Posted on Monday, 16th January 2017 by

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Accountants (GS-0510) offer an important skill set that is required across the entire spectrum of federal government.This series covers positions that advise on or administer, supervise, or perform professional accounting work that requires application of accounting theories, concepts, principles, and standards to the financial activities of governmental, quasi-governmental, or private sector organizations.

The federal government employs 13,078 in this occupation of which 79 work overseas. The DOD is the largest employer of this series with 2,593 accountants, the Department of Justice employs 856, the VA employs 769 and the Department of the Army employs 1,078 civilians in this category. This series is used in all cabinet level departments, most large agencies and many small agencies.

Duties

  • Examine accounting documents for proper accounting classification and authorization.
  • Enter and process data into various accounts and the general ledger, and resolving any differences.
  • Prepare monthly trial balances and financial reports.
  • Analyze financial data from domestic and/or foreign business firms.
  • Work independent or in a team environment to research problems and provide responses to requests.

Job Requirements

  • Must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Entry Level Salary range is from $43,684.00 to $69,460.00 per year.
    Note: Senior Accountants can earn over $160,000 a year.

Job Listings

Qualifications

Basic Requirements

Degree: accounting; or a degree in a related field such as business administration, finance, or public administration that included or was supplemented by 24 semester hours in accounting. The 24 hours may include up to 6 hours of credit in business law.

 Combination of education and experience

  • 4 years of experience in accounting, or an equivalent combination of accounting experience, college-level education, and training that provided professional accounting knowledge.
  • The applicant’s background must also include one of the following: 24 semester hours in accounting or auditing courses of appropriate type and quality. This can include up to 6 hours of business law;
  • A certificate as Certified Public Accountant or a Certified Internal Auditor, obtained through written examination; or Completion of the requirements for a degree that included substantial course work in accounting or auditing, e.g., 15 semester hours, but that does not fully satisfy the 24 semester-hour requirement  provided that  the applicant has successfully worked at the full-performance level in accounting, auditing, or a related field, e.g., valuation engineering or financial institution examining;
  • A panel of at least two higher level professional accountants or auditors has determined that the applicant has demonstrated a good knowledge of accounting and of related and underlying fields that equals in breadth, depth, currency, and level of advancement that which is normally associated with successful completion of the 4-year course of study.
  • Except for literal nonconformance to the requirement of 24 semester hours in accounting, the applicant’s education, training, and experience fully meet the specified requirements.

Additional Requirements

Specialized Experience

A GS-07 have one year of specialized experience at a level of difficulty and responsibility equivalent to the GS-05 grade level in the Federal services. Experience for this position includes performing a variety of routine accounting assignments, to include, interpreting and applying accounting laws, policies and procedures; recording financial transactions; analyzing and classifying financial reports to draw conclusions; providing guidance and assistance on a variety of financial matters; and preparing memos, letters, and other correspondence.

A GS-09 you must have one year of experience at a level of difficulty and responsibility equivalent to the GS-07 grade level in the Federal services. Experience for this position includes performing a variety of routine accounting assignments, to include, interpreting and applying accounting laws, policies and procedures; examining accounting documents for proper classification and authorization.
• Knowledge of accounting regulations, procedures, policies and precedents to carry out accounting functions.

• Knowledge of procedures used to enter, modify, retrieve, and delete information in an automated accounting system.

• Knowledge of accounting principles, practices, methods, and techniques to perform a variety of routine accounting assignments.

• Knowledge of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles of the United States and/or foreign countries to analyze financial data.

• Ability to communicate in person and in writing with internal and external customers.

Additional Information from ooh.gov

The following are examples of types of accountants and auditors:

Public accountants perform a broad range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting tasks. Their clients include corporations, governments, and individuals.

Public accountants work with financial documents that clients are required by law to disclose. These include tax forms and balance sheet statements that corporations must provide potential investors. For example, some public accountants concentrate on tax matters, advising corporations about the tax advantages of certain business decisions or preparing individual income tax returns.

Public accountants, many of whom are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), generally have their own businesses or work for public accounting firms. Publicly traded companies are required to have CPAs sign documents they submit to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including annual and quarterly reports.

Some public accountants specialize in forensic accounting, investigating financial crimes such as securities fraud and embezzlement, bankruptcies and contract disputes, and other complex and possibly criminal financial transactions. Forensic accountants combine their knowledge of accounting and finance with law and investigative techniques to determine if an activity is illegal. Many forensic accountants work closely with law enforcement personnel and lawyers during investigations and often appear as expert witnesses during trials.

Management accountants, also called cost,managerial,industrial, corporate, or private accountants, record and analyze the financial information of the organizations for which they work. The information that management accountants prepare is intended for internal use by business managers, not by the general public.

Management accountants often work on budgeting and performance evaluation. They also may help organizations plan the cost of doing business. Some may work with financial managers on asset management, which involves planning and selecting financial investments such as stocks, bonds, and real estate.

Government accountants maintain and examine the records of government agencies and audit private businesses and individuals whose activities are subject to government regulations or taxation. Accountants employed by federal, state, and local governments ensure that revenues are received and spent in accordance with laws and regulations.

Internal auditors check for mismanagement of an organization’s funds. They identify ways to improve the processes for finding and eliminating waste and fraud. The practice of internal auditing is not regulated, but The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) provides generally accepted standards.

External auditorsperform similar duties as internal auditors, but are employed by an outside organization, rather than the one they are auditing. They review clients’ financial statements and inform investors and authorities that the statements have been correctly prepared and reported.

Information technology auditors are internal auditors who review controls for their organization’s computer systems, to ensure that the financial data comes from a reliable source.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Every accountant filing a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is required by law to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Many other accountants choose to become a CPA to enhance their job prospects or to gain clients. Many employers will often pay the costs associated with the CPA exam.

CPAs are licensed by their state’s Board of Accountancy. Becoming a CPA requires passing a national exam and meeting other state requirements. Almost all states require CPA candidates to complete 150 semester hours of college coursework to be certified, which is 30 hours more than the usual 4-year bachelor’s degree. Many schools offer a 5-year combined bachelor’s and master’s degree to meet the 150-hour requirement, but a master’s degree is not required.

A few states allow a number of years of public accounting experience to substitute for a college degree.

All states use the four-part Uniform CPA Examination from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Candidates do not have to pass all four parts at once, but most states require that they pass all four parts within 18 months of passing their first part.

Almost all states require CPAs to take continuing education to keep their license.

Certification provides an advantage in the job market because it shows professional competence in a specialized field of accounting and auditing. Accountants and auditors seek certifications from a variety of professional societies. Some of the most common certifications are listed below:

The Institute of Management Accountants offers the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) to applicants who complete a bachelor’s degree. Applicants must have worked at least 2 years in management accounting, pass a two-part exam, agree to meet continuing education requirements, and comply with standards of professional conduct. The exam covers areas such as financial statement analysis, working-capital policy, capital structure, valuation issues, and risk management.

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) offers the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) to graduates from accredited colleges and universities who have worked for 2 years as internal auditors and have passed a four-part exam. The IIA also offers the Certified in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA), Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP), Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA), and Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) to those who pass the exams and meet educational and experience requirements.

ISACA offers the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) to candidates who pass an exam and have 5 years of experience auditing information systems. Information systems experience, financial or operational auditing experience, or related college credit hours can be substituted for up to 3 years of experience in information systems auditing, control, or security.

For accountants with a CPA, the AICPA offers the option to receive any or all of the Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), or Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) certifications. The ABV requires a written exam, completion of at least six business valuation projects, and 75 hours of continuing education. The CITP requires 1,000 hours of business technology experience and 75 hours of continuing education. Candidates for the PFS also must complete a certain amount of work experience and continuing education, and pass a written exam.

Advancement

Some top executives and financial managers have a background in accounting, internal auditing, or finance.

Beginning public accountants often advance to positions with more responsibility in 1 or 2 years and to senior positions within another few years. Those who excel may become supervisors, managers, or partners; open their own public accounting firm; or transfer to executive positions in management accounting or internal auditing in private firms.

Management accountants often start as cost accountants, junior internal auditors, or trainees for other accounting positions. As they rise through the organization, they may advance to accounting manager, chief cost accountant, budget director, or manager of internal auditing. Some become controllers, treasurers, financial vice presidents, chief financial officers, or corporation presidents.

Public accountants, management accountants, and internal auditors can move from one aspect of accounting and auditing to another. Public accountants often move into management accounting or internal auditing. Management accountants may become internal auditors, and internal auditors may become management accountants. However, it is less common for management accountants or internal auditors to move into public accounting.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Accountants and auditors must be able to identify issues in documentation and suggest solutions. For example, public accountants use analytical skills in their work to minimize tax liability, and internal auditors use these skills to detect fraudulent use of funds.

Communication skills. Accountants and auditors must be able to listen carefully to facts and concerns from clients, managers, and others. They must also be able to discuss the results of their work in both meetings and written reports.

Detail oriented. Accountants and auditors must pay attention to detail when compiling and examining documentation.

Math skills. Accountants and auditors must be able to analyze, compare, and interpret facts and figures, although complex math skills are not necessary.

