Ocean Career: Physical Science Technician at NOAA NMFS

This position is located within the Department of Commerce (DOC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Office of Habitat Conservation, Chesapeake Bay Office, with one vacancy in Annapolis, MD.

This position is also announced under vacancy number NMFS-HC-2021-0010, which is open to Status Candidates. You must apply to both announcements if you want to be considered for both.

As a Physical Science Technician, you will perform the following duties:

  • Install sensors and data collection instruments on observing platforms, monitor and analyze instrument performance, and ensure that oceanographic, water quality, and meteorological data are quality controlled and reliably transmitted.
  • Perform on-the-water vessel operations such as deployment or recovery of buoys and other observing equipment using National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and contracted vessels, and safely operate a small boat, including launching and trailering.
  • Assist in shore-side and vessel-based operations maintenance and minor repairs and work alongside the field operations coordinator and other technicians to ensure smooth operation and coordination of field operations.

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.
  • 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 ZT-2 is equivalent to the GS-05/08.

*A one year probationary/trial period may be required.
*Payment of relocation expenses is not authorized.
*This position is not in the bargaining unit.
*This is a low risk security clearance.

Physical Requirement: The incumbent must be able to lift and maneuver equipment of up to 50 pounds. The incumbent must be able to work in a range of environmental conditions on small vessels and unstable floating platforms to deploy/retrieve equipment, make repairs, and conduct sampling operations on inland and near-coastal waters.


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

SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: Applicants must possess one year of specialized experience equivalent in difficulty and responsibility to the next lower grade level in the Federal Service. Specialized experience is experience that has equipped the applicant with the particular competencies/knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position. This experience need not have been in the federal government.

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.

To qualify at the ZT-2 or GS-05 level:

SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: Applicants must possess one full year (52 weeks) of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower pay band ZT-1 or GS-04 grade level in the Federal service. Specialized experience MUST include all of the following:

Assisting with the deployment and recovery of observing equipment; and

Assisting with the installation, maintenance and optimization of sensors and/or data collection instruments on observing platforms.


SUBSTITUTION OF EDUCATION: 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 in physical science, engineering, or any branch of mathematics, except financial and commercial mathematics.


COMBINATION OF EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE: A combination of education and experience as described above. Note: Only undergraduate education in excess of 2 full years is qualifying for combination of education and experience.

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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