National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Lead Microbiologist, ZP-0403-3 (DE/CR) in Pascagoula, Mississippi

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • 1 vacancy - Pascagoula, MS
Work Schedule is Full Time / Career or Career-Conditional - Permanent

Opened Thursday 10/13/2016 (10 day(s) ago)

** Closes Monday 10/24/2016 (1 day(s) away)

Job Overview

About the Agency

This position is located in the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS), Office of Sustainable Fisheries (OSF), National Seafood Inspection Laboratory (NSIL) in Pascagoula, MS. NSIL provides analytical laboratory, data management, regulatory compliance risk analysis, and trade monitoring expertise to meet NOAA's fishery management and seafood safety responsibilities.

This position will be filled under the DOC Alternative Personnel System (CAPS). This system replaced the Federal GS pay plan and structure. Under CAPS, positions are classified by career, pay plan, and pay band. The ZP-3 is equivalent to the GS-11/12.

The full performance level of this position is ZP-3.

This position is also announced under vacancy number NMFS-SF-2017-0001, which is open to status candidates. You must apply to both announcements if you want to be considered for both.

  • A one year probationary period may be required.

  • Payment of relocation expenses is not authorized.

  • Payment of recruitment incentives is authorized.

  • Selected applicants may qualify for credit toward annual leave accrual based on prior non-federal work experience or uniformed service experience.

  • This position is not in the bargaining unit.

NOTES:*This vacancy may be used to fill other Lead Microbiologist, ZP-0403-3 positions throughout NOAA. The position must be alike (e.g.: within the same geographic locations, same grade/band requires the same qualifications as indicated in this vacancy announcement).

This position has a selective placement factor: Substantive experience conducting microbiological testing and analysis of seafood products or bi-products for pathogenic and non-pathogenic organisms.

*Your application materials must clearly demonstrate this experience. Failure to do so will result in your application being marked as ineligible.


As a Lead Microbiologist, you will perform the following duties:

  • Lead a small team of microbiologists and technicians conducting analyses of microbiological (pathogenic and non-pathogenic organisms) and biochemical hazards in seafood products and bi-products, such as fish meal and fish oil, using microbiological techniques, including aseptic handling of samples, media preparation, plate counts, MPNs, and molecular analytical techniques.
  • Lead and coach the microbiology analytical team on appropriate methods and priorities while coordinating work plans and schedules to accomplish tasks and achieve the National Seafood Inspection Lab’s (NSIL) goals and objectives, including coordinating the NOAA Aquatic Animal Bi-Products Program for NSIL.
  • Comply with and help define the NSIL ISO 17025 program and requirements, lab quality and safety, hazardous materials and waste policies and procedures to ensure proper laboratory techniques are applied and a safe work environment is maintained.
  • Compile and analyze data using various computer software packages and prepares reports as required, ensuring precise and detailed records of sample custody and analytical data.
Travel Required
  • Occasional Travel
  • Up to 10% of domestic travel may be required
Relocation Authorized
  • No
Job Requirements
Key Requirements
  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or National to apply.
  • Required to pass a background investigation and fingerprint check.
  • Must be suitable for Federal employment.
  • Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable (
  • Qualifications requirements must be met by closing date of announcement.

Qualification requirements in the vacancy announcements are based on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Qualification Standards Handbook, which contains federal qualification standards. This handbook is available on the Office of Personnel Management's website located at:

BASIC REQUIREMENTS: This position requires applicants to meet a Basic Education Requirement in addition to at least one year of specialized experience or a substitution of education for experience in order to be found minimally qualified. You MUST meet one of the following basic education requirements:

A. Degree: microbiology; or biology, chemistry, or basic medical science that included at least 20 semester hours in microbiology and other subjects related to the study of microorganisms, and 20 semester hours in the physical and mathematical sciences combining course work in organic chemistry or biochemistry, physics, and college algebra, or their equivalent.