Organizational skills. Strong organizational skills are important for accountants and auditors who often work with a range of financial documents for a variety of clients.

Accountants are vital to making sure that our government is acting in a fiscally responsible manner, while following the proper accounting practices.

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

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 Wednesday, 4th January 2017 by

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The Attorney-Advisor (GS-905) job occupation is prevalent in all parts of the Government.  The federal government employs 35,640 attorneys of which 393 are stationed in US Territories or in foreign countries. The Department of Justice is the largest employer with 10,265, the Department of Homeland Security has 2,088, and the Department of Treasury employs 2,146. All of the cabinet level and large agencies employ substantial numbers of attorneys in multiple areas.

Duties

  1. Advises and provides legal counsel to officials relevant to studies, reports, analysis prepared by program offices.
  2. Advises officials on pending and proposed legislation developed by members of Congress, other federal agencies that significantly impacts an agency’s policies and other factors.
  3. Represents an agency and Federal Executive Agencies before Federal and State regulatory bodies, that can impact an agency’s policy matters.
  4. Represents an agency in meetings and conferences with high level personnel, interagency, industry, Congressional, state, local and foreign officials, groups, committees and task forces convened to deliberate the legal and policy aspects of proposed legislation, regulations, litigation, issues, questions and activities as they affect an agency, other governmental organizations, or the general public.

Requirements

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • The salary range for GS-12-15 is $77,490.00 to $160,300.00 per year.

Job Listings

 

Qualifications

GS-12: Have a professional law degree (LL.B or J.D.) and membership in a State or District of Columbia bar association and one year of professional (attorney) legal experience and advanced educational attainments that clearly indicate the ability to independently perform complex legal work. The educational background should include course work beyond the first professional degree in a field directly related to the work for which he/she is being considered.
GS-13: Have a professional law degree (LL.B or J.D.) and membership in a State or District of Columbia bar association and one year of professional (attorney) legal experience and advanced educational attainments that clearly indicate the ability to independently perform complex legal work and one additional year of professional (attorney) experience at a level of difficulty and responsibility equivalent to that of an attorney at the grade immediately below the one being filled.

GS-14: Have a professional law degree (LL.B or J.D.) and membership in a State or District of Columbia bar association and one year of professional (attorney) legal experience and advanced educational attainments that clearly indicate the ability to independently perform complex legal work, plus one additional year of professional (attorney) experience at a level of difficulty and responsibility equivalent to that of an attorney at the grade immediately below the one being filled.

GS-15 have a professional law degree (LL.B or J.D.) and membership in a State or District of Columbia bar association and one year of professional (attorney) legal experience at a level of difficulty and responsibility equivalent to the next lower grade level.

Additional Information from ooh.gov

Attorneys also work for federal, state, and local governments.Prosecutors typically work for the government to file a lawsuit, or charge, against an individual or corporation accused of violating the law. Some may also work as public defense attorneys and represent individuals who could not afford to hire their own private attorney.

Others may work as government counsels for administrative bodies of government and executive or legislative branches. They write and interpret laws and regulations and set up procedures to enforce them. Government counsels also write legal reviews on agencies’ decisions. They argue civil and criminal cases on behalf of the government.

Corporate counsels, also called in-house counsels, are lawyers who work for corporations. They advise a corporation’s executives about legal issues related to the corporation’s business activities. These issues may involve patents, government regulations, contracts with other companies, property interests, taxes, or collective-bargaining agreements with unions.

Legal aid lawyers work for private, nonprofit organizations that work to help disadvantaged people. They generally handle civil cases, such as those about leases, job discrimination, and wage disputes, rather than criminal cases.

In addition to working in different industries, lawyers often specialize in a particular area. The following are just some examples of the different types of lawyers that specialize in specific legal areas:

Environmental lawyers deal with issues and regulations that are related to the environment. They may represent advocacy groups, waste disposal companies, and government agencies to make sure they comply with the relevant laws.

Tax lawyers handle a variety of tax-related issues for individuals and corporations. Tax lawyers may help clients navigate complex tax regulations, so that they pay the appropriate tax on items such as income, profits, or property. For example, they may advise a corporation on how much tax it needs to pay from profits made in different states to comply with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules.

Intellectual property lawyers deal with the laws related to inventions, patents, trademarks, and creative works, such as music, books, and movies. An intellectual property lawyer may advise a client about whether it is okay to use published material in the client’s forthcoming book.

Family lawyers handle a variety of legal issues that pertain to the family. They may advise clients regarding divorce, child custody, and adoption proceedings.

Securities lawyers work on legal issues arising from the buying and selling of stocks, ensuring that all disclosure requirements are met. They may advise corporations that are interested in listing in the stock exchange through an initial public offering (IPO) or in buying shares in another corporation.

Litigation lawyers handle all lawsuits and disputes between parties. These could be disputes over contracts, personal injuries, or real estate and property. Litigation lawyers may specialize in a certain area, such as personal injury law, or may be a general lawyer for all types of disputes and lawsuits.

Education

Becoming a lawyer usually takes 7 years of full-time study after high school—4 years of undergraduate study, followed by 3 years of law school. Most states and jurisdictions require lawyers to complete a juris doctor (J.D.) degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). ABA accreditation signifies that the law school—particularly its curricula and faculty—meets certain standards.

A bachelor’s degree is required for entry into most law schools, and courses in English, public speaking, government, history, economics, and mathematics are useful.

Almost all law schools, particularly those approved by the ABA, require applicants to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). This test measures applicants’ aptitude for the study of law.

A J.D. degree program includes courses such as constitutional law, contracts, property law, civil procedure, and legal writing. Law students may choose specialized courses in areas such as tax, labor, and corporate law.

Licenses

Prospective lawyers take licensing exams called “bar exams.” When a lawyer receives their license to practice law, they are “admitted to the bar.”

To practice law in any state, a person must be admitted to the state’s bar under rules established by the jurisdiction’s highest court. The requirements vary by individual states and jurisdictions. For more details on individual state and jurisdiction requirements, visit the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Most states require that applicants graduate from an ABA-accredited law school, pass one or more written bar exams, and be found by an admitting board to have the character to represent and advise others. Prior felony convictions, academic misconduct, or a history of substance abuse are just some factors that may disqualify an applicant from being admitted to the bar.

Lawyers who want to practice in more than one state often must take the bar exam in each state.

After graduation, lawyers must keep informed about legal developments that affect their practices. Almost all states require lawyers to participate in continuing legal education either every year or every 3 years.

Many law schools and state and local bar associations provide continuing legal education courses that help lawyers stay current with recent developments. Courses vary by state and generally cover a subject within the practice of law, such as legal ethics, taxes and tax fraud, and healthcare. Some states allow lawyers to take their continuing education credits through online courses.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Lawyers help their clients resolve problems and issues. As a result, they must be able to analyze large amounts of information, determine relevant facts, and propose viable solutions.

Interpersonal skills. Lawyers must win the respect and confidence of their clients by building a trusting relationship, so that clients feel comfortable enough to share personal information related to their case.

Problem-solving skills. Lawyers must separate their emotions and prejudice from their clients’ problems and objectively evaluate the matter. Therefore, good problem-solving skills are important for lawyers, to prepare the best defense and recommendation.

Research skills. Preparing legal advice or representation for a client commonly requires substantial research. All lawyers need to be able to find what applicable laws and regulations apply to a specific matter.

Speaking skills. Clients hire lawyers to speak on their behalf. Lawyers must be able to clearly present and explain their case to arbitrators, mediators, opposing parties, judges, or juries.

Writing skills. Lawyers need to be precise and specific when preparing documents, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney.

There are many facets to the Attorney-Advisor job occupation. It is both hard work , but  rewarding and can give you the satisfaction that you are part of helping others.

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

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 Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Thursday, 29th December 2016 by

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There are many federal job opportunities available for veterans and those who have been disabled through military service. According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) one third of the entire civilian federal workforce is now comprised of veterans. Many special emphasis hiring opportunities exist for veterans if they know where to look and how to apply for these high paying and secure federal jobs. The competition is keen however those who take the time to explore the possibilities and spend quality time compiling their federal style resume have tremendous opportunities available.

OPM reports that “Each year, about 200,000 military service members hang up their uniforms and make the transition to civilian life,” said Beth Cobert, Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management. “Veterans bring distinctive training, skills, leadership, and experiences that we need at every agency in the Federal Government.”

The statistics are compelling, in 2015, Uncle Sam hired in the neighborhood of 221,000 new employees of which 72,000 of the new hires were veterans and 31,000 were disabled veterans. There are many federal occupations (called job series) in federal service that veterans have the skill sets to meet and exceed the entry level qualifications for.

I made the transition from military to a federal civilian career many years ago when I was discharged from active duty. I was an avionics technician with the U.S. Air Force and accepted an early out under the Palace Chase Program. I applied for a comparable job with the Department of Defense (DOD) and was accepted for a full time civilian position with the Air National Guard. Vietnam was winding down and the Air Force, like all other branches of the service at that time, was downsizing. I spent 3 years with the DOD before apply for and accepting a navigational aid system specialist position with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The military system is similar to the federal system in many ways including supply systems, documentation, and training so the transition isn’t as difficult as many imagine. I was an electronics technician in the navigation, radar, and communications fields. When I moved from the DOD to the FAA the parts ordering system was basically the same using the Federal Stock Number (FSN) system and all of the documentation was similar. The major difference is you aren’t in uniform unless you are in a occupation such as a guard, police officer, or park ranger for the most part.  You do have to learn new skills and the training is every bit as comprehensive and demanding as the military.

