Chemist (DEU-LS)

Reston, Virginia
Oct 05, 2019
Oct 13, 2019
Full Time


What General Information Do I Need To Know About This Position?

Open to current or former Federal employees: RES-2010-0367.

GS-11 Salary: $69,581 (Step 01) to $90,461 (Step 10); NOTE: First time hires to the Federal Government are typically hired at the Step 01.

GS-12 Salary: $83,398 (Step 01) to $108,422 (Step 10); NOTE: First time hires to the Federal Government are typically hired at the Step 01.

Learn more about this agency


As a Chemist, with the Eastern Mineral and Environmental Research Science Center, some of your specific duties will include:
• Serves as a technical specialist for analytical methods in the radiogenic isotope and trace element laboratories. Is responsible for developing, adapting and evaluating sample preparation and analysis methods that detect, identify and quantify chemical substances (in particular radiogenic isotopes such as U, TH, Pb, Sm, Nd, all REE, Rb, Sr) in water, soil, rock, vegetation, animal tissue and mixtures of the above, under the strict requirements of working in an Ulta-clean Lab, in consultation with the Project chief.
• Prepares geological, geochemical and microbiological samples for geochemical and analysis and prepares samples for analysis by TIMS and HR-ICPMS (Element 2). Performs chemical procedures on a broad range of samples that may include water, soil, sediment, rock, plant tissue, animal tissue or a combination. The analyses and tests will determine the chemical composition of substances, presence and identification of trace elements in water, tissue, rock or sediment.
• Works as a technical specialist who applies advanced knowledge of chemistry and the underlying theory and degree of skill and judgement in the use of specialized laboratory instrumentation; in particular, high resolution ICPMS, to perform analytical analysis of samples.
• Troubleshoots sample preparation procedures and analytical instrument systems to correct routine, but difficult problems. Detects unusual and/or unique situations in the application of established methods and recommends options to the Project Chief.
• Performs the analyses and tests and documents process and results, which include physical measurements, sample preparation, wet laboratory procedures, and instrumental analyses for standards, know-unknown and unknown materials, by adhering to laboratory QA/QC and all standard operating procedures in place for the facility.

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Applicants must be U.S. Citizens.
  • Suitable for Federal employment, as determined by background investigation.
  • Selectee may be subject to serving a one-year probationary period.
  • More requirements are listed under Qualifications and Other Information.

Are There Any Special Requirements For This Position?
  • A background investigation will be required for this position. Continued employment will be subject to the applicant's successful completion of a background security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements will be grounds for termination.
  • The work involves regular and recurring exposure to irritant chemicals. Special safety precautions are required, and the chemist must use protective clothing and gear such as laboratory coat, gloves and safety glasses. Work will also require periodic examinations to monitor exposure to chemicals and to properly fit safety equipment. The work involves prolonged standing, walking bending and lifting of equipment weighing up to 50 pounds.
  • Throughout the recruitment and hiring process we will be communicating with you via email; therefore, it is imperative that the email address you provide when applying for this vacancy remains active. Should your email address change, please notify the point of contact identified in the vacancy announcement as soon as possible so that we can update our system.


For information on basic qualifications, which includes information on whether you may substitute education for specialized experience, please click on the following: .

In addition to the basic education requirements, you must have 1-year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade level in the Federal service. Examples include:

For GS-11:
In addition to the basic education requirement stated above, applicants must meet one of the following to qualify for the GS-11 level: 3 years of progressively higher level graduate education (54 semester hours or 81 quarter hours or the equivalent) leading to a Ph.D. degree in chemistry or other directly related field of study or Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree in chemistry or other directly related field of study if it provided the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to do the work of this position. **OR one year of appropriate professional experience in chemistry that is equivalent to at least the GS-09 level in the Federal service. Examples of such experience include independent responsibility for performing established, standardized chemical tests and analyses on a broad range of samples in a laboratory setting. Implements new testing and analytical methods. Develops and suggests minor adaptations & fills in the gaps found in newly developed guidelines that govern the new testing methods. At this level, Chemists have a sound working knowledge of the principles of chemistry and the ability to independently perform moderately difficult and responsible scientific work. **OR a combination of successfully completed graduate level education as described above that is beyond the second year of progressive graduate study and professional experience, as described above. (CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS ON HOW TO COMBINE GRADUATE EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE)

For GS-12:
In addition to the basic education requirement stated above, the applicant must have one year of appropriate professional experience in chemistry that is equivalent to at least the GS-11 level in the Federal service. Examples of such experience include independently performing the full range of chemical analyses and tests. Receives samples or analytical requests that consist primarily of difficult or unusual chemical problems. Determines approach and methods to use. This work typically involves conventional methods & techniques though it requires going beyond clear precedents, and requires adapting methods to the problems at hand and interpreting findings in terms of their scientific significance. At this level, Chemists have a very good knowledge of the principles of chemistry and their application, and the ability to independently perform scientific work of considerable difficulty.

