Posted on Saturday, 30th January 2016 by

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The GS-0701 series covers professional positions that supervise, lead, or perform work in the veterinary medical sciences. The work involves promoting the health and welfare of both animals and the public through diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and understanding of animal diseases; conservation of animal resources; and advancement of veterinary medical knowledge. Learn more about holding a federal veterinarian jobs below.

The federal government employs 2,226 Veterinary Medical Officers. The Department of Agriculture is the largest employer of this group with 1,774 employees. The Department of Health and Human Services employs 34 while the DOI, VA, Army, EPA and the Smithsonian Institute employ small number of this occupational series. There are 23 veterinarians working for the Department of the Interior.

Samantha Gibbs is a  is a veterinarian with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) at the Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, Maryland.

 

Samantha Gibbs, Veterinarian (FWS)

Samantha Gibbs, Veterinarian (FWS)

The wildlife veterinarian has many different services that they must perform. These services may include, but are not limited to:

  • Wildlife capture efforts.
  • Animal capture and handling, applicable chemical immobilization, and tagging-collaring-surgical procedures necessary for assessing individual animal movement, environmental conditions.
  • Training of professional wildlife biologists in wildlife capture, handling, and/or animal processing;
  • Development of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for safe wildlife capture, handling, tagging, and sampling in collaboration with other federal agencies and/or other international, state, local, or private organizations.
  • Successful application for DEA Controlled Substances registration.

Q and A with Samantha Gibbs

Why did you become a Wildlife Veterinarian?

Growing up, I had a strong interest in wildlife ecology and conservation. After high school I went to work for a wildlife veterinarian and began to understand the strong role veterinarians play in forwarding wildlife conservation goals.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

Probably the most challenging part of the job is turning research science into management actions that will improve wildlife health at a population scale. More often than not, there isn’t much we can do once a disease has begun to spread in wildlife.

What is the most unique experience you have had as a Wildlife Veterinarian?

I was once capturing wild ducks for avian influenza testing in northern Australia and had to ensure that when I released the birds after being swabbed they didn’t head towards the river because there was a line of crocodiles waiting at the water’s edge for a tasty treat!

What are the rarest and most common species of animals that you have come in contact with?

I have worked with hundreds of bird species, some quite rare and many very common. I currently serve as back-up veterinarian for the whooping cranes that are being bred and raised at Patuxent. I have also had the opportunity to work with bison, rhinos, Florida panthers, lions, manatees, feral pigs, and frogs!

What are some of the duties you have to perform as a Wildlife Veterinarian?

My work varies from field activities to research to policy. I provide field support such as surgical implantation of satellite transmitters in ducks, taking fat biopsies from bison, and performing post-mortems on animals that are a part of die-off events. I am involved in the development and implementation of research projects that investigate wildlife diseases. And I provide technical assistance for policy decisions that involve wildlife health issues.

Would you recommend Wildlife Veterinarian as a good career path?

The career of wildlife veterinarian has been an amazing journey for me. It involves many years of studying, sometimes extreme field conditions, sometimes long hours at a computer, and lots of travelling, but for me it is certainly been well worth it for the crazy events, kind people, and fascinating wildlife I have experienced along the way.

Basic Requirements

  • Must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • Salary for a GS 12/13 ranges from $71,012.00 to $109,781.00 / Per Year.
  • 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).
  • 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).

Additional Requirements

GS-12: To qualify for a GS-12 is listed below:

  • Master’s degree in an area of specialization, including but not limited to, animal science, avian medicine, food safety, infectious diseases, veterinary clinical sciences, pathobiology, biomedical sciences, veterinary anatomy, veterinary preventive medicine, comparative biological sciences, epidemiology, veterinary parasitology, molecular veterinary biosciences, public health, microbiology, pathology, immunology, laboratory animal medicine, toxicology, wildlife, zoological animal medicine, or sciences related to the work of a veterinary medical officer position.
  • Successful completion of two years of an internship, residency program, or fellowship training program in a discipline related to the position.
  • Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-11 grade level in the Federal service.

Examples of specialized experience for the GS-12 grade level include:

  • Implementing health monitoring and treatment programs for large herds of production livestock (cattle, sheep, and swine).
  • Recording and analyzing health records in order to implement appropriate prevention and treatment programs.
  • Working with animal care personnel and herd managers to appropriately train and educate on new practices relating to animal care.

GS-13: To qualify for the GS-13 are listed below:

  • Ph.D. degree in an area of specialization, including but not limited to, animal science, avian medicine, food safety, infectious diseases, veterinary clinical sciences, pathobiology, biomedical sciences, veterinary anatomy, veterinary preventive medicine, comparative biological sciences, epidemiology, veterinary parasitology, molecular veterinary biosciences, public health, microbiology, pathology, immunology, laboratory animal medicine, toxicology, wildlife, zoological animal medicine, or sciences related to the work of a veterinary medical officer position.
  • Successful completion of three years of an internship, residency program, or fellowship training program in a discipline related to the position.

Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-12 grade level in the Federal service. Specialized experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled.

Examples of specialized experience for the GS-13 grade level include:

  • Interpreting and implementing the Federation of Animal Science Societies Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching in a research environment; or
  • Experience following or implementing Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) policies and procedures as they relate to care of animals in research; or
  • Experience as or working with an IACUC Attending Veterinarian to implement appropriate animal care in a research environment.

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

Job Requirements

  • Maintains up-to-date knowledge of field anesthesia techniques, ensures compliance with Animal Welfare Act requirements and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC) approved protocols.
  • Strictly adheres to Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) rules and regulations for the use and storage of controlled substances.
  • Assists in the development of the annual budget and work plans.
  • Establishes and maintains liaison with research and management biologists from natural resource agencies, conservation organizations, and universities who have expertise specific to wildlife capture and anesthesia as well as wildlife diseases, their epidemiology, and management, to exchange information and develop techniques and methods related to population and habitat management, monitoring, and evaluation.
  • Reviews scientific proposals and reports to evaluate hypotheses, research design, appropriateness of methods, probability of success, and overall importance to wildlife disease management or science.
  • Analyzes disease report summaries and determines the impact on resources, develops action plans as required, coordinates actions with the Refuges and other Service regions as warranted.
  • Fields questions concerning the report and response from various sources, representatives from other Federal and State agencies, and the media.
  • Analyzes the impact of wildlife morbidity and mortality events on populations, and assists wildlife biologists and/or managers as needed to evaluate impacts to harvest regulations or other population goals.
  • Prepares reports and articles for publication in scientific literature and for presentation at professional meetings.
  • Provides oral and written presentations on significant wildlife health and disease issues ranging from highly technical professional audiences, to congressional and agency staffs, to news media, and the general public.
  • Mastery of, and skill in applying, advanced concepts, principles, practices, and methodology of veterinary medicine.
  • Professional knowledge of, and ability to apply, wildlife management concepts, principles, practices, including field techniques and methodologies, to manage an active complex, regional, wildlife management program.
  • Knowledge of, and ability to apply, the principles, practices, techniques, and concepts of population ecology and wildlife biology as related to the management of free ranging wildlife populations.
  • Familiarity with population-limiting factors based on habitat nutritional quality, climate change, predation and competition, or other demographic factors sufficient to incorporate into wildlife management plans.
  • Ability to synthesize existing information, apply new scientific findings, developments, and advances to meet innovative, complex, controversial, long-term wildlife health and management needs that are national and international in scope.
  • Ability to provide creativity and critical-thinking skills necessary to apply veterinary advances in approaches and new scientific developments to local resource issues, and determine cause-and-effect relationships between species, their habitats, and disease.

