Overview

Duties

Summary

This position is assigned to the Office of Policy and Program Development (OPPD) in the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Risk Management and Innovations Staff (RMIS) ensures that OPPD policy development initiatives have a scientific basis by collaborating with the Office of Public Health Science and with FSIS's chemical and microbiological hazards workgroups.
Learn more about this agency

Responsibilities

  • Serves as a scientist, as a lead of a project team, and as a technical professional with FSIS.
  • Maintains surveillance of significant developments related to the assigned program areas.
  • Develops regulatory policy regarding existing and new meat, poultry, and egg inspection regulations to ensure policy is met.
  • Serves as a spokesperson and valid source of information for both technical and non-technical audiences in order to advise on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP).
  • Develops, publicizes, and garners support for the program agenda by meeting with other FSIS program officials and key executives within FSIS and USDA.

Travel Required

Occasional travel – You may be expected to travel for this position up to 5% of the time.

Supervisory status
No

Promotion Potential
12

Requirements

Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a US Citizen or US National.
  • Males born after 12/31/1959 must be Selective Service registered or exempt.
  • Subject to satisfactory adjudication of background investigation and/or fingerprint check.
  • Successful completion of one year probationary period, unless previously served.
  • 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/.
  • This is an interdisciplinary position. The incumbent serves as a Biologist, Toxicology, Microbiologist, Veterinary Medical Officer, or Food Technologist Staff Officer for OPPD.
  • Some work may require walking and standing in conjunction with travel and to attendance at meetings and conferences away from the work site. May carry light items.
  • May occasionally be exposed to uncomfortable conditions in such places as FSIS facilities.

Qualifications

Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement, including specialized experience and education, as defined below.

BASIC REQUIREMENTS:

General Natural Resources Management and Biological Sciences Series, 0401:

  • Degree: Bachelor's or higher in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to this position; OR
  • Combination of education and experience: Courses equivalent to a major in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to this position, plus appropriate experience or additional education.
  • Microbiology Series, 0403:

  • Degree: Bachelor's or higher in microbiology; or biology, chemistry, or basic medical science that included at least 20 semester hours in microbiology and other subjects related to the study of microorganisms, and 20 semester hours in the physical and mathematical sciences combining course work in organic chemistry or biochemistry, physics, and college algebra, or their equivalent; OR
  • Combination of education and experience: Courses equivalent to a major in microbiology, biology, chemistry, or basic medical science that included courses as shown in Paragraph 1 above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.
  • Toxicology Series, 0415: Please see the Education section below.

    Consumer Safety Series, 0696:

    • A. Bachelor's or graduate/higher-level degree in quality assurance or a related degree that included at least 30 semester hours in one or a combination of the following: consumer laws, biological sciences, food science, chemistry, pharmacy, physical sciences, food technology, nutrition, medical science, engineering, epidemiology, veterinary medical science, legal investigations, law enforcement, or related scientific fields that provided knowledge directly related to consumer safety officer work. The 30 semester hours may include up to 8 semester hours in statistics, or course work that included the principles, theory, or practical application of computers or computer programming; OR
    • B. Combination of education and experience–Courses consisting of at least 30 semester hours in the fields of study described in Paragraph A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

    Veterinary Medical Science Series, 0701: Please see the Education section below. Meeting the basic requirement qualifies applicants at the GS-11 grade level.

    Chemistry Series, 1320:

  • Degree: Bachelor's or higher in physical sciences, life sciences, or engineering that included 30 semester hours in chemistry, supplemented by course work in mathematics through differential and integral calculus, and at least 6 semester hours of physics; OR
  • Combination of education and experience: Course work equivalent to a major as shown in Paragraph 1 above, including at least 30 semester hours in chemistry, supplemented by mathematics through differential and integral calculus, and at least 6 semester hours of physics, plus appropriate experience or additional education.
  • Food Technology Series, 1382:

    • A. Bachelor's or graduate/higher-level degree in food technology, or dairy technology, microbiology, biology, chemistry, physics, or a related discipline or field of biological or physical science. The course work must have been comprised of at least 30 semester hours in the basic biological and physical sciences, and included at least 20 semester hours in food technology and closely related subjects, or 20 semester hours in subjects that can be applied directly to food technology; OR
    • B. Combination of education and experience–Courses equivalent to a major, including the course work specified in Paragraph A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

    MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: To be considered minimally qualified for this position, you must demonstrate that you have the required specialized experience and/or education for the respective grade level(s) to which you are applying:

    GS-11:
    Specialized Experience: You must have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-09 grade level in the Federal service that includes:

    • Evaluating unusual circumstances, considering different approaches, and dealing with incomplete and conflicting data;
    • Discussing livestock and poultry problem conditions, products, and facilities;
    • Resolving medical problems or questions of field personnel; and
    • Clarifying guidelines to solve problems.

