Foreign Service Officer Trainee

Employer
USAJobs
Location
Riverdale, Maryland
Posted
Jan 12, 2022
Closes
Jan 20, 2022
Function
Administrative
Hours
Full Time
Duties

  • Under the general supervision of the Program supervisor, with input from APHIS Subject Matter Experts, the incumbent performs the following duties:
  • Participates in the analysis of plant, insect, and/or animal health 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, pests, and diseases and their effects,
  • Participates in the compilation, review and analysis of economic, market, technical and data relating to production, trade, consumption, prices and other factors affecting the safeguarding of U.S. agriculture.
  • Addresses specific phytosanitary concerns with host countries. When trade issues focus on animal or plant health and quarantine matters, the incumbent's role may include negotiations in conjunction with the APHIS programs.
  • Manages international phytosanitary trade issues with APHIS programs. Plans, coordinates, or conducts analyses relevant to trade issues and designs and participates in the development of recommendations for courses of action.
  • Participates in identifying disciplines and multi-disciplinary mixes for risk assessment/hazard evaluation of plant or animal health issues in order to instill a proactive approach to U.S. goals in international trade.
  • 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.
  • Provides analytical information/advise on plant health issues in conjunction with APHIS goals and strategies.
  • Participates in the identification, monitoring and removal of technical, sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to agricultural trade.
  • Assists in coordinating Departmental objectives in the World Trade Organization (WTO), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), U.S. CODEX, and other international organizations .
  • Investigates, researches, prepares, and gives advisories identifying pest alerts, new regulations and other updates affecting all entities of export/import trade.
  • Develops effective working relationships with international and domestic agricultural industry representatives, trade associations, cooperators, and other APHIS stakeholders.
  • Works to implement agricultural capacity building and development activities to enhance trade and food security objectives.
  • Coordinates/facilitates duties related to the import/export of animals and/or plants and their byproducts. Works with APHIS programs to determine the absence of infectious, contagious or communicable disease or parasitism.


Requirements

Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a US Citizen or US National.
  • Individuals who were born male after 12/31/1959 must be Selective Service registered or exempt.
  • Subject to satisfactory adjudication of background investigation and/or fingerprint check.
  • Must be approved for commissioning/permanent tenure within the first 5 years.
  • Direct Deposit: Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to their financial institution.
  • You must successfully pass the E-Verify employment verification check. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, visit E-Verify at https://www.e-verify.gov/
  • 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.
  • Federal Employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If selected, you will be required to submit proof of vaccination or request a religious or reasonable accommodation exception from this requirement.
  • Expenses associated with attending the Assessment Center will not be paid.
  • Foreign Service Officers must retire at the age of 65, with at least 5 years of service in the Foreign Service. The training program is 12 - 18 months in length. Overseas tours of duty for FSOs are generally 3 years.
  • Selection and retention in this position is contingent on a successfully adjudicated FBI National Criminal History Check (fingerprint check) and a background investigation.
  • Travel, transportation, and relocation expenses will not be paid. Any travel, transportation, and relocation expense associated with reporting for duty to this position will be the responsibility of the selected employee.
  • This position is eligible for telework within the local commuting area of the duty location of the position. Employee participation in telework is at the discretion of the supervisor.
  • Foreign Service Officers are obligated to and expected to serve abroad for substantial portions of their careers. A member of the FS may not be assigned to duty within the U.S. continuously exceeding eight years.
  • Members of the Foreign Service are expected to serve worldwide based on the needs of the Agency, including situations when family members may not be able to accompany the employee. Selectees are required to sign a world-wide availability agreement.
  • Non-Federal or Non-APHIS employees: If the Foreign Service Officer training program is not successfully completed there will be NO placement rights within APHIS.
  • Current APHIS employees should guarantee, prior to starting this Foreign Service Training Program, that they will have reinstatement rights to their current APHIS program unit should they not complete the program successfully.
  • You must be able to obtain and maintain a Top Secret security clearance as a condition of employment.
  • The ability to speak, read, and write a foreign language is preferred, but not required.


Qualifications

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

In addition to meeting the Basic Education requirements for the job series for which you are applying, as described in the Education section of this vacancy announcement, you must also meet the Minimum Qualification requirements for the grade level(s) for which you are applying:

For the Veterinary Medical Officer, FP-0701- 05 (GS-11 equivalent) level: Applicants that possess the Basic Education Requirements for the 0701 series, as described in the Basic Education Requirement section of this announcement, qualify for the 0701 position at the FP-05 level.

