Page updated 4/10/2017
This group includes positions which involve professional, artistic, technical, or clerical work in the following general areas:
There are 18,160 federal workers employed in this group of which 312 work in the U.S. Territories or overseas in foreign countries. The Department of the Army is the largest employer with 2,834, HHS employs 1,371, and all cabinet level and many large and small agencies employ workers in this series.
Positions in this group require writing, editing, and language ability; artistic skill and ability; knowledge of foreign languages; the ability to evaluate and interpret informational and cultural materials; the practical application of technical or aesthetic principles combined with manual skill and dexterity; or related clerical skills.
The following information is compiled from numerous federal documents including qualification standards, job announcements, career articles, occupation flysheets, FEDSCOPE, OPM, Agency websites, interviews with federal employees, The United States Government Manual, and from the Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Click the job title for job listings, the number employed, hiring agencies, and job series definitions.
Review the job vacancy announcements and Qualification Standards for the job you are interested in.
These position descriptions are excerpted from the qualification standards for each job title in this group. In the General Schedule position classification system is established under chapter 51 of title 5, United States Code. The term “General Schedule” or “GS” denotes the major position classification system and pay structure for white collar work in the Federal government. Agencies that are no longer subject to chapter 51 have replaced the GS pay plan indicator with agency-unique pay plan indicators. For example, the Bureau of Prisons uses GL instead of the GS designation. For this reason, reference to General Schedule or GS is often omitted from the individual qualification standard sheets.
This series includes positions the duties of which are to perform, supervise, or manage work related to the design of interior environments in order to promote employee productivity, health, and welfare, and/or the health and welfare of the public. Typical duties include investigating, identifying, and documenting client needs; analyzing needs, proposing options and, working with the client, developing specific solutions; developing design documents, including contract working drawings and specifications; and, as appropriate, managing design projects performed in-house or by contract.
The federal government employs 338 interior designers of which 2 work overseas. The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with 162 followed by the Department of the Army, Navy and Air Force that employ 101 combined and the GSA with 25. The remaining are employed by the other organizations including some cabinet level agencies.
The work requires applying knowledge from a variety of such fields as (a) interior construction (building systems and components, building codes, equipment, materials, and furnishings, working drawings and specification, codes and standards); (b) contracting (cost estimates, bid proposals, negotiations, contract awards, site visits during construction, pre- and post-occupancy evaluations); (c) facility operation (maintenance requirements, traffic patterns, security and fire protection); (d) aesthetics (sense of scale, proportion, and form; color, texture, and finishes; style and visual imagery); (e) psychology (privacy and enclosure; effects of environmental components (color, texture, space, etc.) on mood, alertness, etc.); and, as appropriate, (f) management (design project and resource coordination).
The interior design specialist works to creatively solve problems pertaining to the function and quality of the interior environment of the agency's buildings and other leased properties.
Job Series Titles: (Click on the job title to view job vacancies for government and private sector jobs.) The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.
The exhibit specialist supervises or performs work involved in planning, constructing, installing, and operating exhibits, the preparation of gallery space for exhibits, the preservation of historic buildings, or the restoration or preparation of items to be exhibited. The work requires a combination of artistic abilities, technical knowledge and skills, and ability to understand the subject matter concepts which assigned exhibits projects are intended to convey.
The federal government employs 328 interior designers. The Smithsonian Institution is the largest employer with 112 followed by the Department of Interior with 100. The Departments of the Army, Navy and Air Force employ 88 civilians in this group. A few work for other agencies including NASA and the Department of Agriculture.
The exhibits specialist does not select the concepts to be covered. That is the task of the museum curator, program official, or subject matter specialist. Neither does the exhibits specialist develop the general design. A designer or visual information specialist does that. Working closely with these individuals, the exhibits specialist transforms subject matter and
design ideas into physical form within the limits of available space and budget. However, the exhibits specialist must understand the subject matter being presented sufficient to reconstruct display items or fabricate accurate representations of them.