In our next article we will continue with the FWS and our Question and Answerwill be with Keith Toomey, Special Agent in Charge (GS-1811).

Credits

  • Anita Noguera, Manager, BPHC Marketing Communications, Falls Church, VA
  • Photos were provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service

Other Career Information

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Monday, 11th January 2016 by

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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 is provided by the public affairs specialist (GS-1035) and 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. The public affairs specialist salary ranges from $90,823.00 to $118,069.00 / Per Year.

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.

Valerie Fellows is a public affairs specialist working at the US Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters Ecological Services Program in Falls Church, VA.

 

Valarie Fellows (GS-1035) FWS

Valarie Fellows (GS-1035) FWS

Q&A with Valerie Fellows

Why did you decide to become a Public Affairs Specialist?

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.

What is your greatest challenge as a Public Affairs Specialist?

Staying relevant with the public. Our field offices are involved in managing really complex environmental issues that can’t be fixed overnight, and trying to tell the story of what they are doing and making it relevant to the issues the American public cares about is challenging. Science and technology is advancing at an extremely fast pace, but if we don’t deliver our messages about why people should care and keep it pertinent to the issues important to them, then eventually science could lose support.

What is most interesting about being a Public Affairs Specialist?

No two days are the same. Every day is a different topic or issue and it’s always something new to learn about.

What is the most unique aspect about being a Public Affairs Specialist?

I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with some monumental announcements for my agency – including the recovery of the bald eagle and its removal from the Endangered Species Act – which was 5 decades in the making and the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s birth. To have just a sliver of the public engagement on those pieces of conservation history is extremely fulfilling, and I was so grateful for it.

Would you recommend the Public Affairs Specialist job occupation?

Yes! I’ve loved my jobs in this series at all levels. I’ve made mistakes and learned from them, but I love the excitement and results that our agency gets from connecting to the public on conservation issues!

Public Affairs Specialist Duties

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.

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. They also communicate with various other pertinent entities 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.

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.

Job Requirements

    • Must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
    • Identifying internal and external target audiences for various issues, programs and activities and independently developing the full suite of communication tools and products to reach those audiences.
    • Preparing and/or overseeing the development of news releases, feature articles, publications, speeches for program and management officials, fact sheets, briefing papers, radio and television scripts and other public informational.
    • Advising on personal appearances and interviews, sets up news conferences in support of a public affairs plan or directed to specific audiences.
    • Establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with representative of appropriate media and national organizations or public interest groups, as well as counterparts in other Federal, State or local government agencies.
    • Determining the form, extent and timing of media information programs which will maximize the education of information to the public.Conducting complex and exhaustive research and assist in providing comprehensive data to media representatives.Skill in making oral presentations; analyzing the effectiveness of crisis communication plans. Maintaining a network of subject matter experts for use as quality information sources.
    • Skill in setting up and conducting impromptu news conferences and briefings
    • Experience managing established social media campaigns and utilizing a diverse array of social media platforms to communicate information about agency, programs, policies, initiatives and other relevant information to the public.

In our next article we will continue with the FWS and our Question and Answer with Samantha Gibbs, a Wildlife Veterinarian (GS-0486).

Credits

  • Anita Noguera, Manager, BPHC Marketing Communications, Falls Church, VA
  • Photos were provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Public Affairs Specialist

Other Career Information

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Wednesday, 16th December 2015 by

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NASA is recruiting astronauts through a job announcement that was posted on December 14th. They will announce their selections in mid-2017 and this new group of astronauts will potentially fly on four U.S. spacecrafts during their careers: the International Space Station, two commercial crew spacecraft currently in development by U.S. companies, and NASA’s Orion deep-space exploration vehicle.

According to NASA Administrator and former astronaut Charles Bolden, “NASA is on an ambitious journey to Mars and we’re looking for talented men and women from diverse backgrounds and every walk of life to help get us there.” Those selected will go to space on American-made spacecraft and participate in the exploration of Mars.

 

Astronaut - Space Exploration

Astronaut – Space Exploration

The application process is rigorous to say the least and those seriously interested must follow the guidance provided in the USAJOBS job announcement and submit all required paperwork. Print out the job announcement and use a highlighter to identify each step that you MUST take to successfully apply. According to USAJOBS, “To receive consideration you must meet the minimum requirements by the closing date of the announcement; and submit all required information by the closing date of the announcement via USAJOBS.” Follow the ‘How to Apply’ section of the job announcement to ensure you provide all information requested.

Completing and submitting a professional application is only half the battle. Applications must also present themselves confidently and professionally in the job interview. Those who prepare for the interview will be better able to handle this often tense final step in the selection process.

Duties

Astronauts are involved in all aspects of training for and conducting operations in space, including on the ISS, on Russian Soyuz spacecraft, and in the development and testing of future spacecraft. This includes extravehicular activities (EVA), robotics operations using the remote manipulator system, the ability to operate and conduct research experiments, the ability to operate as a safe member of an aircraft crew (including flight planning and communications), and spacecraft maintenance activities. Astronauts also participate in mission simulations to help themselves and flight controllers in the Mission Control Center operate in the dynamic environment of low earth orbit. Additionally, astronauts serve as the public face of NASA, providing appearances across the country, and sharing NASA’s discoveries and goals.

Long-duration missions aboard the ISS generally last from three to six months. Training for long-duration missions is very arduous and takes approximately two to three years. This training requires extensive travel, including long periods away in other countries training with NASA’s international partners.

Qualifications

Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements before submitting an application:

1. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics.

Notes on Academic Requirements:

Applicants for the Astronaut Candidate Program must meet the basic education requirements for NASA engineering and scientific positions; specifically, successful completion of standard professional curriculum in an accredited college or university leading to at least a bachelor’s degree with major study in an appropriate field of engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics.

The following degree fields are not considered qualifying:

–Degrees in Technology (Engineering Technology, Aviation Technology, Medical Technology, etc.)

–Degrees in Psychology (except for Clinical Psychology, Physiological Psychology, or Experimental Psychology, which are qualifying)

–Degrees in Nursing

–Degrees in Exercise Physiology or similar fields

–Degrees in Social Sciences (Geography, Anthropology, Archaeology, etc.)