Veterans should explore the possibilities and use the benefits they have such as the Veterans Preference System to their advantage. In many cases vets go to the top of the list as long as they meet the qualifications for the position and on what is called the “Best Qualified” list.

To start your search review occupations of interest that compliment your military service. If you aren’t sure of what occupation (federal job title) would best suit your knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) perform an assessment to determine realistic opportunities. Start early and apply frequently. It takes time and research but it can pay off with a solid career with exceptional pay and benefits. Plus your military service time will count towards your federal civilian retirement and you will start with four weeks of vacation time if you have at least 3 years of military service.

Helpful Career Planning Tools

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, Veterans Preference

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Posted on Thursday, 1st December 2016 by

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The U.S. Mint was created in 1792 and is charged with the production and circulation of coinage, paper money is produced by the U.S. Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing.  U.S. coins are used to conduct trade and commerce. The Mint is also responsible for the storage and movement bullion.  The U.S. Mint produces coins at four located in Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco and West Point.

History of the U.S. Mint

Once the Constitution was ratified, the Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, prepared plans for a national Mint.  On April 2, 1792, Congress passed The Coinage Act, creating the Mint.

The Mint was originally under the State Department and was made an independent agency in 1799.  The passage of The Coinage Act of 1873 placed the U.S. Mint under the Department of the Treasury.

United States Mint Facilities

There are five United States Mint facilities functioning today including a United States Bullion Depository, whose functions are to fill the United States’ need for circulating coins, comply with the Congressional mandate for numismatic products and to safeguard and store bullion reserves.

Each facility performs many different functions to ensure that all needs are met and all Congressional mandates are accomplished. The United States Mint headquarters, located in Washington, D.C., is responsible for policy formulation, administrative guidance, program management, research and development, marketing operations, customer services and order processing.

The United States Mint at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is the oldest functioning facility. It is responsible for engraving and manufacturing coins and medal dies and the production of circulating and some commemorative coins. This facility and the United States Mint at Denver also conduct public tours.

The Denver facility, like the one in Philadelphia, primarily produces circulating coins. The United States Mint at San Francisco, California is responsible for producing proof coins for numismatic collectibles as well as some commemorative coins.

The United States Mint at West Point, located in New York, is responsible for manufacturing gold, silver, and platinum bullion, proof and uncirculated coins and also strikes some commemorative coins.

The United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, located in Kentucky, is not a production facility—it stores precious metal bullion reserves for the United States.

Functions

The Mint manages extensive commercial marketing programs. The product line includes special coin sets for collectors, national medals, American Eagle gold, silver and platinum bullion coins, and commemorative coins marking national events such as the Bicentennial of the Constitution. The Mint’s functions include:

  • Producing domestic, bullion and foreign coins;
  • Manufacturing and selling national commemorative medals;
  • Designing and producing the congressional gold medals;
  • Designing, producing, and marketing special coinage;
  • Safeguarding and controlling the movement of bullion;
  • Disbursing gold and silver for authorized purposes;
  • Distributing coins from the various mints to Federal Reserve Banks.

United States Mint Police

The U.S. Mint Police occupation was established in 1792 and is one of the oldest federal law enforcement organizations in the country.  Mint police protect over $100 billion in Treasury and other Government assets that are stored in facilities located in Philadelphia, PA, San Francisco CA, West Point, NY, Denver, CO, Fort Knox, KY and the Washington D.C. headquarters.  Their primary mission is to protect life, property, preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal acts, collecting and preserving evidence, making arrests and enforcing Federal and local laws.

Police Officer (GS-0083) Occupation

The federal government employs 14,087 police of which 230 work overseas. The Veterans Administration employs 3,378 followed by the Department of the Navy with 2800 civilians employed in this series. Over half of the cabinet level agencies hire police officers and security guards. There are also 4,717 security guards employed in the federal service. Most work for the Department of the Army.  Health and Human Services employs 237, while the Department of the Interior employs 182. The DOD, Navy, Air Force and others employ small numbers of security guards.

Occupational Interview 

 

Officer Connie Rupp, U.S. Mint

Officer Connie Rupp, U.S. Mint

 Connie Rupp is a police officer (GS-0083) with the U.S. Mint and is stationed at Denver, CO.

Why did you decide to become a police officer?

I started as a Law Enforcement Officer in the US Air Force and knew I had found my place. After my tour of duty with the Air Force I sought a degree in Criminalistics and have continued with a Masters in Criminology. The field continues to fascinate me. I’ve been fortunate to work many aspects of the law enforcement field, from thecrime lab to dispatching and security to Police Officer. Police Officers have a special bond and sense of being part of an elite team. I cannot imagine doing anything else.

What is a typical day in the life of a police officer?

I think it’s important to point out that being a Police Officer isn’t an eight hour a day job, it is a 24/7 job. There’s a level of vigilance and an awareness of your surroundings that is always there. However, when I put on the uniform I know I represent the United States and all that makes it great. Working at the Mint is unique, not only in what we produce everyday but, that we welcome the public to observe and learn about it. I interact with the public as well as the employees on a daily basis. Most people have no idea that the U.S. Mint Police have been around for 224 years and are the third oldest federal law enforcement agency.  We keep the people and the assets safe. That’s a very important job!

Do you face any dangers as a police officer?

I believe there are more dangers now than ever before. It’s not just a local threat but, a global threat. That’s precisely why we should be vigilant and aware of everything going on around us.

What is the most rewarding experience of being a police officer?

Anytime I can do something to make someone’s day just a little bit better. Even if it is as small as giving directions or letting someone in the tour who didn’t know they needed reservations.

Would you recommend this as a good career option?

Absolutely, what we do here every day is unique and rewarding. I love my job! There are opportunities to advance and new skills to acquire. The Mint Police encourage both personal and professional growth. I am grateful for the opportunity. An example of this is that each year we fill out an individual development plan (IDP) where we set short term and long term goals. When the training goals benefit the Officer and the Division, they are willing to invest in the Officer. The Mint is the only job where I’ve experienced this type of support. In addition, the benefits are good and retirement attainable.

Duties of a Police Officer

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • Salary is $36,069.00 to $46,888.00 per year.

Information from opm.gov on experience for a GS-0083 series:

Experience

General Experience (for positions at GS-4 and below): Qualifying general experience includes experience in administrative, clerical, technical, or military work that involved protecting property, equipment, data, or materials; or that involved making judgments based on the application of directions, rules, regulations, or laws.

Specialized Experience (for positions at GS-4 and above): Experience that provided knowledge of a body of basic laws and regulations, law enforcement operations, practices, and techniques and involved responsibility for maintaining order and protecting life and property. Creditable specialized experience may have been gained in work on a police force; through service as a military police officer; in work providing visitor protection and law enforcement in parks, forests, or other natural resource or recreational environments; in performing criminal investigative duties; or in other work that provided the required knowledge and skills.

Grade Education / Training
 GS-2 Graduation from high school may be substituted for the required experience.
 GS-3  One year of successfully completed study at an accredited school above the high school level with at least 6 semester hours of study pertinent to police work.
GS-4 Two years of successfully completed study at an accredited school above the high school level with at least 12 semester hours in police administration, police law and evidence, police investigation, criminology, law enforcement, general law, or similar subjects closely related to police work.
GS-5 Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study leading to a bachelor’s degree in Police Science or a comparable degree program related to the work of the position.

Successful completion of a Federal, State, county, or municipal police academy or comparable training course that included at least 40 classroom hours of instruction in police department procedures and methods, and local law and regulations, may be substituted for a maximum of 3 months of specialized experience or 6 months of general experience.

No substitution of education or training may be made for the required specialized experience at GS-6 and above.

Medical Requirements

The duties of these positions require moderate to arduous physical exertion and/or duties of a hazardous nature. The following medical requirements apply to all applicants: good near and distant vision, ability to distinguish basic colors, and ability to hear the conversational voice. Agencies may establish additional, job-related physical or medical requirements if the specific position(s) involves the arduous or hazardous duties to which the physical requirements relate.

Information from ooh.gov on the police officer:

Qualities

  • Communication skills. Police, detectives, and fish and game wardens must be able to speak with people when gathering facts about a crime and to express details about a given incident in writing.
  • Empathy. Police officers need to understand the perspectives of a wide variety of people in their jurisdiction and have a willingness to help the public.
  • Good judgment. Police and detectives must be able to determine the best way to solve a wide array of problems quickly.
  • Leadership skills. Police officers must be comfortable with being a highly visible member of their community, as the public looks to them for assistance in emergency situations.
  • Perceptiveness. Officers, detectives, and fish and game wardens must be able to anticipate a person’s reactions and understand why people act a certain way.
  • Physical stamina. Officers and detectives must be in good physical shape, both to pass required tests for entry into the field, and to keep up with the daily rigors of the job.
  • Physical strength. Police officers must be strong enough to physically apprehend offenders.