Exhibits vary in their physical complexity. They may consist of a series of illustrations or objects displayed on a single wall or a few items in a simple case displayed in a lobby. On the other hand, they may have components that are three-dimensional, free-standing, taller than conventional room ceilings, and relatively permanent, such as those found in museums. Some exhibits involve fragile and irreplaceable items or artifacts displayed in virtually dust-free cases and supported by brackets and other hardware. Other exhibits involve murals, factually accurate sculpted foregrounds, lighting for visibility and special effects, video displays, audience-activated working models, or interactive computer programs.
Job Series Titles: (Click on the job title to view job vacancies for government and private sector jobs.) The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.
This series includes all classes of positions the primary duties of which are to administer, supervise or perform professional work related to research, collections and exhibits in Federal museums, when such work is not classifiable in other professional, scientific, or historical series.
The federal government employs 530 museum curators. The Department of the Interior is the largest employer with 156 followed by the Smithsonian Institution with 152 and the Department of the Army employing 96 civilians in this category. A few work for other agencies including the Department of State and National Archives and Records Administration.
Duties vary from museum to museum and from one type of collection to another, but the responsibility of planning a "balanced" collection that is meaningful as a source of information for scholars and laymen, and of providing machinery for its physical care is common to all curatorial assignments.
In some cases, efforts to add to collections involve public relations duties, including contacts with persons or organizations who can contribute items to the collections or arrange for such donations, gifts and bequests. In other cases, these expansion responsibilities involve field work -- the actual physical collection of artifacts or specimens from the field. When budgets include funds for the purchase of material for collections the responsibilities of the curator include such duties as locating and appraising the material, negotiating of purchase agreements and related activities.
The management of a large and/or rare collection requires arrangements and machinery for lending and borrowing material with other museums or collections, correspondence with other curators and collectors, and often, as indicated above, research and professional writing resulting from study of the collection itself.
Responsibilities for the preservation and storage of the collection involve knowledge of, research in, and planning of conservation techniques as well as the planning, establishment and maintenance of cataloging records and procedures, and of storage space and facilities.
Job Series Titles: (Click on the job title to view job vacancies for government and private sector jobs.) The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.
The operation of a modern public museum, which provides entertainment and educational services for the general public and facilities and research material for scholars, involves a variety of specialized and technical support work. The techniques, methods and specialized duties vary from museum to museum depending on the size, purpose, and subject matter of the institution, but the basic purpose of all positions in this series is to provide the technical back-up, support, and assistance necessary to managerial, scientific, and curatorial activities in museums.
The federal government employs 688 specialists, aids, and technicians. The Smithsonian Institution is the largest employer with 349 followed by the Department of the Interior with 152 and the Department of the Army with 66 civilians in this category. A few work for other agencies including the Department of State and National Archives and Records Administration.
In the lower levels, the work in these positions typically includes simple helper and custodial duties which involve specialized procedures and methods due to the museum environment where the jobs occur and sometimes due to the valuable and/or fragile nature of museum material being handled. In some cases, individuals simply perform these simple tasks, learning the necessary routines and procedures. In other instances, these duties represent a training situation in which individuals are selected, as a result of potentialities demonstrated on the job, to be developed to assume greater responsibility, to acquire more exact skills and to prepare for more demanding assignments. Sometimes these simple routine assignments are supplemented by formalized training programs.
In the middle grade levels, the assignment patterns of these positions are of two kinds. The first type is the technical assistant assignment. Incumbents in such positions serve as assistants to professional scientists, curators and museum managers or to higher grade Museum Technicians or Specialists. They do a variety of duties under direct supervision and according to well established procedures, which include such tasks as the routine acquisitioning of objects or specimens and keeping index and cataloging records. They may clean, prepare, and store collection objects; locate objects in storage area; tabulate information from records; prepare specimens for closer examination by the supervisor; or perform other duties which assist the supervisor in the physical care of the collection. In other cases, incumbents of these positions perform simple guide duties, prepare routine and nontechnical correspondence, and organize and tabulate data for research papers and articles.