–Degrees in Aviation, Aviation Management, or similar fields

2. At least 3 years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience obtained after degree completion OR at least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. An advanced degree is desirable and may be substituted for experience as follows: master’s degree = 1 year of experience, doctoral degree = 3 years of experience. Teaching experience, including experience at the K – 12 levels, is considered to be qualifying experience for the Astronaut Candidate position, provided the initial degree is qualifying.

3. Ability to pass the NASA long-duration astronaut physical, which includes the following specific requirements:

Distant and near visual acuity must be correctable to 20/20, each eye. The use of glasses is acceptable.

The refractive surgical procedures of the eye, PRK and LASIK, are allowed. Note that such surgeries are permitted, but not required for potential applicants.

Since all crewmembers will be expected to fly aboard a specific spacecraft vehicle and perform EVA activities (spacewalks), applicants must meet the anthropometric requirements for both the specific spacecraft vehicle and the EVA mobility unit (spacesuit). Applicants brought in for an interview will be evaluated to ensure they meet the anthropometric requirements.

Basic Education Requirement: A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major study in engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics.

Degrees in engineering technology are not considered to be qualifying for this position.

An advanced degree is desirable.

U.S. citizenship is required.

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Civil Service Tests, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Interviews, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Sunday, 13th December 2015 by

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In part one of this series we introduced the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to include its history and their prominent programs. This article features the historian occupation (GS-0170) and its unique role within the FWS.

This series includes positions the duties of which are to advise on, administer, supervise, or perform research or other work in the field of history when such work requires a professional knowledge of established methods and techniques of historical research in the collection, evaluation, analysis, or presentation of historical facts.

The federal government employs 765 historians of which 30 work overseas. The Department of the Air Force is the largest employer with 197 civilians followed by the Department of the Interior with 171 and the Department of the Army employs 158. All but two cabinet level agencies employ workers in this group including a few large independent agencies.

Historians in the Federal Government are engaged in one or more of the following major areas:

  • Planning and conducting special historical studies relating to current problems for use by agency officials and others in developing or modifying policies and programs.
  • Planning and conducting continuing or long-range historical studies to record the policies, programs, and operations of their particular agencies.
  • Planning and preparing scholarly narrative or documentary histories for publication.
  • Planning and conducting historical studies in connection with the establishment, conservation, restoration, reconstruction, and interpretation to the public of sites of major significance in the military, political, economic, and cultural history of the United States.

Regardless of the area of endeavor involved, historian positions at full performance levels typically include responsibility for project planning and research and presentation functions

Q&A with Mark Madison

Mark Madison is an historian, (GS-0170) for the FWS and works at the National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, WV.

 

Mark Madison, Historian with the FWS

Mark Madison, FWS Historian

Why did you want to become a historian?

My father was a historian so I was genetically predisposed. History was my favorite reading material as a child and adult. I actually started as a biologist but got lured back to history through the history of science.

What are the top three most interesting aspects of your job?

  1. We get new historical objects almost every day we just got a 5200-pound printing press.
  2. I have just started social media with a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds. It is new and keeps me humble as to my tech abilities.
  3. The FWS has the most interesting history in the federal government ranging from Rachel Carson to Red Wolves.

What is the most interesting historical find you ever came across?

A little mammal and we have a taxidermy black-footed that was rediscovered in 1981 after the species had been declared extinct in 1979. That little ferret helped save a species.

Would you recommend the historian occupation as a good career path?

Any subject you are passionate about is a good career path. I was passionate about history and conservation so being a historian for the FWS was a great choice.

Job Requirements

  • Must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor’s or higher degree in History; or related field that included at least 18 semester hours in history.
  • Professional experience that reflects knowledge of history concepts and techniques and available sources.
  • Methods and techniques of historical research in the collection, evaluation, analysis, and presentation of historical facts.
  • Research and write historical materials, and conducting special studies and creating other historical products such as oral histories.
  • Perform research, analysis, evaluates and produces written historical reports about origins, or evolution.
  • Prepare analytical studies of complex program issues, administrative summaries.
  • Provide training publications to employees and the public with a general understanding of the history of an agency and its activities.
  • Plan and execute a historical research program that documents of an agency’s history.
  • Provides guidance and advice to regional offices, divisions, and field stations on completing historical research, studies, and oral histories involving an agency’s history.
  • Plans, reviews, and evaluates projects initiated by other offices.
  • Knowledge of requirements and procedures required to initiate, and monitor contracts for historical research and studies.

In part 3 we will meet Valerie Fellows a public affairs specialist, (GS-1035) for the FWS.

Credits

  • Anita Noguera, Manager, BPHC Marketing Communications, Falls Church, VA
  • Photos were provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service

Other Career Information

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Tuesday, 24th November 2015 by

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The endangered species program is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).If you enjoy working outdoors and interacting with wildlife you can explore job opportunities with the USFWS that protects and enforces federal wildlife laws. They employ approximately 9,000 people at their headquarters in Washington, D.C. and at regional and field offices located across the country.

The USFWS is under the Department of the Interior and is responsible for protecting endangered species , enforcing federal wildlife laws, managing migratory birds, and restoring nationally significant fisheries. They also conserve and restore wildlife habitat, such as wetlands and assist foreign governments with their international conservation efforts. They also are responsible for distributing funds to state fish and wildlife agencies through the Wildlife Sport Fish and Restoration program.

 

The Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge

The Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge

History of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

The agency mission is stated as follows, “Working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.”

The United States Commission for Fish and Fisheries was founded in 1871 to study and recommend solutions to the nations declining fish population. They reorganized In 1903 under the United States Bureau of Fisheries. The USFWS was created in 1940 when the Bureaus of Fisheries and Biological Survey were combined under the Department of the Interior. The USFWS protects vital natural habitat throughout the country.

Objectives, Functions and Resources of the USFWS

Objectives

  1. Assist in the development and application of an environmental stewardship ethic for our society, based on ecological principles, scientific knowledge of fish and wildlife, and a sense of moral responsibility.
  2. Guide the conservation, development, and management of the Nation’s fish and wildlife resources.
  3. Administer a national program to provide the public opportunities to understand, appreciate, and wisely use fish and wildlife resources.

Functions

  • Enforce federal wildlife laws
  • Protect endangered species
  • Manage migratory birds
  • Restore nationally significant fisheries
  • Conserve and restore wildlife habitat such
  • Assist foreign governments with conservation efforts

Hundreds of millions of dollars are distributed to State fish and wildlife agencies through their Wildlife Sport Fish and Restoration program.

Resources

The agency manages the 150 million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System comprised of more than 551 National Wildlife Refuges and thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. Under the Fisheries program, they also operate 70 National Fish Hatcheries, 65 fishery resource offices and 86 ecological services field stations.

The vast majority of fish and wildlife habitat is not on federal lands. The USFWS fosters aquatic conservation and assists voluntary habitat conservation and restoration through various partnerships such as the Partners for Fish and Wildlife, Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council and others.