B. Combination of education and experience: courses equivalent to a major in microbiology, biology, chemistry, or basic medical science that included courses as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations e.g., professional; philanthropic, religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies; knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

To qualify at the ZP-3 or GS-11 level:

SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: In addition to meeting the Basic Requirements above, applicants must also possess one full year (52 weeks) of specialized experience equivalent to the ZP-2 or GS-09 in the Federal service. Specialized experience MUST include all of the following:

  • Overseeing lab functions for staff performing analysis of seafood products and bi-products and microbiological and biochemical hazards using traditional microbiological methods and molecular analytical techniques;
  • Reviewing lab processes to ensure that proper microbiological lab processes are followed; ensure results meet lab standards and to recommend improvements; and
  • Ensuring the lab is current on microbiological methods for seafood safety and lab staff is properly trained to ensure quality work products. OR

EDUCATION: A Ph.D. or equivalent graduate degree or three years of graduate education leading to such a degree with a major study in microbiology, or specific area of study such as bacteriology, virology, mycology, algology, protozoology, parasitology, immunology, serology, microbial genetics, or soil microbiology; or specific applied fields of microbiology such as clinical and public health microbiology, food technology, production processes, industrial fermentation, pollution, etc. Graduate study in related fields such as experimental pathology, infectious diseases, epidemiology, biochemistry, animal or plant physiology, genetics, plant pathology, and insect disease control, may also be pertinent, provided it has direct application to microbiological work.


COMBINATION: An equivalent combination of graduate level education and specialized experience is qualifying.

Note: Only graduate education in excess of two years is qualifying for combination.

SELECTIVE FACTOR: In addition to meeting the above, applicants must also possess substantive experience conducting microbiological testing and analysis of seafood products or bi-products for pathogenic and non-pathogenic organisms.

*Your application materials must clearly demonstrate this experience. Failure to do so will result in your application being marked as ineligible.

*College Transcript:*If you are qualifying based on education, submit a copy of your college transcript that lists college courses detailing each course by the number and department (i.e., bio 101, math 210, etc.), course title, number of credit hours and grade earned. You must submit evidence that any education completed in a foreign institution is equivalent to U.S. education standards with your resume. You may submit an unofficial copy of the transcript at the initial phase of the application process. If course content cannot be easily identified from the title of the course as listed on your transcript, you must submit an official course description from the college/university that reflects the content at the time the course was taken.

*Note: Your college transcript is used to verify successful completion of degree, or college course work. An official college transcript will be required before you can report to duty.*

Applicants must meet ALL application requirements, to include a complete online resume, by 11:59 p.m. EASTERN TIME (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.

Security Clearance

Public Trust - Background Investigation

Additional Information
What To Expect Next

You will be notified of your application status through USAJOBS at four points during the hiring process, as applicable. You can check the status of your application by accessing the USAJOBS website at and clicking on “Track Your Online Application.” The four points of notification are:

  1. Application Received or Application Incomplete
  2. Minimum Qualification Requirement Met or Minimum Qualification Not Met;
  3. Eligible (Application Referred to the Selecting Official) or Eligible (Application Not Referred to the Selecting Official); and
  4. Selected or Not Selected.

Review our benefits

Other Information

ICTAP candidates will be eligible if it is determined that they have exceeded the minimum qualifications for the position by attaining at least a rating of Silver (Well Qualified). Information about ICTAP eligibility is on the Office of Personnel Management’s Career Transition Resources website at: Employee Guide to Career Transition

ICTAP applicants MUST submit the following documents:

  1. A copy of your RIF separation notice; notice of proposed removal for failure to relocate; notice of disability annuity termination; certification from your former agency that it cannot place you after your recovery from a compensable injury; or certification from the National Guard Bureau or Military Department that you are eligible for disability retirement;
  2. A copy of your SF-50 “Notification of Personnel Action” documenting your RIF separation, noting your positions, grade level, and duty location, and/or Agency certification of inability to place you through RPL, etc;
  3. A copy of your latest performance appraisal including your rating; and
  4. Any documentation from your agency that shows your current promotion potential. NOAA participates in e-Verify. E-Verify is an Internet based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) that enables participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees.

Salary Range: $59,246.00 to $92,316.00 / Per Year

Series & Grade: ZP-0403-3/3

Promotion Potential: 3

Supervisory Status: No

Who May Apply: All qualified United States Citizens or Nationals.

Control Number: 453224300

Job Announcement Number: NMFS-SF-2017-0002