Posted on Tuesday, 21st March 2017 by

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The After-Hours College Program at the National Security Agency (NSA) provides an opportunity for civilian employees to pursue college coursework to enhance their professional development and careers. Specifically, permanent civilian employees are able to utilize this amazing program to pursue a myriad of degrees at a variety of colleges and universities. Courses do require approval and are expected to be job related and/or mission related; they are available at the undergraduate or graduate level through an accredited college or university. Through this program, NSA pays for all tuition associated with the coursework and students are responsible for any lab fees and books. This program is eligible for employees who wish to work during the day and perhaps pursue their degree “after-hours.” Employees are not eligible for time off to attend the coursework as they are expected to take the coursework during the evenings and/or weekends.

 

Evening College Class

Evening College Class

A fantastic opportunity to attend college courses without the burden of a bill and/or student loans, NSA’s program is a great option to those pursuing a degree at a college or university. Many students take advantage of this, currently, and are extremely grateful for the program. There are a few rules in conjunction with the program; grade requirements are strict (B or better is needed for payment or the student will need to pay the course fee back to the Agency) and courses must be taken “after” the student’s working hours. Many find these rules amenable and are able to successfully meet the minimum guidelines for the program.

Given the increasing expenses for college, the After Hours College Program is a great option for NSA employees to obtain funding for coursework in conjunction with a degree and/or professional development. Coursework is usually taken in the areas of: cybersecurity, information assurance, business, language, engineering, math and computer security, just to name a few. The employee/student will need to fill out an internal form and course justification for each class they would like to take as part of the program; a supervisor signature is required as well. Students can apply at any time, but usually for the Fall and Spring semesters. The After Hours College Program can be an integral part of a federal employee’s Individual Development Plan (IDP) and can help them achieve their short and long term career goals.

As a long-time participant in the After Hours College Program, I was able to achieve an AA, BS, MBA, MS and Doctorate from the University of Baltimore and University of Maryland through this endeavor. Grateful for this opportunity, the knowledge obtained through a vast amount of coursework and instruction has enhanced my personal and professional development as well as opened a myriad of doors at the agency for my career. With my knowledge, skills and abilities sharpened throughout my tenure at NSA, I was able to move to/from a variety of organizations, learn a tremendous amount of information in a variety of disciplines, travel the world and gain valuable hands-on experience.

Although many other companies offer tuition support, NSA has one of the most generous and flexible programs in the After Hours College Program. The minimal requirements needed to participate as well as the opportunity to take coursework at any time, gives this program an extremely high rating from its students and employees.

Those interested in this After Hours Program, or other tuition supported programs should expand their searches to additional agencies within the federal, state, local governments as there are a myriad of opportunities in addition to those in the intelligence community. The Department of Energy, Federal Aviation Administration, and Defense Intelligence Agency, for example, have similar tuition-paid programs, and there are a host of others. Contact your appropriate training office and/or HR representative, as appropriate, to check on the availability of these student programs within your organization.

References & 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 Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Thursday, 16th March 2017 by

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This series includes positions that involve professional work in land surveying, which is concerned with establishing, investigating, and reestablishing land and property boundaries, and with preparing plats and legal descriptions for tracts of land. The work requires application of professional knowledge of the concepts, principles and techniques of surveying, including underlying mathematics and physical science, in combination with a practical knowledge of land ownership laws.

Girl Surveyor works with total station on the field.

The federal government employs 34 land surveyors. The Department of Agriculture employs 16 and the Commerce Department employs 12. According to the Occupational Outlook handbook there are 44,300 surveyors employed nationwide in the public and private sectors and the median pay in 2015 was $58,000 per year.

The median annual wages ranged from $64,980 for government workers, $61,730 for those who work in construction and $56,610 for architectural, engineering, and related services workers.

Federal Government Requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply
  • The yearly salary range for a GS-11-13 is $51,811.00 to $96,004.00 per year

Occupational Profile:

The following information is excerpted from the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) published by the Department of Labor:

Typical Duties:

  • Measure distances and angles between points on, above, and below the Earth’s surface
  • Travel to locations and use known reference points to determine the exact location of important features
  • Research land records, survey records, and land titles
  • Look for evidence of previous boundaries to determine where boundary lines are located
  • Record the results of surveying and verify the accuracy of data
  • Prepare plots, maps, and reports
  • Present findings to clients and government agencies
  • Establish official land and water boundaries for deeds, leases, and other legal documents and testify in court regarding survey work

Surveyors provide documentation of legal property lines and help determine the exact locations of real estate and construction projects. For example, when a house or commercial building is bought or sold, it may need to be surveyed to prevent boundary disputes. During construction, surveyors determine the precise location of roads or buildings and proper depths for building foundations. The survey also shows changes to the property line and indicates potential restrictions on the property, such as what can be built on it and how large the structure can be.

