Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

January 11, 2020

The Pennsylvania Water Science Center is looking for Hydrologic Technicians (Field Assistants) to join our teams in New Cumberland (Harrisburg), Downingtown (Philadelphia), Pittsburgh, and Williamsport. Positions are part- or full-time, and temporary for up to one year, but may be extended to 2 years. U.S. citizenship required.

This hiring is NOT through USAJobs. Application instructions below.

Application period closed Friday, February 10, 2023


Equal Employment Opportunity Policy Statement

USGS's commitment to equal employment opportunity, diversity, and inclusion


Temporary Recruitment Bulletin


PA-2023-0001 Who May Apply U.S. Citizens
Position Title Hydrologic Field Assistant Hiring Agency Interior, Geological Survey
Open Period 01/02/23 to 02/10/23 Duty Locations Several positions in New

Cumberland, Downingtown, 

Pittsburgh, & Williamsport
Series/Grade GG-1316-04  


Salary (hourly)

GG-04 (Step 1)

\$16.14 (Wport)

\$16.68 (Pitts)

\$17.72 (Dwtn)

\$18.36 (NC)



Duration of Appointment: This is a temporary excepted service position not to exceed 1 year but may be extended up to a maximum of 2 years without further competition. Employment may not exceed 180 working days in a service year. All qualified applicants, with or without Federal status, may apply and be considered. Appointment to this position, however, will not convey permanent or competitive status in the Federal service.

Work Schedule: Part-Time or Full-Time

Travel Required:  Position may require up to 3 nights of travel per month.

Relocation:  Relocation expenses will not be paid. 

Why Is It Great To Work For The USGS?

Embark on an exciting future! From the peaks of the highest mountains to the depths of the deepest seas, the U.S. Geological Survey has career opportunities that make a difference in both the lives of others and in the environment. Would you like to join the more than 10,000 scientists, technicians, and support staff of the USGS who are working in more than 400 locations throughout the United States? Apply today! As the Nation's largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collects, monitors, analyzes, and provides scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, issues, and problems. The diversity of our scientific expertise enables us to carry out large-scale, multi-disciplinary investigations and provide impartial, timely, and relevant scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers related to the health of our ecosystems and environment; natural hazards that threaten us; natural resources we rely on, and; the impact of climate and land-use changes. For more information about the USGS please visit

Watch this Video to hear what it's like to work for a USGS Water Science Center, from our colleagues in the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Water Science Center.

Here's another video, this one from our colleagues in the South Atlantic Water Science Center, answering the question "What does a USGS Hydrologic Technician do to inspect streamgages?"

What General Information Do I Need To Know About This Position?

Salary (hourly): GG-04 (Step 1): \$16.14 (Williamsport); \$16.68 (Pittsburgh); \$17.72 (Downingtown); \$18.36 (New Cumberland).

NOTE: First-time hires to the Federal Government are typically hired at Step 01.

Key Requirements

  • Applicants must be U.S. Citizens.
  • Suitable for Federal employment, as determined by background investigation.
  • A valid state driver's license and safe driving record are required.
  • A pre-employment physical is required at federal government expense.
  • More requirements are listed under Qualifications and Other Information.

Major Duties 

As a Hydrologic Technician (Field Assistant) with the U.S. Geological Survey, some of your specific duties will include:

  • Collect and process surface and groundwater quality samples
  • Collect and process streamflow data
  • Collect and process sediment samples
  • Maintain scientific data collection equipment and infrastructure
  • Review, compile, and enter field data into USGS databases

The U.S. Geological Survey has determined that the duties of this position are suitable for telework only during an emergency or natural disaster. For additional information on our internal telework policy, please reference: USGS Telework

Physical Demands: Work is physically demanding and includes walking, bending, climbing, and lifting of equipment up to 100 pounds when in the field, sometimes during adverse conditions.

Work Environment: The work is performed in a laboratory or field environment. Field work involves moderate or sometimes extreme exposure to the discomforts of rain, cold and hot weather, and rapidly running or icy streams and rivers. Special safety precautions are required in many cases, and the employee may typically wear life jackets, special safety boots, waders, and special organism-handling gear. If selected, you will be required to complete a pre-employment physical.


If this position requires specific educational course work to qualify, or you are qualifying based in whole or part on education, you are required to provide all unofficial transcripts (undergraduate, graduate, etc.) or lists of course work that include semester hours earned and grades received, by the closing date of this announcement or you will be disqualified from further consideration. This proof may be faxed or emailed to the point of contact listed in this bulletin. Please ensure that all documentation is legible.

Education completed in colleges or universities outside the United States may be used to meet the above requirements. You must provide acceptable documentation that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States.

For more information: Evaluation of Foreign Education.

Are There Any Special Requirements For This Position?