For the Veterinary Medical Officer, FP-0701- 04 (GS-12 equivalent) level you must possess one of the following:
One year (or more) of specialized experience that was equivalent to the next lower grade level in the Federal service (FP-05/GS-11) that provided you with the ability to form the duties of the position at this level. This experience must be documented in your resume/application for this position. Examples of qualifying specialize experience include:
  • Participating in analyzing plant, insect, and/or animal health conditions, along with related government policies and regulatory processes, and determining the effect of such conditions.
  • Participating in compiling, reviewing, and analyzing technical reports on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues, pests, and diseases and the economic, market, and technical data relating to production, trade, consumption, prices and other factors affecting the safeguarding of U.S. agriculture.
  • Assisting with planning, coordinating, or conducting analyses relevant to trade issues and with designing and developing solutions for the successful management of these issues.
  • Participating in the identification, monitoring, and removal of technical, sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to agricultural trade.
  • Participating in investigating, researching, preparing, and providing advisories identifying pest alerts, new regulations and other updates affecting all entities of export/import trade.
  • Participating in determining and implementing agricultural capacity building and development activities to enhance trade and food security objectives.
OR - Successful completion of two years of an internship, residency program, or fellowship training program in a discipline related to Veterinary Medicine. Applicants must provide a certificate, letter or other documentation of the completion of this program.
OR - A Master's degree from an accredited college or school in an area of specialization including, but not limited to: animal science; avian medicine; food safety; Infectious diseases; veterinary clinical sciences; pathology; biomedical sciences; veterinary anatomy; veterinary preventative medicine; comparative biological sciences; epidemiology; veterinary parisitology; molecular veterinary biosciences; public health; microbiology; immunology, laboratory animal medicine, toxicology; wildlife; zoological animal medicine; or sciences related to the work of a veterinary medical officer. Applicants must submit copies of college transcripts to document this degree.

For the Entomologist, FP-0414 -05 (GS-11 equivalent ) level you must possess one of the following: One year (or more) of specialized experience that was equivalent to the next lower grade level in the Federal service, FP-06 (GS-09 equivalent), that provided you with the ability to perform the duties of this position at the FP-05 (GS-11 equivalent) level. This specialized experience must be documented in your resume/application for this position. Examples of qualifying specialize experience include:
  • Participating in determining plant, insect, and/or animal health conditions;
  • Participating in identifying disciplines and multi-disciplinary mixes for risk assessment/hazard evaluation of plant or animal health issues related to international trade;
  • Participating in identifying phytosanitary trade issues and providing input as needed;
  • Preparing and providing advisories identifying pest alerts, new regulations and other updates affecting export/import trade;
  • Participating in agricultural capacity building and development activities to enhance trade and food security objectives.
OR -Three years of graduate-level education leading to a PhD degree in entomology or a related discipline. Applicants must submit copies of college transcripts to document this education.
OR- Equivalent combinations of education and experience as described above are qualifying for this job series at this grade level.

For the Plant Pathologist , FO-0434- 05 (GS-11 equivalent ) level you must possess one of the following: One year (or more) of specialized experience that was equivalent to the next lower grade level in the Federal service, FP-06 (GS-09 equivalent), that provided you with the ability to perform the duties of this position at the FP-05 (GS-11 equivalent) level. This experience must be documented in your resume/application for this position. Examples of qualifying specialize experience include:
  • Participating in determining plant, insect, and/or animal health conditions;
  • Participating in identifying disciplines and multi-disciplinary mixes for risk assessment/hazard evaluation of plant or animal health issues related to international trade;
  • Participating in identifying phytosanitary trade issues and providing input as needed;
  • Preparing and providing advisories identifying pest alerts, new regulations and other updates affecting export/import trade;
  • Participating in agricultural capacity building and development activities to enhance trade and food security objectives.
OR - Three years of graduate-level education leading to a PhD degree in plant pathology; or a related scientific discipline. Applicants must submit copies of college transcripts to document this education.

OR - Equivalent combinations of education and experience as described above are qualifying for this job series at this grade level.

For the Entomologist and Plant Pathologist , FP-0414/0434- 04 (GS-12 equivalent) level you must possess: One year (or more) of specialized experience that was equivalent to the next lower grade level in the Federal service, FP-05 (GS-11 equivalent), that provided you with the ability to perform the duties of this position at the FP-05 (GS-11 equivalent) level. This specialized experience must be documented in your resume/application for this position. Examples of qualifying specialize experience include:
  • Participating in analyzing plant, insect, and/or animal health conditions, along with related government policies and regulatory processes, and determining the effect of such conditions.
  • Participating in compiling, reviewing, and analyzing technical reports on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues, pests, and diseases and the economic, market, and technical data relating to production, trade, consumption, prices and other factors affecting the safeguarding of U.S. agriculture.
  • Assisting with planning, coordinating, or conducting analyses relevant to trade issues and with designing and developing solutions for the successful management of these issues.
  • Participating in the identification, monitoring, and removal of technical, sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to agricultural trade.
  • Participating in investigating, researching, preparing, and providing advisories identifying pest alerts, new regulations and other updates affecting all entities of export/import trade.
  • Participating in determining and implementing agricultural capacity building and development activities to enhance trade and food security objectives.
There is no substitution allowed for the 0414 and 434 job series at the FP-04 (GS-12 equivalent) level.

