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Job opening: Soil Scientist

Salary: $49 025 - 59 966 per year
Published at: Jan 24 2024
Employment Type: Full-time
The Recent Graduates Program affords developmental experiences in the Federal Government intended to promote possible careers in the civil service to individuals who have recently graduated from qualifying educational institutions or programs. Current students who are scheduled to graduate within nine months may also apply to these positions. However, these students cannot be appointed until after graduation and the official degree has been awarded and conferred.


Duties listed are at the GS-09 performance level. Conducts reconnaissance and detailed soil surveys including field and/or laboratory examination, description, classification, and mapping of soils. Prepares soil survey reports, watershed restoration plans, erosion control plans, soil resource improvement plans, soil management reports, and other special project reports for planners, designers, managers, and other users. Compiles reports on classification and mapping operations. Identifies alternative soil management practices for different groups of soils. Follows established Forest Service procedures to evaluate, assess, and adjust complex project or program plans to implement provisions of federal environmental standards. Analyzes soils and related information and prepares appropriate interpretative material to develop land management functional and resource plans for timber, water, range, recreation, and wildlife. Analyzes soils and related information and prepares appropriate interpretative material to develop land management functional and resource plans as guidelines for engineering soil stability and erosion control protection.


  • Positions filled from this announcement may be a bargaining or a non-bargaining unit position represented by either NFFE, AFGE or NAGE.
  • Must be at least 16 years of age and meet education requirements.
  • Must be suitable for Federal employment as determined by a background investigation.
  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or National at the time of non-competitive conversion to a term or permanent position in the competitive service.
  • Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to a financial institution of their choosing.
  • Successfully pass the E-Verify employment verification check. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, visit www.dhs.gov/E-Verify/.
  • The incumbents of Recent Graduate positions may be reassigned/relocated to any geographical location where the employee's services are needed as determined by management. Mobility agreement may be required.
  • Males born after 12-31-59 must be registered for Selective Service.
  • May be required to successfully complete a probationary/trial period.
  • A signed participant agreement is required for employment under Pathways.


You are required to meet the eligibility requirements of the Recent Graduate program, as described below in order to be considered for this position. You must meet all the eligibility and qualification requirements by the closing date of the announcement. For more information on the qualifications for this position, go to: Soil Science Series GS-0470 The minimum qualification requirements for each grade level of this vacancy announcement are described below: RECENT GRADUATES PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY To be eligible, you must meet one of the following requirements: Completed all requirements for an associates, bachelors, masters, professional, doctorate, vocational, or technical degree or certificate from a qualifying educational institution within the previous two years; OR If you are a current student who is in the process of completing your degree, academic documentation must accompany your application package to validate your upcoming graduation date (you must complete all degree requirements within nine months of the application closing date to be considered a Recent Graduate); OR Due to military service obligation, you were precluded from applying to the Recent Graduate Program during any portion of the two-year eligibility period described above. This eligibility period cannot extend more than six years from the date on which the requirement for the academic degree or certificate was received. You must possess the qualifications requirements identified below to be considered qualified for this position. Your application or resume must clearly show that you possess the experience requirements. Transcripts must be provided for qualifications based on education. Provide course descriptions as necessary. Basic Requirement: Degree: Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree that included a major field of study in soil science or a closely related discipline that included 30 semester hours or equivalent in biological, physical, or earth science, with a minimum of 15 semester hours in such subjects as soil genesis, pedology, soil chemistry, soil physics, and soil fertility. OR Combination of education and experience: courses equivalent to a major in soil science or a related discipline that included at least 30 semester hours in the biological, physical, or earth sciences. At least 15 of these semester hours must have been in the areas specified in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education. In addition to the requirements described above, the following additional education and/or experience are required for the grade(s) specified. Specialized Experience Requirement: 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. For the GS-07: You must have one year specialized experience equivalent to the GS-05 in the Federal service. Specialized experience is defined as two or more of the following: collecting basic data from on the-ground observations to determine rangeland activity suitability, ecological heath, ecological status, trend and grazing capacity of the rangeland resource; gathering basic information for rangeland vegetation programs and monitoring strategies and activity permits for compliance and on-the-ground results; and/or assisting with rangeland improvement projects and maintenance OR 1 full year of graduate level education OR An appropriate combination of graduate level education and specialized experience. OR Superior Academic Achievement. Please note that Superior Academic Achievement cannot be applied unless you have graduated and have been awarded the degree (the final GPA is required). The education must have been obtained in an accredited college or university and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work. For the GS-09: One Year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-07 grade level; Examples of qualifying specialized experience include two or more of the following: Conducted standard forest soil resource inventories and watershed restoration needs inventories; Collected soil samples for laboratory analysis to determine physical, chemical, and morphological characteristics; Assisted in writing watershed restoration plans soil management plans, and special project reports; Analyzed soils and related information and prepared interpretative material which characterizes watershed conditions. OR 2 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's degree or master's or equivalent graduate degree. OR An appropriate combination of specialized experience and education (only graduate education in excess of 18 semester hours may be used to qualify applicants for this grade level). The education must have been obtained in an accredited college or university and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work.


Education completed in foreign colleges and universities may be used if it has been accredited or evaluated by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Note regarding certificate programs: A certificate program is defined as a post-secondary education, in a qualifying education institution, equivalent to at least one academic year of full-time study that is part of an accredited college-level, technical, trade, vocational, or business school curriculum. While recently graduating from a certificate program may afford you Recent Graduate Program eligibility, it may not be sufficient in terms of qualification standards for the series and/or the grade level.

This position has a positive education requirement, as outlined above under basic qualifications. The term positive education requirement refers to an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) determination that the duties of a scientific, technical, or professional position cannot be performed by an individual that does not have the prescribed minimum education. For additional information on the qualification standards for the 1350 series, visit the OPM Qualifications Standard found at: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/0400/soil-science-series-0470/.


This announcement is associated with the 2024 Society for Range Management (SRM) recruitment event. The target start date for these positions is Spring 2024.

Please click this link to see the Career Map for these positions.

If you have questions regarding duty locations in this announcement please email [email protected]. Please include the announcement number and the exact location(s) for which you have questions in your email.

The duty locations listed in this announcement include primary and alternate locations for available positions. You must select all duty locations for which you wish to be considered; final duty location for each position will be determined at the time of selection.

Selecting the "Location Negotiable after Selection" option in addition to selecting your preferred specific duty locations, implies your willingness to accept positions to alternative duty locations that may or may not have been indicated in this announcement. Selecting this duty location option may increase your chances of receiving an offer.

This position is being concurrently announced under Merit Promotion procedures as announcement number 24-NPT-SRM-470-79-FS-NSC. Current federal employees may apply to both announcements. This position may be filled at the GS-07 or GS-09 grade level with promotion potential to the GS-11.

Positions filled from this announcement may be a bargaining or a non-bargaining unit position represented by either NFFE, AFGE or NAGE.


  • Name: HRM Contact Center
  • Phone: 1-877-372-7248 X2
  • Email: [email protected]