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Agriculture Specialist Qualification Aid

You should review the qualification requirements and provide the necessary information on your resume, i.e. education and examples of relevant experiences and accomplishments that prove you can perform the tasks at the level required for the job as stated in the job announcement. You are also required to submit a copy of all transcripts (unofficial is acceptable). Your grade level will be based on your resume and transcripts submitted. 

Basic Requirement: You must have successfully completed a bachelor’s or higher degree that included a major field of study listed below OR you must have completed 24 semester credits in agriculture, biological sciences, chemistry, natural resource management or a related discipline AND have appropriate work experience. 

  • Agriculture
  • Agronomy
  • Animal Science 
  • Biology 
  • Botany
  • Chemistry Or Related Disciplines
  • Crop Science
  • Ecology
  • Entomology
  • Environmental Resource Management
  • Horticulture
  • Microbiology
  • Mycology
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Nematology
  • Pest Management
  • Plant Pathology
  • Plant Science
  • Soil Science
  • Weed Science

Note: Education obtained from a foreign university is not creditable unless evaluated by a private credential evaluation service as recognized by the Department of Education, such as a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services http://www.naces.org/. Education must be deemed equivalent to that gained in conventional U.S. education programs.

Agriculture Specialist GS-5 Qualifications:

If you satisfy one of the three options below, then you will qualify at the GS-5 level. 

  1. Undergraduate Education - Bachelor's degree or full four-year course of study (at least 120 semester hours) at an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's degree that includes a major in a field of study (24 semester hours) listed above under Basic Requirement. 
  2. Pending Undergraduate Education - Will receive a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in a major field of study listed above under Basic Requirement within 9 months from the closing date of the announcement. Transcripts must show you are on track to graduate within 9 months from the closing date of the announcement. 
  3. Combination of Undergraduate Education and Experience - Completed at least 24 semester hours of biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry or related discipline from an accredited college or university AND 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

Note: The combination of education and experience will be calculated using your resume and transcripts submitted with your application. To determine if you meet the combination, you must divide the months of specialized experience by 48. Then divide the number of undergraduate semester hours by 120 (or 180 for quarter hours) and the two percentages must total at least 100%.

Agriculture Specialist GS-7 Qualifications:

If you satisfy the Basic Requirement and one of the five options below, then you will qualify at the GS-7 level.

  1. Specialized Experience - 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
  1. Graduate Education - One full year of graduate level education in a field of study listed above.
  2. Superior Academic Achievement (SAA) - Graduated with a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with superior academic standing as evidenced by class rank, grade-point average or honor society member. 
  3. Pending Graduate or SAA Education - Pending completion of one full year of graduate level education OR pending a bachelor's degree with superior academic achievement from an accredited college or university in a field of study listed above within 9 months of the closing date of this announcement.
  4. Combination of Experience and Graduate Education - Specialized work experience described in Option 1 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 submitted 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. Then divide the number of graduate semester hours by 36 (or 54 for graduate quarter hours) and the two percentages must total at least 100%. 

Note: One year of graduate education is the number of credit hours determined by your school to represent one year of graduate level course work. If that information is not available, 18 semester hours, or 27-quarter hours is considered equivalent to one year of graduate level education.

Agriculture Specialist GS-9 Qualifications:

If you satisfy the Basic Requirement AND one of the four options below, then you will qualify at the GS-9 level.

  1. Specialized Experience: One year of full-time 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
  1. Graduate Education - A Master’s degree from an accredited college or university in a field of study listed above.
  2. Pending Graduate Education - Pending completion of a Master’s degree from an accredited college or university in a field of study listed above within 9 months of the closing date of this announcement.
  3. Combination of Experience and Graduate Education - Specialized work experience described in Option 1 AND progressively higher-level graduate education leading to a Master’s degree in a field of study listed above from an accredited college or university.

Sample Resume Formats

Sample Resume Format for Each School Attended and Number of Credits Received
College Name(s)# of Semester Hours Completed# of Quarter Hours CompletedDegree EarnedMonth/Year Awarded
George Mason University120 Chemistry, BAMay 2021
Sample Resume Format for Each Work Experience You List
Place of Employment 
Job Title 
From: (MM/DD/YY)To: (MM/DD/YY)
Hours Per Week:Salary:
Examples of relevant experiences and accomplishments that prove you can perform the tasks at the level required for the job as stated in the job announcement. 
Last modified: 
February 15, 2022