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CBP Agriculture Specialist Qualification Aid

Please review the qualification requirements below and provide the necessary information on your resume/application.

Basic Requirement: You must have successfully completed a bachelor’s or higher degree from an accredited college or university that included a major field of study listed below OR if you have not completed a 4 year degree, you must have completed 24 semester credits in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry or a related discipline from an accredited college or university PLUS appropriate experience or additional education.

Qualifying Fields of Study/ College Majors: Agriculture, agronomy, animal science, biological science, biology, botany, cell biology, chemistry, crop science, ecology, entomology, environmental resource management, fisheries, food science, forestry, geology, horticulture, microbiology, mycology, natural resource management, nematology, pest management, physics, plant pathology, plant physiology, plant science, soil science or weed science, and zoology.

Which grade level should I apply to? – Click on the qualification requirements for each grade level below!




GS-5 GS-7 GS-9

AGS Qualifications for the GS-5:

There are four (4) ways to qualify for the Agriculture Specialist position at the GS-5 grade level.

1. Experience and 24 semester hours for the AGS GS-5

Minimum of one-year full time work experience that entails performance of substantive duties in:

  • Taking charge, making sound decisions and maintaining composure in stressful situations
  • Learning enforcement regulations, methods and techniques through classroom training and on-the-job instruction
  • Maintaining logs and gathering factual information through questioning, observation and examination of documents or records

AND

Completed at least 24 semester hours of biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry or related discipline from an accredited college or university.

Note: Qualifying work experience is determined by what is written in your resume. Transcripts must be provided in your application to verify you meet the education requirement.

2. Or Education (120 credits) for AGS GS-5

A full four-year course of study (at least 120 semester credits) at an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor’s degree that includes a major in a field of study listed above.

Note: Transcripts must be provided in your application to verify you meet the education requirement.

3. Or Education (degree) for AGS GS-5

A bachelor's degree from an accredited or pre-accredited college or university, that includes a major in a field of study listed above.

Note: Transcripts must be provided in your application to verify you meet the education requirement.

4. Or Pending Graduate for AGS GS-5

Will receive a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, in a major field of study listed above, within 9 months from the closing date of the announcement and the transcripts must show you are on track to graduate within 9 months from the closing date of the announcement.

Note: Transcripts must be provided in your application to verify you meet the education requirement.


AGS Qualifications for the GS-7:

There are five (5) ways to qualify for the Agriculture Specialist position at the GS-7 grade level.

1. Specialized Experience and 24 semester hours for AGS GS-7

Minimum of one year of full time specialized work experience that entails performance of substantive duties in:

  • Dealing effectively with individuals or groups of people in a courteous, tactful manner in connection with agricultural matters
  • Researching information for reports and providing information to others, analyzing information rapidly and making prompt decisions
  • Taking prompt and appropriate action enforcing regulations when inspecting vessels, vehicles, aircraft and/ or baggage for the presence of restricted plant materials, pests or diseases
  • Reviewing and analyzing passengers or commodity documents to assess the agricultural risk of their entry into the United States

AND

Completed at least 24 semester hours of biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry or related discipline from an accredited college or university.

Note: Qualifying work experience is determined by what is written in your resume. Transcripts must be provided in your application to verify you meet the education requirement.

2. Or Graduate Education for AGS GS-7

One full year of graduate level education in a field of study listed above.

Note: One (1) year of graduate education is the number of credit hours determined by your school to represent one (1) year of graduate level course work. If that information is not available, 18 semester hours, or 27-quarter hours is considered equivalent to one (1) year of graduate level education. Transcripts must be provided in your application to verify you meet the education requirement.

3. Or Superior Academic Achievement (SAA) for AGS GS-7

The Superior Academic Achievement (SAA) provision is used to determine eligibility for GS-7 for applicants who have a conferred bachelor’s degree from an accredited college that includes at least 24 semester hours in a related field of study listed above. The SAA recognizes students who have achieved superior academic standing as evidenced by class standing, grade-point average, or honor society membership.

