US nationals: Senior Hydrologist

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

State College, PA, US

Job Overview


About the Agency


This position is located in the National Weather Service, Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center (RFC), State College, PA.

The full performance level of this position is GS-13.

This position is also announced under vacancy number NWS-ER-2017-0025, which is open to status candidates. You must apply to both announcements if you want to be considered for both.

* A one year probationary period may be required.
* Payment of relocation expenses is not authorized.
* This position is in the bargaining unit.

NOTES: This vacancy may be used to fill other Senior Hydrologist, GS-1315-13 positions throughout NOAA. The position must be alike (e.g.: within the same geographic locations, same grade/band requires the same qualifications as indicated in this vacancy announcement).


The individual selected for this position will:

  • Perform lead hydrologic forecaster duties for routine daily forecast operations and other short­ range forecast operations that are conducted before and during high water and flood episodes. Short range forecasts include stage forecasts, discharge forecasts, daily forecasts of inflow volume for reservoirs, and river velocity forecasts. The incumbent apportions the hydrologic forecast work among him/herself and other Hydrologic Forecasters in the River Forecast Center (RFC) and provides instructions and advice as necessary.
  • Analyze incoming real time hydrologic data for consistency and process into on­site operational hydrologic modeling system.
  • Execute modeling system and use hydrologic expertise to interactively analyze output and make necessary adjustments in order to prepare final guidance products.
  • Collaborate working with Hydrologic Analysis Senior (HAS) forecasters.
  • Incorporate assimilated fields of high resolution precipitation estimates and meteorological forecast information into the River Forecast Center’s (RFC’s) operational forecast system as appropriate.
  • Perform long range water resources forecast operations. Long range forecasts include, but are not limited to, spring snowmelt flood outlooks, reservoir inflow forecasts, river volume forecasts, and minimum flow forecasts.
  • Execute procedures to adjust certain model state variables such as snow water equivalent to improve subsequent simulations.


Travel Required

  • Occasional Travel
  • 10% travel is required.

Relocation Authorized

  • No

Job Requirements

Key Requirements

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or National to apply.
  • Required to pass a background investigation and fingerprint check.
  • Must be suitable for Federal employment.
  • Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable (
  • Qualifications requirements must be met by closing date of announcement.


Qualification requirements in the vacancy announcements are based on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Qualification Standards Handbook, which contains federal qualification standards. This handbook is available on the Office of Personnel Management’s website located at:

BASIC REQUIREMENTS: This position has a positive Education Requirement in addition to at least one year of Specialized Experience in order to be found minimally qualified. Transcripts must be submitted with your application package. You MUST meet the following requirements:

EDUCATION: Degree: Physical or natural science, or engineering that included at least 30 semester hours in any combination of courses in hydrology, the physical sciences, geophysics, chemistry, engineering science, soils, mathematics, aquatic biology, atmospheric science, meteorology, geology, oceanography, or the management or conservation of water resources. The course work must have included at least 6 semester hours in calculus (including both differential and integral calculus), and at least 6 semester hours in physics. Calculus and physics, as described above, are requirements for all grade levels.


COMBINATION OF EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE: Course work as shown above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.


SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: Applicants must possess one year of specialized experience equivalent in difficulty and responsibility to the next lower grade level in the Federal Service. Specialized experience is experience that has equipped the applicant with the particular competencies/knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position. This experience need not have been in the Federal government.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations e.g., professional; philanthropic, religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies; knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

To qualify at the GS-13 level:

SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: In addition to meeting the Basic Requirement listed above, applicants must also possess one full year (52 weeks) of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-12 in the Federal service. Specialized experience MUST include all of the following:

  • Applying hydrologic/hydraulic principles to operational hydrologic forecasting.
  • Working with computer-based hydrologic modeling.
  • Providing hydrologic advice and support to forecasters.

College Transcript: If you are qualifying based on education, submit a copy of your college transcript that lists college courses detailing each course by the number and department (i.e., bio 101, math 210, etc.), course title, number of credit hours and grade earned. You must submit evidence that any education completed in a foreign institution is equivalent to U.S. education standards with your resume. You may submit an unofficial copy of the transcript at the initial phase of the application process. If course content cannot be easily identified from the title of the course as listed on your transcript, you must submit an official course description from the college/university that reflects the content at the time the course was taken.

Note: Your college transcript is used to verify successful completion of degree, or college course work. An official college transcript will be required before you can report to duty.

Security Clearance

Q – Nonsensitive