When taking measurements in the field, surveyors make use of the Global Positioning System (GPS), a system of satellites that locates reference points with a high degree of precision. Surveyors use handheld GPS units and robotic total stations to collect relevant information about the terrain they are surveying. (Robotic total stations use laser systems and GPS to automatically calculate distances between boundaries and geological features of the survey area.) Data is then loaded into a computer, where surveyors interpret and verify the results.

Surveyors also use Geographic Information Systems (GIS)—technology that allows surveyors to present spatial information visually as maps, reports, and charts. For example, a surveyor can overlay aerial or satellite images with GIS data, such as tree density in a given region, and create digital maps. They then use the results to advise governments and businesses on where to plan homes, roads, and landfills.

Education:

Surveyors typically need a bachelor’s degree because they work with sophisticated technology and math. Some colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degree programs specifically designed to prepare students to become licensed surveyors. A bachelor’s degree in a closely related field, such as civil engineering or forestry, is sometimes acceptable as well.

Many states require individuals who want to become licensed surveyors to have a bachelor’s degree from a school accredited by ABET and approximately 4 years of work experience under a licensed surveyor. In other states, an associate’s degree in surveying, coupled with more years of work experience under a licensed surveyor, may be sufficient. Most states also have continuing education requirements.

GS-1373 Land Surveyor (Excepted from USA Jobs Announcement)

Basic Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher in Land Surveying or a Bachelor’s degree or higher in Civil Engineering with a surveying option/emphasis. The Civil Engineering major must have included at least 6 semester hours of surveying, 3 semester hours of land law, and 21 additional semester hours in any combination of the following: surveying, photogrammetry, geodetic surveying, geodesy, route surveying, remote sensing, cartography, survey astronomy, land information systems, computer-aided mapping, aerial photo interpretation, and survey analysis and adjustments

A combination of education and experience — courses equivalent to a major in land surveying or civil engineering as described above, plus appropriate experience or additional education

  • You are a current registered Land Surveyor in a State, territory, or the District of Columbia obtained by written examination. Such registration must have been obtained under conditions outlined in the National Council of Engineering Examiners (NCEE) Unified Model Law for Registration of Surveyors. Applicants wishing to be considered under this provision must show evidence of registration based on successful completion of the written examinations. Registration granted prior to adoption of a registration law with qualification requirements equivalent to the NCEE Model Law by the State, territory, or District of Columbia are not acceptable under this option. To be considered equivalent to the NCEE Model Law, registration laws must include the four options listed within the NCEE Unified Model Law in the section specifying “General Requirements for Registration” as a Professional Land Surveyor

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE GS-11: Your resume must demonstrate at least one year of specialized experience at or equivalent to the GS-09 grade level in the Federal Service performing the following duties: establishing, investigating, and reestablishing land and property boundaries, and preparing plats and legal descriptions for tracts of land

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE GS-12: Your resume must demonstrate at least one year of specialized experience at or equivalent to the GS-11 level in the Federal Sector performing the following duties: 1) Land Surveying and Mapping; 2) Interpreting land surveying and mapping regulations and requirements; and 3) Ensuring contract compliance and quality assurance for projects.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE GS-13: Your resume must demonstrate at least one year of specialized experience at or equivalent to the GS-12 level in the Federal Sector performing the following duties: 1) advising, as a subject matter expert, on technical matters related to land surveying and mapping where boundary-related issues are of major concern; 2) serving as a team member or team leader on projects requiring in-house land surveying and/or mapping activities or expertise; 3) providing expert and/or technical support to Integrated Product Teams (IPT) and Architect-Engineer (A-E) firms; 4) providing input to and/or cost estimates on survey and mapping projects; 5) acting as a Command Representative to customer activities, major claimants, local agencies, headquarters, etc.; 6) preparing and presenting technical briefings, point papers, official correspondence, metrics, etc., to varied and diverse audiences.

Job Outlook: (Excerpted from the Occupational Outlook Handbook)

Employment of surveyors is projected to decline 2 percent from 2014 to 2024. Advancements in surveying technology, such as robotic total stations, let surveyors complete more work in less time, reducing the demand for surveyors. However, some surveyors will continue to be needed to certify boundary lines, work on resource extraction projects, and review sites for construction.

Job opportunities for those with a bachelor’s degree in surveying or a related field are expected to be good. Increased use of sophisticated technology and math has resulted in higher education requirements. As a result, those with the right combination of skills and a bachelor’s degree from a school accredited by ABET will have the best job opportunities.

Demand for traditional surveying services is closely tied to construction activity, therefore job opportunities will vary by geographic region, and often depend on local economic conditions. When real estate sales and construction activity slow down, surveyors may face greater competition for jobs. However, because surveyors can work on many different types of projects, they may have steadier work than others in the industry when construction slows.