The other type of position found in these middle brackets is the "trainee specialist." Incumbents of these positions are receiving training in the methods and techniques of restoring and preserving museum objects, specimens, and artifacts. The techniques are often very exacting and the material being handled may be quite valuable. These positions tend to be fairly narrowly specialized, and there is little possibility of transfer of personnel from one specialization to another. Many of the duties in these trainee positions may be similar to those in the assistant type jobs. The difference is that incumbents are expected to gain greater and greater skill and proficiency in the difficult techniques of caring for specialized objects, and to make progress in the career ladder.
In the upper levels, there is an occasional experienced and highly trusted assistant-type assignment, but the majority of these jobs are occupied by highly trained and skilled specialists.
Employees in these positions undertake the study and innovation necessary to develop methods for restoring and preserving the specimens, artifacts, or objects of the collection. The possible variation in such work is immeasurably broad, and few guidelines are possible. The first limiting factor for any given job is the nature of the collection. Each type of collection involves a distinct body of technique necessary to its care, and these techniques or the knowledge necessary to perform the research and to develop them are not usually transferable from one type of collection to another.
This series includes positions which supervise or perform work involved in laying out or executing illustrations in black and white or in color, and with retouching photographs. The work requires artistic ability, the skill to draw freehand or with drawing instruments, and the ability to use art media such as pen-and-ink, pencils, tempera, acrylics, oils, wash, watercolor, pastels, air brush, or computer-generated graphics. It also requires knowledge of the subject matter being depicted sufficient to create accurate visual representations. Knowledge of basic art principles such as color, line, form, and space is required to produce appropriately composed illustrations
The federal government employs 145 illustrators. The Departments of the Army, Air Force, and navy employs 95 civilians, and the Veterans Administration employs 18.
Illustrators in the Federal Government create visual products covering a broad range of subject matter areas. They execute illustrations to make a written text attractive and interesting, to enhance or symbolize an idea that has been described in words, to produce an emotional effect, or to present information that cannot be expressed adequately in words alone. Illustrators also use the air brush, oils, or other media to touch up photographs to bring out certain features of an object.
Illustrations for the covers of reports and brochures may be executed in a variety of artistic styles ranging from completely abstract to photo-like realism. Regardless of their style, these illustrations serve mainly to attract the attention of potential readers and induce them to read the material. Textual illustrations may be designed to do little more than attract the eye; more often they epitomize and reinforce the ideas expressed in the text and aid in communicating a message to the reader.
Medical, scientific, and technical equipment illustrations showing pathological, diagnostic, morphological, or operating characteristics are used to present information to the reader that words alone cannot convey. In many cases, the words and illustrations are interwoven to such an extent that neither can stand alone. Most illustrations are used in publications, but they also appear in exhibits, filmstrips, charts, and other means of communication.
One of the important functions of the Federal Government is to communicate with the public concerning the programs administered and activities engaged in by various Federal agencies. This communication serves the dual purpose of: 1) informing the broad spectrum of individuals and groups affected by agency programs of the benefits, services, or requirements of such programs; and 2) assessing the degree of understanding or interest the public has in these programs and activities. In addition to the general public, Federal agencies communicate with many specialized segments of the population, e.g., farmers, taxpayers, military personnel, educators, State and local government officials, manufacturers, and so on. Federal agencies communicate with the general public and these other pertinent publics in a variety of ways, for many different purposes, and in countless organizational settings across the country, and around the world.
Valerie Fellows is a public affairs specialist working at the US Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters Ecological Services Program in Falls Church, VA. She was interviewed for an article on our federal jobs blog titled Public Affairs Specialist (GS-1035) . Valerie said that she entered public relations because, "My background was in wildlife management, biology and toxicology, so I always dreamed I would one day work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But I never really “loved” the notion of daily field work: schlepping through remote areas day after day, fighting off mosquitoes the size of hummingbirds, taking Dramamine just to be able to get through the day on the boat, etc. I loved it every now and then, but not every day. Our field biologists are really amazing for loving that type of hard labor!
Plus, I’m an extrovert and I’m pretty good at communicating!
Combine those factors and it came very naturally for me to support the mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by communicating to the media and the public about the work we do and why it’s important for the public. I am able to combine my strengths for communication with my passion for wildlife, and I absolutely love my job." Read the article to explore this career field more thoroughly and to read the entire interview.
