Physical Science Technician
This position is with the Laboratory Approval and Testing Division (LATD)- National Science Laboratories (NSL) within the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Science and Technology Program (S&T). You will be responsible for supporting and performing analytical testing to determine the acceptability of agricultural and food products in relation to customer test requests, contract specifications, quality control requirements, and regulations of various agencies.
This job is open to
Individuals who have graduated from an accredited educational institute or certificate program within the last 2 years or 6 years for Veterans.
Clarification from the agency
Recent graduate who has, within the previous two years, completed a qualifying Associate's, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate, professional, vocational or technical degree or certificate program. Veterans unable to apply within two years of receiving their degree due to military service obligation have up to six years after degree completion to apply. Current students who will complete their degree by 6/30/2023 may also apply.
The duties described are for the full-performance level. At developmental grade levels, assignments will be of more limited scope, performed with less independence and limited complexity. The duties may include, but are not limited to:
- Performing chemical and physical analyses of samples using established methods and procedures, such as sample receipt, sample preparation, and sample login within the laboratory as assigned.
- Chooses appropriate sample preparation techniques to adequately prepare laboratory samples for analysis.
- Prepares a variety of detailed reports and other summaries of data illustrating findings on worksheets and maintains records of tests.
- Performs routine maintenance and verification checks of instruments and equipment, and keeps supervisor abreast of maintenance, service, and repair needs.
- Maintains and reviews sample logbooks, sample information documentation, and chain-of-custody documentation for samples and checks for completeness and accuracy.
- Recommends improvements to routine testing methods and helps scientists implement new or modified analytical methods and procedures for new and existing analyses.
- Takes periodic supply inventories and prepares requisitions to maintain adequate supplies of chemicals, consumables, and laboratory apparatus for conducting analyses.
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.
- 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/The work is performed in laboratory and office settings, special safety precautions and protective clothing and/or equipment may be required.
- The work requires long periods of standing associated with handling glass equipment containing hazardous substances, walking, bending, stooping, reaching, crawling, and moving objects up to 70 pounds.
To qualify, you MUST meet all program and qualification requirements by the closing date of the announcement.
To be eligible, applicants must meet one of the following requirements;
- Completed all requirements for an associates, bachelors, masters, professional, doctorate, vocational, or technical degree or certificate from a qualifying educational institution within the previous two (2) years. Current students who will complete their degree requirements by 06/30/2023 will be considered. or
- Individuals who, due to military service obligation, were precluded from applying to the Recent Graduates Program during any portion of the 2-year eligibility period described above shall have a full 2-year period of eligibility upon release or discharge from active duty. This eligibility period cannot extend more than 6 years from the date on which the requirements for the academic course of study were met.
SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-05 GRADE LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience equivalent in level of difficulty and responsibility to the next lower level in the Federal Service. This experience may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors. Examples of qualifying experience include, but are not limited to:
- Reconcile samples with sample information documentation and review for correctness and completeness.
- Prepare laboratory samples for testing by following sample grinding and homogenization procedures for each type of sample.
- Coordinate with analytical staff to prepare samples for testing in the most efficient manner possible by prioritizing work according to sample priority and analytical staff work schedules.
- Operate such equipment as food processors and mills to prepare samples for analyses.
EDUCATION GS-05:Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study leading to a bachelor's degree (a) with major study in an appropriate field of physical science, or (b) that included at least 24 semester hours in any combination of courses such as physical science, engineering, or any branch of mathematics, except financial and commercial mathematics.
TRANSCRIPTS are required.
COMBINATION OF EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-05 GRADE LEVEL: Applicants may have combinations of successfully completed education and specialized experience to meet total qualification requirements. The total percentages must equal at least 100 percent to qualify an applicant for that grade level. Applicants may have combinations of successfully completed graduate education and specialized experience to meet total qualification requirements. The total percentages must equal at least 100 percent to qualify an applicant for that grade level.
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.
Please see above for education qualification requirement information.
Transcripts including the date your degree was conferred are required. Applications will not be considered without this documentation. For those graduating this semester by 06/30/2023 you will have to provide proof of conferment prior to entrance on duty.
- Recent Graduate appointments are intended to last for 1 year. Recent Graduates who satisfactorily complete all the USDA Recent Graduates Program requirements may be non-competitively converted to a Term or Permanent appointment in the competitive service. Conversion is not guaranteed. Recent Graduates converted to Term appointments may later be non-competitively converted to a Permanent competitive service position.