Job Listings

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 Monday, 6th March 2017 by

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The High School Work Study Program (HSWS) at the National Security Agency (NSA) offers high school students a chance to participate as a part-time NSA employee while continuing to attend their high school classes. This opportunity is designed for those students enrolled in computer, technical and/or business classes at their local high school who wish to jump start or excel in their future careers. The program begins and continues through the student’s senior year and requires no less than 20 hours a week and no more than 32 hours during the school year.

Puzzle pieces concept for employment within the United States of America.

Most high schools in the local area (Maryland/DC/Virginia), participate in the HSWS; a simple phone call to the school’s guidance counselor can confirm their participation. Students selected for the program will be required to submit a formal application and undergo security clearance testing as part of their employment; this process can take up to ~12 months. Students interested in the HSWS, therefore, should think about applying early in their junior year of high school. The high schools and NSA work as partners to ensure coursework requirements are met simultaneously while achieving valuable employment experience, skill enhancement and professional development.

Students will participate in the HSWS for the school year (September – June), after which time they will apply for a full-time position at NSA (if they choose). Most students attend classes in the morning at their high schools (8-11AM perhaps and then work at the NSA from 12-4PM); there are limitations on the number of hours they can work in a day and the HSWS program manager will explain all of the details to include working additional hours on non-school days, weather days, etc. Students will be given the opportunity to work with a myriad of individuals to include: contractors, civilian and military personnel and on a wide range of subject areas, depending on their specialty skill set (cyber, engineering, language or administrative are a few examples).

As a HSWS program graduate myself, I can tell you that the program is extremely beneficial and serves as a fantastic jump to those looking for a career in the federal government and beyond. I was able to work with colleagues and gain experience in so many areas from security, computing, engineering, administration, training, marketing, etc. Most importantly, the opportunity gave me insight into the “working world” even while I was completing my senior year of high school. Once an NSA employee, students can explore a variety of programs, tasks, contracts, projects, etc. and volunteer for those they would like to participate in. HSWS participants are exposed to a variety of education and training opportunities as well, both internal and external to NSA. Some students also have an opportunity for travel in conjunction with their offices and mission sets and can also visit many of the intelligence community agencies to learn about their missions. Overall, tenured employees were very eager to assist a HSWS which makes the experience one of the best decisions I had made for my career; over 30 years later, I find myself consistently mentoring other HSWS employees.

The HSWS program is a valuable opportunity for those students seeking on-the-job training and expertise to sharpen their existing skill set and/or field. The successful HSWS program has proven time and time again to provide valuable work, socialization and skill experiences with NSA, all while earning a salary.

Those interested in the HSWS Program should expand their searches to additional agencies within the federal, state, and local governments as there are a myriad of opportunities in addition to those in the intelligence community. The Department of Energy, Federal Aviation Administration, and Defense Intelligence Agency, for example, have part-time student programs, and there are a host of others. Contact your high school’s guidance counselor to check on the availability of similar programs in your area and/or other opportunities in major metropolitan areas.

Reference and Career Planning Tools:

Career Exploration & Job Listings 

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, 3rd March 2017 by

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Architects manage, supervise, lead, and/or perform professional architecture work involving the art and science of conceptualizing, planning, developing, and implementing designs, they ensure that buildings and structures are responsive to human activities and needs, are structurally sound and permanent, and economical to acquire, operate, and maintain.

 

Architect on Computer

The federal government employs 1,839 architects of which 81 work overseas. The Departments of the Army, Navy and Air force employ 1,000 civilians followed by the General Services Administration (GSA) with 181, and the Interior Department with 132. There are architects employed at most of the cabinet level agencies and in a few large independent agencies.

Federal Government Requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply
  • The yearly salary range for a GS-11 is $60,210.00 to $78,270.00/per year

Occupational Profile:

The following information is excerpted from the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) published by the Department of Labor:

Typical Duties:

  • Meet with clients to determine objectives and requirements for structures
  • Give preliminary estimates on cost and construction time
  • Prepare structure specifications
  • Direct workers who prepare drawings and documents
  • Prepare scaled drawings, either with computer software or by hand
  • Prepare contract documents for building contractors
  • Manage construction contracts
  • Visit worksites to ensure that construction adheres to architectural plans
  • Seek new work by marketing and giving presentations

Architects discuss the objectives, requirements, and budget of a project with clients. In some cases, architects provide various predesign services, such as feasibility and environmental impact studies, site selection, cost analyses, and design requirements.

Architects develop final construction plans after discussing and agreeing on the initial proposal with clients. These plans show the building’s appearance and details of its construction. Accompanying these plans are drawings of the structural system; air-conditioning, heating, and ventilating systems; electrical systems; communications systems; and plumbing. Sometimes, landscape plans are included as well. In developing designs, architects must follow state and local building codes, zoning laws, fire regulations, and other ordinances, such as those requiring easy access to buildings for people who are disabled.

Computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) and building information modeling (BIM) have replaced traditional drafting paper and pencil as the most common methods for creating designs and construction drawings. However, hand-drawing skills are still required, especially during the conceptual stages of a project and when an architect is at a construction site.

As construction continues, architects may visit building sites to ensure that contractors follow the design, adhere to the schedule, use the specified materials, and meet work-quality standards. The job is not complete until all construction is finished, required tests are conducted, and construction costs are paid.

Architects may also help clients get construction bids, select contractors, and negotiate construction contracts.

Education

In all states, earning a professional degree in architecture is typically the first step to becoming an architect. Most architects earn their professional degree through a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree program, intended for students with no previous architectural training. Many earn a master’s degree in architecture, which can take 1 to 5 years in addition to the time spent earning a bachelor’s degree. The amount of time required depends on the extent of the student’s previous education and training in architecture.

A typical bachelor’s degree program includes courses in architectural history and theory, building design with an emphasis on computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), structures, construction methods, professional practices, math, physical sciences, and liberal arts. Central to most architectural programs is the design studio, where students apply the skills and concepts learned in the classroom to create drawings and three-dimensional models of their designs.

Currently, 34 states require that architects hold a professional degree in architecture from one of the 123 schools of architecture accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). State licensing requirements can be found at the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). In the states that do not have that requirement, applicants can become licensed with 8 to 13 years of related work experience in addition to a high school diploma. However, most architects in these states still obtain a professional degree in architecture.

Training

All state architectural registration boards require architecture graduates to complete a lengthy paid internship—generally 3 years of experience—before they may sit for the Architect Registration Examination. Most new graduates complete their training period by working at architectural firms through the Intern Development Program (IDP), a program run by NCARB that guides students through the internship process. Some states allow a portion of the training to occur in the offices of employers in related careers, such as engineers and general contractors. Architecture students who complete internships while still in school can count some of that time toward the 3-year training period.

Interns in architectural firms may help design part of a project. They may help prepare architectural documents and drawings, build models, and prepare construction drawings on CADD. Interns may also research building codes and write specifications for building materials, installation criteria, the quality of finishes, and other related details. Licensed architects will take the documents that interns produce, make edits to them, finalize plans, and then sign and seal the documents.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states and the District of Columbia require architects to be licensed. Licensing requirements typically include completing a professional degree in architecture, gaining relevant experience through a paid internship, and passing the Architect Registration Examination.

Most states also require some form of continuing education to keep a license, and some additional states are expected to adopt mandatory continuing education. Requirements vary by state but usually involve additional education through workshops, university classes, conferences, self-study courses, or other sources.

A growing number of architects voluntarily seek certification from NCARB. This certification makes it easier to become licensed across states, because it is the primary requirement for reciprocity of licensing among state boards that are NCARB members. In 2014, approximately one-third of all licensed architects had the certification.

Advancement

After many years of work experience, some architects advance to become architectural and engineering managers. These managers typically coordinate the activities of employees and may work on larger construction projects.

Important Qualities

  • Analytical skills. Architects must understand the content of designs and the context in which they were created. For example, architects must understand the locations of mechanical systems and how those systems affect building operations.
  • Communication skills. Architects share their ideas, both in oral presentations and in writing, with clients, other architects, and workers who help prepare drawings. Many also give presentations to explain their ideas and designs.
  • Creativity. Architects design the overall look of houses, buildings, and other structures. Therefore, the final product should be attractive and functional.
  • Organizational skills. Architects often manage contracts. Therefore, they must keep records related to the details of a project, including total cost, materials used, and progress.
  • Technical skills. Architects need to use CADD technology to create plans as part of building information modeling (BIM).
  • Visualization skills. Architects must be able to see how the parts of a structure relate to each other. They also must be able to visualize how the overall building will look once completed.

GS-0808 Architectural Series (Excerpted from OPM.Gov)

Individual Occupational Requirements

Basic Requirements:

  1. Degree: architecture; or related field that included 60 semester hours of course work in architecture or related disciplines of which at least (1) 30 semester hours were in architectural design, and (2) 6 semester hours were in each of the following: structural technology, properties of materials and methods of construction, and environmental control systems.