Job Listings

Credit

  • Michael White, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Mint, Washington, D.C.
  • www.usmint.gov 
  • Photos provided by the U.S. Mint

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

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 Friday, 11th November 2016 by

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In this article on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) we interview James Watts, an Airway Transportation Systems Specialist (FV-2101). The FAA hires most of this group to maintain the communications, navigation, surveillance, and automation equipment for the Federal Aviation Administration.  Employees are located throughout the country at airports, air traffic control centers, training centers, and related faculties.

The federal government employs 8,573 transportation specialists of which 152 work overseas. The Department of Transportation is the largest employer with 6,619 followed by the Department of the Air Force with 952 and the Department of the Army with 330.  Most cabinet level agencies and a few large independent agencies hire in this category. The FAA uses a Core Compensation Pay Band System instead of the General Schedule system that most are familiar with.

 Jamal Watts Interview

 

Jamal Watts ATSS

Jamal Watts ATSS

Jamal Watts, is a Supervisory Airway Transportation Systems Specialist, J Band, FV-2101 and works at the John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Why did you become an Airway Transportation Systems Specialist?

A lot of people joke about starting their jobs when they were just a kid, but for me it is true! I started working for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at the age of 16.  At the time I was only looking for a summer job. My Mom wanted me to keep busy over the summer. I contacted the Cooperative Education office at my high school, August Martin in Jamaica, NY and they helped me get a job with an FAA program that hired high school students during the summer. The program was designed to give high school students a window into different FAA careers. I worked with FAA’s Aviation Education Department as an Office Clerk. Our office did outreach to high school and college students to get them interested in careers in aviation.

Some of my duties consisted of sending schools and organizations literature about careers in aviation including Pilots, Flight Attendants, Air Traffic Controllers and Electronic Technicians. The literature on the Electronic Technicians jobs got my attention. I always had an interest in fixing things and working with electronics. As I continued working with the summer program I requested a transfer to FAA’s Technical Operations organization which employed the Electronics Technicians that I had read so much about. So then I became an Electronic Technician Co-op Student. This group is responsible for installing new equipment at FAA facilities like Instrument Landing Systems (ILS), Runway Visual Range (RVR), Ambient Lighting System (ALS), and Communication Equipment just to name a few. I continued in the Co-op program until I graduated high school. After a couple of semesters at Queensborough Community College, Bayside, New York, I applied to the FAA’s Electronic Engineering Program. This program provided on the job training which I successfully completed and I was able to join the FAA as a full time Electronics Technician. My first position was as a Maintenance Electronics Technician at Newark Liberty International Air Traffic Control Tower.  The position is now called an Airway Transportation System Specialist (ATSS).

What is the most demanding part of being an Airway Transportation Systems Specialist?

The most demanding part of being an Airway Transportation System Specialist is keeping up with the Federal Aviation Administration’s vast and complex network of electronics systems required for the world’s largest air traffic control and navigation system. Our mission is to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world.

What is a typical day like as an Airway Transportation Specialist?

A typical day as an Airway Transportation System Specialist can vary depending upon what is happening in the National Airspace System (NAS).  If there are any system equipment outages of course that is the priority. The FAA maintains over a 99 percent reliability in all of our systems nationwide, but equipment problems do occur and it is our job to get those systems back to 100 percent operation. Each system we maintain has a preventative maintenance schedule that must be followed which can be necessary daily, weekly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually or bi-annually.

What is unique about being an Airway Transportation Systems Specialist?

The most unique thing about being an Airway Transportation System Specialist is that we are the people behind the scenes playing a vital role to make sure the NAS runs smoothly. We work hand in hand with our partners, the air traffic controllers. It is a real source of pride for me to know that my work keeps the flying public safe.

Would you recommend an Airway Transportation Systems Specialist as a good job occupation?

I would definitely recommend an Airway Transportation System Specialist as a good job occupation. There are five different specialty areas that you can go pursue: Environmental, Navigational Aids, Communication, Radar, and Automation. It could be the start of a great career. The Federal Aviation Administration continually looks to the future by identifying, recruiting, and training a workforce that will ensure the U.S. keeps the world’s safest airspace.

Occupational Requirements

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • The average salary is $92,145.

Education

Undergraduate and Graduate Education: Major study or at least 24 semester hours in any combination of the following: computer science, mathematics, electronics, physical sciences, information management, engineering, telecommunications, or other fields related to the position.

Experience

General Experience (for GS-5 positions):Experience that provided a basic knowledge of the principles of electronics, mathematics, computers, aeronautics, or related areas, or an understanding, both theoretical and practical, of automated systems operation, integration, management, and maintenance. Experience may have been gained in occupations such as computer specialist, electronics technician, telecommunications specialist, engineer, or other work related to the position to be filled.

Specialized Experience: For GS-7 and GS-9: Experience that provided the opportunity to acquire and the need to apply practical and theoretical knowledge of the principles, functions, and processes associated with electronics and electricity concepts; computer systems and information management concepts telecommunications concepts; and system management and integration methods.

For GS-11 and above: Experience that demonstrated an extensive knowledge of and experience in the technology, system interrelationships, and management of civilian or military automated aviation, navigation, and electronics systems.

The FAA has many job opportunities so go today and explore what they have to offer.

Job Listings

Credits

  • Arlene Salac, Public Affairs Officer, Washington, D.C.
  • FAA website: http://www.faa.gov
  • Photos provided by the FAA

Additional Resources

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

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, Student jobs

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Posted on Tuesday, 1st November 2016 by

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In today’s world it is imperative for all workers to continue updating their skills and expanding their job knowledge and expertise. Technology is responsible for the rapid pace at which our jobs evolve making continuing education a lifelong process.

CONTINUING YOUR EDUCATION IN A JOB TRAINING OR APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM

The workforce expects all workers to continue their education. It makes no difference if you have a high school diploma or a PhD. All workers in every conceivable job must continually update their knowledge and skills in order to remain productive…and employed. Those who think they have arrived because they hold a college degree and no longer need to continue their education are living in a dream world. Job requirements change and workers must grow with this change.

Where do you start? The short answer is to continue where you left off in the military or in your pre-military civilian life. If you have a high school degree, aim for the next level, an AA degree from a community college or a BA from a four-year college or university. If you have a BA, consider moving on towards a MA. If you have a MA consider working on a PhD or professional degree. All the data indicate that the higher your level of education, the more money you will make, and the greater your job security will be.

What if you are not inclined to pursue formal college level education? That is understandable because college courses are not for everyone. If that is where you are, pursue training programs for jobs in a market niche that offers continual opportunities.  Many veterans will find these opportunities in the skilled trades.

Working in the Skilled Trades

Jobs in the skilled trades are plentiful in the three major survival industries; food, shelter, clothing. Let’s focus on the shelter industry. If you want to pursue a career in one of the home/commercial trades, one option is to focus on heating and air conditioning systems by taking a HVACR certified training program. You will find HVACR training schools by going on line and Googling, “HVACR training.” Your chances of finding employment in this field with a reputable contractor will be greatly enhanced if you have training and certification.

The Construction Trades. The same applies for those seeking employment in other building trades: plumber, electrician, painter, bricklayer, mason, boilermaker, plasterer, carpenter, roofer, ironworker, wood flooring/carpet installer, etc. All are noble career paths and if this is where your interest lies, go for it. Even veterans who have military experience in one of these trades should seek civilian training and certification because it will increase your chances of finding work with a reputable employer.

You will find brick and mortar trade schools and online courses in every area across the country. Just Google “trade and training schools”, and add your area of interest. The trades offer incredible opportunities for satisfying lifetime employment. Ask any carpenter who worked on a $2 million home what the rewards are in addition to money and the response will be something like this, “Pride in creating something functional and beautiful and knowing there’s a little piece of me standing there.”

Transportation Jobs. These jobs are in demand by companies both large and small  and veterans with military transportation experience have an advantage. For example, I noted a Walmart posting for truck drivers that carried a base salary of $75,000 plus excellent benefits. Other  large corporations, like Lowes are also military friendly, they pay similar wages to their transportation workers. However, you do not just walk into a company and expect to find a job with an ordinary driver’s license.

Working in the commercial transportation business requires completion of tests for certification and a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is a useful destination for learning about the various types of certification required for driving commercial vehicles of all types. Check out the website, www.FMCSA.gov, to learn about all of the rules and regs governing this line of work.

Apprenticeship Programs

Another approach to finding the right training program is to contact trade unions in your area to explore apprenticeship programs. Several years in an apprenticeship program taking classroom courses and working with a master-level worker almost guarantees a full time, high paying job in a particular skilled trade. Make no mistake about it, though. You must put in your time to reap the reward you are seeking, a career job that will make you self-sufficient.

Sources of Information for the Skilled Trades

Where do you go to learn more? Here are some online sources to get you started.