Public Affairs includes positions responsible for administering, supervising, or performing work involved in establishing and maintaining mutual communication between Federal agencies and the general public and various other pertinent publics including internal or external, foreign or domestic audiences. Positions in this series advise agency management on policy formulation and the potential public reaction to proposed policy, and identify and carry out the public communication requirements inherent in disseminating policy decisions. The work involves identifying communication needs and developing informational materials that inform appropriate publics of the agency's policies, programs, services and activities, and plan, execute, and evaluate the effectiveness of information and communication programs in furthering agency goals. Work in the series requires skills in written and oral communication, analysis, and interpersonal relations.
The federal government employs 5,519 public affairs specialists. The Departments of the Army, Navy and Air Force are the largest employers of this group with 2,052 civilian employees. The Department of the Interior employs 312 followed by the VA with 297. Positions are available in all cabinet level and large federal agencies.
Positions in the Public Affairs Series are primarily concerned with advising management on the formulation and articulation of agency policy and designing, executing, and evaluating the information programs that communicate agency policies, programs, and actions to various pertinent publics.
Public affairs positions work in and contribute to a variety of functional programs. The term functional program refers to the basic objectives of a Federal agency and its operations and activities in achieving them. A functional program may include the entire mission of an agency or any one of many programs administered by the department or agency. Positions in this series require a practical understanding and knowledge of functional programs to facilitate communication between an agency and its publics on program-related problems, activities, or issues. Much of this program knowledge is obtained from specialists in the functional program areas or through review of agency developed material, interviewing program specialists, or reading professional and trade publications.
This series includes positions the primary duties of which are to administer, supervise, or perform work in rendering from a foreign language into English or from English into a foreign language the spoken or written word where the objective is accurate translations and/or interpretations.
The federal government employs 1,067 public affairs specialists of which 35 work overseas. The Department of Justice is the largest employer with 629 on board. The Department of Homeland Security employs 174 followed by the Department of State with 42 and 5ocial Security employs 27. Positions are also available in several other cabinet level and a few large federal agencies.
The large majority of translations are done manually, although some machine translations are done. In these, the unedited foreign language texts are run through a computer which "translates" and transliterates words and phrases into English. This type of translation can be used with scientific and technical material where the output need only indicate the fundamental content of a document. The translator edits the machine output to revise syntax and grammar, to translate transliterated words and phrases, and to substitute technical terms when the machine glossaries fail to provide English terms which match the foreign terms used.
There are two basic types of interpretation employed in Government -- simultaneous and consecutive. In simultaneous interpretation, the interpreter interprets material at the same time it is being spoken. Actually, there may be a few seconds' interval between the spoken word and the interpretation, but for all practical purposes, the interpretation is being performed simultaneously with the spoken text. This technique is made possible by the use of electronic equipment which allows the transmission of the simultaneous speeches. Conference interpreters often work in a glass-enclosed booth from which they can see the speaker. They listen through earphones to what is being said, while interpreting into a microphone. Consecutive interpreting is the interpreting technique in which the interpreter listens to statements of varying length in one language, and at the conclusion of a statement, translates it orally into another language. Consecutive interpreting is more time-consuming than simultaneous because the speaker must wait for the interpretation before proceeding. In some instances, the interpreter writes ideographic symbols that serve as an aid in consecutive interpreting, as well as in preparing accurate memoranda of conversation.
Differences between translating and interpreting duties are chiefly related to the different circumstances under which translators and interpreters perform their work, i.e., the "read and written" compared with the "heard and spoken." Interpreters must grasp ideas spoken and heard only once. They must express these ideas in the other language instantly, accurately, and completely; in appropriate style; and with the intent of the original speaker. In simultaneous interpretation, this must be done while the original speaker is speaking; in consecutive, as soon as the speaker finishes a passage, which may be of any length. This means that the interpreter must have immediate recall and must make split second decisions about words and concepts with sole responsibility for them.
