Veterinary Medical Officer (Foreign Service Officer Trainee)

Riverdale, Maryland
Oct 17, 2019
Oct 25, 2019
Full Time


Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), International Services (IS) supports the Agency's mission overseas by safeguarding the health of animals, plants, and ecosystems in the United States and facilitating agricultural trade. APHIS IS seeks candidates for the APHIS Foreign Service Officer (FSO) training program. Candidates that complete the required training program and fulfill all mandatory qualifications are eligible to become APHIS, Foreign Service Officers.
Learn more about this agency


  • The duties may include, but are not limited to:
  • Participates in the analysis of agricultural conditions, government policies, and regulatory processes affecting the agricultural market and import/export interests of U.S. stakeholders.
  • Participates in the compilation, review, and analysis of technical reports on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues and their effects.
  • Address specific SPS concerns with host countries; may include negotiations in conjunction with the APHIS programs when trade issues focus on animal and plant health and quarantine matters.
  • Incumbent manages international SPS trade issues with APHIS programs. Incumbent will plan, coordinate, or conduct analyses relevant to trade issues in the host country.
  • Trainees receive broad, hand-on exposure to APHIS programs and build a network of program contacts that will help them represent APHIS effectively in a multilateral environment overseas.
  • Prepares briefing memoranda, correspondence, briefing books, market profiles and other background information for APHIS, USDA, and other entities on a variety of subjects.
  • Prepares oral/written briefings as required, with thorough analysis of political, policy options and strategies.
  • Participates in the identification, monitoring, and removal of technical, sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to agricultural trade.
  • Investigates, researches, prepares, and gives advisories identifying animal disease, pest alerts, new regulations and other updates affecting all entities of export/import trade.

Travel Required

75% or less - Domestic and international travel is required to complete the FSO training program

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a US Citizen or US National
  • Males born after 12/31/1959 must be Selective Service registered or exempt
  • Subject to satisfactory adjudication of background investigation and/or fingerprint check. You must be able to obtain and maintain a Top Secret security clearance as a condition of employment.
  • Direct Deposit: Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to their financial institution
  • Successfully pass the E-Verify employment verification check. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, visit E-Verify at
  • Successful completion of one-year trial period.
  • Testing Designated Position: Selectee must submit to a urinalysis to screen for illegal drug use prior to appointment and random testing thereafter. Final appointment and continued employment is conditional on negative results for illegal drug use.
  • This position requires you to obtain and maintain a "Class One" world-wide medical clearance issued by the U.S. Department of State as a condition of employment.
  • Conferred Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree with application. See "Education" section below for more details.
  • Expenses associated with the Assessment Center will not be paid.
  • FSO's must retire at the age of 65 with at least 5 years of service in the FS. The program is 2 years in length, overseas tours of duty for FSO's are generally 3 years. The FS training program does not count towards the 5 years of service in the FS.
  • Members of the Foreign Service are expected to serve worldwide based on the needs of the Agency, this includes situations when family members may not be able to accompany the employee to post as determined by the U.S. Department of State.
  • Upon acceptance into the APHIS Foreign Service, all candidates will be required to sign a world-wide availability agreement.
  • While in the FS training program the ability to speak, read, and write a foreign language is preferred, but not required. In order to become a career FSO you must be able to pass a speaking, reading, and writing language proficiency exam.
  • FSO trainees shall be obligated to serve abroad at a post as determined by APHIS, IS Management.


Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement, including specialized experience and/or education, as defined below.

All applicants must meet the Basic Requirement outlined in the Education section below.

FOR THE GS-11 GRADE LEVEL: Applicants who meet the basic requirements as outlined in the "Education" section qualify for this grade level.

TRANSCRIPTS are required. This position requires specific coursework or a degree in a specific field to be basically qualified. This education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college or university.

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 and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.