  • AFL-CIO,www.aflcio.org. On the home page, enter “training and apprenticeships” which will take you to a number of locations to explore your area of interest. I did just that and found the following articles: “Helping Women Veterans Find Sheet Metal Apprenticeships” and “Meet the Veterans Who Rebuilt the World Trade Center”
  • Union Apprenticeship, www.jobsgalore.com. This site will direct you to many nationwide apprenticeship programs in different trades. Plan to spend a few hours here to explore all of the information.
  • Women and Apprenticeship. The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) (www.iuoe.org/jobs/women-and-apprenticeship), offers programs incorporating both classroom instruction and hands-on learning in a variety of settings for both women and men.Successful completion of an IUOE apprenticeship program virtually guarantees a job paying excellent wages and offering comprehensive benefits.
  • Federal Wage Grade (WG) Trades Jobs:  The federal government employs just under 200,000 workers in a broad cross section of  blue-collar trades occupations.
  • The United States Department of Labor (DOL)www.dol.gov. The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the DOL operates the Registered Apprenticeship program to help veterans in transition to the civilian workforce. The ETA works in conjunction with all states so you will always be training in your local area. Here is a description of the program from the DOL website.

The Registered Apprenticeship Program

The Registered Apprenticeship system has been utilized to meet the needs of America’s skilled workforce for over 75 years. It is a unique, flexible training system that combines job related technical instruction with structured on-the-job learning experiences. Registered Apprenticeship is a leader in preparing American workers to compete in a global 21st Century economy because the system keeps pace with advancing technologies and innovations in training and human resource development.

The Registered Apprenticeship system is designed for workers seeking high-skilled, high- paying jobs, and for employers seeking to build a qualified workforce. In this regard, the Registered Apprenticeship system effectively meets the needs of both employers and workers.

Registered Apprenticeship is active not only in traditional industries such as construction and manufacturing, but also it is instrumental in the development of fast growing industries such as healthcare, energy, and security. The program has trained more than 130,000 apprentices each year. It is an effective program and veterans so-inclined should review this site for exciting job opportunities. It is there for the asking. Don’t pass it up.

In addition, this program offers special opportunities for veterans under the Post Nine-Eleven GI Bill Apprenticeship Program, which offers many attractive benefits like allowances for housing.

BEGINNING OR CONTINUING COLLEGE LEVEL COURSES

Veterans who chose to work toward a BA, MA or PhD will find much support from military friendly colleges and universities and from professional schools like Fordham Law School in New York City and The Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH.

There is an interesting body of data regarding college graduates. For example, only 35 percent of the US population of 320 million men and women has a college degree. The unemployment rate for those holding a BA or higher is always lower than it is for those without a college degree. In addition, over a lifetime of work, college grads generate total income that is higher than the non-degreed population.

However, it is not all good news for those with a college degree, particularly recent college grads. During the past five years, over 65% of recent college graduates have not found a job nine months after receiving their diplomas.  The reason is that most college grads have no experience with the adult world of work and have no idea about how the job hunting process works.

Strategies for Pursuing a College Degree

Here are a number of strategies to insure that your college experience will be a productive venture and lead to a productive job opportunity.

  1. Pursue a college major aligned with your interests and abilities. If your interest is teaching, pursue a degree in education. If business is your thing, major in business administration or finance. If you wish to pursue a degree in science or technology select one of the STEM majors; science, technology, engineering, mathematics.
  1. If you are not yet sure where your true interests lie, pursue an Associate’s degree at a community college. Here you will learn about many academic disciplines. Surely, one of them will appeal to your interests.
  1. Avoid going into debt. Going to college with financial help from a student loan or veteran’s loan has an inevitable consequence; you will be obligated to repay all or some of that loan after graduating. There are many government tuition reimbursement plans available for veterans. Take advantage of all of them before tapping into the student loan program.
  1. Begin your job search as soon as you enroll in a college degree program. Many students wait until they graduate to begin job hunting. However, job hunting is a continuing operation, which should begin immediately. You cannot expect to walk away with your diploma one fine day and have a job the next. It does not work that way. I suggest that the first resource to explore in your beginning year is my book titled, WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD, A Complete to Job Hunting for the Recent College Grad. The book provides career education and job hunting rubrics.
  1. State colleges and universities offer academic programs on par with private institutions. The value of attending an undergraduate Ivy League school (or similar) has been greatly exaggerated.  For a ranking of the colleges and universities across the country, consult US News and World Report, www.usnews.com/best-colleges. The annual rankings include tuition costs and other useful data.
  1.  Explore the Military Friendly list of colleges and universities, which you can find online at www.militaryfriendly.com/school-list.  These colleges and professional schools offer preferential terms for veterans.

CERTIFICATIONS

Written certifications frequently are required to work in the skilled trades and in corporate jobs. Whatever your specialty is, or whatever you are aspiring to become, go online and Google that specialty and add “certifications.” For example, enter “bus driver certifications,” or “physical therapy certifications.” You will find nonprofit and for profit organizations that offer various certification for your field of interest.

Many corporate level management positions now require Project Management Professional Certification (PMP). This important certification is offered through the Project Management Institute (PMI). For details go to the PMI website: www.PMI.org.

Also, the VA offers reimbursement for certifications tests and licensing for veterans. Check it out at www.benefits.VA.gov.  In addition Google “certifications for military veterans” and you will find many online and bricks-and-mortar facilities offering free or low cost certification programs.

INDUSTRTY SPOTLIGHT: THE SECURITY INDUSTRY

The security industry is growing exponentially and welcomes military veteran candidates. The range of jobs seems to have no end as security firms and government agencies struggle to meet the demand, particularly in cyber security. Some security jobs are highly visible, like TSA workers at airports, but most others work behind the scene. Here are several of our favorites.

Raytheon,www.raytheon.com. This American icon is noted for development and manufacture of weapons like the Tomahawk Cruise Missile and other defensive systems. However, it has a division know as Raytheon Cyber, www.raytheoncyber.com. When you go to the website click on “Working with Us” and then click on “Veterans.”  It has no less than twenty-one separate engineering and business divisions offering entry level and highly specialized positions for veterans. The firm is located in the Boston area but has facilities throughout the U.S. and abroad. Raytheon is noted for its veteran friendly culture.

Caveonwww.caveon.com. This company, headquartered in Midvale Utah, specializes in preventing cheating on academic and corporate examinations. Among its many clients are: College Board; Atlanta Public Schools; HP, IBM, Microsoft and a host of others. Caveon does not advertise its open positions so you must complete and submit a form to get on their list for notification of openings. However, I know from my recruiting experience that there are jobs available there, frequently. I suggest that you send your resume and a cover letter directly to the founder, CEO and Chairman, Dr. David Foster. For best results, send these items by FedEx or UPS rather than by email.

National Security Agency (NSA),www.nsa.gov. NSA is a part of the U.S. Department of Defense and as such offers a wealth of job opportunities spanning a multitude of operations. Needless to say, NSA welcomes military veterans.  This is a comprehensive website with much to explore.  Begin, by going to the website and clicking on Careers and Programs. Then click on the link, www.IntelligenceCareers.gov/nsa , where you will find a wealth of information. On that site, click on Careers and go from there. Note, too, the virtual job fair listings.

National Law Enforcement Jobs with the Federal Government.  The federal government employs several hundred thousand in law enforcement and security jobs. Homeland Security is the third largest federal department, employing over 154,000 federal workers. Federal law enforcement jobs are abundant and available nationwide.

There is a protocol that must be followed exactly when applying for government jobs. The best resource to keep you on track is a book by Dennis Damp, The Book of U.S. Government Jobs, listed below. Be sure to review Chapter Seven, Veterans and Military Dependent Hiring.

Takeaways

  • Continuing education is required to remain competitive in today’s workplace.
  • Certifications are required for most jobs in the skilled trades.
  • PMP certification is fast becoming a requirement for corporate level management jobs.
  • Employers in the security business value the training and experience of military veterans.

Veteran’s Resources

Dennis V. Damp. The Book of U.S. Government Jobs. Bookhaven Press. 2011.
John Henry Weiss. OPERATION JOB SEARCH; A Guide for Military Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Careers. Skyhorse Publishing Inc., 2016.
John Henry Weiss. WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD; A Complete Guide to Job Hunting for the Recent College Grad. Skyhorse Publishing Inc., 2014.
Federal Government Jobs. www.federaljobs.net. This is your most comprehensive site for information about jobs with the federal government.
University of Maryland and University College,  www.umuc.edu/cybersecurity.  Review this site for information about online certifications and BA degrees in cyber security.

RESOURCES

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 Jobs, Job Qualifications, Veterans Preference

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Posted on Monday, 24th October 2016 by

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The United States Postal Service (USPS) offers many great job opportunities  especially during the holidays when it is critical for them to deliver mail, packages, and parcels on time. The city carrier assistant (CCA) and the rural carrier associate (RCA) are two of the most in demand jobs each holiday season.

All applicants must apply online to be considered for employment and have a valid email address. All communication regarding employment opportunities, examinations, interviews and background checks are sent by email. Add the following list of email domain addresses to your contact list or check you spam folder for these email extensions:

  • @usps.gov
  • @psionline.com
  • @geninfo.com
  • @uspsis.gov

Dennis Damp, host of PostalWork.net reports that many applicants miss out on opportunities because they don’t print out a copy of the Postal Service job announcement. The job announcement includes detailed application guidance. It also provides contact information in case you have a problem with the application process, need to reschedule an exam, or to confirm receipt of documents.  Damp frequently receives questions from applicants that don’t know who to contact after applying for postal positions because they didn’t print out a copy of the job announcement.

