basic education requirements:
A. 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.
B. 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.
- AND -
Applicants must possess one year of specialized experience equivalent in difficulty and responsibility to the next lower grade 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.
Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations e.g., professional; philanthropic, religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies; knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.
To qualify at the ZP-2 or GS-09 level:
SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: In addition to meeting the Basic Requirements above, applicants must also possess one full year (52 weeks) of specialized experience equivalent to the ZP-2 or GS-07 in the Federal service. Specialized experience MUST include all of the following:
- Participating in the testing or evaluation of new hydrographic systems and using industry standard software to manipulate map data; and
- Assisting with the research and planning of hydrographic surveys and assisting with monitoring the execution of hydrographic survey projects.
EDUCATION: 2 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master’s degree OR master’s degree OR equivalent graduate degree.
COMBINATION OF EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE: An equivalent combination of graduate level education and specialized experience is qualifying.
Note: Only graduate education in excess of one year is qualifying for combination.
To qualify at the ZP-3 or GS-11 level:
SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: In addition to meeting the Basic Requirements above, applicants must also possess one full year (52 weeks) of specialized experience equivalent to the ZP-2 or GS-09 in the Federal service. Specialized experience MUST include all of the following:
- Evaluating and improving hydrographic systems and using industry standard software to manipulate map data to create a product and compile navigational products from hydrographic survey data in order to update nautical charts;
- Researching and planning hydrographic surveys and resolving cartographic discrepancies in surveys; and
- Providing input and drafting technical procedures or manuals in order to implement new policies.
EDUCATION: 3 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree OR Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree.
COMBINATION OF EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE: An equivalent combination of doctoral level education and specialized experience is qualifying.
Note: Only graduate education in excess of two years is qualifying for combination.
- AND -
SELECTIVE FACTOR (FOR THE ZP-3 ONLY): In addition to meeting the above, applicants must also possess experience performing hydrographic surveys and in developing hydrographic survey requirements, including appropriate methods (i.e. multibeam vs. side scan sonar). Your application materials must clearly demonstrate this experience. Failure to do so will result in your application being marked as ineligible.
CTAP and ICTAP candidates will be eligible if it is determined that they have exceeded the minimum qualifications for the position by attaining at least a rating of 85 out of 100. Information about CTAP and ICTAP eligibility is on the Office of Personnel Management’s Career Transition Resources website at: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/workforce-restructuring/employee-guide-to-career-transition/.
CTAP applicants MUST submit the following documents:
- A copy of your specific RIF notice; notice of proposed removal for failure to relocate; a Certificate of Expected Separation (CES); or certification that you are in a surplus organization or occupation (this could be a position abolishment letter, a notice eligibility for discontinued service retirement, or similar notice).
- A copy of your SF-50 “Notification of Personnel Action”, noting current position, grade level, and duty location;
- A copy of your latest performance appraisal including your rating; and
- Any documentation from your agency that shows your current promotion potential.
- A copy of your RIF separation notice; notice of proposed removal for failure to relocate; notice of disability annuity termination; certification from your former agency that it cannot place you after your recovery from a compensable injury; or certification from the National Guard Bureau or Military Department that you are eligible for disability retirement;
- 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;
- A copy of your latest performance appraisal including your rating; and
- Any documentation from your agency that shows your current promotion potential.
How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
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). However, your resume or optional cover letter must support your responses to the scored occupational questionnaire, or your score may be lowered. The best-qualified candidates will be identified for referral to the hiring manager and may be invited for an interview.
The scored occupational questionnaire will evaluate you on the following competencies; please do not provide a separate written response:
Ability to process, manipulate, and analyze data using geographic information systems.
Skill in performing hydrographic surveys including an understanding of what hydrographic survey methods are most appropriate in different coastal environments.
Ability to collaborate with technical teams, managers, and hydrographic field units.
Knowledge of current methods and procedures to acquire and process hydrographic data.
Ability to clearly write about concepts related to hydrography.
Knowledge of hydrographic systems or software supporting ancillary data and operational theory.
Due weight shall be given to performance appraisals and awards in accordance with 5 CFR 335.103(b)(3), during the interview/selection process conducted by the hiring manager. If referred, all relevant documents including performance appraisals and awards submitted with your application package will be forwarded to the hiring official for review.
To preview questions please click here.
Background checks and security clearance
Drug test required
- 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 must include information about your paid and nonpaid work experience related to this position including: job title, duration of employment (mm/dd/yy – mm/dd/yy), hours per week, duties and accomplishments, salary, and your education. 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 scored occupational questionnaire.
- SF-50, “Notification of Personnel Action: If you are a current or former Federal employee, you must provide the most current Notification of Personnel Action (Form SF-50) that verifies career/career-conditional status, title, series and grade (do not submit an Award SF-50). Also provide the SF-50 that reflects the highest grade level held on a permanent basis or the full performance level of your current position, whichever is higher. Failure to do so will result in an ineligible rating.
- Veteran’s documentation: If you are requesting consideration under Veterans Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA) or Veterans Readjustment Act (VRA) you must submit a copy of your Member 4 DD-214 stating disposition of discharge or character of service or other valid proof of eligibility (i.e., statement of service that shows service dates AND character of service) and/or any other required supporting documents (VA Letter). http://www.opm.gov/staffingPortal/Vetguide.asp#VeteransEmploymentAct1998.
- Active Duty Service Members: You must submit a statement of discharge/certification of release or an official written document from the armed forces that certifies you are expected to be discharged or released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions no later than 120 days from the date the announcement closes. Enlisted Record Briefs and military identification do NOT qualify as official documentation. If the appropriate information is not submitted to confirm the discharge status, dates of service, etc., you will not be considered for this job opportunity under Veteran Preference procedures. To gain access to your DD-214 online please visit http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records
- Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) and Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) documentation if applicable (see additional information).
- Documentation supporting eligibility for non-competitive appointment, (severely disabled, eligible veterans, certain military spouses, etc.)
- 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. Special Instructions for Foreign Education: Education completed in foreign colleges or universities 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 by the closing date of the announcement will result in lost consideration.
- Performance Appraisal - most recent performance appraisal (dated within last 3 years) showing the official rating of record, signed by a supervisor, or statement why the performance appraisal is unavailable. Do not submit a performance plan that does not include this information.
- Awards - Copies of any award received within the last 3 years.
If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:
Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.
A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Learn more about federal benefits.
Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.
How to Apply
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 http://www.usajobs.gov. 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 http://www.usajobs.gov 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 an alternate format, please contact the Staffing number listed in this vacancy announcement.
Agency contact information
Office of Human Capital Services
1305 East West Highway
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
This Job Opportunity Announcement may be used to fill other Physical Scientist, ZP-1301-2/3 positions throughout NOAA. The position must be alike (e.g.: within the same geographic locations, same grade/band and requires the same qualifications and specialized experience as indicated in this vacancy announcement).
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 http://www.usajobs.gov and clicking on “Track Your Online Application.” The four points of notification are:
- Application Received or Application Incomplete
- Minimum Qualification Requirement Met or Minimum Qualification Not Met;
- Eligible (Application Referred to the Selecting Official) or Ineligible (Application Not Referred to the Selecting Official); and
- 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.)
Fair & Transparent
The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.
Equal Employment Opportunity Policy
The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.
Reasonable Accommodation Policy
Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.
A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.
Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:
- An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
- An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
- An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.
You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Legal and regulatory guidance
This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/509239000. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.