Soil Scientist (Direct Hire)

Employer
USAJobs
Location
Annapolis, Maryland
Posted
Jul 28, 2021
Closes
Aug 05, 2021
Function
Administrative
Hours
Full Time
Duties

Summary

This vacancy will be filled using the Office of Personnel Management's Direct-Hire Authority. Veterans' preference and traditional rating and ranking of applicants do not apply to positions filled under this announcement. For more information on OPM's authorization of Direct Hire Authority, please visit,
https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/hiring-information/direct-hire-authority/
Learn more about this agency

Responsibilities

  • Utilizes soil-landscape relationships to systematically map and describe the way soils occur in the landscape.
  • Identifies and acquires the appropriate spatial data layers necessary to create and maintain a digitally-based soils map.
  • Determines and applies principles, practices, and methods to apply plant species identification and the use of plants as indicators of soil type, ecological sites, and soil-site and topographic relationships.
  • Assists Soil Scientist and/or the MLRA Soil Survey Leader to document soil-plant relationships, collect production estimates for crops, trees and grasses and develop/gather other information for ecological site descriptions.


Travel Required

Occasional travel - You may be expected to travel for this position.

Supervisory status
No

Promotion Potential
9

Requirements

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.
  • Satisfactory Background investigation and/or fingerprint check.
  • Successful completion of one-year trial period.
  • 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 https://www.e-verify.gov/.
  • This position requires the incumbent to possess and maintain a valid state driver's license. Must be able to operate a motor vehicle on both public and private roads during daylight hours and occasionally after dark.


Qualifications

(NOTE: You must attach a copy of your transcripts. Failure to submit transcripts will result in an ineligible rating.)
Basic Requirements:

Degree: soil science or a closely related discipline that included 30 semester hours or equivalent in biological, physical, or earth science, with a minimum of 15 semester hours in such subjects as soil genesis, pedology, soil chemistry, soil physics, and soil fertility;

OR Combination of education and experience: courses equivalent to a major in soil science or a related discipline that included at least 30 semester hours in the biological, physical, or earth sciences. At least 15 of these semester hours must have been in the areas specified above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

In addition to meeting the Basic Requirements above, applicants must meet the following Minimum Qualification requirement to be considered for the following grade levels:

GS-5 Grade Level: Meet the Basic Requirement listed above.

For the GS-07 grade level:
  • Specialized Experience: To qualify for the GS-07 grade level, you must possess at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-05 level or higher in the Federal service (or private sector equivalent).
    • Examples of specialized experience include applying routine principles, concepts and methodology associated with soil science, gaining practical experience working directly with other soil scientists.
  • OR Superior academic achievement in a bachelor's degree a curriculum directly related to the work of the position. To qualify for superior academic achievement, you must have ONE of the following: (1) standing in the upper third of your college class or major subdivision at the time you apply; (2) grade point average of B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or its equivalent for all courses completed, either (a) at the time of application or (b) during the last 2 years of your undergraduate curriculum; (3) B+ (3.5 on a 4.0 scale) or its equivalent for all courses completed in a related discipline, either (a) at the time of application or (b) during the last 2 years of your undergraduate curriculum; OR (4) election to membership in one of the national honorary scholastic societies that meets the requirements of the Association of College Honor Society; OR Education Substitution: (1) one year of graduate-level education in soil science or a directly related discipline; OR Possess a combination of graduate-level education and experience, as described above, may be used to qualify for this position. This combination must have equipped you with the necessary knowledge and/or experience to successfully perform the duties of this position. Combinations of experience and education must total at least 100% as outlined in OPM Qualifications policy.

For the GS-09 grade level
  • Specialized Experience: To qualify for the GS-09 grade level, you must possess at least one year specialized experience equivalent to the GS-07 level or higher in the Federal service (or private sector equivalent). For this position, examples of specialized experience include advanced-trainee level experience such as:
    • conducting standard soil resource inventories and watershed restoration needs inventories;
    • collecting soil samples for laboratory analysis to determine physical, chemical, an morphological characteristics;
    • classifying soil properties according to appropriate standards;
    • assisting in writing watershed restoration plans, erosion control plans, soil resources improvement plans, soil management reports, soil survey reports;
  • OR Education Substitution: 2 or more years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's degree or equivalent graduate degree in soil science or a directly related discipline; OR Combination of Education and Experience: A combination of graduate-level education and experience, as described above, may be used to qualify for this position. This combination must have equipped you with the necessary knowledge and/or experience to successfully perform the duties of this position. Combinations of experience and education must total at least 100% as outlined in OPM Qualifications policy.


For more information on the qualifications for this position, click here: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/#url=GS-PROF

Experience Note: 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

You must submit a copy of your college transcripts or a list of college courses with credit hours, dates completed, and grades received to verify all education requirements (i.e. substitution of education and/or basic education requirement). If a relevant course is not clearly qualifying (e.g. special topic, seminar, research, thesis, obscure or misleading course title, etc.), please submit an official course syllabi and/or detailed course description from the university/college for that particular course to ensure you are properly evaluated. Please note that qualifications determinations are based solely on the information submitted for each particular vacancy announcement. You must document all requirements on every vacancy; we cannot use previous determinations as a basis for rating. All required information must be received by the closing date of this announcement, and non-submission of all required documents/documentation will result in non-consideration. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted. Official transcript will be required prior to entering on duty. This information must be received by the closing date of this announcement. Non-submission of these documents will result in non-consideration.