City Carrier Assistant (CCA)

Generally CCAs are appointed for periods not-to-exceed 360 days. Subsequent appointments after a 5 day break in service may be offered but are not guaranteed.  If your work performance is satisfactory there may be opportunities to apply for a permanent position.  City Carrier Assistants must be U.S. citizens to apply, take an on line assessment and pass the 473 Postal Exam. The starting salary is $16.06 per hour paid bi-weekly.

Duties

  • Routes or cases all classes of mail in sequence of delivery along an established route. Rearranges and re-labels cases as required.
  • Withdraws mail from the distribution case and prepares it in sequence for efficient delivery independently or by another carrier along an established route. Prepares and separates all classes of mail to be carried by truck to relay boxes along route for subsequent delivery.
  • Handles undeliverable mail in accordance with established procedures.
  • Delivers mail along a prescribed route, on foot or by vehicle, on a regular schedule, picking up additional mail from relay boxes as needed. Collects mail from street letter boxes and accepts letters from mailing from customers; on certain routes may deliver mail that consists exclusively of parcel post, or the collection of mail.
  • Uses portable electronic scanner as instructed.
  • Delivers and collects charges on customs, postage-due, and C.O.D. mail matter. Delivers and obtains receipts for registered and certain insured mail. Signs for such matter, except insured mail, at the post office before beginning route and accounts for it upon return by payments of the amounts collected and delivery of receipts taken.
  • Deposits in the post office mail collected on the route upon returning from the route.
  • Checks, and corrects if necessary, mailing cards from advertisers bearing names and addresses of customers or former customers on the route.
  • Furnishes customers with postal information and provides change of address cards and other postal forms as needed.
  • Reports to supervisor all unusual incidents or conditions relating to mail delivery, including condition of street letter boxes and centralized delivery equipment.
  • Becomes proficient, when assigned to a route, in the casing of mail on other routes as assigned.
  • Works professionally with other employees in the office.
  • May as a CCA, perform clerical duties and be required to pass examinations on scheme of city primary distribution.
  • In addition, may perform any of the following duties: check hotels and other establishments to ensure that mail for residents undeliverable as addressed is not improperly held; deliver stamps or other paper supplies to contract or classified stations and other designated delivery points; serves at carriers’ delivery window; receive and register where practical, all letters and packages of first-class matter properly offered for registration; case mail and make deliveries on other routes as assigned.

Physical Requirements

You must be physically able to efficiently perform the duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation. CCA duties require arduous exertion involving prolonged standing, walking, bending and reaching, and may involve handling heavy containers of mail weighing up to the allowable maximum mailing weight.

Additional Requirements

CCAs must work their assigned tour and days of work.  CCAs must follow Postal Service policies and procedures for personal conduct at work, including adhering to rules and regulations.

CCAs are required to provide service to the public.  They must maintain a neat and professional appearance and demeanor in such interactions. May be required to wear uniform items.

Applicants must have a valid state driver’s license, and demonstrate and maintain a safe driving record.

Associate Rural Carrier (ARC)

  • Must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • On line assessment and a written Exam Required: Postal Exam 473 is required.
  • $17.02 per hour paid bi-weekly.

Duties

  • Loads packages in delivery sequence in vehicle.
  • Delivers packages to customers along a prescribed route.
  • Sorts mail in delivery sequence for the assigned route.
  • Receives and signs for accountable mail.
  • Loads mail and packages in vehicle.
  • Delivers mail and packages to customers along a prescribed route or as an auxiliary assistant by a vehicle; collects monies and receipts for accountable mail; picks up mail from customers’ roadside boxes.
  • Furnishes routine information concerning postal matters to customer.
  • Returns mail collected, undeliverable mail, and submits monies and receipts to post office.
  • Prepares appropriate time records.
  • Provides for mail security at alltimes.
  • May be required to provide a vehicle for delivery if an employer provided vehicle is not assigned.

They are non-career employees who provide customers along a rural route services which includes delivering and collecting mail.

Work is performed indoors and outdoors in all types of weather. Carriers may be required to load and unload trays and containers of mail and parcels weighing as much as 70 pounds.

For more information, review our step-by-step guide for applying for and taking the exam. A postal exam study guide titled Post Office Jobs, the 6th edition, can help you prepare for the exam.

Additional Information from the OOH website

Postal service mail carriers deliver mail to homes and businesses in cities, towns, and rural areas. Most travel established routes, delivering and collecting mail. Carriers cover their routes by foot, vehicle, or a combination of both. Some mail carriers collect money for postage due. Others, particularly in rural areas, sell postal products, such as stamps and money orders. All carriers must be able to answer customers’ questions about postal regulations and services and, upon request, provide change-of-address cards and other postal forms.

All applicants must pass a written exam that measures speed and accuracy at checking names and numbers and the ability to memorize mail distribution procedures. Jobseekers should contact the post office or mail processing center where they want to work to find out when exams are given.

When accepted, applicants must undergo a criminal background check and pass a physical exam and a drug test. Applicants also may be asked to show that they can lift and handle heavy mail sacks. Mail carriers who drive at work must have a safe driving record, and applicants must receive a passing grade on a road test.

Other Qualities

Customer-service skills

Postal service workers, particularly clerks, regularly interact with customers. As a result, they must be courteous and tactful and provide good client service.

Physical stamina

Postal service workers, particularly carriers, must be able to stand or walk for long periods.

Physical strength

Postal service workers must be able to lift heavy mail bags and parcels without injuring themselves

Union Membership

Most postal service workers belonged to a union in 2014.

These were just two of the many wonderful job opportunities offered by the USPS.

Credit

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 Vacancies, Post Office Jobs

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Posted on Tuesday, 4th October 2016 by

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The personal interview is an important step in the job hunting process, one that could lead to a job offer or result in a rejection. It really is a make or break situation. With guidance and preparation you will ace the interview and become a happy new recruit when you hear the hiring manager say, “You’re hired!”

INTERVIEW PREPARATION AND PROCESS

Every successful outcome presupposes preparation. Interviewing is no exception. It is not merely an event that takes place on a moment’s notice. Thoughtful preparation includes a thorough review of the job in question and the company, which will enable you to convey to the interviewer that you really want that specific job with that specific company. There is nothing that will kill an opportunity quicker than having the hiring manager conclude that you want just any job as long as it provides a paycheck. Companies hire candidates who show a passion for a specific job with that particular company.

While learning about the company, remember that it exists to make money or for the federal government to provided services. With companies, when they make more  money its business grows and more workers are hired. Learning about the employer’s finances is key or for federal government what services are provided. You can find this information on company or federal agency websites, in its annual report, and thorough a variety of online reports. Items you need to learn are: annual revenues for the past three to five years; the increase or decrease in the quarterly revenue for this particular quarter; and the increase or decrease in the price of the company’s stock if it is publicly traded. In addition, learn the number of company employees and the number of main competitors for the company’s products or services. For the federal sector determine the number employed, the largest employers, and the location of their facilities in your area. You can find this government information online. Having this information will help you through the interview process.

Proper Attire for an Interview

What to wear for an interview is something that troubles every female and male job candidate, military veterans and non-veterans, experienced workers or entry level workers. In fact, just today, I was prepping a candidate for a National Sales Director position and he asked what he should wear for an upcoming personal interview. This was an experienced worker in mid-career who had held several managerial positions. He had learned that the company was populated primarily with millennial-aged employees and that the culture was casual. I directed him to wear nothing less than upscale business-casual attire, which includes creased dress trousers, a blazer, a conservative shirt and tie, and leather shoes. If this had been an established conservative company I would have suggested a business suit.

You will never go wrong wearing business attire to an interview. This rule applies to both men and women. However, women have to put more thought into the process because there are more clothing choices for them. If in doubt about what to wear, google. “Attire for a personal job interview” and you will find all the information and pictures you will need to dress appropriately.  For more on attire, please review Chapter 27 of my book, Operation Job Search; A Guide for Military Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Careers. Female applicants can find helpful information on page 333 under the heading: Fail-Safe Dress for Female Veterans; Listen to Linda.

Using Civilian-Speak during Interviews

You may have heard this many times over, even in your TAP classes, but it is worth mentioning again. Speak using civilian language and avoid using military or local acronyms.  Research this beforehand and translate your military occupation specialty (MOS) if you are a veteran into civilian language. If you use military-speak, the majority of company interviewers will not understand because they lack military experience.

Controlling the Interview. Interrogation or Conversation?

Many interviews deteriorate into a Q-A session because the candidate believes the interviewer is holding all the aces. That is an erroneous assumption. The company is interviewing you because it needs workers to be productive, and you are interviewing because you need their job to make money to become self-sufficient.  Both the candidate and the interviewer are holding the aces.  Both have a critical need that needs to be resolved.