- If selected, official transcripts will be required prior to entrance on duty.
- A Pathways Participant Agreement will be required if you are selected for a position. The agreement must be signed by all applicable parties prior to entrance on duty.
- 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.
- Promotion Potential: 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.
- Selection will be at GS-1311-05 with the possibility of conversion to a term or permanent GS-1311-05, with promotion potential to the GS-1311-07 level. Conversion eligibility and position is not guaranteed and depends upon the program unit's needs.
- Worksite Information: This position is located at the duty station(s) listed in this vacancy announcement and is not eligible for telework or remote work.
CONVERSION REQUIREMENTS Recent Graduates may be non-competitively converted to a term or permanent position in the competitive service. To be eligible for conversion the Recent Graduate must meet all of the following:
- Successfully complete at least 1-year of continuous service in addition to all requirements of the Program as outlined in the Participant Agreement.
- Demonstrate successful job performance.
- Meet the qualifications for the position to which the Recent Graduate will be converted.
A career with the U.S. government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Opens in a new window
Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.
How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
Your application, including the online Assessment Questionnaire, will be reviewed to determine if you meet (a) minimum qualification requirements and (b) the resume supports the answers provided to the job-specific questions. Your resume must clearly support your responses to all the questions addressing experience and education relevant to this position.
Category rating procedures will be used to rank and select eligible candidates. The following quality categories will be used: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, and Qualified. Within each quality category, veterans' preference eligible will receive selection priority over non-veterans. Your final category placement will be based on your responses to the assessment questionnaire.
Note: If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your score may be adjusted to more accurately reflect your abilities, or 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.
How to Apply
Please read the entire announcement and all instructions before you begin. You must complete this application process and submit all required documents electronically by 11:59p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.
Applying online is highly encouraged. We are available to assist you during business hours (normally 8:00a.m. - 4:00p.m., Monday - Friday). If applying online poses a hardship, contact the Agency Contact listed below well before the closing date for an alternate method. All hardship application packages must be complete and submitted no later than noon ET on the closing date of the announcement in order to be entered into the system prior to its closing.
This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on a case-by-case basis; contact the Agency Contact to request this.
Step 1: Create a USAJOBS account (if you do not already have one) at www.usajobs.gov. It is recommended that as part of your profile you set up automatic email notification to be informed when the status of your application changes. If you choose not to set up this automatic notification, then you will have to log into your USAJOBS account to check on the status of your application.
Step 2: Create a Resume with USAJOBS or upload a Resume into your USAJOBS account. You may want to customize your resume to ensure it documents duties and accomplishments you have gained that are directly related to this position in order to verify that qualifications are met. In addition, your resume must support your responses to the online questionnaire (you may preview the online questionnaire by clicking on the link at the end of the How You Will Be Evaluated section of the job announcement).
Step 3: Click "Apply Online" and follow the prompts to complete the Occupational Questionnaire and attach any additional documents that may be required. You can update your application or documents anytime while the announcement is open. Simply log into your USAJOBS account and click on "Application Status." Click on the position title, and then select "Update Application" to continue.
NOTE: Please verify that documents you are uploading from USAJOBs transfer into the Agency's staffing system as there is a limitation to the number of documents that can be transferred. However, once in the Agency's staffing system, you will have the opportunity to upload additional documents. Uploaded documents must be less than 5MB and in one of the following document formats: GIF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, RTF, PDF, TXT or Word (DOC or DOCX). Do not upload Adobe Portfolio documents because they are not viewable.
Agency contact information
APHIS Human Resources
Agricultural Marketing Service
USDA APHIS MRPBS
250 Marquette Avenue, Suite 410
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Your application will be reviewed to verify that you meet the eligibility and qualification requirements for the position prior to issuing referral lists to the selecting official. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted.
Multiple positions may be filled from this announcement
Fair & Transparent
The Federal hiring process is set up to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.
- Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policy
- Reasonable accommodation policy
- Financial suitability
- Selective Service
- New employee probationary period
- Signature and false statements
- Privacy Act
- Social security number request
To preview the application questionnaire, please visit: https://apply.usastaffing.gov/ViewQuestionnaire/11991601
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.
- College Transcripts: You must submit a copy of your college transcripts. An unofficial copy is sufficient with the application; 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 you are using education completed in 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. For further information, visit the following: Foreign Education Evaluation. All transcripts must be in English or include an English translation.
- 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. Veterans' 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 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