skip navigation links
USGS - science for a changing world

Human Capital Services and Support

We Are USGS!

Oceanographer, GS-1360

Definitions:

EXPERIENCE: One year of work experience is twelve months working full-time (at least 35-40 hours per week). Part-time experience can be pro-rated (i.e., a year at 20 hours per week is credited as 6 months of experience). If your position consisted of mixed duties, experience credit is given for the percentage of time that you spent on qualifying duties (i.e., if you held a position for 2 years, full-time,consisting of 25% personnel work and 75% budget work, and then applied for a budget position you could calculate your experience as follows: 2 yrs = 24 months. 24 months x 75% [percentage of time spent on budget duties] = 18 months of qualifying experience.)

UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION: A year of undergraduate education is 30 semester hours, 45 quarter hours or the equivalent of college study. This education must have been obtained in an accredited college or university for which high school graduation or the equivalent was a prerequisite.

GRADUATE EDUCATION: In the absence of specific graduate program information, a year of graduate education is 18 semester hours or 27 quarter hours of graduate level college course work, or the number of credit hours the school attended has determined to represent 1 year of full time study. This education must have been obtained in an accredited college or university.

For GS-05:

BASIC EDUCATION REQUIREMENT: Applicants must meet A or B below to satisfy the basic education requirement for Oceanographer, all grade levels.

A. Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree with major study of at least 24 semester hours or the equivalent in oceanography or related discipline such as physics, meteorology, geophysics, mathematics, chemistry, engineering, geology, or biology, plus 20 additional semester hours or the equivalent in any combination of oceanography, physics, geophysics, chemistry, mathematics, meteorology, computer science, and engineering sciences.

** OR

B. A combination of education and experience-course work as shown in "A" above (24 semester hours or the equivalent in oceanography or a related discipline as specified in "A" above, plus 20 additional semester hours or the equivalent in any combination of courses as specified in "A" above), plus appropriate experience and/or additional education for a total of 4 years. The education or combined education and experience must be comparable in type, scope and thoroughness to that acquired through successful completion of a 4-year course of study as described in "A" above. (CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS ON HOW TO COMBINE EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE)

NOTE: Applicants who qualify on the basis of major study in biology or geology must have had at least 6 semester hours in the major directly concerned with marine science or 6 semester hours in oceanography; applicants who qualify on the basis of other physical sciences or engineering must have had differential and integral calculus and at last 6 semester hours in physics.

For GS-07:

In addition to the basic education requirement as stated above, applicants must meet one of the following to qualify for the GS-07 level:

**One year of successfully completed graduate level education (18 semester hours, 27 quarter hours or the equivalent) in oceanography or other directly related field of study if it provided the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work of the position to be filled.

**OR Superior Academic Achievement based on undergraduate study. (CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON SUPERIOR ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT).

**OR one year of appropriate professional experience that is in or related to the duties of the position to be filled is qualifying if it is equivalent in level of difficulty and responsibility to at least the GS-5 level in the Federal service, and if it equipped the applicant with the knowledge, skills and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position.

Examples of GS-5 level experience may include: 1) learning to make sea and swell observations, meteorological observations, transparency measurements, record observations and measurements, or obtain water samples and temperatures; 2) being exposed to seagoing deep-ocean or near-shore surveys; 3) screening, compiling and abstracting a limited variety of data for higher-grade oceanographers from expedition reports, scientific articles, etc. For examples 1-3, the work involved receiving clear, specific and detailed instructions as to the methods, techniques, procedures and guidelines to use.

**OR a combination of successfully completed graduate level education, as described above, and professional experience, as described above. (CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS ON HOW TO COMBINE GRADUATE EDUCATUION & EXPERIENCE)

For GS-09:

In addition to the basic education requirement as stated above, applicants must meet one of the following to qualify for the GS-09 level:

**Two years of progressively higher-level graduate education (36 semester hours or 54 quarter hours) leading to a Master's degree in oceanography or other directly related field of study or Master's or equivalent graduate degree in oceanography or other related field of study if it provided the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to do the work of the position to be filled.

**OR one year of appropriate professional experience in oceanography that is equivalent to at least the GS-07 level in the Federal service

Examples of such experience may include: 1) reviewing technical records to codify information on ocean stations; 2) plotting significant results of ocean surveys on charts; 3) preparing ocean station technical descriptions; 4) calculating temperature, salinity, oxygen and depth from Nansen bottle observations; 5) analyzing bathythermograph observations, graphing hourly recordings taken at fixed positions which depict change in the thermal structure of the water and internal waves; 6) analyzing ocean circulation data from drift bottle studies; 7) preparing computer programs for processing oceanographic data. For examples 1-7, the work involved receiving fairly close supervision and following established methods and procedures, or detailed instructions; using some judgment in locating and selecting the most appropriate guides and references to apply; and independently completing recurring assignments, but referring deviations, problems and unfamiliar situations to a designated person for decision or help.

