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Help from the new Federal Career Directory on ... how to apply for a federal job.

To apply for an entry level position with the Federal Government, you must first find out what category of jobs you qualify for and then determine how best to apply within the category selected. Categories of jobs encompass (1) a large catch-all group called "Administrative Careers With America," covering a majority of entry level administrative and professional positions, many not requiring a specific college degree; (2) specialized occupations, which do have specific educational requirements; (3) technical occupations; and (4) clerical and administrative support positions.

Sorting through the categories and applying for a job can get complicated. But the new Federal Career Directory gives some useful pointers. The following information is based principally on material in the directory.

Administrative Careers With


The Administrative Careers category covers a wide range of entry level administrative and professional occupations, many of which do not have specific course requirements, although most require a college degree or equivalent work experience. About 100 types of jobs are filled through this program using one of two application methods--a written examination or an application based on scholastic achievement, reflected by grade point average (GPA). You may apply for jobs under this program when you are within 9 months of graduation, or upon completion of the qualifying academic courses or 3 years of work experience. The positions in this category usually start at General Schedule (GS) grade 5 ($16,973 per year) or 7 ($21,023), depending on qualifications. Beginning salaries are 8 percent higher in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Under the Administrative Careers program, written examinations are offered in each of sic occupational groups. You can apply to take one or more tests from the following occupational groups.

Group I Health, safety, and environmental

Group II Writing and public information

Group III Business, finance, and management

Group IV Personnel, administration, and computers

Group V Benefits review, tax, and legal

Group VI Law enforcement and investigation

Each examination consists of two parts: A written test and a multiple-choice Individual Achievement6 Record (IAR) questionnaire. The written test is an assessment of job-relevant abilities, mostly reasoning. The IAR is a biographical questionnaire that is intended to assess job-relevant characteristics other than reasoning ability. When you apply to take an examination, you will get a descriptive booklet that includes sample questions.

If you wish to take more than one examination, you will need a separate application package for each one. Examinations are conducted as needed for Group I and II jobs and continuously for Groups III-VI.

You may also apply for one of the entry level professional positions based on your scholastic record, without taking a test. To do this, you must be a college graduate and have a GPA of 3.5 or higher, based on a 4.0 scale, for all completed undergraduate course work; or have graduated in the upper 10 percent of your class. Federal agencies with vacancies can hire you directly on the basis of your GPA or scholastic standing. This can occur when Federal representatives schedule recruiting visits to your campus. Or you can apply directly to the Federal agencies of your choice.

Sixteen entry level positions under the Administrative Careers With America program do not require a written test, but do require the completion of specific college course work. The 16 positions are:

* archaeology

* archival work (archivist)

* community planning

* economics

* educational programming

* foreign affairs

* general anthropology

* general education and training

* geography

* history

* international relations

* manpower research and analysis

* museum management (curator)

* psychology

* social science

* sociology

Applications for these 16 nontest positions can be submitted to an area office of the OPM only after the area office annouces there are vacancies to fill. Hiring for these positions is limited. When vacancies occur, you can be considered by receiving a rating based on evaluation of your education and work experience, or by meeting the GPA/scholastic provisions previously outlines and completing the specific course work required. A Federal agency can hire you directly if you meet the GPA/scholastic provisions.

Although opportunities for employment under the Administrative Careers program vary among occupations, groups III, IV, V, and VI are likely to offer the greatest employment opportunities with the Government. For information on all entry level opporunities available, call the Career America College Hotline (see box) or contact one of the OPM Federal Job Information Centers.

Specialized Occupations

This category covers occupations that require the completion of certain college level courses. A degree in the field normally meets the job requirements. No written test is required. These positions start at the (GS) 5 and 7 levels. Call the Career America College Hotline for application information. These occupations include:

Accountant/Auditor. Accountants are employed at most Federal installations throughout the country. Auditors are primarily concentrated in headquarters, offices and are subject to frequent travel. Employment opportunities are excellent for well-qualified applicants.

Biologist. Applications are accepted continuously for many biological sciences positions. These include general biologist, microbiologist, fisheries biologist, and wildlife biologist. Vacancies in other positions are advertised locally on an "as needed" basis.

Engineer. More than 105,000 professional engineers are employed by the various Federal agencies. These agencies are continually recruiting graduates in all engineering disciplines. You should contact directly those agencies of interest to you. Agencies may make immediate offers of employment for most entry level engineering positions.

Forester. Most positions are with the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture.

Mathematical Scientist. Along with the growth of automated data systems in Federal agencies has come an increased need for mathematical scientists. Positions included are actuary, computer scientist, mathematician, mathematical statistician, operations research analyst, and statistician.

Physical Scientist. Federal agencies engaged in work involving the physical sciences have opportunities in astronomy, cartography, chemistry, general physical science, geodesy, geophysics, health physics, hydrology, land surveying, metallurgy, oceanography, and physics.

Public Safety Occupations

The educational requirements for the occupations covered under this category are more general than for the specialized occupations discussed above. A bachelor's degree or equivalent experience is required. A written test must be taken for each specialty. The entry level grades for these occupations are GS 5 and 7.

Air Traffic Controller. Air traffic control specialists work for the Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation. Appointees must successfully complete an 11-week training course.

Deputy U.S. Marshal. Marshals are employed in the U.S. Marshals Service, Department of Justice, and perform a wide range of law enforcement duties. Marshals are required to carry firearms and appointees must complete a 13-week training program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia.

Treasury Enforcement Agent. Treasury enforcement agents are employed with the Internal Revenue Service, the Customs Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Agents are required to carry firearms and appointees must complete a 15-week training program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia.

U.S. Park Police Officer. Park police officers are employed by the National Capital Region, National Park Service, Department of the Interior. They perform law enforcement work involved in the protection of life, property, and rights of individual citizens on Federal property and land. Officers are initially appointed to the Washington, D.C., area and are required to carry firearms.
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Title Annotation:includes related article
Publication:Occupational Outlook Quarterly
Date:Jun 22, 1991
Previous Article:The Federal Career Directory: new help in getting a government job.
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