OR

  1. Combination of education and experience — college-level education, training, and/or technical experience that furnished (1) a thorough knowledge of the arts and sciences underlying professional architecture, and (2) a good understanding, both theoretical and practical, of the architectural principles, methods, and techniques and their applications to the design and construction or improvement of buildings. The adequacy of such background must be demonstrated by at least one of the following:
    1. Related Curriculum: Degree in architectural engineering may be accepted as satisfying in full the basic requirements, provided the completed course work in architectural engineering provided knowledge, skills, and abilities substantially equivalent to those provided in the courses specified in paragraph A. The curriculum for a degree in either architecture or architectural engineering covers function, esthetics, site, structure, economics, mechanical-electrical, and other engineering problems related to the design and construction of buildings primarily (but not exclusively) intended to house human activities. The courses required for a degree in architecture generally place emphasis upon planning, esthetics, and materials and methods of construction, while the courses for an architectural engineering degree place equal or greater weight on the technical engineering aspects such as structural systems, mechanical systems, and the properties of materials. Because of this difference in emphasis, persons with degrees in architecture may have a preference for work assignments that offer greater opportunities for them to express their artistic and creative abilities. As a result, they may be more concerned with planning and design aspects of architecture, and persons with degrees in architectural engineering may be more engaged in aspects emphasizing technical engineering considerations.
    2. Experience: An applicant lacking a degree in architecture must have had l year of experience in an architect’s office or in architectural work for each year short of graduation from a program of study in architecture. In the absence of college courses, 5 years of such experience is required. This experience must have demonstrated that the applicant has acquired a thorough knowledge of the fundamental principles and theories of professional architecture.

Alternate Requirements for GS-7:

  1. Successful completion of a 5-year program of study of at least 160 semester hours leading to a Bachelor of Architecture or higher degree in an accredited college or university is qualifying for GS-7.
  2. Applicants with an architecture degree who have appropriate experience as a technician equivalent to grade GS-5 or higher may have such experience credited for grade GS-7 only on a month-for-month basis up to a maximum of 12 months.

(Note: These provisions also apply to graduates of architectural engineering curricula.)

Registration: Candidates registered to practice architecture by one of the State registration boards, using standards in compliance with the basic minimum provisions recommended by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, are recognized as meeting the full requirements for eligibility at GS-11.

Nonqualifying Experience: The following kinds of experience are not acceptable as professional architectural experience: professional landscape architecture work consisting mainly of the layout, design, construction, or maintenance of land areas and landscape features, including ground and water forms, vegetation, roads, walks, incidental structures, and other landscape features; experience in the application of artistic embellishment to practical design such as the decoration of interiors, including the construction, layout, and selection of furniture and furnishings that do not alter the basic architectural design of the interior; city and community planning work that relates to the broad social and economic growth and development of such community services and facilities as industry, commerce, transportation, streets, utilities, and parks.

Architectural Registration as a Selective Factor: Registration as a professional architect is an appropriate selective factor for appointment to certain, typically high-level, architect positions. The key consideration is that registration must be essential for acceptable performance of the work of the position to be filled. Accordingly, it is an appropriate requirement for positions with duties and responsibilities that satisfy one of the following criteria:

  • Responsibility for final approval of design standards and criteria for designs of major buildings and related structures involving public safety where such compliance with State laws meets an essential need of the architectural organization to provide objective evidence to agency management and the public that the work is performed by architects of proven competence.
  • Responsibility for architectural determinations concerning contract awards or other major aspects of design and construction work to be performed by architects in the private sector where registration is essential to have their full confidence and respect to achieve cooperation on critical architectural issues.

Some architect positions in the Federal service have duties and responsibilities that would support a requirement for registration. The position description should clearly document the basis for the registration requirement. It would not be appropriate to require that candidates be registered for positions with less responsibility than that indicated above, for positions that involve responsibilities and functions such as research, or for the sole purpose of improving the “image” of architects in the Federal service. Because of the importance of registration for those positions where it is an appropriate requirement, such positions have been characteristically filled by registered professional architects. If a currently filled position is newly identified as requiring a registered architect, the requirement for registration should be waived for the duration of the employee’s incumbency.

Additional Qualification Requirement: (Excerpted from USAJobs Announcement)

At least one full year of specialized experience comparable in scope and responsibility to the GS-09 level (obtained in either the public or private sectors). This experience must include activities such as: 1) examining architectural drawings, plans, designs, specifications and exhibits for construction projects; (2) performing architectural work in the development and/or design of buildings, runways, utility systems and unimproved, semi-improved and improved roads and grounds; (3) reviewing design calculations, cost estimates, drawings, and specifications to ensure project compliance; and  (4) coordinating all design phases with appropriate managers and staff.

Per the Bureau of Labor Statics, architects held about 112,600 jobs in 2014, with 69 percent employed in architectural, engineering, and related services. About 1 in 5 were self-employed.

Additionally, architects spend much of their time in offices, where they meet with clients, develop reports and drawings, and work with other architects and engineers. They also visit construction sites to ensure clients’ objectives are met and to review the progress of projects.

Architects are a growing field and will be in demand for many years to come.

