Ocean Career: Oceanographer at NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service

This position is located in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Office of Science and Technology (OST), Marine Ecosystems Division in Silver Spring, MD.


As an Oceanographer, you will perform the following duties:

  • Connect oceanographic and biological information to support sustainable fisheries, protected species, and other NMFS goals, ensuring the interaction with aerospace engineers and systems engineers to optimize observing capabilities for ocean viewing sensors, altimeters, telemetry of earth-bound sensors, and other technologies to bring satellite capabilities to a maximum effective level to support NMFS missions.
  • Participate in the development of future architectures in the space segment for satellite systems, collaborating with national laboratories, satellite requirements working groups, and research evaluation and product development panels.
  • Provide NMFS satellite data planning information and requirements to NOAA Data Governance and Management entities and provide significant Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO) ocean color instrument (OCX) support, working with National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) and GeoXO/NMFS users.
  • Collect, review, and authenticate science and aerospace requirements for space and ground segments of polar orbiting, geostationary orbiting, and other satellite systems.
  • Serve as a national representative for NMFS satellite resources and other observing systems, technical expert and key participant in dialog with NMFS Argos users to explore current and future applicability of satellite data to improve living marine resource management, and liaison with international organizations representing the U.S. in matters of ocean-viewing and other satellites.


Conditions of Employment

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or National to apply.
  • Required to pass a background investigation and fingerprint check.
  • Must be suitable for Federal employment.
  • Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable (www.sss.gov)
  • Qualifications requirements must be met by closing date of announcement.

This position will be filled under the DOC Alternative Personnel System (CAPS). This system replaced the Federal GS pay plan and structure. Under CAPS, positions are classified by career, pay plan, and pay band. The ZP-4 is equivalent to the GS-13/14.


Qualification requirements in the vacancy announcements are based on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Qualification Standards Handbook, which contains federal qualification standards. This handbook is available on the Office of Personnel Management's website located at: https://www.opm.gov/policy.

To qualify for the 1360 series:

BASIC REQUIREMENTS: This position requires applicants to meet a Basic Education Requirement in addition to at least one year of specialized experience in order to be found minimally qualified. You MUST meet one of the following basic education requirements:

A. Degree: major study of at least 24 semester hours in oceanography or a related discipline such as physics, meteorology, geophysics, mathematics, chemistry, engineering, geology, or biology, plus 20 additional semester hours in any combination of oceanography, physics, geophysics, chemistry, mathematics, meteorology, computer science, and engineering sciences.


B. Combination of education and experience -- course work as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

Applicants who qualify on the basis of major study in biology or geology must have had at least 6 semester hours in the major directly concerned with marine science or 6 semester hours in oceanography; applicants who qualify on the basis of other physical sciences or engineering must have had differential and integral calculus and at least 6 semester hours in physics.

To quality at the ZP-4 or GS-13 level:

SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: In addition to meeting the Basic Requirement, applicant must also possess one full year (52 weeks) of specialized experience equivalent to at least the next lower pay band ZP-3 or GS-12 grade level in the Federal service. Specialized experience MUST include all of the following:

  • Utilizing oceanographic data from satellites;
  • Collaborating with a variety of audiences and stakeholders (agencies, organizations, engineers, leadership, architects, partners, etc.) on satellite systems or other oceanic technologies/sensors; and
  • Aiding in the planning and development of future space observing satellite systems, architectures, or instruments.

Salary: $106,823 - $164,102 per year
Application deadline: September 12, 2022

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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