    OR
    Education: You must possess a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree or 3 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree. This education must demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work of this position. One year of full-time graduate education is considered to be the number of credit hours that the school attended has determined to represent 1 year of full-time study. If that information cannot be determined from the school, 54 semester hours will be considered as equivalent to 3 years of full-time study.
    OR
    Combination of education and experience: You must have an appropriate combination of successfully completed graduate-level education and experience. To determine your combination, first compute your experience as a percentage of the experience listed above; then determine your education as a percentage of the education listed above; then add the two percentages. The total percentages must equal at least 100 percent. Only graduate education in excess of 2 years (36 semester hours) may be used to qualify.

    GS-12:
    Specialized Experience: You must have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-11 grade level in the Federal service that includes:

    • Researching and analyzing scientific policies, guidelines, methods, and procedures to make recommendations and advise the industry, leadership, and field personnel on the interpretation, intent, or impact of new initiatives or strategies as guides in dealing with emerging issues;
    • Interpreting regulations and policies in accordance with food processing techniques, toxicology, microbiology, and pathology on regulated products to develop, assess, and implement policies, guidelines, methods, and procedures related to assessing food safety inspection systems and new technologies;
    • Identifying and applying emerging technologies that may impact food safety; and
    • Assisting in developing, and gaining support for, a program agenda by meeting with program officials, leadership, and other interested parties, such as officials of other organizations, contractors, members of the academic community, industry representatives, and members of consumer groups.

    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.

    Education

    BASIC REQUIREMENTS (continued from the Qualifications section above):

    Toxicology Series, 0415:
    Degree: Bachelor's or higher in toxicology; or an appropriate discipline of the biological, medical, or veterinary sciences that included at least 30 semester hours in chemistry, biochemistry, or physiology, and 12 semester hours in toxicology.

    Veterinary Medical Science Series, 0701:
    Degree:

  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or equivalent degree, i.e., Veterinary Medical Doctor (VMD), obtained at a school or college of veterinary medicine accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education (AVMA). The AVMA web site, http: www.avma.org , has a listing of all AVMA-accredited veterinary medical schools; OR
  • Graduates of foreign veterinary medical schools that are not accredited by the AVMA Council on Education (Refer to AVMA web site, http: www.avma.org for information about schools in this category) must meet one of the following requirements:
    • Proof of certification of their final transcript by the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG).
    • Possession of a permanent, full, and unrestricted license to practice veterinary medicine in a State, District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a territory of the United States that includes successful completion of the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) or its predecessors, the National Board Examination (NBE) and the Clinical Competency Test (CCT).
    • Proof that the education obtained in a foreign veterinary medical program is equivalent to that gained in a veterinary medical program that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education. Under this provision, equivalency is established only if an AVMA-accredited veterinary medical school or college accepts the graduate's final transcript from the foreign veterinary medical school at full value for placement into an advanced degree, postgraduate educational program, or training program (e.g. residency or graduate program).

    Graduates of foreign veterinary medical programs must also provide proof of proficiency in the English language by successfully completing one of the nationally and internationally recognized examinations that incorporate assessments of reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Examples of examinations that assess mastery of the English language are shown below:

    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) – Minimum scores for the TOEFL are 560 for the paper-based version; 220 for the computer-based version; or overall score of 83 for the internet-based version (including 26 or higher in speaking, 26 or higher in listening, and 17 or higher in writing). For the computer-based and paper-based test versions, applicants must also complete the Test of Spoken English (TSE) and the Test of Written English (TWE). Minimum required scores are 55 for the TSE and 5.5 for the TWE;
    • Academic tests (listening, writing, and speaking) offered by the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Applicants must achieve a minimum overall band score of 7.0, with at least 7.0 in speaking, 6.5 in listening, and 6.0 in writing; OR
    • Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL). Applicants must achieve a minimum overall band score of 70, with at least 60 in speaking, 60 in listening, and 50 in writing

    GS-11 for the Veterinary Medical Science Series, 0701:
    Meeting the basic requirement qualifies applicants at the GS-11 grade level.