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Job Listings

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 Qualifications, Job Vacancies, Overseas Jobs

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Posted on Saturday, 18th February 2017 by

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Civil engineers help in the designing, building, operation, and maintaining of construction projects and systems in both the public and private sector.  These types of projects include, roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment.

 

Civil Engineering Jobs

Civil Engineering Jobs

The federal government employs 10,977 civil engineers of which 291 work overseas. The Department of the Army, Navy and Air Force are the largest employer with 6,923 civilians followed by the Department of Transportation with 1,406 and the Department of Interior with 919. There are smaller numbers employed by many other agencies including the DOE, GSA, NASA and others.

Federal Government Requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply
  • The yearly salary for a GS-12/13 is $71,012.00 to $109,781.00 per year

Occupational Profile:

The following information is excerpted from the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) published by the Department of Labor.

Typical Duties:

  • Analyze long range plans, survey reports, maps, and other data in order to plan projects
  • Consider construction costs, government regulations, potential environmental hazards, and other factors in planning the stages of, and risk analysis for, a project
  • Compile and submit permit applications to local, state, and federal agencies, verifying that projects comply with various regulations
  • Perform or oversee soil testing to determine the adequacy and strength of foundations
  • Test building materials, such as concrete, asphalt, or steel, for use in particular projects
  • Provide cost estimates for materials, equipment, or labor to determine a project’s economic feasibility
  • Use design software to plan and design transportation systems, hydraulic systems, and structures in line with industry and government standards
  • Perform or oversee surveying operations in order to establish reference points, grades, and elevations to guide construction
  • Present their findings to the public on topics such as bid proposals, environmental impact statements, or descriptions of property
  • Manage the repair, maintenance, and replacement of public and private infrastructure

Civil engineers inspect projects to insure regulatory compliance. In addition, they are tasked with ensuring that safe work practices are followed at construction sites.

Many civil engineers hold supervisory or administrative positions ranging from supervisor of a construction site to city engineer, public works director, and city manager. Others work in design, construction, research, and teaching. Civil engineers work with others on projects and may be assisted by civil engineering technicians.

Civil engineers prepare permit documents for work on projects in renewable energy. They verify that the projects will comply with federal, state, and local requirements. Regarding solar energy, these engineers conduct structural analyses for large-scale photovoltaic projects. They also evaluate the ability of solar array support structures and buildings to tolerate stresses from wind, seismic activity, and other sources. For large-scale wind projects, civil engineers often prepare roadbeds to handle large trucks that haul in the turbines. In addition, they prepare the sites on the shore or offshore to make sure that the foundations for the turbines will safely keep them upright in expected environmental conditions.

Civil engineers work on complex projects, so they usually specialize in one of several areas:

  • Construction engineers
  • Geotechnical engineers
  • Structural engineers
  • Transportation engineers

Education:

Civil engineers need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, in one of its specialties, or in civil engineering technology. Programs in civil engineering and civil engineering technology include coursework in math, statistics, engineering mechanics and systems, and fluid dynamics, among other courses, depending on the specialty. Courses include a mix of traditional classroom learning, work in laboratories, and fieldwork.

A degree from a program accredited by the ABET is needed to earn the professional engineer (PE) license. In many states, a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering technology also will suffice as an academic requirement for obtaining a license.

About 1 in 4 civil engineers has a master’s degree. Further education after the bachelor’s degree, along with the PE license and previous experience, is helpful in getting a job as a manager.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations:

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as a civil engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, approve design plans, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years working under a licensed engineer
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after earning a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam commonly are called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Each state issues its own licenses. Most states recognize licensure from other states, as long as the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements. Several states require continuing education for engineers to keep their licenses.

GS-0800 Engineering Series (Excerpted from USAJobs job announcement)

Basic Requirements for all Grades:

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

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

Professional registration — Current registration as a professional engineer by any State, the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico. Absent other means of qualifying under this standard, those applicants who achieved such registration by means other than written test (e.g., State grandfather or eminence provisions) are eligible only for positions that are within or closely related to the specialty field of their registration. For example, an applicant who attains registration through a State Board’s eminence provision as a manufacturing engineer typically would be rated eligible only for manufacturing engineering positions.

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

Applicants who have passed the EIT examination and have completed all the requirements for either (a) a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology (BET) from an accredited college of university that included 60 semester hours of courses in the physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences, or (b) a BET from a program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) may be rated eligible for certain engineering positions at GS-5.
Specified academic courses — Successful completion of at least 60 semester hours of courses in the physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences and in engineering that included the courses specified in the basic requirements.

Related curriculum — Successful completion of a curriculum leading to a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology or in an appropriate professional field, e.g., physics, chemistry, architecture, computer science, mathematics, hydrology, or geology, may be accepted in lieu of a degree in engineering, provided the applicant has had at least 1 year of professional engineering experience acquired under professional engineering supervision and guidance.