BASIC REQUIREMENT: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or equivalent degree, i.e., Veterinary Medical Doctor (VMD), obtained at a school or college of veterinary medicine accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education (AVMA). The AVMA website has a listing of all AVMA-accredited veterinary medical schools. AVMA website:

OR Graduates of foreign veterinary medical schools that are not accredited by the AVMA Council on Education must meet one of the following requirements:a) Proof of certification of their final transcript by the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG);b) Possession of a permanent, full, and unrestricted license to practice veterinary medicine in a State, District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a territory of the United States that includes successful completion of the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) or its predecessors, the National Board Examination (NBE) and the Clinical Competency Test (CCT); OR c) Proof that the education obtained in a foreign veterinary medical program is equivalent to that gained in a veterinary medical program that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education. An AVMA-accredited veterinary medical school or college must have accepted the final transcript from the foreign veterinary medical school at full value for placement into an advanced degree, postgraduate educational program, or training program (e.g., residency or graduate program).In addition, graduates of foreign veterinary medical programs must also provide proof of proficiency in the English language by successfully completing one of the nationally and internationally recognized examinations that incorporate assessments of reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Examples of examinations that assess mastery of the English language are shown below:a) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - Minimum scores for the TOEFL are 560 for the paper-based version; 220 for the computer-based version; or overall score of 83 for the internet-based version (including 26 or higher in speaking, 26 or higher in listening, and 17 or higher in writing). For the computer-based and paper-based test versions, applicants must also complete the Test of Spoken English (TSE) and the Test of Written English (TWE). Minimum required scores are 55 for the TSE and 5.5 for the TWE.b) Academic tests (listening, writing, and speaking) offered by the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Applicants must achieve a minimum overall band score of 7.0, with at least 7.0 in speaking, 6.5 in listening, and 6.0 in writing; ORc) Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL). Applicants must achieve a minimum overall band score of 70, with at least 60 in speaking, 60 in listening, and 50 in writing.

Graduates of foreign veterinary medical programs must submit test results with their application. Results of more than one test or testing session cannot be combined to meet the standard.

Waiver Provision: English language proficiency assessments may be waived for qualified job applicants whose native language is English (i.e., the official or common language of an individuals country of birth is English) who submit a diploma or other official documentation as proof of graduation from a high (secondary) school where the entire curriculum and educational programs were taught in the English language for the entire 3 or 4 years of full-time attendance.

Additional information

  • Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP), Reemployment Priority List (RPL), or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): Visit the OPM website for information on how to apply as a CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP eligible. To exercise selection priority for this vacancy, CTAP/RPL/ICTAP candidates must meet the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors. CTAP/ICTAP candidates must be well qualified, which means having knowledge, skills, abilities, and/or competencies that exceed the minimum qualification requirements for this position.
  • First time hires to the federal government normally start at the lowest rate of the salary range for the grade selected.
  • Travel, transportation, and relocation expenses will not be paid. Any travel, transportation, and relocation expense associated with reporting for duty will be the responsibility of the selected employee.
  • This position is not eligible for telework.
  • This is a term appointment not to exceed 24 months (Appointment may be extended up to 4 years without reannouncing). For more details click: Term Appointments

How You Will Be Evaluated

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

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
This is a Direct-Hire Authority position, all applicants who meet the minimum qualifications will be referred to the selecting official. Before a certificate is issued to the selecting official, your application is reviewed to ensure that you meet all the qualification requirements. A rating will not be used; veteran's preference does not apply due to the existence of the Direct Hire authority for this position.

Note: If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and/or experience, you may be found ineligible. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Providing inaccurate information on Federal documents could be grounds for non-selection or disciplinary action up to including removal from the Federal service.

For more information regarding APHIS' Foreign Service, please see the link below:

This is a multi-phase assessment process. All the qualified applicants from initial USAJOBS assessment will be invited to participate in an Assessment Center for further consideration.

The Assessment Center will include tests of the candidates' skills in a series of written, group and oral exams. The successful candidates will demonstrate the skills, abilities, and qualities deemed essential to the work of the Foreign Service - interpersonal, intellectual, leadership, client service, communication, and technical knowledge.

The Assessment Center is tentatively scheduled to take place December 5th - December 20th, 2019, at the State Department's Foreign Service Assessment Center (BEX) in Washington, D.C. Invited candidates are responsible for all costs associated with traveling to and from the Assessment Center. APHIS will not reimburse any costs associated with the candidate's Assessment Center participation.

Following the Assessment Center, the candidates' performances will be evaluated and the results will be combined with the application from USAJobs. At this time, the Human Resource Specialist will produce a certificate of eligibles. After reviewing the combined results, the most qualified candidates will be asked to participate in an additional phase of the assessment process, known as "APHIS Day".

