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Careers and Internships

How to Apply: Finding the Right Job

How Federal Hiring Reform
Will Affect the Application Process

President Obama signed a memorandum in May 2010 directing the Office of Personnel Management and other federal agencies to take measures to reform federal hiring procedures. Specifically, federal hiring reform will:

  • eliminate the requirement to complete short written essays about your knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs);
  • allow you to apply with a résumé and cover letter;
  • improve the quality and speed of hiring; and
  • notify you about your status after submitting your application.

See the latest information about federal hiring reform.

Want USAJobs.gov to send you an email whenever a job vacancy is posted?

Here's how:

  1. Sign in to USAJobs.gov or create an account. Once you have done that...
  2. Go to USAJobs's Create a New Saved Search page.
  3. Scroll down to "Agency Search"
  4. Select "Other Agencies and Independent Organizations" at the very bottom of the list of agencies.
  5. Under "Then sub agency" select "Environmental Protection Agency" then click on "Add >>"
  6. If you want to narrow your search at this point, select location, salary range, occupational series, etc.
  7. Be sure to give your search a name (bottom of the page).
  8. Under "How often do you want to Receive E-mail Notifications?", consider checking "Daily" since many positions may only be open for two weeks.
  9. Then click on "Save Search" at the bottom of the page.

You can also view the "Saved searches tutorial'' (PDF) on USAJobs.gov.

Virtually all EPA jobs, including paid internships, are posted online through USAJobs.gov. You can use USAJobs to upload your resume, browse open EPA positions, and apply for jobs across the United States.

How to Apply

On this page: Finding the Right Job
On other pages:


How do I begin my search for EPA jobs? You can view a list of jobs currently open on our Current Job Openings page. If you'd prefer to see a list of current openings on the USAJobs website,

  1. Go to EPA's page on USAJobs at epa.usajobs.gov.
  2. Ignore the "What" and "Where" boxes; click on "Search Jobs."
  3. You will see a list of all current EPA job vacancies. Use the content on the left side of the page to narrow your search by job category, grade, salary, and/or posting date.
  4. If the search results do not return any jobs of interest, new career opportunities are added each week. Note the "Create Saved Search and email me jobs" feature on the left.

USAJobs also provides an Advanced Search feature, which allows you to search by keyword, title, pay grade or salary range, series number, location, agency, occupational series, type of work, and work schedule. The Advanced Search will allow users to narrow search results to specific applicable positions. USAJobs also provides PDF tutorials with information on how to use the Advanced Search and Saved Searches features:

Note that you don't need to create an account in USAJobs.gov just to browse jobs. You will only need to create an account if you want to upload an existing resume, create a new resume, or apply for a specific position.

What information is included in federal job announcements on USAJobs.gov? Each federal job opening on USAJobs includes its own ID number, known as a vacancy announcement number. You must reference it on all of the materials you submit with your application. The listing may also provide the series and grade of pay, promotion potential of a vacant position, geographic location, major duties associated with a position, eligibility of a candidate, and descriptions of what qualifications are needed and how candidates will be evaluated.

How do I know when I can apply? While browsing jobs in USAJobs.gov, you may see the "Open Period" -- the period of time within which you can apply for any given job listing. The Open Period can be as short as three days or can stretch for up to a month for senior-level and hard-to-fill positions. Most staff-level positions are open for two or three weeks. You must submit your application online via USAJobs before the end of the Open Period. Applications for each vacancy must be received by 11:59 PM EST of the announcement closing date.  Any required documents must be submitted with your application online. If applying online poses a hardship for you, contact the Human Resources Officer listed on the vacancy announcement at least three days prior to the closing date of the announcement.

How much will I get paid? Each announcement will specify the range of pay. Most EPA employees receive basic pay under the General Schedule (GS) and some receive locality pay. Locality pay is the basic pay, plus an increase designed to address pay comparability between federal and non-federal jobs in the metropolitan area where the job is located.

What are the benefits offered by the federal government? You can learn more about federal government job benefits on these pages:

How can I apply if I don't have access to the Internet? If you do not have access to the Internet, you may be able to rely on publicly available resources to access USAJOBS. In most communities, Career One Stop centers and public libraries provide Internet access free of charge. You may be required to register before using these facilities, depending on the policy of the library or One Stop center you are visiting. Find a Career One Stop center in your area.

How do I know if I'm eligible for a particular position? Each job announcement will state who may be considered and who may apply. Look under the "Who May Be Considered", "Qualifications Required" and "Key Requirements" sections of each announcement. In addition, you can review basic qualifying information for federal jobs by visiting the Office of Personnel Management Qualification Standards website.

Are there special hiring processes for certain candidates?  Yes:

  • Some positions may only be open to candidates who have “status” based on current or previous federal employment. Federal employees are usually hired initially as "career-conditional employees," meaning they must work continuously for three years, when they "reach status", gaining career tenure under permanent employment. They are then referred to as "career employees" or "career permanent employees." The first year of a career-conditional appointment is a probationary period, which allows your supervisor to evaluate your performance and fire you without undue formality, if necessary.

  • Veterans' preference: Learn more on our veterans page.

  • Noncompetitive eligibility (NCE): Returning Peace Corps and AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers, Public Health Service Officers, and 30%-or-more-disabled veterans are considered to have a certification of NCE. Candidates are are not guaranteed a job, but EPA and other agencies can hire them outside of a formal competitive announcement process for a vacant position. Under NCE, an agency can hire a returning volunteer who meets the minimum qualifications for the position, without going through all of the formalities of the competitive process (including posting a vacancy announcement, screening or interviewing candidates, or going through the others steps that are involved in the standard recruitment process). All that is required is that the agency has a classified position and an available opening, and that the candidate meet the minimum qualifications for that position.

    Note that the ability to be non-competitively hired to a traditionally competitive position lasts for just one year after you have left Peace Corps or AmeriCorps VISTA (in certain cases, the allotted one year time limit can be extended for two more years if you are in military service or decide to pursue a higher educational degree).

    For more information:

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