Two Important Programs in the USFWS

National Wildlife Refuge Program

More than 700 species of birds, 220 species of mammals, 250 reptile and amphibian species and more than 1,000 species of fish are provided habitat by the National wildlife refuges. Over 380 threatened or endangered plants or animals are protected on wildlife refuges and each year, millions of migrating birds use refuges as they fly thousands of miles between their summer and winter homes.

Today, there are more than 560 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts, including one within an hour’s drive of most major metropolitan areas. Find one close to you.

Refuges welcome more than 45 million visitors each year, who participate in a wide variety of recreational activities including hunting, fishing, birding, photography, environmental education and other activities.

Ecological Services Program

This program administers the Endangered Species Act by working with experts in the scientific community to identify species on the verge of extinction and to devise ways to bring them back. They collaborate with federal and state agencies, and many others to help protect important habitat, increase species’ populations, and reduce the threats to their survival so that they can be removed from federal protection.

The program also maps, monitors, and inventories the nation’s wetlands. In addition, it provides guidance and expertise to protect wildlife for projects such as wind farms and large-scale transportation developments meeting our society’s growing energy and transportation needs.

There are offices in all 50 states that help protect species and habitats and conserve the natural resources on which we all depend. They ensure that wetlands persist to protect us from storms and to filter our water. This program continues to conserve for future generations a continued source of sustaininable land.

The USFWS has many fascinating job occupations and including that of Mark Madison their resident Historian (GS-170) which will be discussed in our next article.

Credits

  • Anita Noguera, Manager, BPHC Marketing Communications, Falls Church, VA

Other Career Information

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

 

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Civil Service Tests, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Jobs, Job Interviews

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Posted on Saturday, 7th November 2015 by

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Electrical engineers with the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) are in the GS-0850 job series. They must know and understand electrical engineering concepts, theories, principles, and practices applicable to the design and efficient operation and maintenance of power plants, pumping plants, electrical systems, transmission systems, and associated USBR equipment.

According to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook there are 306,100 electrical engineers working in America and their average median salary is $89,630 a year or $43.09 per hour. The federal government employs 4,858 electrical engineers of which 67 work overseas. The Department of the Navy and Army are the largest employers with 3,015 civilians followed by the Department of Energy with 533. The Department of Transportation employs 116 in the GS-0850 job series. All cabinet level agencies except for the Department of Education and some large independent agencies employ electrical  engineers.

Electronics engineers working with the federal government develop, research, and often evaluate electronic devices that are used in a number of areas and applications including computing, aviation, manufacturing, and transportation. They work on federal electronic systems and devices such as radar, navigation, communications, satellites, flight systems, sonar and other related  systems.

Part 1 of this series titled Working for the Bureau of Reclamation will familiarize you with this diverse and essential organization.  There are many engineering job opportunities available in the private sector and federal government if you take the time to seek them out. If you are looking for a federal government job seek out job announcements for the GS-0850 job series and apply for all vacancies in your area.  You can explore careers with agencies in your area by conducting informational interviews that can get your foot in the door if handled properly.

Q&A with Alejandro Buitrago

 

Alejandro Buitrago, Electrical Engineer

Alejandro Buitrago, Electrical Engineer

Alejandro Buitrago is an Electrical Engineer (GS-0850), Department of Interior/Bureau of Reclamation/ Power System Analysis & Control Group.

Why did you choose to become an Electrical Engineer?

After 5 years of service in the Navy as an electrician, I discovered a passion for troubleshooting electrical circuits and a need to improve the operation of electrical equipment.

Are there any parts of job that are considered dangerous?

My team collects performance data from generators during operation, which requires extreme caution because of the potential danger. Reclamation’s main concern is safety.

What is the most interesting part of your job as an Electrical Engineer?

Solving difficult problems. There’s nothing more rewarding than being able to correct malfunctioning equipment and knowing that when you leave the facility the units will be performing correctly at their full capability.

What is the most demanding or challenging part of being an Electrical Engineer?

Keeping up with technology. Technology is evolving every day and as a group we need to keep up with technology to guarantee optimal operation of our plants and consequently efficient delivery of power and water to the American people.

Would you recommend the Electrical Engineering career path?

I recommend choosing a career in which you will be happy, and if that is to become an engineer, be aware that it is a challenging and rewarding field.

Electrical Engineer (GS-0850) Job Occupation

Duties

-       Provide electrical engineering expertise on maintenance of electrical equipment and installation of new electrical equipment for the power plants, switchyards, dams and associated facilities

-       Prepare design modifications and specifications to modify, replace, or repair diverse and often complex systems, or components of such systems.

-       Provide electrical engineering expertise in modernizing powerplants, switchyards, dams, or associated facilities.

-       Provide technical support and project engineering support to a wide variety of engineering projects that includes planning, design, and installation.

Qualifications and Education Requirements

-       Must be a U.S. citizen to apply

-       Pay range for a GS-7/11 is from $45,057.00 to $91,255.00 / Per Year

-       Degree: professional engineering. To be acceptable, the curriculum must: (1) be in a school of engineering with at least one curriculum accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) as a professional engineering curriculum; or (2) include differential and integral calculus and courses (more advanced than first-year physics and chemistry) in five of the following seven areas of engineering science or physics: (a) statics, dynamics; (b) strength of materials (stress-strain relationships); (c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics; (d) thermodynamics; (e) electrical fields and circuits; (f) nature and properties of materials (relating particle and aggregate structure to properties); and (g) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics, or electronics.

-       Combination of education and experience — college-level education, training, and/or technical experience that furnished (1) a thorough knowledge of the physical and mathematical sciences underlying professional engineering, and (2) a good understanding, both theoretical and practical, of the engineering sciences and techniques and their applications to one of the branches of engineering. The adequacy of such back

-       Professional registration — Current registration as a professional engineer by any State, the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico.

-       Written Test– Evidence of having successfully passed the Engineer-in-Training (EIT) examination, or the written test required for professional registration, which is administered by the Boards of Engineering Examiners in the various States, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

-       Specified academic courses — Successful completion of at least 60 semester hours of courses in the physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences and in engineering that included the courses specified in the basic requirements. The courses must be fully acceptable toward meeting the requirements of a professional engineering curriculum.

-       Related curriculum — Successful completion of a curriculum leading to a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology or in an appropriate professional field, e.g., physics, chemistry, architecture, computer science, mathematics, hydrology, or geology, may be accepted in lieu of a degree in engineering, provided the applicant has had at least 1 year of professional engineering experience acquired under professional engineering supervision and guidance. Ordinarily there should be either an established plan of intensive training to develop professional engineering competence, or several years of prior professional engineering-type experience, e.g., in interdisciplinary positions. (The above examples of related curricula are not all-inclusive.)

Specialized Experience Requirements

In addition to the basic education requirement, you must meet the specialized experience requirement as delineated below:

-       For GS-07: One year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the next lower grade level GS-05 in the federal service. Specialized experience at this level is defined as experience with Electrical Engineering theories, principles, and practices working with electrical power, communication, and control drawings. Experience that included industrial systems and electrical work on large facilities.