When applying for a GS-13 position these additional requirements apply:

You have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-12 grade level that included advising and providing in-depth experience in design, construction and the processes of construction management; applying extensive knowledge in managing, planning, organizing, directing, coordinating and evaluating of activities of a project and the monitoring of budgets.

When applying for a GS-12 position these additional requirements apply:

You have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-11 grade level that included providing technical assistance; preparing and reviewing designs; planning and managing construction, operation and maintenance and dealing effectively with complex and sensitive issues that affect project operation.

The employment of civil engineers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2014 to 2024 per the Bureau of Labor Statics.  Our infrastructure will continue to age, civil engineers will be needed to rebuild bridges, roads, dams, airports, buildings and other structures and  this will be a growing field for years to come.

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, Civil Service Tests, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies, Overseas Jobs

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Posted on Wednesday, 1st February 2017 by

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Statisticians know how important data is and how to use it wisely. Data and its applications are essential aspects in all agencies and businesses alike.

The federal government employs 3,127 statisticians of which 1 works overseas. The largest employer is Health and Human Services with 565 followed by the Department of Commerce with 381 and the Department of Agriculture with 148. All cabinet level agencies, except for the State Department, hire in this group. There are also opportunities for employment at some large independent agencies such as the EPA that employs 24 mathematical statisticians.

Requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • Salary is $63,772.00 to $99,296.00 per year.

Job Listings

Occupational Profile

According to  the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) published by the Department of Labor statisticians design surveys, questionnaires, experiments, and opinion polls to collect the data they need. Surveys may be mailed, conducted over the phone, collected online, or gathered through some other means.

Some surveys, such as the U.S. census, include data from nearly everyone. For most surveys and opinion polls, however, statisticians use sampling to collect data from some people in a particular group. Statisticians determine the type and size of the sample to be surveyed or polled.

Statisticians use specialized statistical software to analyze data. In their analyses, statisticians identify trends and relationships within the data. They also conduct tests to find out the data’s validity and to account for high survey nonresponse rates or sampling error. Some statisticians may help create new software to analyze data more accurately and efficiently.

Statisticians present the findings from their analyses and discuss the data’s limitations to prevent inaccurate conclusions from being drawn. They may present written reports, tables, charts, and graphs to other team members and to clients. Statisticians also recommend how to improve the design of future surveys or experiments.

Statisticians work in many fields, such as education, marketing, psychology, sports, or any other field that requires the collection and analysis of data. In particular, government, healthcare, and research and development companies employ many statisticians.

Government. Statisticians working in government develop and analyze surveys that collect a variety of data, including unemployment rates, wages, and other estimates pertaining to jobs and workers. Other statisticians help to figure out the average level of pesticides in drinking water, the number of endangered species living in a particular area, or the number of people who have a certain disease.

Some statisticians employed by the federal government are known as mathematical statisticians.

HealthcareStatisticians known as biostatisticians or biometricians work in pharmaceutical companies, public health agencies, or hospitals. They may design studies to test whether drugs successfully treat diseases or medical conditions. They may also help identify the sources of outbreaks of illnesses in humans and animals.

Research and development. Statisticians design experiments for product testing and development. For instance, they may help design experiments to see how car engines perform when exposed to extreme weather conditions. Statisticians may also help develop marketing strategies and prices for consumer goods.

Statisticians often collaborate with other occupations in the design and conduct of the research.

Some people with a degree in statistics or who collect and analyze statistical data may not be formally known as statisticians. Instead, they may work in related fields and professions. In some industries, for example, they may be known as quantitative analysts, market research analysts, data analysts, or data scientists.

Required Skills

Analytical skills. Statisticians use statistical techniques and models to analyze large amounts of data. They must determine the appropriate software packages and understand computer programming languages to design and develop new techniques and models. They must also be precise and accurate in their analyses.

Communication skills. Statisticians often work with, and propose solutions to, people who do not have extensive knowledge of mathematics or statistics. They must be able to present statistical information and ideas so that others will understand.

Math skills. Statisticians use statistics, calculus, and linear algebra to develop their models and analyses.

Problem-solving skills. Statisticians must develop techniques to overcome problems in data collection and analysis, such as high nonresponsive rates, so that they can draw meaningful conclusions.

Duties

  • Initiate investigations based on observations in program assignment areas.
  • Select and modify statistical techniques and methods to produce accurate and timely data.
  • Analyze findings, evaluate statistical limitations of data, and specifies the range of logical possible explanations.
  • Prepare documentation of procedures, findings, and problems encountered with recommendations.
  • Plan procedures for collecting and tabulating data, recommends new or improved methods and present findings.