Education

This is an interdisciplinary announcement. This means that applicants may qualify for either the 0701 job series as a Veterinary Medical Officer; the 0414 job series as an Entomologist; or the 0434 job series as a Plant Pathologist to serve as a Foreign Service Officer Trainee, dependent on the selectee's educational background and qualifications. Selectees will be placed in the job series/title for which they meet the Basic Education and Minimum Qualification requirements.

BASIC EDUCATION REQUIREMENT for Veterinary Medical Officer in the 0701 job series: 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: https://www.avma.org 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; OR
c) 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.

BASIC EDUCATION REQUIREMENT for Entomologist in the 0414 job series: A degree in entomology; or a related discipline of the biological or physical sciences that included at least 16 semester hours in entomology.
OR
Combination of education and experience: Courses equivalent to a major that included 16 semester hours in entomology, as shown above, plus appropriate experience or additional education qualify at this level.

BASIC EDUCATION REQUIREMENT for Plant Pathologist in the 0434 job series: A degree in Plant Pathology; or a another directly related scientific discipline that included at least 20 semester hours in basic botany or plant science, and 10 semester hours in plant pathology.

NOTE: Graduate Level Education must have been in plant pathology, or in one of the recognized subject-matter fields of plant pathology or have followed a curriculum or pattern of training that placed major emphasis on plant pathology or one of the recognized subject-matter fields of plant pathology, such as those dealing with particular types of pathogens, diseases of particular kinds of crops, or chemical or biological controls. Graduate study in related fields such as microbiology, entomology, plant physiology, genetics, agronomy, horticulture, forestry, or chemistry may also be qualifying, provided it placed a sufficient amount of emphasis on plant pathology.

Additional information

APHIS, IS will hold a Foreign Service Officer Informational Webinar on Thursday, January 13, 2022 at 7:00pm, ET via Zoom. You must register for this event if you would like to join. Please register now to join us: https://www.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/5116383087570/WN_yQZg4MuTQ_CGsSD-cvVvlg . The webinar presentation will be posted APHIS International Services website, www.aphis.usda.gov/aphisoverseas immediately following the webinar. Learn more about this agency

Selectees will have a strong background in science and upon successful completion of a training program, will be APHIS Foreign Service Officers ready to serve at overseas posts. The training program lasts from 6-12 months and may be held at the APHIS office in Riverdale, MD. Trainees that complete all medical and security clearances, fulfill all training requirements, and gain approval by APHIS management, will be posted overseas at US Embassies representing the interests of the USDA abroad. Candidates should be interested in and enthusiastic about living in a foreign country for extended periods of time.
  • First time hires to the federal government normally start at the lowest rate of the salary range for the grade selected.
  • The hiring supervisor will use this applicant inventory to fill future vacancies for the APHIS Foreign Service Officer Trainee positions. The applicant inventory will remain in effect for two years..
  • 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 may be eligible to telework up to four days per week, based upon the duties of the position. This position may also be eligible for flexible work arrangements as determined by agency policy and any applicable collective bargaining agreements.
  • These are excepted service appointments in the Foreign Service not to exceed 5 years. During the first 5 years you will be a "Career Candidate". After your first 3 years you will be reviewed by a Commissioning board for permanent tenure. If not nominated and approved for commissioning within 5 years you will be removed from the Foreign Service position.
  • This is an interdisciplinary position and may be filled in any of the job series/position titles listed. In addition to the specialized experience requirements, applicants must submit proof that they meet the educational requirements for at least one of the series described in the announcement. Applicants may only be appointed to job series/position titles for which they meet all experience and educational requirements.
  • In order to become a career Foreign Service Officer within your first 5 years, you must be able to pass a speaking, reading, and writing language proficiency exam.
The Assessment Center is scheduled to be held on March 7, 2022 through March 18, 2022, at the State Department's Foreign Service Assessment Center (BEX) in Washington, D.C. Invitations to the Assessment Center will be emailed to selected candidates in February 2022. 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 results from the initial USAJOBs application.

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