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Ecologist, GS-408

Basic Requirements for all grades, GS-5 and above

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 or specific course requirements in biology, or a related field of science underlying ecological research that included at least 30 semester hours in basic and applied biological sciences. These hours must have included at least 9 semester hours in ecology, and 12 semester hours in physical and mathematical sciences.

Additional Experience and/or Education Requirements For GS-7 and Above

In addition to meeting the basic entry qualification requirements, applicants must have specialized experience and/or directly related education in the amounts shown in the table below:





OR Specialized Experience



1 year of graduate-level education or superior academic achievement

1 year equivalent to at least GS-5


2 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's degree or master's or equivalent graduate degree

1 year equivalent to at least GS-7


3 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree or Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree

1 year equivalent to at least GS-9

GS-12 and above


1 year equivalent to at least next lower grade level

NOTE: Education and experience may be combined for all grade levels for which both education and experience are acceptable.


Graduate Education: Completion of graduate level education in the amounts shown in the table, in addition to meeting the basic requirements, is qualifying for positions at grades GS-7 through GS-11 if it provided the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work. One year of full-time graduate education is considered to be the number of credit hours that the school attended has determined to represent 1 year of full-time study. If that number cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours should be considered an academic year of graduate study. Part-time graduate education is creditable in accordance with its relationship to a year of full-time study at the school attended.

Specialized Experience: Experience that equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position, and that is typically in or related to the work of the position to be filled. To be creditable, specialized experience must have been equivalent to at least the next lower grade level in the normal line of progression for the occupation in the organization.

Examples of Specialized Experience:


For GS-7: 1) collecting basic data from field investigations; 2) preparing samples; 3) making observations on biological conditions; 4) assisting in data entry and routine data analysis; 5) searching published technical sources for information on designated topics and preparing summaries for reference of others. For examples 1-5, the work performed was routine and closely controlled and a designated person assigned the work with clear, specific, and detailed instructions as to the methods, procedures, and guidelines to use.


For GS-9: 1) assisting in planning, organizing/implementing scientific investigations; 2) performing data analyses on portions of larger investigations; 3) participating in organizing and interpreting biological, ecological, pathological, public use, or other pertinent research information.


For GS-11: 1) participating in the planning and execution of ecological or biological studies with a limited number of variables; 2) performing established, standardized tests and analyses on a broad range of biological samples; or 3) conducting studies using established fact-finding and evaluation procedures.


For GS-12: 1) design, development and conduct of protocols to analyze spatial and temporal data; 2) conduct of sampling, experimental design, statistical analyses and biometrics relative to wetlands ecology; 3) independent planning and conduct of comprehensive biological studies/investigations and requests for proposals; 4) modifying and adapting standard biological techniques and procedures; 5) serving as a technical resource on biological issues; 6) design and management of projects, studies to provide an understanding of the effects of environmental perturbations in study areas.


For GS-13: 1) planning and coordinating projects of considerable depth and/or breadth; 2) analyzing and interpreting data on projects which include novel and obscure problems; 3) developing new or significantly modified biological techniques, methods or criteria; 4) providing biological advisory, planning or reviewing services.


For GS-14: 1) planning and leading ecological projects of substantial depth and/or breadth; 2) analyzing and interpreting biological related project data with novel and obscure problems and publishing or preparing results of findings; 3) developing new or significantly modified biological techniques, methods, or criteria; 4) providing advisory, planning, or reviewing services as a technical specialist on a ecological or biological issue. For examples 1-4, the work provided wide latitude for the exercise of independent judgment to perform scientific work of marked difficulty and responsibility.


For GS-15: 1) Developing and managing major interdisciplinary projects that may impact regional scientific objectives; 2) developing or directly influencing the scientific, administrative and technical policies, standards, procedures, and instructions necessary for the effective direction and operation of a multi-discipline scientific program; 3) resolving critical problems resulting from the unprecedented complexities of a multi-discipline scientific study; 4) serving as the principal contact with other Federal agencies, state and local government organizations, and other groups that may affect the success of a major interdisciplinary scientific program. The work involved advising or counseling other recognized senior technical experts.


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Page Last Updated: 7/13/2015 9:29 PM