GS-1530 Statisticians (Excerpted from a USAJobs job announcement)

Basic Requirements:

  • Degree: that included 15 semester hours in statistics (or in mathematics and statistics, provided at least 6 semester hours were in statistics), and 9 additional semester hours in one or more of the following: physical or biological sciences, medicine, education, or engineering; or in the social sciences including demography, history, economics, social welfare, geography, international relations, social or cultural anthropology, health sociology, political science, public administration, psychology, etc. Credit toward meeting statistical course requirements should be given for courses in which 50 percent of the course content appears to be statistical methods, e.g., courses that included studies in research methods in psychology or economics such as tests and measurements or business cycles, or courses in methods of processing mass statistical data such as tabulating methods or electronic data processing.
  • Combination of education and experience — The experience should have included a full range of professional statistical work such as (a) sampling, (b) collecting, computing, and analyzing statistical data, and (c) applying statistical techniques such as measurement of central tendency, dispersion, skewness, sampling error, simple and multiple correlation, analysis of variance, and tests of significance.

Additional Requirements 

  • You have had at least one year of professional work experience, equivalent to the GS-09 grade level in the Federal Service, where your analytical approaches and results were very generally reviewed for technical and professional adequacy.
  • Your assignments required that you select and adapt standard statistical techniques from text books, handbooks, or other professional literature for a variety of problems when related precedents were available.

Your assignments included work in all of the following areas:

  1. designing and developing specifications for data collection and data processing requirements, operating procedures, training materials, and operational schedules for statistical studies and surveys.
  2. selecting and applying advanced statistical analysis to socio/economic or demographic data, and developing professional papers or reports on such data; or you have had at least one year of experience supervising field data collection activities in large scale statistical surveys or studies.

When applying for a GS-12 position these additional requirements apply:

  • You had at least one year of professional work experience, equivalent to the GS-11 grade level in the Federal Service, where your work was generally reviewed only for adherence to accepted professional standards.
  • Your assignments regularly required that you develop solutions to difficult statistical or analytical problems that did not have readily available precedents, establish analytical methodology, design sampling and estimation procedures for surveys, document work results and findings, and prepare oral and written technical reports.

Your assignments included responsibility for all of the following:

  1. Independently leading a team to plan a statistical survey or study,
  2. Developing survey and data collection specifications,
  3. Establishing time schedules for various phases of survey operations,
  4. Coordinating the accomplishment and management of the various phases of the study or survey.
  5. Making presentations and planning the analysis of the socioeconomic or demographic data developed by the survey or study.

The statistician (GS-1530) position is utilized throughout government and in many areas.

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, Overseas Jobs

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Posted on Thursday, 19th January 2017 by

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The U.S. Border Patrol is one of our nation’s largest border security agencies, protecting the American people from terrorism, human and drug smuggling, and illegal migration. More than 20,000 Border Patrol Agents protect our way of life 24/7, safeguarding nearly 6,000 miles of land border the United States shares with Canada and Mexico, and more than 2,000 miles of coastal waters.

The U.S. Government needs 1700 new Border Patrol Agents.  The new administration will be placing more emphasis on improving the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) service.

The CBP has two new job announcements that opened on January 08, 2017, both will close on February 07, 2017. Here are the links for these announcements:

Some of the hiring locations in the United States include: Arizona, South and West Texas/New Mexico.

For a unique perspective on the human side of being a Border Patrol Agent, read the article titled Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer Jobs that includes interviews with three Border Patrol Agents.

Qualifications and Other Job Requirements

The position starts at a salary of $40,511 (GL-5 grade level), and offers promotion potential in 4 years to the GS-12 grade level with a salary of $72,168.

Some changes to the qualifications have recently been implemented including an increase in the maximum age that applicants can be at the time of their appointment from 37 to 40 years old, and there is a waiver process if you are a veteran.

You must be a U.S. citizen to apply for the position.

Formal Training:  Attend the U.S. Border Patrol Academy in Artesia, New Mexico, for approximately 11 weeks of intensive instruction in immigration and nationality laws, law enforcement and Border Patrol-specific operations, drivers training, physical techniques, firearms, and other courses. All applicants will be tested on language abilities. If you score below an established benchmark, you will attend an additional 8-week Spanish language class at the border patrol academy, which will extend your stay to 19 weeks.

Firearm Proficiency: Firearm proficiency is required for Border Patrol Agents and is part of the training provided.

Driver’s License: You must possess a valid driver’s license.

One year of specialized work experience in law enforcement that demonstrates the ability to make arrests which includes the detainment of a person(s), handcuffing, restraining, arresting or containment of person(s) and/or have one year of specialized work experience that demonstrates the ability to develop and maintain contact with a network of informants, social and political organizations, state and local enforcement agencies, and private citizens, to ensure continuity of enforcement work and to carry out enforcement responsibilities.

Border Patrol Agents serve our country and protect the United States.

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 Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies, Law Enforcement jobs

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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.

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

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal 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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