PATHWAYS RECENT GRADUATE - Civil Engineer (Structural)

Ashburn, Virginia
Jan 12, 2022
Jan 18, 2022
Engineer, IT, QA Engineer
Full Time

FHWA's Professional Development Program (PDP) is an entry-level/new employee program designed to introduce participants to the technical, administrative, and program management aspects of administering the Federal-aid Highway and Federal Lands Highway Programs.

The Federal-aid Highway Program supports state highway systems by providing financial assistance for the construction, maintenance, and operations of the nation's 3.9 million-mile highway network. This includes the Interstate Highway System as well as primary highways and secondary, local roads. FHWA is charged with implementing the Federal-aid Highway Program in cooperation with state and local governments.

The mission of the Federal Lands Program is to improve transportation to and within Federal and Tribal Lands by providing technical services to the highway/transportation community as well as building accessible and scenic roads that ensure the many national treasures within our nation's Federal Lands can be enjoyed by all.

As a newly-hired recent graduate serving as a Civil Engineer (Structural) in the PDP, you will:
  • Complete three major components: on-the-job training, developmental assignments, and several required training activities.
  • Immerse in experiential learning in both FHWA's Federal-aid and Federal Lands Highway Division Offices, where you will receive on-the-job training through a structured set of learning experiences described in a development plan. Several developmental assignment options may include one or more of the following: design, construction, project development, environment, safety, pavements, materials, research, Intelligent Transportation System, bridge, traffic operations, hydraulics, preventive maintenance, access management, utilities and right-of-way, planning, surveys, geotechnical, value engineering, among others.

The ideal candidate completed a Bachelor's or Master's Degree in Civil Engineer (with a focus in Structures as described in the Educational Requirements section) within the last two years (up to six years for Veterans) of the closing date of this announcement.


Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen and meet Pathways Recent Graduate requirements.
  • Submit application and resume online by 11:59 PM EST on the closing date.
  • Review Required Documents Section as documents are required by closing date

  • have obtained a qualifying associates, bachelors, master's, professional, doctorate, vocational or technical degree or certificate from a qualifying educational institution, within the previous 2 years unless military service interfered with a veteran's eligibility to apply during that two year time frame . Veterans meeting the above exclusion may apply within 2 years of discharge or 6 years from the date of receipt of the degree whichever comes first;
  • provide required documentation to verify degree has been, or will be, completed prior to appointment; AND
  • meet the basic qualification standards outlined under the Qualifications section for this series and grade level.

If selected, you:
  • must sign a Pathways Recent Graduate Program Participant Agreement;
  • will serve on an excepted service appointment for at least a two year trial period;
  • will enter a formal training program with a mentor and execute an Individual Development Plan outlining training requirements and program expectations;
  • must be provided at least 40 hours of interactive training, directly linked to your employment field, within 45 days of appointment;
  • will be assigned a mentor within 90 days of appointment;
  • will be evaluated for conversion to a term or permanent appointment in the competitive service at the end of two years.

  • SELECTIVE SERVICE: Males born after 12/31/1959 must be registered for the Selective Service.
  • DECLARATION FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT: Selectee is required to complete a Declaration for Federal Employment (OF-306) to determine suitability for federal employment.
  • BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION: A background security investigation is required for all selected individuals. Appointment will be subject to the applicant's successful completion of the security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to meet these requirements will be grounds for termination.
  • PCS/RELOCATION/RECRUITMENT: Permanent Change of Station (PCS), Relocation, and Recruitment Incentive authorization varies by position/selection.
  • GOVERNMENT TRAVEL CARD: A government contractor-issued travel card will be issued and must be retained for official business only.
  • TRIAL PERIOD: The recent graduate is in a trial period throughout the entire Pathways Recent Graduate/FHWA PDP appointment.
  • PHYSICAL LOCATION: The recent graduate will be required to work onsite unless COVID-19 restrictions mandate change.


To meet the minimum qualifications for this position, you must meet the Pathways Recent Graduate Program requirements, the mandatory education requirements AND the following experience and/or education qualifications for the grade at which you are requesting consideration.

For the GS-07:

On Experience, you must have at least one year of experience, equal or equivalent to the GS-05 grade level, which included:
  • Experience reviewing engineering regulations or policies.
  • Experience applying civil engineering principles and practical concepts related to highway road and system structures, transportation systems, traffic engineering, and modeling.
  • Experience conducting analyses to support conclusions or recommendations.

Or on Education, you must have at least 1 year of graduate-level education OR superior academic achievement* at the baccalaureate level in an engineering program.

You can also have a combination of graduate education and experience. This must be fully supported by your resume and transcripts, provided with your application.

*Superior Academic Achievement is based on (1) class standing, (2) grade-point average, or (3) honor society membership. (In order to be creditable under this provision, superior academic achievement must have been gained in a curriculum that is qualifying for the position to be filled.)
  • 1. Class standing -- Applicants must be in the upper third of the graduating class in the college, university, or major subdivision, such as the College of Liberal Arts or the School of Business Administration, based on completed courses.
  • 2. Grade-point average (G.P.A.) -- Applicants must have a grade-point average of: 3.0 or higher out of a possible 4.0 ("B" or better) as recorded on their official transcript, or as computed based on 4 years of education, or as computed based on courses completed during the final 2 years of the curriculum; or 3.5 or higher out of a possible 4.0 ("B+" or better) based on the average of the required courses completed in the major field or the required courses in the major field completed during the final 2 years of the curriculum.

For the GS-09:

On Experience, you must have at least one year of experience, equal or equivalent to the GS-07 grade level, which included:
  • Experience reviewing engineering design standards and regulations.
  • Experience conducting analytical investigations using the scientific method, modeling, and computational analyses.
  • Experience articulating information through various platforms such as discussions, meetings, fact sheets, reports, design documentation, briefings, and presentations.