-       For GS-09: One year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the next lower grade level GS-07 in the federal service. Specialized experience at this level is defined as experience with Electrical Engineering theories, principles, and practices working with electrical power, communication, and control drawings. Experience with the evaluation of alternative plans, assisting with the determination of engineering feasibility of potential plans and features, and assisting with the preparation of designs and cost estimates for electrical systems. Examples of electrical systems may range from communications to industrial systems and electrical transmission facilities.

-       For GS-11: One year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the next lower grade level GS-09 in the federal service. Specialized experience at this level is defined as experience with Electrical Engineering theories, principles, and practices applicable to the formulation and evaluation of alternative plans, determination of engineering feasibility of potential plans and features, and preparation of designs and cost estimates for a wide variety of electrical systems. Examples of electrical systems range from communications, to circuit breakers and transformers, and include control and protective sub-systems. Experience in the repair, testing, or modification of electrical equipment and systems typical in most power generation facilities.

-       For GS-12: One year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the next lower grade level GS-11 in the federal service. Specialized experience at this level is defined as experience with Electrical Engineering theories, principles, and practices applicable to the formulation and evaluation of alternative plans, determination of engineering feasibility of potential plans and features, and preparation of designs and cost estimates for a wide variety of electrical systems. Examples of electrical systems range from communications, to large generators, 500-kV circuit breakers and transformers, and include control and protective sub-systems. Experience in the repair, testing, or modification of electrical equipment and systems typical in most power generation facilities.
The USBR job occupations explored in this series are just the beginning of what great opportunities that await you at this unique agency.

Credits

  • Peter Soeth, Public Affairs, Commissioner’s Office, Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO
  • Matt Mishkind PhD, SPHR,Team Lead for Training, Systems, and Human Capital Strategy, Human Resources Policy and Programs Division Policy and Administration, Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO
  • Photos were provided by the Bureau of Reclamation

Other Career Information

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Tuesday, 27th October 2015 by

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This article will explore the civil engineer (GS-0810) occupation with the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), a contemporary water management agency. The USBR is best known for the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, Grand Coulee Dam in the Columbia River and Folsom Dam on the American River. Today the USBR is the largest wholesaler of water in the country and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the Western United States. Part 1 of this series, Working for the Bureau of Reclamation, discusses the many facets of this unique and essential Bureau.

The civil engineer’s responsibilities include developing engineering designs, drawings, and specifications for facility maintenance, capital improvements, and construction projects related to water resources infrastructure.

The federal government employs over 129,000 engineers and architects in the GS-0800 Engineering and Architecture Family nationwide and overseas in a broad spectrum of federal agencies.  There are many engineering job opportunities available if you take the time to seek them out.

Q&A with Katie J. Bartojay

Katie J. Bartojay, P.E., works at the Bureau of Reclamation’s Concrete, Geotechnical and Structural Laboratory at their Technical Service Center in Denver Colorado.

 

Katie J. Bartojay P.E. (USBR)

Katie J. Bartojay P.E. (USBR)

1. Why did you choose to become a Civil Engineer?

I was very interested in building and putting things together from a young age. I loved passing construction sites and watching my uncle place concrete.  I started school for architecture but liked the challenge and creativity (and math!) needed to design the individual pieces that hold up the structures.

2.   Are there any parts of job that are considered dangerous?

No.   Construction sites and testing labs have many hazardous but I have been fortunate enough to have worked with great engineering mentors and responsible contractors. On-the-job training taught me how to be safety conscious and showed me what to look for around overhead cranes, machinery, ladders, rebar, and other busy construction activity.

3. What is the most interesting part of your job as a Civil Engineer?

I am still fascinated by seeing something I worked on go from paper to a physical structure. I can look at something and see all of the people who contributed to getting to that point, from our original concept to the last nail.

4. What is the most demanding or challenging part of being a Civil Engineer?

I think the most demanding and challenging part is that once your problem solving skills are recognized you tend to get involved in a lot of projects. Juggling the workload and being able to switch tasks when the phone rings is important, but it also keeps things from getting boring.

5. Would you recommend being a Civil Engineer as a good career path?

Definitely! It is challenging and fulfilling, and after 17 years, I still love to come to work every day.

Civil Engineer (GS-0810) Qualifications

Basic Education Requirement:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply
  • Have a degree in professional engineering. Curriculum must be be in a school of engineering with at least one curriculum accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) as a professional engineering curriculum; or (2) include differential and integral calculus and courses (more advanced than first-year physics and chemistry) in five of the following seven areas of engineering science or physics: (a) statics, dynamics; (b) strength of materials (stress-strain relationships); (c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics; (d) thermodynamics; (e) electrical fields and circuits; (f) nature and properties of materials (relating particle and aggregate structure to properties); and (g) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics or electronics.
  • A combination of education and experience: – college level education, training, and/or technical experience that furnished (1) a thorough knowledge of the physical and mathematical sciences underlying professional engineering, and (2) a good understanding, both theoretical and practical, of the engineering sciences and techniques and their applications to one of the branches of engineering. The adequacy of such background must be demonstrated by one of the following:1. Professional registration – Current registration as a professional engineer by any State, the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico.2. Written Test – Evidence of having successfully passed the Engineer-in-Training (EIT) examination, or the written test required for professional registration, which is administered by the Boards of Engineering Examiners in the various States, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Applicants who have passed the EIT examination and have completed all the requirements for either (a) a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology (BET) from an accredited college or university that included 60 semester hours or courses in the physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences, or (b) a BET from a program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) may be rated eligible for certain engineering positions at GS-5.3. Specified academic courses – Successful completion of at least 60 semester hours of courses in the physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences and in engineering that included the courses specified in the basic requirements. The courses must be fully acceptable toward meeting the requirements of a professional engineering curriculum as described in paragraph A.4. Related curriculum – Successful completion of a curriculum leading to a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology or in an appropriate professional field, e.g. physics, chemistry, architecture, computer science, mathematics, hydrology or geology, may be accepted in lieu of a degree in engineering, provided the applicant has had at least 1 year of professional engineering experience acquired under professional engineering supervision and guidance. Ordinarily there should be either an established plan of intensive training to develop professional engineering competence, or several years of prior professional engineering-type experience, e.g. in interdisciplinary positions. (The above examples of related curricula are not all-inclusive).

Additional basic education and qualifications requirements

  • At least one year of specialized experience (described below) equivalent in difficulty and complexity to the next lower level in Federal service. You must have one year at GS-05 to qualify for GS-07, one year at GS-07 to qualify for GS-09, and one year at GS-09 to qualify for GS-11.
  • Pay range for GS-07/11 is from $45,057.00 to $76,131.00 / Per Year.