The translator, on the other hand, must translate the written word accurately and in the same spirit and style as it appears in the original text. Translated documents may be subjected to close scrutiny immediately after they are translated, or many years thereafter, since a large number of them become part of the record. The work requires a great deal of research to insure accuracy of nuances, subject-matter detail, and to retain fluency. In general, however, both translator and interpreter positions require accuracy, fluency, subject-matter knowledge, and a breadth of language knowledge. The language specialist's work is complicated because (1) a phenomenon may exist in one language, but there may be no word-for-word equivalent for it in the other language, and (2) cultural differences that make ideas easily expressed in one language make them difficult to comprehend in the other language. In treating the content of a message, the language specialist must determine if the cultural flavor of a message should be retained or if it should be translated in the cultural setting of the intended audience.
The title Language Specialist is used for positions which involve both translating and interpreting duties to a degree that neither is considered to represent the paramount requirement. For complete information on this occupation review OPM's qualification standard for this position.
This photography series includes positions that involve supervising or performing work in operating still, television (video), or motion picture cameras, and in processing photographic film and negatives. The work requires, in addition to a knowledge of the equipment, techniques, and processes of photography, either (1) working knowledge of the subject matter to be photographed, and/or (2) artistic ability in selecting, arranging, and lighting subjects or in processing work.
The federal government employs 488 photographers of which 3 work overseas. The Departments of the Army, Air Force, and Navy employ 221 civilians in this group followed by the Department of Justice with 92 and the VA with 68. Positions are also available in most of the cabinet level agencies and a few large federal agencies like the Smithsonian which employs 27.
The photography occupation consists of two different but closely related functions: (1) capturing the image on film (camera work) and (2) developing the image so that it is visible to the viewer in the form of a slide, transparency, or print (processing work). Some photography positions involve both camera work and subsequent processing work.
Camera work requires familiarity with the camera equipment used in assignments to produce acceptable work. This may range from the standardized equipment that can be found in any commercial camera shop, such as 35 mm cameras and video camcorders, to more specialized equipment used primarily by professional photographers, such as medium and large format cameras, studio-type television or motion picture cameras, and photo reproduction or "copy" cameras. The work may also involve use of equipment that has been adapted for highly specialized purposes, such as cameras mounted on microscopes or wired for remote control or automatic timed operation, or electronic equipment, such as computerized imaging. The essential knowledge is the same for film/chemical based photography work and computer/electronic aided photography work. The work also requires understanding the uses of a wide range of special purpose accessories, including the many types of film, filters, diffusers, lenses, and lighting sources, such as fiber optics.
All photography work concerns to some degree the elements of lighting and composition in the presentation of subjects, depending on the objectives of the photographs. Most photography work in the Federal service involves technical rather than artistic interpretation of the subject matter. The purpose of these photographs is to render a clear, realistic picture of certain items, features, or events, such as technical equipment, engineering tests, research subjects, medical specimens and procedures, art objects and museum artifacts, criminal evidence and crime scenes, or accident sites. Photography of this type is done primarily for training, documentation, identification, or study purposes, where lighting and composition are used to highlight or display the subjects in an effective, technically useful manner.
Processing work requires familiarity with the range of equipment peculiar to individual assignments. This may range from the equipment common to most photographic processing laboratories, such as film and negative processors (both automated and manual), printers, enlargers, duplicators, filmstrip generators, contact printers, and vacuum frames, to more specialized equipment used for high precision or high resolution processing, such as manual and computerized rectifiers and orthophoto printers. It also includes the special purpose equipment used for repairing and duplicating motion picture film for archival preservation.
Camera photography and processing photography generally require an equivalent degree of technical knowledge of equipment and techniques. The processes used in developing and printing a piece of film are essentially similar to those used in recording the photograph, i.e., the exposure of the film to light. Either kind of photography requires understanding and applying the principles of lighting, color, and exposure and the uses and limitations of various films, filters, lenses, and papers. In fact, in many cases, a poorly shot piece of film can be salvaged through processing by altering the chemistry or exposure time or by extensive cropping or retouching. Likewise, processing work may require the same degree of subject matter knowledge as camera work. For example, processing a photograph designed to show the firing of a weapon involves understanding both the objectives of the test and the expected physical reactions to determine what specialized processing techniques will bring up or enhance the desired images.
