USGS Hydrologic Technicians

Hydrologic Technician

GS-1316

Position Overview

Hydrologic technicians at the Department of the Interior gather and evaluate information about all things water-related. They obtain measurements in the field, analyze samples in the laboratory, and conduct analyses in the office in order to assist in solving water-related problems and make water-resources decisions throughout the country.

This position is represented at the following bureaus

Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Reclamation
National Park Service
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Geological Survey

Candidate Description

The ideal candidate is persistent, attentive to detail, and can apply their technical knowledge to ensure the quality of data and analyses. This individual is enthusiastic about problem solving and exerting themselves physically in the outdoors in a variety of conditions.

Work Environment

Work is performed in office, laboratory, and field settings and may involve exposure to adverse weather or potentially dangerous environments, such as slippery river banks, steep or rocky terrain, or fast-moving water.

Minimum Education Requirements

Please see the Individual Occupation Requirements and the Technical and Medical Support Positions Group Qualification Standard on the OPM websites.

Career Level Requirements

Responsibilities by Level

  • Entry:

    • Performs measurements of water-level, stage, and discharge
    • Plots discharge measurements and estimates short periods of missing records
    • Verifies the accuracy of data
    • Prepares samples for lab analyses
    • Performs installation, maintenance, servicing, and troubleshooting of sensing, recording, and communications equipment and instrumentation

  • Mid:

    • Observes and notes hydraulic or environmental conditions
    • Develops stage-discharge and velocity index curves and ratings
    • Responds to information requests for data, records, reports, and bulletins
    • Performs laboratory analysis of water samples

  • Journey:

    • Computes, checks, and reviews surface- and ground-water records
    • Performs statistical or technical analyses of hydrologic data
    • Prepares plots, drafts, or sketches from surveying notes
    • Documents procedures used to compute records

  • Senior:

    • Performs quality-assurance review for records checking methods
    • Prepares summaries and data reports of results of field activities
    • Determines equipment for complex field or laboratory activities

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Strengths by Level

Entry 4-5
Mid 6-7
Journey 8-9
Senior 10-12
  • Accountability
    Holds self and others accountable for measurable high-quality, timely, and cost-effective results. Determines objectives, sets priorities, and delegates work. Accepts responsibility for mistakes. Complies with established control systems and rules.
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    Entry 4-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-9
    Senior 10-12
  • Attention to Detail
    Is thorough when performing work and conscientious about attending to detail.
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    Entry 4-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-9
    Senior 10-12
  • Compliance
    Knowledge of procedures for assessing, evaluating, and monitoring programs or projects for compliance with Federal laws, regulations, and guidance.
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    Entry 4-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-9
    Senior 10-12
  • Creative Thinking
    Uses imagination to develop new insights into situations and applies innovative solutions to problems; designs new methods where established methods and procedures are inapplicable or are unavailable.
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    Entry 4-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-9
    Senior 10-12
  • Flexibility
    Is open to change and new information; adapts behavior or work methods in response to new information, changing conditions, or unexpected obstacles; effectively deals with ambiguity.
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    Entry 4-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-9
    Senior 10-12
  • Information Management
    Identifies a need for and knows where or how to gather information; organizes and maintains information or information management systems.
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    Entry 4-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-9
    Senior 10-12
  • Interpersonal Skills
    Treats others with courtesy, sensitivity, and respect. Considers and responds appropriately to the needs and feelings of different people in different situations.
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    Entry 4-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-9
    Senior 10-12
  • Oral Communication
    Expresses information (for example, ideas or facts) to individuals or groups effectively, taking into account the audience and nature of the information (for example, technical, sensitive, controversial); makes clear and convincing oral presentations; listens to others, attends to nonverbal cues, and responds appropriately.
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    Entry 4-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-9
    Senior 10-12
  • Organizational Awareness
    Knows the organization's mission and functions, and how its social, political, and technological systems work and operates effectively within them; this includes the programs, policies, procedures, rules, and regulations of the organization.
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    Entry 4-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-9
    Senior 10-12
  • Problem Solving
    Identifies problems; determines accuracy and relevance of information; uses sound judgment to generate and evaluate alternatives, and to make recommendations.
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    Entry 4-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-9
    Senior 10-12
  • Reasoning
    Identifies rules, principles, or relationships that explain facts, data, or other information; analyzes information and makes correct inferences or draws accurate conclusions.
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    Entry 4-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-9
    Senior 10-12
  • Teamwork
    Encourages and facilitates cooperation, pride, trust, and group identity; fosters commitment and team spirit; works with others to achieve goals.
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    Entry 4-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-9
    Senior 10-12
  • Technical Competence
    Uses knowledge that is acquired through formal training or extensive on-the-job experience to perform one's job; works with, understands, and evaluates technical information related to the job; advises others on technical issues.
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    Entry 4-5
    Mid 6-7
    Journey 8-9
    Senior 10-12

Common Pathways

Candidates who made this career change most commonly held these occupations...

50%
13.6%

General Physical Science

See Position Details
9.1%

Physical Science Technician

See Position Details

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