Specialized Experience: Specialized experience must demonstrate the applicant has been equipped with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position, and that are directly related to the work to be performed. Specialized experience can be further defined as follows:

  • For the GS-07: Experience specific to water resources engineering, including three or more of the following topics: open channel hydraulics, closed conduit hydraulics, hydrology, groundwater, water treatment, and wastewater treatment. OR experience can be substituted with one-year graduate-level education or superior academic achievement (S.A.A.). S.A.A. is based on (1) class standing, (2) grade-point average, or (3) honor society membership.
  • For the GS-09: Experience in which engineering duties focused predominantly on complex water resources engineering work. Experience is required in two or more of the following subjects: municipal or irrigation water distribution systems, municipal stormwater system design, canals, dams, wellfields, erosion control, hydraulic structures, riparian restoration, and complex water treatment facilities. OR experience can be substituted with two years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master’s degree or master’s or equivalent graduate degree.* For the GS-11: Experience in which engineering duties focused predominantly on complex water resources engineering work. Experience is required in three or more of the following subjects: municipal or irrigation water distribution systems, municipal stormwater system design, canals, dams, wellfields, erosion control, hydraulic structures, riparian restoration, and complex water treatment facilities. OR experience can be substituted with three years of progressively higher-level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree or Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree.*

*Completion of graduate level education in the amounts stated above, in addition to meeting the basic requirements, is qualifying if it provided the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work. 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 number cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours should be considered an academic year of graduate study.

The final article in our series will feature the electrical engineer (GS-0850) occupation.

Credits

  • Peter Soeth, Public Affairs, Commissioner’s Office, Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO
  • Matt Mishkind PhD, SPHR,Team Lead for Training, Systems, and Human Capital Strategy, Human Resources Policy and Programs Division Policy and Administration, Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO
  • Photos were provided by the Bureau of Reclamation

Other Career Information

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Civil Service Tests, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Thursday, 15th October 2015 by

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The USBR’s motto is “Managing Water in the West”. The USBR was established in 1902 and is best known for their dams, power plants, and canals that are dispersed throughout 17 western states. Over 600 dams and reservoirs have been constructed by the USBR since its inception including the iconic Hoover Dam on the Colorado River and the Grand Coulee on the Columbia River. These projects later led to homesteading and promoted economic development in the West.

 

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam

The Bureau is within the Department of Interior. There are 5,107 employed in this agency in a cross section of diverse career fields according to OPM’s FEDSCOPE March 2015 database. Engineers comprise the largest occupational group with a total of 1100 employed.

The largest occupations within the USBR follow:

  • Civil Engineering – 561 employees
  • Industrial Equipment Mechanic – 249 employees
  • Misc Admin and Program Management – 208 employees
  • Information Technology Management – 200 employees
  • High Voltage Electrician – 172 employees
  • General Natural Resources Management – 163 employees
  • Electric Power Controlling – 140 employees
  • Engineering Technical – 137 employees
  • Electrical Engineering – 136 employees

Mission

The USBR’s  mission is to assist in meeting the increasing water demands of the West while protecting the environment and the public’s investment in these structures. We place great emphasis on fulfilling our water delivery obligations, water conservation, water recycling, and reuse, and developing partnerships with our customers, states, and Native American Tribes, and in finding ways to bring together the variety of interests to address the competing needs for our limited water.

Additionally, they are the largest wholesaler of water in the country. Reclamation brings water to more that 31 million people, and provides one out of every five Western famers (140,000) with irrigation water for 10 millions acres of farmland that produces 60% of this nation’s vegetables and 25% of its fruits and nuts.

USBR is also the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States. 53 power plants annually provide more than 40 billion kilowatt hours generating nearly a billion dollars in power revenues and produce enough electricity to serve 3.5 million homes.

History

The Bureau of Reclamation was started due to the need for a stable water supply in the semi-arid American West.

Demand for water increased and settlers wanted to store “wasted” runoff from rains and snows for later use to make water more plentiful in drier seasons. Additionally, this stored runoff would limit damage from flooding that occurred along rivers and streams. Both private and state run water projects were done in earnest but often failed due to limited financial resources.

Congress passed the Reclamation Act of June 17, 1902. This Act required that water users repay construction costs from which they received benefits. The United States Reclamation Service began as part of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The name Reclamation stuck because the purpose was to reclaim arid lands (by irrigation) to make them suitable for settlement. The new Reclamation Service studied potential water development projects in western states and began development-using revenue from sale of Federal lands as the initial source of the funding.

In 1907, the Reclamation Service was separated from the USGS and became an independent bureau within the Department of the Interior. In its inception, reclamation projects were single-purpose projects that were designed to store and deliver irrigation water. Additional benefits included flood control, municipal water, hydropower, and fish and wildlife habitat became secondary to irrigation. The federal government did the construction of these single use projects. Farmers had a repayment agreement at the beginning of each project in a form of an interest-free loan.

There was a constant demand to meet the ever-growing changes in the Great Plains. Thus, reclamation multipurpose projects evolved. Private and state sponsored took over irrigation projects. The more costly and complex projects were now being done by the USBR. Costs were than shared by the federal government being responsible for flood control and electric power generation shared in the repayment by an assessment on the electricity that was passed onto the customers.

Similarly, the Great Plains Region organization has repeatedly adapted to meet the changing needs of the American West. Initially Reclamation projects were administered by local offices managing their construction and settlement. The 17 Reclamation states were then divided into regions for administrative support. The nine state Great Plains area was served by three Reclamation regions: the Southwest, Lower Missouri, and the Upper Missouri regions. The last two regions were merged in 1985 to form the Missouri River Basin Region. This allowed for better planning and administration of projects (especially the Pick-Sloan Missouri River Basin Program). In 1988, declining Reclamation budgets and fewer demands for construction activities led to the Southwest Region and the Missouri River Basin merging to create the Great Plains Region. Further organizational refinements included the creation of area offices (Montana, Wyoming, Oklahoma-Texas, Nebraska-Kansas, Dakotas, and Eastern Colorado) to effectively administer Reclamation Activities.

Interesting USBR Facts

  • Manages, develops, and protects water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public.
  • Is the nation’s largest wholesale water supplier, operating 337 reservoirs with a total storage capacity of 245 million acre-feet (an acre-foot, 325,851 gallons of water, supplies enough water for a family of four for one year).
  • Provides 1 out of 5 (or, 140,000) Western farmers with irrigation water for 10 million farmland acres that produce 60 percent of the nation’s vegetables and one quarter of its fresh fruit and nut crops.
  • Is the second largest producer of hydropower in the United States and operates 53 hydroelectric power plants that annually produced, on average, 40 billion kilowatt-hours for the last 10 years.
  • Delivers 10 trillion gallons of water to more than 31 million people each year.
  • Manages, with partners, 289 recreation sites that have 90 million visits annually.
  • Reclamation’s management and recreation activities contribute $46 billion in economic output, and support about 312,000 jobs.

