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How to Apply: Frequent Questions about EPA Jobs, and Applying for EPA Jobs

Virtually all EPA jobs, including paid internships, are posted online through USAJobs.gov. You can use USAJobs to upload your resume, browse open EPA positions, and apply for jobs across the United States.

On this page: Frequent questions
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Hiring Process


  • Can non-citizens work for EPA?

    Generally, no. Only United States citizens and nationals may be appointed in the competitive civil service; however, federal agencies may employ certain non-citizens who meet specific employability requirements in the excepted service or the Senior Executive Service. You can learn more at the USAJobs Employment of Non-Citizens page.

  • Do graduate degrees play an important role in advancement opportunities at EPA? If so, which specific degrees are you seeking?

    For many scientific positions, we actively seek people with advanced degrees. Advanced degrees can be used in lieu of experience. For example, having a Master's Degree could qualify you at the GS-9 level and having a Ph.D. Degree could qualify you at the GS-11 level. Many of the scientific positions, such as biologist or chemist, have a specific education requirement like a degree in that discipline. Once on board, there is no general, agency-wide requirement for an advanced degree to enhance promotional opportunity, but it can be a factor depending on the needs of the particular part of EPA.

Vacancy Announcement Jargon

  • What does it mean to be on a "Career" or "Career-Conditional" appointment?

    Permanent appointments in the federal government are either career-conditional or career. career-conditional appointments are generally used for initial appointments. Once an employee completes three years of continuous service under a career-conditional appointment, his or her appointment becomes career. Office of Personnel Management: Career-Conditional Appointments.

Duties, Responsibilities, and Expectations

  • Does EPA expect employees to relocate?

    You may apply for any job regardless of where you currently live, but we might not pay for you to move. Vacancy announcements include the job's location and whether we will pay travel and relocation expenses.

  • Do any positions require travel?

    Some positions require a little travel and some a lot. It is important to establish how much when you accept a particular position.

  • Does EPA offer ongoing training opportunities?

    Yes. Training opportunities are available through private vendors and accredited colleges and universities. If the training is job-related and funds are available, EPA can pay the total cost of the training.

Salaries and Pay

  • What is the standard starting pay for positions at EPA?

    In the federal government, most people are part of the "General Schedule" or GS, pay system, under which you will be assigned to a grade, from GS-1 to GS-15, and a step within that grade, from 1 to 10. Salaries vary by grade, step, and location. Generally speaking, higher grades earn more than lower grades, and higher steps earn more than lower steps within a single grade. The Office of Personnel Management determines the pay for each grade and each step.

    Starting pay varies by the position and the level of responsibility. It is also adjusted by geographic location. Certain hard-to-fill jobs, usually in the scientific, technical, and medical fields, may have higher starting salaries. Exact pay information for each job can be found on the vacancy announcement.

    Professional and administrative positions generally start at GS-5 for an entry level college graduate and GS-12/13 for a senior analyst or scientist.

    Clerical positions may start at a General Schedule (GS) -2 grade level for an office automation clerk and GS-5 for a secretarial position.

    Visit the Office of Personnel Management's Pay and Leave website to find policies and the most current pay tables.

  • How can I find out which grade I qualify for?

    That depends upon the position you are applying for. Some jobs are listed at a specific grade. For others, EPA could hire you at one of several grades. In that case, you should compare your experience with the qualification requirements set forth on the specific job announcement.