APHIS Day will consist of APHIS management and program officials evaluating the candidates for their ability to represent APHIS and its programs worldwide. For APHIS Day, APHIS management has decided that costs associated with travel to attend this part of the assessment will be borne by APHIS. It is estimated that APHIS Day will occur at least four weeks after the conclusion of the Assessment Center.

The hiring supervisor will use this certification to fill any vacancy for the APHIS Foreign Service Officer Trainee. Selections will remain in effect for two years on roster list.

To preview the application questionnaire, please visit:

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance
Top Secret

Drug test required

Position sensitivity and risk
Critical-Sensitive (CS)/High Risk

Trust determination process
Credentialing , National security

Required Documents

The following documents are required for your applicant package to be complete. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, your system failure or downtime, etc. Encrypted documents will not be accepted. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration.
  • Resume that includes:1) personal information such as name, address, contact information; 2) education; 3) detailed work experience related to this position as described in the major duties including work schedule, hours worked per week, dates of employment; title, series, grade (if applicable); 4) other qualifications; and 5) supervisors name and phone number for each work period listed and whether or not they may be contacted for reference checks.
  • Proof of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) Degree or Equivalent:
    • A legible copy of college transcripts showing a conferred DVM degree from a veterinary medical school or college accredited by the AVMA Council on Education. An unofficial copy is sufficient with the application. As an alternative, proof of possession of a current permanent unrestricted license to practice veterinary medicine in a State, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or a territory of the United States can be submitted as provisional proof of eligibility. If selected, an official college transcript showing a conferred DVM degree from a veterinary medical school or college accredited by the AVMA Council on Education will be required prior to entering on duty.
    • Graduates of foreign veterinary medical schools that are not accredited by the AVMA Council on Education must submit a copy of their DVM transcripts and required documents (i.e., proof of ECFVG certification; or copy of Veterinary license; letter documenting acceptance into an advanced degree, post graduate, residency or graduate program at an AVMA accredited veterinary medical school; AND an English proficiency score report documenting required acceptable minimum scores, from TOEFL, IELTS or CAEL) that prove basic qualification for this position as stated in OPM's qualification standards.
    • Applicants who are substituting education or advanced training for specialized experience must submit: 1) an unofficial transcript showing a conferred master's degree in a qualifying specialty or 2) a letter or certificate documenting the completion of at least two years of an internship, residency or fellowship in a specific discipline or specialty. All education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college, or university.
    • All transcripts must be in English or include an English translation.
    • Official transcripts will be required if selected for the position.
  • Although veterans' preference doesn't apply under Direct Hire Authority, applicants are encouraged to provide documentation of their eligibility. If claiming veterans' preference, you must submit a DD214, Certificate of Release from Active Duty, which shows dates of service and discharge under honorable conditions. If currently on active duty you must submit a certification of expected discharge or release from active duty service under honorable conditions within 120 days after the date the certification is submitted. The certification must be on the letterhead of the appropriate military branch and include the dates of military service.
  • If claiming 10-point veterans' preference you must provide the DD214 or certification requirements (see above bullet), plus the proof of entitlement of this preference as listed on the SF-15 Application for 10-point Veterans' Preference. The SF-15 should be included but is not required. Failure to submit these documents could result in the determination that there is insufficient documentation to support your claim for 10-point preference. For more information on veterans' preference visit FEDSHIREVETS
  • Surplus or displaced employees eligible for CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP priority must provide: proof of eligibility (RIF separation notice, notice of proposed removal for declining a transfer of function or directed reassignment to another commuting area, notice of disability annuity termination), SF-50 documenting separation (as applicable), last performance appraisal that is at least fully successful or its equivalent, and your most recent SF-50 noting position, grade level, and duty location with your application per 5 CFR 330.
  • Worker's Compensation Separation: Agency certification of inability to place employee AND Notification of Separation OR Separation SF-50.
  • Disability Annuity Termination: Notification from OPM of disability annuity termination AND Separation SF-50 of the last position held. Military Reserve or National Guard Technician Special Disability Retirement Annuity under 5 U.S.C. 8337(h) or 8456: Certification of special disability retirement annuity from a military department or National Guard Bureau AND Separation SF-50 of the last position held.

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