The Bureau of Reclamation priorities are to:

  • Ensure the continued delivery of water and power benefits in conformity with contracts, statutes, and agreements.
  • Operate and maintain projects in a safe and reliable manner, protecting the health and safety of the public and Reclamation employees and improve financial accountability and transparency to our contractors.
  • Honor State water rights, interstate compacts, contracts with Reclamation users, further the Secretary of the Interior’s Indian Trust responsibilities, and comply with all environmental statutes.
  • Plan for the future using programs that focus Reclamation’s financial and technical resources on areas in the West where conflict over water either currently exists or is likely to occur in the coming years.
  • Enhance the business operations of Reclamation in accord with the Managing for Excellence initiative.
  • Provide for the implementation of the newly authorized Loan Guarantee Program that can assist districts with large operation and maintenance/replacement projects on Reclamation facilities and facilities used to deliver Reclamation supplies.

The Bureau of Reclamation is:

  • Developing strategies to manage and deliver water more efficiently and effectively to our customers in order to help satisfy the many needs of irrigation, municipalities, power, and the environment and serving as a technical resource for water users and planners.
  • Working in partnership with states, Tribes, water and power customers, and others to seek creative and collaborative solutions to Western water issues.
  • Ensuring our dams do not create unacceptable risk to the public by monitoring, evaluating, and when appropriate, performing risk reduction modifications.

If you are interested in a career with the Bureau of Reclamation there are opportunities for employment throughout their 6 Western Regions and at their Washington DC Headquarters. Explore employment opportunities at Bureau of Reclamation locations throughout their system.

In this continuing series on the USBR, we will take look at the job occupations of the civil engineer, (GS-0810), and the electrical engineer, GS-0850.

Credits

  • Peter Soeth, Public Affairs ,Commissioner’s Office, Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO
  • Matt Mishkind PhD, SPHR, Team Lead for Training, Systems, and Human Capital Strategy, Human Resources Policy and Programs Division Policy and Administration, Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO
  • Photos were provided by the Bureau of Reclamation

Other Career Information

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Wednesday, 23rd September 2015 by

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The psychologist job occupation (GS-0180) is the final article in the VA series. This group is involved with performing psychological assessments and provides mental health care for patients.  We will be interviewing a psychologist from the Fargo VA Health Care System.

The Fargo VA Health Care System

The Fargo VA Health Care System provides medical care and services through the Veterans Health Administration to veterans residing in North Dakota, western Minnesota, and northern South Dakota. The health care system is a general medical/surgical/psychiatric facility with 42 acute beds and an attached 38-bed Community Living Center (CLC) providing extended care. Veterans are referred to the Minneapolis VA Health Care System for tertiary care.

The health care system also supports nine community-based outpatient clinics (CBOC), located in Bismarck, Dickinson, Grafton, Jamestown, Grand Forks, Minot, and Williston, N.D., as well as Fergus Falls and Bemidji, Minn.  The health care system had over 2,000 admissions into the hospital each year over the last two years.

Q&A with Sandra M. Mills, Ph.D

 Sandra M. Mills, Ph.D is a physiologist working at the Fargo VA Health Care System.

 

Sandra M. Mills, Ph.D

Sandra M. Mills, Ph.D

What is your specialty as a Psychologist?

Mills specializes as a PTSD/SUD psychologist.

Why did you become a Psychologist?

I developed an interest in psychology with my first General Psychology course in college. I was fascinated with how the mind works, with the neuroscience involved in how people think, feel, and behave, and I had an empathic desire to help people. It seemed like a natural fit for someone that had an interest in both biology and emotions and each course only confirmed that helping people in need was the right career path.

What is the most rewarding part of your job as a Psychologist?

I think that it is an honor to be allowed into another person’s life in such an intimate way. People come to us at the most vulnerable points in their lives. It takes such a tremendous amount of courage to engage in therapy and be willing to open up to someone that at first is a relative stranger. Watching someone navigate that process, gain insight, experience symptom relief, change dysfunctional behavior, and develop a better quality of life is a wonderful feeling. Every now and then someone will say “Thanks Doc,” and it makes my job the best one in the world.

What is the most demanding or challenging part of being a Psychologist?

The population I work with is not without challenges in regards to resistance to change, severe levels of mental illness that is not likely to improve, or relapse into drug and alcohol addiction. Many days I wish that I could trade in my diploma for a magic wand to help people and alleviate their suffering in a speedy manner. Coming to terms with the fact that some people will not recover is a truth that is hard for a professional that wants to see change and growth.

Would you recommend being a Psychologist as a good career path?

Psychology is a field with so many possibilities. Although I am primarily a clinician, there are opportunities for assessment, research, consultation, and academia. It is a career that can marry science and practice. My best endorsement is that when I get up in the morning, I look forward to going to work. No two days are the same, having flexibility and a sense of humor goes a long way, but the rewards always outweigh any of the challenges. I would recommend the career to anyone!

Psychologist are involved with professional work relating to the behavior, capacities, traits, interests and activities of human and animal organisms. This work may involve any one or a combination of the following functions: (1) experimenting with or systematically observing organisms to develop scientific principles or laws concerning the relationship of behavior to factors of environment, experience or physiology, or to develop practical applications of findings, (2) applying professional knowledges of psychological principles, theories, methods or data to practical situations and problems, and (3) providing consultative services or training in psychological principles, theories, methods, and techniques to advance knowledge of them and their appropriate use.

The field of psychology relates closely to many other fields. For instance, the statistical and mathematical methodology employed by psychologists is common to other disciplines. To illustrate: psychologists may construct mathematical models of the behavioral characteristics being studied. These mathematical models represent various units of behavior. They are modified by the addition or deletion of variables until the model provides an adequate (though highly simplified) representation of the behaviors being studied. Once established, the mathematical model may then be used for analyzing past behavior, or for understanding and interpreting patterns of behavior. Psychologists also employ established statistical methods in collecting data regarding the specific characteristics of a population under study.

Psychologists are trained in and concerned with (1) describing how an organism behaves in an environment in response to internal and external stimuli, (2) determining the reasons for the behavior (e.g., heredity, present environment, past history and learning), and (3) predicting and, as appropriate, modifying behavior.

The behavior of organisms-in-environment includes sensing (seeing, hearing, etc.), perceiving (interpreting the environment), moving (walking, manipulating objects), learning and remembering, feeling and emoting, thinking, and problem solving, and socializing. Psychologists study these activities in organisms of any age, as individuals, as individuals in a group, or as a group of individuals. They may be concerned with “normal” behavior, or with aberrations of behavior, varying from slight to definitely abnormal deviations.

Psychologists describe behavior in terms of such motivating factors as external and internal stimuli, drives, motives, attitudes, interests, etc., and in terms of the neuropsychological or biochemical correlates of behavior. They view these motivating factors and behavior as the result of the interaction of hereditary and environmental factors.