After the introductory pleasantries, most interviewers will throw this question at you. “Could you tell me something about yourself?” Answer that question in business terms, not personal terms. The interviewer is really not interested in knowing where you attended elementary school, where you took basic training or whether you like a cappuccino better than a latte. Your answer should go something like this. “I’m the kind of person who takes complete responsibility for my life. My career plan includes working in a position like the one stated in your job description and with a company in the transportation industry, like yours. By the way, I’m impressed with your job title and rank and would appreciate your telling me how you worked your way into your present position. Could you tell me something about your background and experience?”

What this response does is level the playing field. It lets the interviewer know that this will be a conversation, not an interrogation. Follow up by handing the interviewer a list of questions you have about the job and the company. Handle it this way. “I’ve prepared a list of questions for you indicating my interest in the job and company. My first question is: What do you consider the most important attribute for this job?”

Once the interviewer realizes that you have a plan and are not intimidated by the formal interview setting, you will be able to converse as equals. Above all, remember that the company is interviewing you because it has a critical need; to find a worker to fill an important job.

When the interview comes to an end, do not just say “thank you” and leave the premises. Ask for the job saying, “I’ve really enjoyed learning about the job, the company, and your personal background and experience. I would like to move forward to the next step in your process, which I hope will be a job offer. Can we schedule a follow up meeting to discuss compensation and a starting date?”

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: TRANSPORTATION

The broadly defined transportation industry includes employers involved in moving people and things from one place to another. Included in this industry are companies like FedEx, UPS, General Motors, Delta Airlines, Uber and United Van Lines. The industry employs millions of workers in the USA and abroad and offers many attractive, necessary and well-paying jobs. Contrary to the popular stereotype that transportation jobs are limited to driving a truck or piloting an airplane, this industry offers everything from hands-on jobs to IT management to President. It offers a variety of jobs for every worker. For example, truck driver jobs with Walmart command a starting salary of approximately $80,000 plus comprehensive benefits.

The interesting thing about transportation is that is ranks up there with the three basic survival industries; food, shelter and clothing. Every day the majority of workers need and use something from the transportation industry. Stop for a minute and ask yourself how you got to work today or how you plan to reach a company for an interview. Yes, the transportation industry will be one of the basic needs for as long as we live. So who are some of the best players in this industry? We have three favorites. Fed Ex, Southwest Airlines, and Union Pacific Railroad, all military friendly companies.

FedEx  

Federal Express Corporation, now referred to as FedEx, has become a household word. It is divided into three separate divisions each serving a specific need: FedEx Ground, FedEx Express and FedEx Freight. It is the world’ largest delivery service and 2016 revenue will be over $50 billion.  It is based in Memphis and has offices around the globe. It is a military friendly company and is noted for initiatives relating to diversity and inclusion in its workforce. FedEx was founded in 1971 by Fred Smith an Army veteran. When he separated and was looking for a job, he decided that someone needed to move packages from one place to another more quickly than the US Postal Service. He started an overnight delivery service in Memphis and the rest is history.

FedEx has something for everyone regardless of MOS or level of education. Check out the website now as I just did. I found jobs in different cities for dockworkers, technicians, drivers, arrival and departures clerks, and senior operations managers.  Remember to review the career pages dealing with military veterans.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest continues to be one of the most profitable airline companies. It is noted for its customer friendly service and a unique company culture. Employees like working there and customers like traveling Southwest, an unbeatable combination for sustained growth. The company is based in Dallas but has offices throughout the country and provides every imaginable type of job for workers at every level, entry through senior. Southwest is noted for its charitable giving and community outreach. When I checked the website, I found a wide array of jobs in airport operations and call centers, and for flight attendants, aircraft maintenance technicians, and pilots.

Union Pacific Railroad

Railroad companies are often overlooked by workers seeking long term careers in the transportation industry. One of the best is Union Pacific Railroad, which employs over 43,000 workers and generates annual revenue in excess of $20 billion. At Union Pacific you will find job opportunities that go well beyond those with high visibility like train conductors and ticket sellers. Behind the scene, Union Pacific employs workers in sales, marketing, technology, maintenance, engineering and human resources just to mention a few. UP offers special training for transitioning veterans and over 20% of its workers are military veterans. In addition, it has donated over $200,000 to Wounded Warriors over the past two years. Its recruiters sponsor job fairs and are in contact with all military transition and education offices.  Union Pacific is hard to beat when you are looking for a military friendly employer.

Association of American Railroads (AAR)

MOVING FORWARD

Interviewing is an important part of the job hunting process. There is much to learn beyond our abbreviated discussion and I suggest that you review Chapters 27-31 in my book OPERATION JOB SEARCH, listed below. In addition we suggest that you read all of Part Four, The Interview Process, in the The Book of U.S Government Jobs by Dennis Damp.

In our November article we will discuss continuing education at bricks and mortar schools and online schools. Our INDUSTRY SPOLIGHT will focus on the robust security industry.

TAKEAWAYS 

  • Control the interview.  Do not let it become a Q-A session.
  • You and the company need each other to be successful.
  • Present a written list of questions and concerns to the interviewer.
  • Use civilian language during the interview and avoid military acronyms.
  • Always wear business attire for personal interviews.

RESOURCES

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, Job Interviews, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Monday, 3rd October 2016 by

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There are abundant opportunities for employment at more than 31,600 Postal facilities nationwide. The Postal Service has annual revenue of $69 billion and it’s responsible for delivering 47 percent of the world’s mail. There are over 617,000 employees and the Postal Service is one of the largest employers in the nation. The benefits are outstanding and on par with the Federal workforce. They include excellent pay, job security, a generous pension with a 401K, and Social Security.

 

Jobs Hunt Hiring

The Postal Service was created during the beginning weeks of the Revolutionary War at the meeting of the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia in May 1775. To thwart the threat of British aggression against the colonies, Ben Franklin and others formed a committee. This committee determined that a postal system was needed for the conveyance of letters and other intelligence for the cause of liberty. Ben Franklin was named as the first Postmaster General and served in the position until November 1776. The postal system task was to carry letters to Congress and the armies.

Today’s Postal Service is an independent agency that funds its operation through the sale of postage, products and services. It is the only delivery service that reaches every address within the United States, which is approximately 155 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes.

History

The official United States Post Office by a decree of the Second Continental Congress was created on July 26, 1775. Officially, the Post Office was created in 1792 and was referred to as the Post Office Department (USPOD) based on Constitutional authority empowering Congress “To establish post offices and post roads”.

As the West expanded so did the postal system services. It provided a fast and convenient communication system. Letters provided settlers information and encouraged western migration. In addition, businesses and merchants were provided opportunities to develop commercial relationships that helped factories back east. The Postal Service assisted the Army in the control of the Western expansion and the newspapers sent by mail increased their circulation and disseminated information nationwide.

During the 19th century the postal service expanded its delivery routes via railroad, steamboat and eventually waterways where no roads existed. The volume of mail increased during the 20th century by the use of Parcel Post and Rural Free Delivery (RFD). These helped to promote more efficient postal transportation systems.

Currently, the USPS operates one the largest fleets of vehicles in the world, with an estimated 211,264 vehicles. The Department of Defense and the USPS jointly operate a postal system that delivers mail to the military known as the Army Post Office (APO). The Fleet Post Office delivers to the Navy, Marine Corps and the Coast Guard postal facilities.

In 1971 the Post Office Department was reorganized and became the United States Post Office. It was an independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States. The mission of the Postal Service remained the same, as stated in Title 39 of the U.S. Code:

“The Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people. It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities”.

Some Interesting Facts about the USPS

  • The Postal Service has the country’s largest retail network — larger than McDonald’s, Starbucks and Walmart combined, domestically.
  • Through the Carrier Alert Program, Postal Service letter carriers help monitor the well-being of elderly and disabled customers. If carriers notice an accumulation of mail that might indicate an accident or illness, they notify emergency personnel. In addition, each year postal employees go beyond the call of duty, some even risking their own safety to save the lives of the customers they serve. In 2015, the Postal Service recognized 318 employee heroes for going above and beyond.
  • The Postal Service embraces the heroic service of the United States’ armed forces. More than 113,000 veterans are employed with the organization, and more than 140 stamps have been issued that reflect the nation’s military history, including the current Medal of Honor series. (As of Jan 2015).
  • The Postal Service is the only organization in the country that has the resources, network infrastructure and logistical capability to regularly deliver to every residential and business address in the nation.
  • The Postal Service can and does compete with the private sector — and it collaborates with it, too. UPS and FedEx pay the Postal Service to deliver hundreds of millions of their ground packages to residences, taking advantage of the Postal Service’s expansive delivery network. The Postal Service pays UPS and FedEx for air transportation, taking advantage of their comprehensive air networks.
  • Mail is reliable, trusted and secure — more than 200 federal laws protect the sanctity of the U.S. Mail. These laws are enforced by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the country. U.S. Postal Inspectors are federal agents, mandated to safeguard the nation’s mail — including the people who move it and the customers who use it.
  • The U.S. Postal Service is the core of the $1.4 trillion mailing industry in this country that employs more than 7.5 million people.

