Physical Science Technician

Reston, Virginia
Jan 24, 2022
Jan 31, 2022
Full Time

As a PHYSICAL SCIENCE TECHNICIAN within the FLORENCE BASCOM GEOSCIENCE CENTER, some of your specific duties will include:

- Evaluating substrates (peat, sediments, rocks) to determine processing protocol.
- Carrying out chemical pollen extraction procedures.
- Preparing slides of extracted palynomorphs for analysis by project personnel.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS: Laboratory duties require prolonged periods of standing and manual dexterity to operate equipment and work with hazardous chemicals, and occasional lifting and carrying of containers of samples, equipment, or laboratory supplies. Eye fatigue may result from prolonged use of microscope. Office tasks are primarily sedentary. Fieldwork requires some physical exertion such as long periods of standing; walking over rough, uneven, or slippery surfaces; recurring bending, crouching, stooping, stretching, reaching, or similar activity.

WORK ENVIRONMENT: Work is primarily performed in an office and laboratory, and in the field. Protective equipment may be necessary for certain laboratory work as well as fieldwork. Temperature and weather extremes and complex terrain may be encountered in the performance of the outdoor work.


Conditions of Employment

Key Requirements :
  • 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.
  • Selectee subject to successful completion of a pre-employment medical exam.
  • Are There Any Special Requirements For This Position?
    • If selected you may be asked to provide information regarding your COVID-19 vaccination status for the purposes of implementing workplace safety protocols, such as those related to masking, physical distancing, testing, travel, and quarantine.
    • Because this position requires travel for official business, the selectee will be required to apply for a charge card within 30 calendar days of appointment. Individuals who have delinquent account balances from a previous Government charge card will be required to satisfy their existing obligation before a new card can be issued.
    • 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.
    • 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 GS-07:

    Applicants must meet one of the following to qualify for the GS-07 level:

    Possess one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-06 level in the Federal service that is in or related to the duties of this position. Specialized experience may include work in the fields of astronomy, physics, geophysics, chemistry, hydrology, health physics, engineering, electronics, geology, oceanography, and metallurgy if it equipped the applicant with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of this position.

    Examples of GS-6 level work: 1) Applies a limited amount of experience in accomplishing the work. Receives oral instructions concerning work methods, available equipment, and procedures to be followed on new tasks. Uses some written guides. Work is checked in progress and upon completion for adequacy and accuracy. Develops new procedures and techniques for more conventional use by others, such as utilization of complex equipment. Applies physical science methodologies and techniques; 2) Receives general oral instructions as to timeframes, anticipated technical problems, and possible sources of additional guidance. Written guides are available but do contain gaps and deviations where the technician is expected to decide possible alternatives. Work is rarely checked in progress but is checked for adequacy and accuracy at end of assignment or phase. Applies skill and knowledge in gathering significant data. Analyzes, evaluates consolidates and reports findings. Uses a large number of delicate and exacting steps and/or elaborate instruments; 3) Possesses long-term experience and/or additional education/training which results in being well versed in technical work. Supervisor is frequently gone or unavailable. Often called upon to act as a "troubleshooter" in the solution of technical problems. Makes some decisions without guidance. Methods are fairly well established; makes procedural readjustments; selects auxiliary equipment and methods due to sample size, limitations of equipment, etc.

    **OR Applicants may substitute successful completion of 1 year of appropriate graduate level education (18 semester hours, 27 quarter hours or the equivalent) in physical science or other field of study directly related to the work of this position for the required 1 year of specialized experience, provided it demonstrates the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to perform the work of this position.

    **OR Applicants may substitute a combination of appropriate specialized experience (as described above) and appropriate graduate level education (as described above) that is beyond the first 1/2 year of progressive graduate study to meet the qualification requirements.
    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

    Other 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 .
    • The Department of the Interior (DOI) places a high value on diversity of experience and cultural perspectives and encourages applications from all interested eligible candidates. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) are fundamental principles that guide the Department and allow us to successfully achieve our mission.
    Agency Benefits :
    • USGS has determined that the duties of this position are suitable for telework and the selectee may be allowed to telework in accordance with the DOI Telework policy and with supervisor approval. The official worksite for the selectee is the duty station identified in this vacancy announcement. The selectee will typically report to this duty location on a regular and recurring weekly basis.
    • For additional information on our internal telework policy, please reference the Department of the Interior Telework Handbook at: .
    • Working for the U.S. Geological Survey offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes paid vacation, sick leave , and holidays ; health, life, dental, vision, and long term care insurance, flexible spending accounts , and participation in the Federal Employees Retirement System .