Psychologists develop and use methods for accurately measuring behavior and the factors associated with it and for predicting and modifying behavior based on these measurements. They may try to modify or change the behavior of an individual in order to enable him to adjust better to his environment, or they may attempt to modify the environment to enable an individual or a group to adjust better to it.

All psychologists share a broad base of professional training which includes the concepts and use of experimental, observational and quantitative methods in the study of behavior. However, the breadth and diversity of the field are such that subject-matter or functional specialization (or both) is typical.

The federal government employs 8,603 psychologists of which 128 work overseas. The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with 5,933 followed by the Department of the Army with 849 and the Department of Justice employs 550. All but one cabinet level agency employs a number of psychologists including several large independent agencies such as NASA and OPM.

Further, many of the problems studied by psychologists are also studied by psychiatrists, physiologists, neurologists, biochemists or zoologists, or by educators, social workers, lawyers, administrators, or engineers. The nature of this cross-discipline relationship is described further in that portion of the standard which discusses interdisciplinary positions

Requirements of a physiologist job (GS-0180) occupation

  • Must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • License, Registration, Certification Requirements (as applicable).
  • Doctoral degree in psychology from a graduate program in psychology accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).
  • Successfully completed a professional psychology internship training program accredited by the APA.
  • Conducts psychological assessments and provides mental health care for Veteran patients requiring services to include but not limited to evidence-based group and individual psychotherapy.
  • Provides a full range of therapeutic interventions for Veterans diagnosed with PTSD and other psychological disorders.
  • Consults with medical staff on a wide variety of patient care issues.

Credits

  • Michele Hammonds, Communications Specialist, US Department of Veterans Affairs, VHA Office of Public Communications (10B2B)
  • Photos were provided by the Fargo VA Health Care System

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies, Overseas Jobs

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Posted on Sunday, 13th September 2015 by

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In our continuing VA series we will be exploring the occupation of psychiatry (GP-0602). Psychiatry is a specialized field that helps our veterans who have often served multiple tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Many veterans experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and require the help and care that only a psychiatrist can provide.

We will be interviewing a psychiatrist from a residential treatment center at the Des Moines VA campus.

Veterans Affairs Central Iowa Health Care System

The Veterans Affairs Central Iowa Health Care System is a general medical and surgical hospital in Des Moines, IA with 255 beds. It is also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Survey data for the latest year available shows that 11,697 patients visited the hospital’s emergency room. The hospital had a total of 2,895 admissions. Its physicians performed 500 inpatient and 2,100 outpatient surgeries.

Q&A with Dr. Kelly Weiss-Krep

Dr. Kelly Weiss-Kreps is a Doctor of Osteopathy, Psychiatrist at the Des Moines, Iowa Hospital.

 

Dr. Kelly Weiss-Kreps

Dr. Kelly Weiss-Kreps

What is your specialty as a Psychiatrist?

I serve as a domiciliary psychiatrist – providing psychiatric care.  Our team works with Veterans that have PTSD, are homeless, fresh out of prison, substance treatment issues or in some way, life has unraveled.  Many feel like they have hit rock bottom. I get to work with a highly skilled group of professionals to help our Veteran get stabilized. It is really amazing to watch a Veteran blossom and regain their self-confidence with learning cognitive behavior therapy, getting a job and a securing a place to live.

I completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry, have trained as a death investigator and have a special interest in family trauma.  I am starting additional training in treating chronic pain.

In residency we did therapy in a one-way mirror setting with a bug in our ear, it was a great opportunity.  My training in therapy has been most useful and tremendously rewarding.

Why did you become a Psychiatrist?

Since very young, I have sought out opportunities to hear the story of people’s lives and to understand behaviors.

Growing up in a rural area population 12 in South Dakota and attending a two-room country school, we rarely went to the doctor, much less encountered psychiatrists.  However, I enjoyed Sherlock Holmes and Marcus Welby, MD and was fascinated by problem solving and learning how the mind works.

When I worked in Japan, two young colleagues had their first psychotic episodes and I got to help out and felt pretty helpless.  Seeing the devastation of untreated mental illness made me want to learn more.

In residency I took extra rotations working with the homeless, prison, Native American, sex offenders, and residential treatment center populations. I got to witness their complicated issues and their resilience. Some of my attendings were absolutely brilliant and would ask what I called golden questions that could draw out incredible insights with precision like a surgeon’s scalpel

What is the most rewarding part of your job as a Psychiatrist?

I feel like I won the lottery by having such great patients – Veterans are very appreciative and lots of fun to work with.   They continue to be my best teachers.

What is the most demanding or challenging part of being a Psychiatrist?

The (student loan) debt likely over $250,000 and the toll on the family.

Would you recommend being a Psychiatrist as a good career path?

Absolutely. I love my working with my patients. Competition can be fierce – the path is more of a marathon than a race.  Going to medical school and residency is a long and very expensive experience.

I would highly recommend spending time in all sorts of fields before making a decision. Try to shadow and interview people in all sorts of occupations that you think may interest you. I worked in investment banking, politics and overseas, so no matter what your background is, it can enrich what you bring to your patients.

At the end of the day, it is a tremendous privilege to have patients give you such trust. Psychiatry is an art and a science.  Watching patients get better is a great gift that unfolds sometimes because of a drug and sometimes without a drug.  Often being kind and a good listener is like the balm of Gilead.  I believe the most powerful Walgreen’s is between their ears, my role is to ask good questions, listen, and show them I care.

Psychiatrist (GP-0602)

Education: Must be a U.S. citizen to apply.

Degree: Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy from a school in the United States or Canada approved by a recognized accrediting body in the year of the applicant’s graduation.

Licensure/Certification: Candidates must have a permanent, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine in a State, District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a territory of the United States.

Experience Required: The required Psychiatry experience/training includes skills such as, but not limited to, a wide range of extremely difficult and responsible dealings with inpatient service, partial hospitalization service, intensive outpatient services, routine outpatient services, consultation liaison services and must be well versed to transition to any area as required.

DUTIES:

  • This specialty examines, diagnoses, treats diseases affecting mental health including the brain, nervous system, substance abuse of drugs or chemicals and personality disturbances.
  • Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in treating mental illness using the biomedical approach to mental disorders, including psychotherapies.
  • A psychiatrist specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental, additive, and emotional disorders such as schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance-related disorders, sexual and gender identity disorders, and adjustment disorders.
  • A psychiatrist is able to understand the biologic, psychological, and social components of illness, and therefore is uniquely prepared to treat the whole person.
  • A psychiatrist is qualified to order diagnostic laboratory tests and to prescribe medications, evaluate, and treat psychological and interpersonal problems, and to intervene with families who are coping with stress, crises, and other problems in living.

In part 9 will we be discussing the psychologist (GS-0180) job occupation and they are instrumental in helping our veterans.

Credits

  • Michele Hammonds, Communications Specialist, US Department of Veterans Affairs, VHA Office of Public Communications (10B2B)
  • Photos were provided by the residential treatment center at the Des Moines VA campus.

Other career information

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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