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CBP Agriculture Specialist Qualification Aid

Please review the qualification requirements below and provide the necessary information on your resume/application and provide copies of all transcripts (unofficial is acceptable). Your grade level will be based on the information in your resume and transcripts submitted.

Basic Requirement (All applicants must meet): 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!

Basic Requirement & GS-5 GS-7 GS-9

AGS Basic Requirement and Qualifications for Grade 5:

If you meet one (1) of the three (3) options below you meet the AGS Basic Requirement and the qualifications for the grade 5.

Option 1: Undergraduate Education - Bachelor’s degree or 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 (24 semester hours) listed above under “Basic Requirement”.

Option 2: Pending Undergraduate Education - Will receive a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, in a major field of study (24 semester hours) listed above under “Basic Requirement” 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.

Option 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

  1. Taking charge, making sound decisions and maintaining composure in stressful situations
  2. Learning enforcement regulations, methods and techniques through classroom training and on-the job instruction
  3. 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 official/unofficial 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%.


AGS Qualifications for Grade 7:

All applicant must meet the Basic Requirement AND meet one (1) of the five (5) options below for the grade 7 qualifications.

Option 1: Specialized Experience One (1) 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

Option 2: Graduate Education One (1) full year of graduate level education in a field of study listed above.

Option 3: Superior Academic Achievement (SAA) Conferred bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university who have achieved superior academic standing as evidenced by class standing, grade-point average, or honor society membership.

Option 4: Pending Graduate or SAA Education Pending completion of one (1) 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.

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

Option 5: 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 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.

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.


AGS Qualifications for Grade 9:

All applicants must meet the Basic Requirement AND meet one (1) of the four (4) options below for the grade 9 qualifications.

Option 1: Specialized Experience One (1) 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

Option 2: Graduate Education A master’s degree from an accredited college or university in a field of study listed above.

Option 3: 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.

Option 4: 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 format for EACH job provided:
Place of Employment
Job Title:
From (mm/dd/yy): To (mm/dd/yy):
Hours per week: Salary:
Duties: Provide specific examples of your duties, accomplishments and/or related skills that address the three (3) elements listed above.
Sample resume format for EACH school attendedand number of credits received (attach transcripts):
College Name(s) # of Semester Hours Completed # of Quarter Hours Completed Degree Earned Month/Year Awarded

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.

Last modified: 
February 3, 2020
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