If you have not yet conferred your degree or certificate, but will within 180 days of the closing date of this announcement, a letter from the school documenting current standing, degree being obtained and expected graduation date must be submitted with your application.

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. Applicants must, therefore, only report attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Applicants can verify accreditation via this link . All education claimed by applicants will be verified accordingly. Important: If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. Click on this link for more information.

Additional information

  • Locality Pay: may be found at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/ .
  • 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 will be manually reviewed to make "well qualified" determinations. "Well qualified" will be defined by applicants who meet over 80% of the duties associated with the position being filled.
  • Management may select at any grade level.
  • Physical Demands: Office work includes desk work at computer terminals. The work is primarily performed in the field and requires physical exertion such as crouching, bending, liftin equipment and soil samples (up to 70 pounds), hand digging of soil pits, walking over wet, rough, uneven or rocky surfaces, and driving over rough terrain. Traversing all types of terrain on foot, crossing drains and fences, and the operation of hand and power tools to examine soils in place and to obtain soil samples for laboratory analyses. Substantial physical effort is required. May be required to travel to outlying areas to perform work, sometimes under adverse weather conditions.
  • Work Environment: Field work involves exposure to moderate risks and discomforts such as high level of dust, high winds, and low/high temperatures, animals, poisonous insects, plants, adverse weather conditions, and regular/recurring exposure to operating equipment. Field work is typically performed alone and often in remote locations. Proper personal protective equipment is required when operating backhoe and traveling in ATVs.
  • To be well-qualified, applicants must possess experience that exceeds the minimum qualifications of the position and must be proficient in most of the requirements of the job.
  • If you are selected for a position with further promotion potential, you will be placed under a career development plan, and may be non-competitively promoted if you successfully complete the requirements and if recommended by management. However, promotion is neither implied nor guaranteed.
  • THIS IS AN OPEN CONTINUOUS ANNOUNCEMENT. This type of announcement provides NRCS the with a readily available source of applicants when vacancies occur. Eligibility and qualifications will be verified when there is a vacancy for the location and grade for which you applied.
  • This is a direct hire solicitation, open continuous announcement; This Posting will close on August 4th 2021, or when all positions are filled. The first cut-off date is within 14 days of the open date of this public notice.
  • Other certificates may be issued as needed.
  • This position is eligible for telework within the local commuting area of the position and other flexible work arrangements. Current USDA policy includes telework for an 8 hour work day, 4 days per week; other flexibilities are possible dependent upon availability and/or the position and its associated duties. Employee participation is at the discretion of the supervisor.
  • Relocation/Recruitment incentives may be authorized (Tentative selectees will be asked to sign a mobility agreement prior to final selection.) Information about incentives can be found at opm.gov Recruitment, Relocation & Retention Incentives (opm.gov)


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, to include any selective placement factor(s), if applicable, will be referred to the selecting official. 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: All answers provided in the on-line process must be substantiated by a resume. If, upon review, it is determined that your resume and/or supporting documents do not support your answer choices, your application may be removed from consideration.

Clicking the link below will present a preview of the application form; i.e. the online questionnaire. The application form link below will only provide a preview and does not initiate the application process. To initiate the online application process, click the "Apply" button to the right.

To view the application form, visit: https://apply.usastaffing.gov/ViewQuestionnaire/11092083

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance
Not Required

Drug test required
No

Position sensitivity and risk
Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

Trust determination process
Suitability/Fitness

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, 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) supervisor's phone number, e-mail address for each work period listed, and whether or not we may contact them for reference checks; and 5) other qualifications.
  • You must submit a copy of your college transcripts. An unofficial copy is sufficient with the application if it includes your name and the necessary course information; however, if you are selected, you will be required to submit official transcripts prior to entering on duty. Education must have been successfully obtained from an accredited school, college or university. If any education was completed at a foreign institute, you must submit with your application evidence that the institute was appropriately accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as equivalent to U.S. education standards. There are private organizations that specialize in this evaluation and a fee is normally associated with this service. For a list of private organizations that evaluate education, visit the NACES website. All transcripts must be in English or include an English translation.
    • If you have not yet conferred your degree or certificate, but will within 180 days of the closing date of this announcement, a letter from the school documenting current standing, degree being obtained and expected graduation date must be submitted with your application.
  • If claiming veteran's 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 not later than 120 days after the date the certification is submitted. Veteran's preference must be verified prior to appointment. Without this documentation, you will not receive veteran's preference and your application will be evaluated based on the material(s) submitted.
  • If claiming 10-point veteran's 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), and your most recent SF-50 noting position, grade level, and duty location with your application per 5 CFR 330.

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