US citizens: Physical Scientist (National Water Center)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Tuscaloosa, AL, United States 🇺🇸



This position is located in the National Weather Service (NWS), Office of Water Prediction (OWP), Water Prediction Operations Division with one vacancy located at the National Water Center in Tuscaloosa, AL.

This position is also announced under vacancy number NWS-2018-0113, which is open to status candidates. You must apply to both announcements if you want to be considered for both.

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

NOTES:This Job Opportunity Announcement may be used to fill other Physical Scientist, GS-1301-15 positions throughout NOAA. The position must be alike (e.g.: within the same geographic locations, same grade/band and requires the same qualifications and specialized experience as indicated in this vacancy announcement).


As a Supervisory Physical Scientist, you will serve as a Director performing the following duties:

  • Direct staff performing hydrologic analysis and data integration, ensuring the staff responds to emerging operational problems, identifies new data sets, and develops routine forecast guidance and analyses that support the NOAA Water enterprise and broader water resources management community.
  • Support broader decisions related to the overall management of the Office of Water Prediction to include planning (short and long), budgetary oversight and direction, and the determination of personnel required to meet the mission.
  • Collect operational and product feedback to push the office to continue to develop new and improved assets to meet the organizational mission.
  • Ensure, maintain, and improve the complex set of interrelationships between the National Weather Service (NWS), public, other federal water agencies, members of the emergency management community, water resources managers, and representatives of the news media on events ranging from floods to drought.

Travel Required

Occasional travel – Up to 10% of domestic travel may be required.


Conditions of Employment

  • 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.

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.

Applicants must meet ALL application requirements, to include a complete online resume, by 11:59 p.m. EASTERN TIME (ET) on the closing date of this 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:

A. Degree: physical science, engineering, or mathematics that included 24 semester hours in physical science and/or related engineering science such as mechanics, dynamics, properties of materials, and electronics. OR

B. Combination of education and experience: education equivalent to one of the majors shown in A above that included at least 24 semester hours in physical science and/or related engineering science, plus appropriate experience or additional education. -AND-


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-15 level: 

SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: In addition to meeting the Basic Requirements above, applicants must also possess one full year (52 weeks) of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-14 in the Federal service. Specialized experience MUST include all of the following: 
  • Directing a staff who is responsible for maintaining situational awareness through continuous assessment, interpretation and collaboration of hydrologic data and forecast model output, and related decision support activities;
  • Providing oversight and technical direction of forecasting products, including inundation mapping;
  • Directing staff applying GIS based systems to the mapping of hydrologic data and development of products that communicate to regional and national customers the approximate extent of floods and droughts; and
  • Communicating plans and expected water resources products to stakeholders.


Substitution of education for specialized experience is not applicable to this vacancy.