Postal Careers

The U. S. Postal Service (USPS) employs over 617,000 workers in 300 job categories for positions at 31,600 post offices, branches, stations, and community post offices throughout the United States. Thousands of post office jobs are advertised each year to backfill for retirements, transfers, deaths and to replace employees who choose to leave the Postal Service. The Postal Service also hires many temporary workers (casual temporary positions) during peak mail periods. Mail carrier, clerk, and mail handlers must take and pass the 473 Postal Exam when they apply for these positions. The corporate positons do not require this exam.

Most Postal Service jobs are mail carrier and clerk positions. However, like most large corporations the Postal Service employs workers for everything from janitors to engineers; technicians, mechanics, accountants, program managers, Postal Inspectors and administrative and logistics occupations of all types.

Here are a few of the many USPS job occupations:

In our next article we will discuss job occupations that the Post Office needs to fill for the upcoming busy holiday season.

Credit

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 Jobs, Job Vacancies, Post Office Jobs

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Posted on Monday, 5th September 2016 by

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In this final article covering the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) we interview Michael L Ramirez, a research chemist (GS-1320) for the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. According to the Bureau of Labor Statics (BLS) chemists research and solve a wide range of problems and are employed in a similarly wide range of industries. About a third of all chemists are employed in chemical manufacturing industries; the remainder work at colleges and universities, in government, and for independent testing and research laboratories.

The federal government employs 5,665 chemists of which 24 work overseas. The Department of Health and Human Services is the largest employer of chemists with 2,057, followed by the Department of the Army with 623 civilian employees, and the Department of the Navy with 567. The EPA employs 464 and the Department of the Treasury 58. Small numbers work for other cabinet level and large independent agencies. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is under the Treasury Department.

Some chemical manufacturing industries, such as pharmaceutical manufacturing, increasingly may be outsourcing their R&D activities, rather than doing the research in-house. This outsourcing strategy is likely to cause faster growth in the employment of chemists in small, independent research-and-development firms than in the more traditional large manufacturers.

Interview with Michael L. Ramirez

 

Michael L. Ramirez BEP Research Chemist

Michael L. Ramirez BEP Research Chemist

Michael L. Ramirez is a research chemist (GS-1320), and works for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, DC.

Why did you become a chemist?

I was always into science as a kid. I had a microscope and many science kits. I wanted to study medicine. When I went to college I discovered that my passion was research. As a chemist, I have completed projects in the fields of Biology, Chemistry, and Polymers.

What is the most interesting project you have worked on as a chemist?

Chemistry is always interesting. I have worked in the development of fire resistant materials for aircrafts, detection of explosives in the environment, and now I support the manufacturing of U.S. currency at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. What can be more interesting than that; millions of people know our products.

What is a typical day for a chemist?

In my current position I support many projects related to the characterization and testing of materials we use to print U.S. paper currency. A typical day starts by visiting the laboratories and discussing with other chemists the requests that we have for the day. I attend multiple meetings to discuss properties of new materials and the development of specifications and test methods.

Would you recommend a chemist as a good occupation to pursue?

Yes. I would recommend chemistry as a good profession; chemistry opens doors for careers in many fields.

Note: All Occupations (includes all occupations) in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics

The median annual wage for chemists was $71,260 in May 2015. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $41,110, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $125,450.

In May 2015, the median annual wages for chemists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government, excluding postal service $104,660
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences 83,140
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing 69,920
Basic chemical manufacturing 68,700
Testing laboratories 56,080

Employment of chemists is projected to grow 3 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Many chemists are employed in manufacturing industries that are projected to decline.

Employment of chemists is projected to grow 3 percent as they continue to be needed in scientific research and development (R&D) and to monitor the quality of products and processes.

Chemists research and solve a wide range of problems and are employed in a similarly wide range of industries. About a third of all chemists are employed in chemical manufacturing industries; the remainder work at colleges and universities, in government, and for independent testing and research laboratories. Some chemical manufacturing industries, such as pharmaceutical manufacturing, increasingly may be outsourcing their R&D activities, rather than doing the research in-house. This outsourcing strategy is likely to cause faster growth in the employment of chemists in small, independent research-and-development firms than in the more traditional large manufacturers.

Duties, Qualifications and Education

The following information is excerpted from the Bureau of Labor Statics website.

Duties

Chemists typically do the following:

  • Plan and carry out complex research projects, such as the development of new products and testing methods
  • Direct technicians and other workers in testing and analyzing components and the physical properties of materials
  • Instruct scientists and technicians on proper chemical processing and testing procedures, including ingredients, mixing times, and operating temperatures
  • Prepare solutions, compounds, and reagents used in laboratory procedures
  • Analyze substances to determine their composition and concentration of elements
  • Conduct tests on materials and other substances to ensure that safety and quality standards are met
  • Write technical reports that detail methods and findings
  • Present research findings to scientists, engineers, and other colleagues

Some chemists work in basic research. Others work in applied research. In basic research, chemists investigate the properties, composition, and structure of matter. They also experiment with combinations of elements and the ways in which they interact. In applied research, chemists investigate possible new products and ways to improve existing ones. Chemistry research has led to the discovery and development of new and improved drugs, plastics, and cleaners, as well as thousands of other products.

Chemists often specialize in a particular branch of the field. The following are examples of types of chemists:

Analytical chemists determine the structure, composition, and nature of substances by examining and identifying their various elements or compounds. They also study the relationships and interactions among the parts of compounds. Some analytical chemists specialize in developing new methods of analysis and new techniques for carrying out their work. Their research has a wide range of applications, including food safety, pharmaceuticals, and pollution control.

Inorganic chemists study the structure, properties, and reactions of molecules that do not contain carbon, such as metals. They work to understand the behavior and the characteristics of inorganic substances. Inorganic chemists figure out, how these materials, such as ceramics and superconductors, can be modified, separated, or used in products.

Medicinal chemists research and develop chemical compounds that can be used as pharmaceutical drugs. They work on teams with other scientists and engineers to create and test new drug products. They also help develop new and improved manufacturing processes to produce new drugs on a large scale effectively.

Organic chemists study the structure, properties, and reactions of molecules that contain carbon. They also design and make new organic substances that have unique properties and applications. These compounds in turn, have been used to develop many commercial products, such as pharmaceutical drugs and plastics.

Physical chemists study the fundamental characteristics of how matter behaves on a molecular and atomic level and how chemical reactions occur. On the basis of their analyses, physical chemists may develop new theories, such as how complex structures are formed. Physical chemists often work closely with materials scientists, to research and develop potential uses for new materials.

Theoretical chemists investigate theoretical methods that can predict the outcomes of chemical experiments. Theoretical chemistry encompasses a variety of specializations itself, although most specializations incorporate advanced computation and programming. Some examples of theoretical chemists are computational chemists, mathematical chemists, and chemical informaticians.

Education

A bachelor’s degree in chemistry or in a related field is needed for entry-level chemist jobs. Many jobs require a master’s degree or a Ph.D. and also may require significant levels of work experience. Chemists with a Ph.D. and postdoctoral experience typically lead basic- or applied-research teams.

Many colleges and universities offer degree programs in chemistry that are approved by the American Chemical Society. High school students can prepare for college coursework by taking chemistry, math, and computer science classes.

Undergraduate chemistry majors typically are required to take courses in analytical, organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry. In addition to chemistry coursework, they take classes in mathematics, biological sciences, and physics. Computer science courses are essential, because chemists and materials scientists need computer skills to perform modeling and simulation tasks, manage and manipulate databases, and operate computerized laboratory equipment.

Laboratory experience, either at a college or university, or through internships, fellowships, or work–study programs in industry, is also useful.

Graduate students studying chemistry commonly specialize in a subfield, such as analytical chemistry or inorganic chemistry. For example, those interested in doing research in the pharmaceutical industry usually develop a strong background in medicinal or organic chemistry.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Chemists carry out scientific experiments and studies. They must be precise and accurate in their analyses, because errors could invalidate their research.

Communication skills. Chemists need to communicate with team members and other scientists. They must be able to read and write technical reports and give presentations.

Critical-thinking skills. Chemists carefully evaluate their own work and the work of others. They must determine if results and conclusions are based on sound science.

Interpersonal skills. Chemists typically work on interdisciplinary research teams and need to work well with others toward a common goal. Many serve as team leaders and must be able to motivate and direct other team members.

Math skills. Chemists regularly use complex mathematical equations and formulas, and they need a broad understanding of mathematics, including calculus, algebra, and statistics.

Organizational skills. Chemists scientists need to document processes carefully in order to conform to regulations and industry procedures. Disorganization in the workplace can lead to legal problems, damage to equipment, and chemical spills.

Problem-solving skills. Chemists research and develop new and improved chemical products, processes, and materials. This work requires a great deal of trial and error on the part of chemists and materials scientists before a unique solution is found.

Time-management skills.Chemists usually need to meet deadlines when conducting research. They must be able to manage time and prioritize tasks efficiently while maintaining their quality of work.

The Bureau of Printing and Engraving use chemists to help in the development and manufacturing of U.S. monetary currency. Chemists will always be needed, because research never stops and there are always new discoveries to be made.

Credit

  • Lydia Washington, Public Affairs Officer, Bureau of Engraving and Printing – DC Facility (Washington, DC)
  • www.bep.treas.gov
  • Photos provided by the Bureau of Printing and Engraving

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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