For additional information on how to qualify using Superior Academic Achievement (SAA), go to: http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/policy/ApplicationOfStds-04.asp

Note: Transcripts must be provided in your application to verify you meet the education requirement.

4. Or Pending Graduate for AGS GS-7

Will receive a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, with SAA that includes at least 24 semester hours in a major field of study listed above, within 9 months form the closing date of the announcement and the transcripts must show you are on track to graduate within 9 months from the closing date of the announcement.

Note: Transcripts must be provided in your application to verify you meet the education requirement.

5. Or Specialized Experience and Graduate-level Education for AGS GS 7

Specialized work experience that entails performance of substantive duties in:

  • Dealing effectively with individuals or groups of people in a courteous, tactful manner in connection with agricultural matters
  • Researching information for reports and providing information to others, analyzing information rapidly and making prompt decisions
  • Taking prompt and appropriate action enforcing regulations when inspecting vessels, vehicles, aircraft and/ or baggage for the presence of restricted plant materials, pests or diseases
  • Reviewing and analyzing passengers or commodity documents to assess the agricultural risk of their entry into the United States

AND

Graduate-level education completed in a field of study listed above from an accredited college or university

Note: The combination of education and experience will be calculated using your resume and official or unofficial transcripts summited with your application. To determine if you meet the specialized work experience and graduate education, you must divide the months of qualifying specialized experience by 12; next divide the number of graduate semester hours by 36 (or 54 for graduate quarter hours) and the two percentages must total at least 100%. Transcripts must be provided in your application to verify you meet the education requirement.


AGS Qualifications for the GS-9:

There are five (5) ways to qualify for the Agricultural position at the GS-9 grade level.

1. Specialized Experience and 24 semesters hours for AGS GS-9

Minimum of one year of full time specialized work experience that demonstrates the ability to:

  • Planning, coordinating and executing inspection assignments
  • Investigating violations
  • Compiling data, logs and preparing reports of work accomplishments and inspection operations
  • Coordinating and assisting with school or media events
  • Planning, conducting and overseeing treatments such as disinfection, sterilization and decontamination treatments

AND

Completed at least 24 semester hours of biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry or related discipline from an accredited college or university.

Note: Qualifying work experience is determined by what is written in your resume. Transcripts must be provided in your application to verify you meet the education requirement

2. Or Graduate Education for AGS GS-9

A Master’s degree from an accredited college or university in a field of study listed above.

Note: Transcripts must be provided in your application to verify you meet the education requirement.

3. Or Pending Graduate for AGS GS-9

Will receive a Master’s degree from an accredited college or university within 9 months from the closing date of the announcement in one of the fields of study listed above and the transcripts must show that you are on track to graduate within 9 months from the closing date of the announcement.

Note: Transcripts must be provided in your application to verify you meet the education requirement.

4. Or Specialized GS 7 Experience and Graduate Education for AGS GS-9

Specialized work experience that entails performance of substantive duties in:

  • Dealing effectively with individuals or groups of people in a courteous, tactful manner in connection with agricultural matters
  • Researching information for reports and providing information to others, analyzing information rapidly and making prompt decisions
  • Taking prompt and appropriate action enforcing regulations when inspecting vessels, vehicles, aircraft and/ or baggage for the presence of restricted plant materials, pests or diseases
  • Reviewing and analyzing passengers or commodity documents to assess the agricultural risk of their entry into the United States

AND

Two years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master’s degree in a field of study listed above from an accredited college or university.

Note: Transcripts must be provided in your application to verify you meet the education requirement

5. Or Specialized GS 9 Experience and Graduate Education for AGS GS-9

Specialized work experience that entails performance of substantive duties in:

  • Planning, coordinating and executing inspection assignments
  • Investigating violations
  • Compiling data, logs and preparing reports of work accomplishments and inspection operations
  • Coordinating and assisting with school or media events
  • Planning, conducting and overseeing treatments such as disinfection, sterilization and decontamination treatments

AND

Two years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master’s degree in a field of study listed above from an accredited college or university.

Note: Transcripts must be provided in your application to verify you meet the education requirement

Last modified: 
February 20, 2018
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