Audiovisual production includes positions that involve supervising or performing work in the production of videotaped and live television programs; live and prerecorded radio broadcasts; motion picture films; broadcast type closed circuit teleconferences; and other similar productions, such as slide shows with sound accompaniments. The work requires the ability to plan, organize, and direct the work of writers, editors, actors, narrators, musicians, set designers, audio and lighting technicians, camera operators, and other associated technical personnel to produce, select, and arrange the actions, sounds, and visual effects required for the finished production.
The federal government employs 1,134 photographers of which 27 work overseas. The Departments of the Army, Air Force, and Navy employ 361 civilians in this group followed by the Broadcast Board of Governors with 186 and the Department of Defense with 142. Positions are also available in all but one of the cabinet level agencies and a fair number of large federal agencies.
Federal agencies use audiovisual productions to convey news and public information to foreign and domestic audiences; to assist in training and education; to disseminate technical information to professional and technical groups; to document unit operations; and to record scientific, technical, and engineering events, tests, and experiments.
The term "audiovisual production" is used generically in this series and includes radio and other productions involving only sound elements.
This series uses the following occupational titles:
The development and execution of an audiovisual production is usually a collaborative effort of several individuals occupying different roles. Depending on the size and complexity of the production, this group may include a producer, director, scriptwriter, set designer, camera operators, lighting technicians, audio technicians, editors, computer animators, and others. This standard covers positions involved in the producing, directing, and editing aspects of audiovisual production.
Writers and editors include positions that involve writing and editing materials, such as reports, regulations, articles, newsletters, magazines, news releases, training materials, brochures, interpretive handbooks, pamphlets, guidebooks, scholarly works, reference works, speeches, or scripts. The work requires the acquisition of information on a variety of subjects in the course of completing assignments. The work requires the development, analysis, and selection of appropriate information and presentation of the information in a form and at a level suitable for the intended audience.
The federal government employs 1,234 writers and editors of which 9 work overseas. The Department of the Army is the largest employer with 361 civilians followed by Health and Human Resources with 156 and the Department of Agriculture with 107. The Broadcast Board of Governors, a large independent agency employs 57. Positions are available at all of the cabinet level agencies and a fair number of large federal agencies.
Writers and editors research, analyze, distill, and present information either in a variety of fields or, with a broad and non specialized approach, in a single field. They communicate information for such purposes as: (1) articulating policy; (2) making public reports on the activities and plans of agencies; (3) explaining the laws agencies administer to those affected, especially concerning their rights and obligations; (4) reporting the results of research and investigations; (5) announcing regulations; (6) providing training and operating manuals for the use of employees; and (7) interpreting themes and conflicting points of view in expository narratives. The materials they present ordinarily report and explain factual information, and often interpret it in such a way as to make it clear without sacrificing completeness and accuracy.
Writers and editors gather information for assignments typically by studying the related literature and by interviewing experts. They may also observe activities, processes, demonstrations, and experiments. Writers and editors then analyze, select, and organize the information to present. In presenting the information, they consider: (1) agency policy; (2) Government, agency, medium, and periodical style requirements; (3) consistency with other information presented by the agency; and (4) the level of knowledge and expected reaction of the intended audience. The audience may be inside or outside the Government.
Writers and editors typically use desktop publishing hardware and software to draft, edit, and lay out the material and sometimes to design, print, and distribute it. Writers and editors may manage individual or serial publications from initial conception and content determination through distribution, and may coordinate the activities of other publishing personnel. Thus, while the use of desktop publishing technology does not in itself increase the complexity of writing and editing work, it does allow the writer or editor to work more efficiently and to manage projects from start to finish.
Technical writers and editors include positions that involve writing or editing technical materials, such as reports of research findings; scientific or technical articles, news releases, and periodicals; regulations in technical areas; technical manuals, specifications, brochures, and pamphlets; or speeches or scripts on scientific or technical subjects. Technical writers and technical editors draw on a substantial knowledge of a particular subject-matter area, such as the natural or social sciences, engineering, law, or other fields. The work involves the development of information and analysis to select and present information on the specialized subject in a form and at a level suitable for the intended audience.