  • A background investigation will be required for this position. Continued employment will be subject to the applicant's successful completion of a background security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements will be grounds for termination.
  • Applicants for this position must meet the following requirements: (1) Possession of a valid State driver's license, and (2) possess a safe driving record. If selected, you will be required to provide proof of a valid State License and a copy of your driving record.


Basis of Rating: Applicants will not be rated or ranked. All applicants who meet the basic eligibility and qualification requirements of the position will be referred to the selecting official in preference eligible order.

Qualifications and Other Information

In order to qualify at the GG-04 level, you must meet one of the following:

  • Six months of field party experience. Field party experience includes activities associated with making and recording geologic, hydrologic, or topographic field observations; collecting geologic, biological, or water samples for laboratory analysis; applying accepted data collection techniques and methods in the performance of field work in support of scientific investigations; and using a variety of surveying instruments and electronic or mechanical instrumentation in the making and recording of field measurements and observations designed to collect data for geologic physical science investigations. Only time actually spent in the field can be credited when qualifying individuals under the field party experience option.
  • OR Two years sub-professional experience. Sub-professional experience is defined as technical work performed in support of field or laboratory investigations relating to the biological sciences, physical sciences, or closely related disciplines, which provided basic knowledge or skills in gathering, recording, and assembling scientific or engineering data; using scientific instruments to measure angles, degrees weights, strengths, intensities, etc.; setting up and operating test apparatus, and manipulating quantitative data. Experience may include assisting professional employees in such duties as calibrating and operating measuring instruments, mixing solutions, making chemical analyses, setting up and operating test apparatus, and compiling and processing scientific data. Experience as a laboratory mechanic or in a trade or craft may be credited as experience when the work was performed in close association with physical or biological scientists or other technical personnel and provided a good working knowledge of appropriate scientific principles, methods, and techniques.
  • OR One year of college study related to the field of employment.

You must meet all qualification and eligibility requirements for the position by the closing date of the announcement.

How to Apply

Applications for this vacancy must be submitted to the point of contact listed above via email BEFORE midnight Eastern Time (Washington, D.C. time) on the closing date of this announcement (2/10/2023). If you fail to submit a complete application (that documents your qualifications), you will not be considered for this position.

Required Documents

If you are claiming veterans' preference you must submit a copy of your DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, by the closing date of this announcement. If you are currently on active military duty, you must provide documentation (e.g., campaign document, award citation, etc.) that verifies entitlement to veterans’ preference and that your character of military service is honorable. If you are claiming a 10-point veterans' preference, in addition to the DD-214, you must submit documentation that supports your claim (e.g., an official statement from the Department of Veterans Affairs or from a branch of the Armed Forces certifying the existence of a service-connected disability; or receipt of a Purple Heart). If you fail to submit any of the required documentation, you will not be granted veterans preference. Additional information on veterans' preference can be found at Feds-Hire-Vets.

Required documents may be faxed or emailed to the point of contact listed above.


Temporary appointees expected to work at least 130 hours per month for at least 90 days will be eligible to enroll in a Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) plan.  Individuals eligible under this rule receive the full government contribution to their premiums regardless of work schedule and will also be eligible to participate in the Flexible Spending Accounts and Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program. Temporary appointees are not covered by the Federal Employee Retirement System and are ineligible for Federal life, dental, or vision insurance.

Other Information

  • Applicants who include vulgar, offensive, or inappropriate language or information in their application package will be ineligible for further consideration for this position. 
  • Under Executive Order 11935, only United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Island) may compete for civil service jobs. Agencies are permitted to hire non-citizens only in very limited circumstances where there are no qualified citizens available for the position.
  • DOI uses E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, please visit
  • USGS employees are subject to Title 43, USC Section 31(a) and may not: (a) have any personal, private, direct or indirect interest in lands or mineral wealth of lands under survey; (b) have any substantial personal, private, direct or indirect interests in any private mining or mineral enterprise doing business with the United States; or (c) execute surveys or examinations for private parties or corporations.
  • The application contains information subject to the Privacy Act (P.L. 93-579, 5 USC 552a). The information is used to determine qualifications for employment, and is authorized under Title 5, USC, Section 3302 and 3361.
  • The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.
  • Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.
  • If you misrepresent your experience or education, or provide false or fraudulent information in or with your application, it may be grounds for not hiring you or for firing you after you begin work. Making false or fraudulent statements also may be punishable by fine or imprisonment.
  • If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959, you must certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System, or are exempt from having to do so under the Selective Service Law.


Related Content


Water Science Jobs in Pennsylvania

View all current openings at the Pennsylvania Water Science Center.


About the USGS Pennsylvania Water Science Center

Learn about our work to meet the water-resources information needs of the public we serve.


Get Our News

These items are in the RSS feed format (Really Simple Syndication) based on categories such as topics, locations, and more. You can install and RSS reader browser extension, software, or use a third-party service to receive immediate news updates depending on the feed that you have added. If you click the feed links below, they may look strange because they are simply XML code. An RSS reader can easily read this code and push out a notification to you when something new is posted to our site.