    GS-12 for the Veterinary Medical Science Series, 0701:
    Specialized Experience:
    You must have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-11 grade level in the Federal service that includes:

    • Researching and analyzing scientific policies, guidelines, methods, and procedures to make recommendations and advise the industry, leadership, and field personnel on the interpretation, intent, or impact of new initiatives or strategies as guides in dealing with emerging issues;
    • Interpreting regulations and policies in accordance with food processing techniques, toxicology, microbiology, and pathology on regulated products to develop, assess, and implement policies, guidelines, methods, and procedures related to assessing food safety inspection systems and new technologies;
    • Identifying and applying emerging technologies that may impact food safety; and
    • Assisting in developing, and gaining support for, a program agenda by meeting with program officials, leadership, and other interested parties, such as officials of other organizations, contractors, members of the academic community, industry representatives, and members of consumer groups.

    OR
    Education: Successfully complete a relevant Master's or higher-level degree, or a dual Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)/graduate degree, in an area of specialization.
    OR
    Residency/Post-Graduate Training Programs: Successful completion of two years of an internship, residency program, or fellowship training program in a discipline related to the position.
    OR
    Board Certification: Successfully complete all requirements for Diplomate status in an American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) -recognized veterinary specialty organization.

    Additional information

    • Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP), Reemployment Priority List (RPL), or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): Visit the OPM website for information on how to apply as a CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP eligible. To exercise selection priority for this vacancy, CTAP/RPL/ICTAP candidates must meet the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors. CTAP/ICTAP candidates must be rated and determined to be well qualified (or above) based on an evaluation of the competencies listed in the How You Will Be Evaluated section. When assessed through a score-based category rating method, CTAP/ICTAP applicants must receive a rating of at least 85 out of a possible 100.
    • Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc) should contact: USDAs TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).
    • It is the policy of the Government not to deny employment simply because an individual has been unemployed or has had financial difficulties that have arisen through no fault of the individual. To see more information visit CHCO Council.
    • Multiple positions may be filled from this announcement.
    • 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.
    • Veterinary Medical Science Series, 0701 : Medical Requirements: Individuals must be physically and mentally able to safely and efficiently perform the full range of duties of the position without creating hazards to themselves or others. Veterinary Medical Officers who inspect or supervise inspection activities in privately owned slaughter houses and processing plants must meet specific medical standards and physical requirements established by the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

    Applications will be evaluated in accordance with Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) Delegated Examining Procedures and USDA policy using category rating. Applicants who meet basic minimum qualifications will be placed in one of two or three categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, or Qualified. Within these categories, applicants eligible for veteran's preference will receive selection priority over non-veterans. Category placement will be determined based on applicants' quality of experience and the extent they possess the following knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) or competencies:

    • Attention to Detail
    • Flexibility
    • Technical Competence
    • Written Communication

    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. Those determined to be in the best qualified category will be referred to the selecting official for consideration.

    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.

    To preview the application questionnaire, please visit: https: apply.usastaffing.gov/ViewQuestionnaire/10978884

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance
    Not Required

    Drug test required
    No

    Position sensitivity and risk
    Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

    Trust determination process
    Credentialing , Suitability/Fitness

    Required Documents

    The following documents are required for your applicant package to be complete. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, your system failure, 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.
    • College Transcripts: You must submit a legible copy of your college transcripts. An unofficial copy is sufficient with the application; however, it must include student name, school name, and enough information to validate qualifications such as course names, prefixes, grades, semester or quarter credit hours, date degree was award, etc. Further, 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, visit Dept of Education Accredited Schools . If any education was completed at a foreign institute, you must submit with your application evidence that the institute was appropriately accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as equivalent to U.S. education standards. There are private organizations that specialize in this evaluation and a fee is normally associated with this service. For a list of private organizations that evaluate education, visit NACES . All transcripts must be in English or include an English translation.
    • If claiming veteran's 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 not later than 120 days after the date the certification is submitted.Veteran's 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.
    • Active Duty Service Members-You must submit a statement of discharge/certification of release or an official written document from the armed forces that certifies you are expected to be discharged or released from active duty service under honorable conditions no later than 120 days from the date the certification is signed. Enlisted Record Briefs and military identification do NOT qualify as official documentation. The certification letter should be on letterhead of the appropriate military branch of the service and contain (1) the military service dates including the expected discharge or release date; and (2) the character of service.
    • If claiming 10-point veteran's 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
    • Surplus or displaced employees eligible for CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP priority must provide: proof of eligibility (RIF separation notice, notice of proposed removal for declining a transfer of function or directed reassignment to another commuting area, notice of disability annuity termination), SF-50 documenting separation (as applicable), and your most recent SF-50 noting position, grade level, and duty location with your application per 5 CFR 330.

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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