The federal government employs 1,143 technical writers and editors of which 1 work overseas. The Department of the Army, Navy and Air Force employ 619 civilians in these occupations followed by Health and Human Resources with 131. Positions are available at all but one of the cabinet level agencies and a fair number of large federal agencies.
Technical writers and technical editors apply writing or editing skills and substantial knowledge of the basic principles and specialized vocabulary of appropriate subject-matter fields to the accurate communication of scientific and technological developments to expert and other interested audiences. Technical writers and technical editors may also apply writing and editing skills and an understanding of the appropriate equipment and systems to the development of specifications showing the characteristics and capabilities or the design and test requirements of equipment and systems; or to the development of training, operating, or maintenance manuals associated with equipment and systems.
Technical writers and technical editors usually are found in Government activities that sponsor or perform research, conduct investigations, or carry out operations in such fields as the natural and social sciences, engineering, and law. Such activities ordinarily disseminate their findings and decisions to the scientific community, the administrative and policy-making community, those who might apply the information, and the general public.
Technical writers and technical editors, in addition to reporting research findings and agency decisions, articulate agency policies and explain technical aspects of agency programs to those affected. The materials they present explain technical information in such a way as to make it clear without sacrificing thoroughness and accuracy. Technical writers and technical editors make sure the materials they present are consistent with agency policy and with other information presented by the agency, meet the style requirements of the agency and the publication, and are written at an appropriate level for the intended audience.
Visual information specialists include positions which supervise or perform work involved in communicating information through visual means. Work in this series includes the design and display of such visual materials as photographs, illustrations, diagrams, graphs, objects, models, slides, and charts used in books, magazines, pamphlets, exhibits, live or video recorded speeches or lectures, and other means of communicating. The work requires knowledge of and ability to apply the principles of visual design; knowledge of the technical characteristics associated with various methods of visual display; and the ability to present subject matter information in a visual form that will convey the intended message to, or have the desired effect on, the intended audience.
The federal government employs 1,742 Visual Information Specialists of which 32 work overseas. The Department of the Army, Navy and Air Force employ 619 civilians in these occupations followed by the VA with 173 and the Department of the Interior with 163. Positions are available at all cabinet level agencies and a fair number of large federal agencies.
This series covers positions whose incumbents select visual materials such as photographs, illustrations, models, and specimens to be used in the communication of information; design the placement and appearance of visual materials; design the placement of text in relation to art; decide type styles and typographical effects; and plan effective use of color schemes, textures, and shapes considering the technical constraints of a particular method of communication (i.e., printed publication, exhibit, or oral presentation).
Some positions combine visual information work as described above with personal production of finished illustrations, exhibits, and other visual products. This is particularly the case at small agencies utilizing a "generalist" approach in their visual arts organizations. These mixed positions are classified in this series when the work involves the design, production, and display of a variety of visual materials requiring a broader knowledge of the principles and techniques of visual design than is associated with the more specialized fields of illustrating, photography, or exhibits construction.
This series covers positions that involve editorial support work in preparing manuscripts for publication and verifying factual information in them. Such support work includes editing manuscripts for basic grammar and clarity of expression as well as marking copy for format. These positions require skill in using reference works to verify information and knowledge of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and good English usage.
The federal government employs 119 editorial assistants. The Departments of the Army and Air Force employ 59 civilians and the Interior Department employs 16. There are a few with other agencies.
Some editorial clerks and assistants work in groups and receive supervision from a supervisory editorial clerk or assistant. Others directly assist writers, editors, or subject-matter specialists. Regardless of the work setting, editorial clerks and assistants usually perform the same types of work. They perform editorial support work in preparing manuscripts for publication and verifying information in the manuscripts.
Editorial clerks and assistants edit manuscripts for basic grammar, punctuation, syllabification, spelling, capitalization, accepted English usage, and grammatical structure. They correct such errors as subject-verb agreement, use of adverbs and adjectives, and agreement of pronouns. They also suggest changes in structure. Editorial clerks and assistants do not need knowledge of the substance of the subject matter of the manuscript. They need substantive knowledge of English grammar. Their rewriting or restructuring of sentences, paragraphs, or papers is based on grammatical considerations, not the substantive subject matters.