**OR a combination of successfully completed graduate level education, as described above, that is beyond the first year of progressive graduate study and professional experience, as described above. (CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS ON HOW TO COMBINE GRADUATE EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE)

For GS-11:

In addition to the basic education requirement as stated above, applicants must meet one of the following to qualify for the GS-11 level:

**Three years of progressively higher level graduate education (54 semester hours, 81 quarter hours or the equivalent) leading to a Ph.D. degree in oceanography or other directly related field of study or Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree in oceanography or other directly related field of study if it provided the knowledge, skill and abilities necessary to do the work of the position to be filled.

**OR one year of appropriate professional experience in oceanography that is equivalent to at least the GS-09 level in the Federal service.

Examples of such experience may include: 1) planning, conducting and analyzing parachute drogue and surface float and depth observations to determine the nature of the tidal and nontidal currents in calculating the mass transport of ocean circulation within a limited ocean area; 2) planning and conducting continuing drift bottle studies of limited areas of the ocean to obtain information on the surface characteristics of circulating water masses; 3) planning, developing and preparing seismic sea wave travel-time charts and data used in implementing the seismic sea wave warning system, requiring computation of directional courses and time increments based on ocean depth studies; 4) preparing tentative wave and ice forecasts for limited areas based upon analysis of synoptic charts; 5) preparing continuous temperature and dept profiles, searching for unusual anomalies, and make preliminary conclusions. For examples 1-5, the work involved selecting and making minor adaptations to procedures and accepted practices and handling unexpected conditions arising in the normal course of the work. At this level, oceanographers have the ability to independently perform moderately difficult and responsible scientific work.

**OR a combination of successfully completed graduate level education, as described above, that is beyond the second year of progressive graduate study and professional experience, as described above.

For GS-12:

In addition to the basic education requirement as stated above, applicants must have one year of appropriate professional experience in oceanography this is equivalent to at least the GS-11 level in the Federal service.

Examples of such experience may include: 1) independent responsibility for an oceanographic study, or for the oceanographic phase of a combined marine science study, e.g. measurement of acoustical phenomena, taking of systematic marine sedimentation samples, etc.; planning and preparing technical and operational specifications for such a study; directing technical survey operations for his/her phase of the project; and preparing scientific reports setting forth appropriate data and their interpretation; 2) searching the literature, including domestic and foreign technical reports on ocean phenomena; assembling and selecting pertinent data for analysis and interpretation; and preparing scientific manuscripts which consolidate, correlate and interpret the significance of data from various sources of an ocean phenomenon, e.g., the prediction of tides, the measurement of currents, etc. For examples 1-2, the work typically involved conventional methods and techniques though it required going beyond clear precedents, and required adapting methods to the problems at hand and interpreting findings in terms of their scientific significance. At this level, Oceanographers have the ability to independently perform scientific work of considerable difficulty.

For GS-13:

In addition to the basic education requirement as stated above, applicants must have one year of appropriate professional experience in oceanography that is equivalent to at least the GS-12 level in the Federal service.

Examples of such experience could include planning, executing and reporting on original oceanographic studies or ongoing oceanographic studies requiring a fresh approach to resolve new problems. The complexity of this work typically required extensive modification and adaptation of standard procedures, methods, and techniques, and the development of totally new methods and techniques to address novel or obscure problems for which guidelines or precedents were not substantially applicable. At this level, oceanographers have extensive knowledge of the principles of oceanography and highly developed ability in their application, and wide latitude for the exercise of independent judgment to perform scientific work of marked difficulty and responsibility.

For GS-14:

In addition to the basic education requirement as stated above, applicants must have one year of appropriate professional experience in oceanography that is equivalent to at least the GS-13 level in the Federal service.

Examples of such experience may include serving as a senior expert involved in oceanographic work for which technical problem definitions, methods and/or data were highly incomplete, controversial, or uncertain and whose evaluations and recommendations were accepted by others as those of a technical expert in oceanography. At this level, oceanographers typically represent an authoritative source of consultation for other scientists and program specialists, are called upon to resolve issues that significantly affect oceanographic programs, make long range and controversial proposals and defend their findings and recommendations in public or high level forums.

For GS-15:

In addition to the basic education requirement as stated above, applicants must have one year of appropriate professional experience in oceanography that is equivalent to at least the GS-14 level in the Federal service.

Examples of such experience may include investigations that involved highly unstructured and interconnected problems involving both difficult technology and complex human relations or programmatic issues, which resulted in significant effects over a wide region or multiple program areas, or may have included responsibility for new critical technology. The expertise gained from this experience has made me an expert technical resource to others in my field



  Latest News
  Questions?

Conflict Management | Employee & Career Development | Human Resources |
Organization Development | Pay & Benefits | Performance & Conduct | Staffing & Workforce

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: https://www2.usgs.gov/humancapital/sw/quals/1360.html
Page Contact Information: hcweb@usgs.gov
Page Last Modified: Friday, 02-May-2014 09:15:06 EDT