Or on Education, you must have at least 2 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's degree or have been awarded a master's or equivalent graduate degree.

You can also have a combination of graduate education and experience. This must be fully supported by your resume and transcripts, provided with your application.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES (KSAs): Your qualifications will be evaluated on the basis of your level of knowledge, skills, abilities and/or competencies in the following areas:
  • Civil Engineering - Knowledge of the concepts, principles, theories, and methods required to plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain facilities such as buildings, transportation systems, water and sanitary systems, and other public works systems.
  • Transportation Engineering - Knowledge of the concepts, principles, theories, and methods applicable to planning, designing, and constructing of transportation systems including traffic analysis, signal analysis, highway capacity, pavement design, bridge construction, planning of transportation projects, environmental analysis of transportation facilities, and transportation network analysis.
  • Structural Engineering - Knowledge of the concepts, principles, theories, and methods related to the design and analysis of complex structures using a variety of materials. Structures may include aerospace systems or structures, and other determinate or indeterminate systems.
  • Written Communication - Writes in a clear, concise, organized, and convincing manner for the intended audience.
  • Oral Communication - Expresses information (for example, ideas or facts) to individuals or groups effectively, taking into account the audience and nature of the information (for example, technical, sensitive, controversial); makes clear and convincing oral presentations; listens to others, attends to nonverbal clues, and responds appropriately.

  • For all types of consideration, 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


    Individual Occupational Requirement for GS-0810:

    A. Successful completion of a degree in engineering that: (1) has at least one program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET); or (2) that included differential and integral calculus and courses (more advanced that first-year physics and chemistry) in five of the following seven areas of engineering science or physics: (a) statics, dynamics; (b) strength of materials; (c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics; (d) thermodynamics; (e) electrical fields and circuits; (f) nature and properties of materials; and (g) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics, or electronics;


    B. Combination of education or training: college level education, training and/or technical experience that has furnished (1) a thorough knowledge of the physical and mathematical sciences underlying engineering, and (2) a good understanding, both theoretical and practical, of the engineering sciences and techniques and their applications to one of the branches of engineering.

    The adequacy of such background must be demonstrated by one of the following:
  • Professional registration or licensure - current registration as an Engineer Intern (EI), engineer in Training (EIT), or licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE).
  • Written Test - Evidence of having successfully passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination, or any other written test required for professional registration by an engineering licensure board in the various States, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
  • Specified academic courses - Successful completion of at least 60 semester hours of courses in the physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences which included the courses as specified in Paragraph A above.
  • Related curriculum - Successful completion of a curriculum leading to a bachelor's degree in an appropriate scientific field, e.g., engineering technology, physics, chemistry, architecture, computer science, mathematics, hydrology, or geology, may be accepted in lieu of a bachelor's degree in engineering, provided the applicant had at least 1 year of professional engineering experience acquired under professional engineering supervision and guidance. There should be either an established plan of intensive training to develop professional engineering competence, or several years of prior professional engineering type experience. This must be clearly described in your resume.

  • For more specifics, please see the OPM qualifications standard for GS-800: All Professional Engineering Positions qualifications at

    College or university education -- Educational course work may be at either the undergraduate or graduate level. Successful completion of graduate level courses will be accepted as evidence that an applicant also possesses the knowledge taught in courses at lower levels in the same field.

    For more information on the Pathways Program, please visit:

    You must provide a copy of ALL of your college/vocational/technical transcript(s). See "Required Documents" section for additional information.

    Students enrolled in a qualifying degree program can apply if the anticipated graduation date is within six months of closing date of the announcement. Graduation transcript must be received before start date. Other applicants must meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of this announcement.

    Foreign Education: If your education was completed or is from foreign colleges or universities, to meet the qualification requirements you must show that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs and such education has been deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at a U.S. accredited college or university. For further information, visit: .

    Additional information

    MOBILITY AGREEMENT: Appointees will be required to sign a Mobility Agreement. If you decline a position due to geographic location, you will receive no further consideration under this announcement. This agreement states that in order to be placed in the program, or upon graduation from the program, you may be assigned to any location, within the Agency and that you will move to the new duty location. Failure to relocate can be used as the basis for non- selection and failure to relocate after completion of the program can be the basis for your termination from the Federal service.

    IMPORTANT: Applicants must be open to geographic mobility for developmental assignments and permanent placement relocation nationwide. If you decline a position due to geographic location, you will receive no further consideration under this announcement.

    After successful completion of the 24-month PDP training, the applicants will complete an additional 12-month rotational assignment before being placed as a Civil Engineer (Structural). Final placement after the 12-month rotational assignment beyond the training period will be determined by the Agency.

    SERVICE AGREEMENT: Appointees will be required to sign an agreement to continue in service upon completion of the Professional Development Program and serve in the agency for two times the length of the training period (approximately two years).

    Salary Ranges by location:
    • Ashburn, VA - GS 7: $50,643 - $65,831
      Ashburn, VA - GS 9: $61,947 - $80,532
    • Vancouver, WA - GS 7: $47,875 - $62,232
      Vancouver, WA - GS 9: $58,560 - $76,130

    PLEASE NOTE: This is nota Bargaining unit position.

    COVID VACCINATION: As required by Executive Order 14043 , Federal employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of the employee's duty location or work arrangement (e.g., telework, remote work, etc.), subject only to exceptions as required by law. If selected, you will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and submit documentation of proof of vaccination before appointment or onboarding with the agency. The agency will provide additional information regarding what information or documentation will be needed and how you can request a legally required exception from this requirement.

    This announcement may be used to fill additional positions if similar vacancies occur within 90 days of the issue date of the referral certificate.