You must meet all qualification and eligibility requirements for the position by the closing date of the announcement.


  • 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.
  • Education completed in colleges or universities outside the United States may be used to meet the above requirements. You must provide acceptable documentation that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States. For more information on how foreign education is evaluated, visit: .

Additional information

  • Applicants who include vulgar, offensive, or inappropriate language or information in their application package will be ineligible for further consideration for this position.
  • Identification of promotion potential in this announcement does not constitute a commitment or an obligation on the part of management to promote the employee selected at some future date. Promotion will depend upon administrative approval and the continuing need for and performance of higher-level duties.
  • Under Executive Order 11935, only United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Island) may compete for civil service jobs. Agencies are permitted to hire non-citizens only in very limited circumstances where there are no qualified citizens available for the position.
  • USGS employees are subject to Title 43, USC Section 31(a) and may not: (a) have any personal, private, direct or indirect interest in lands or mineral wealth of lands under survey; (b) have any substantial personal, private, direct or indirect interests in any private mining or mineral enterprise doing business with the United States; or (c) execute surveys or examinations for private parties or corporations.
  • The application contains information subject to the Privacy Act (P.L. 93-579, 5 USC 552a). The information is used to determine qualifications for employment, and is authorized under Title 5, USC, Section 3302 and 3361.
  • DOI uses E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, please visit .

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

-Vacancy Related Questions: As part of the online application process, you will need to respond to a series of questions designed to assess your possession of the following knowledge skills, abilities and/or competencies:
• Laboratory Techniques
• Collect Scientific Data
• Scientific Instrumentation
• Plan and Organize Work
• General Abilities and Knowledge
--Basis of rating: Category rating will be used in the ranking and selection process for this position. The quality categories are Best Qualified, Well Qualified, and Qualified. You will be rated on the extent and quality of your experience, education, and training relevant to the duties of the position. If you are eligible, your on-line responses to the application questions will determine your placement in the appropriate quality category described above. Your responses must be substantiated by your resume. If you do not respond to the application questions you may be rated ineligible. Veterans' preference rules for category rating will be applied.

--NOTE: If it is determined that you have rated yourself higher than is supported in your description of experience and/or education as described in your resume/application, or that your resume or application is incomplete, you may be rated ineligible, not qualified, or your score may be lowered.

To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance
Not Required

Drug test required

Required Documents

--If this position requires specific educational course work to qualify, or you are qualifying based in whole or part on education, you are required to provide all unofficial transcripts (undergraduate, graduate, etc.) or list of course work, which includes semester hours earned and grade received, by the closing date of this announcement or you will be disqualified from further consideration. This proof may be faxed, document uploaded, or hand delivered to the servicing Human Resources Office (see "Required Documents" and/or "Contact Information"). Please ensure that all documentation is legible.

--If you are claiming veterans' preference you must provide a legible copy of your DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, member 4 copy or any official documentation or statement from the Armed Forces that confirms your dates of service and that your separation, discharge, or release from active duty was under honorable conditions (i.e., Honorable or General Discharge). Note: If you have more than one DD-214 for multiple periods of active duty, submit a copy for each period of service.

--If you are currently on active military duty, you must provide documentation (e.g., campaign document, award citation, etc.), that verifies entitlement to veterans' preference and that your character of military service is honorable.

--If you are claiming 10-point veterans' preference, in addition to the documents specified above, you must also submit documentation that supports your claim, e.g., an official statement from the Department of Veterans Affairs (dated 1991 or later) or from a branch of the Armed Forces certifying the existence of a service-connected disability, or the award of the Purple Heart, etc. The overall rating must be identified on your certification letter or separation orders.

--Documentation must be received by the closing date shown in this vacancy announcement. If you fail to submit any of the required documentation, you will not be granted veterans' preference. Additional information on veterans' preference can be found in the VetGuide .

--If you are claiming CTAP/ICTAP eligibility, the Servicing Human Resources Office must receive proof by the closing date of this announcement that you meet the requirements of 5 CFR 330 Subpart F for CTAP and 5 CFR 330 Subpart G for ICTAP or you will not receive priority consideration. This includes a copy of the agency notice, your most recent Performance Rating, and your most recent SF-50 noting current position, grade level, and duty location. Required documents may be faxed, uploaded, or hand delivered to the servicing Human Resources Office (see "Contact Information"). If you are a CTAP or ICTAP eligible, you will be considered well qualified if you earn a minimum score of 85 (prior to the assignment of veteran's preference points). For more information on CTAP/ICTAP please click here .

--Required documents may be: 1)faxed to the Agency Contact (see "Contact Information") 2)uploaded directly from your desktop 3)uploaded directly from your USAJOBS stored attachments 4)hand delivered to the servicing Human Resources Office (see 'Contact Information').

-- Auto-Requested Fax : allows you to submit required documentation that will be electronically displayed along with your resume.

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.

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