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"18R-LM-303980-DEU-NZP" Vacancy Details


Announcement Number:
Hiring Agency:
Position Title:
Animal Keeper (Helper)
Open Period:
08/09/2018 - 08/23/2018


WG - 5001 05
USD $19.47 - USD $22.72
Work Schedule:
Full-time - Full-Time, temporary
Promotion Potential:
Duty Location(s):
few Vacancies in

Washington DC, DC, US
Telework Eligible:
For More Info:
Lily Mellor


Who May Apply/Clarification From the Agency:

This position is open to all U.S. Citizens or U.S. Nationals.
Note:  Federal employees with permanent status or individuals eligible for special appointing authorities may also apply to Job Announcement #18R-LM-303980-MPA-NZP.

Security Clearance Required:
Public Trust - Background Investigation
Appointment Type
Appointment Type Details:
Marketing Statement:
The Smithsonian Institution values and seeks a diverse workforce. Join us in "Inspiring Generations through Knowledge and Discovery."

This position is located in the National Zoological Park (NZP).  The employee is responsible for performing a variety of duties that ensure the proper preparation and distribution of diets for all animals (Elephants, Primates, Wildlife Health Sciences, American Trail, and Pandas/Asia Trail) in the NZP collection.

This position is Temporary NTE 2 years.

The incumbent of this position may be assigned to any unit within Animal Care Sciences, including the Department of Nutrition Sciences, Wildlife Health Sciences, or Animal Programs. The incumbent will perform some or all of the following duties under the supervision of the responsible curator, Commissary Manager, or Clinical Veterinarian. Temporary duty at the National Zoo’s Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Virginia, may be included as part of training in specific husbandry techniques for staff. 

Supervisory Position:
Relocation Expenses Reimbursed:
Travel Required:
Not Required


  • The employee is responsible for performing a variety of duties that ensure the proper care, feeding, exhibition, and propagation of a collection of wild and exotic animals.

  • Monitors animals for symptoms of illness, injuries or other unusual conditions. 

  • Accurately prepares diets for the animals in the Zoo collection.

  • Harvesting bamboo and woody browse for animals in the NZP collection.

  • Monitors food for quality and safety.

  • Practices safe food handling, preparation, and sanitation.

  • Operates equipment and tools to move, prepare, and distribute diets to animals in the NZP collection.

Qualifications and Evaluations



PHYSICAL EFFORT:  The work requires the ability to lift and carry materials weighing up to 50 pounds. The work also requires extended periods of standing, walking, bending, and stooping.

WORKING CONDITIONS:  The work is performed indoors and outdoors in all weather conditions. The incumbent is exposed to dust and to unpleasant odors and noises from the animals and to cleaning solutions and other chemicals. The work is performed on concrete floors and other hard surfaces. The work may be performed in closed or cramped spaces. The incumbent is exposed to bites, scratches, and animal waste, and may be exposed to animal parasites and zoonotic diseases.

OTHER SIGNIFICANT FACTS:  The incumbent must receive immunizations to guard against zoonotic diseases and is subject to regular medical screening.

The incumbent may be assigned to any eight hour shift and is subject to call at any time, including weekends and holidays.

The incumbent is considered to be emergency personnel for purposes of being on call during government shutdowns due to inclement weather, Code Red terrorism alerts, and other emergency situations, to ensure adequate animal care is provided as required.

Qualification requirements must be met by the closing date of the job opportunity announcement.

For information on the Job Qualification System for Trades and Labor Occupations, see OPM’s web site at  

Key Requirements:
  • Pass Pre-employment Background Investigation.
  • May need to complete a Probationary Period.
  • Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer.
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service.
  • Education Requirements:

    How you will be evaluated:
    Applications will first be evaluated to determine whether the following screen out element is met:

    1. The ability to do the work of an Animal Keeper by performing specialized duties that contribute to the proper care, feeding, training, exhibition and propagation of exotic wildlife species in a zoological park or similar facility.

    If an applicant meets the screen-out element, the following Job Elements will be evaluated:

    1. Skill in preparing diets for aquatic and non-aquatic mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and birds.

    2. Knowledge of handling and inspecting food, and forage.

    3. Knowledge of a variety of foods, forages used in zoo diets.

    4. Knowledge of safe food handling, preparation and sanitation practices and HACCP principles.

    5. Ability to use equipment and computers in food production, preparation and distribution in a zoo setting.

    Applicants who meet or exceed the screen-out element will be assigned to one of three category groups based on job-related criteria:

    Best Category - Meets the screen-out element and excels in most of the job related elements above.
    Better Category - Meets the screen-out element and satisfies most of the job related elements above.
    Good Category - Meets the screen-out element, but does not satisfy most of the job related elements above to a substantive degree.
    This category rating process does not add veterans' preference points or apply the "rule of three", but protects the rights of veterans by placing them ahead of non-veterans within each category. A selecting official may make selections from the highest quality category (Best Category) provided no veteran in that category is passed over to select a non-veteran in that category unless the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 3317(b) or 3318(b) are satisfied.
    Veterans who meet minimum qualification requirements and who have a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent must be listed in the highest quality category, except when the position being filled is scientific or professional at the GS-9 grade level or higher.
    Applicants who have not submitted a resume in the USAjobs system and/or have not answered all of the announcement questions will not be considered for this position.

    Important Note:
    Your resume and supporting documentation will be compared to your responses to the occupational questionnaire or other assessment tool for consistency. If a determination is made that you have rated yourself higher than is supported by your resume, you will be assigned a rating commensurate to your described experience.
    Your resume should provide sufficient information regarding how your education and experience relate to this position, including the major duties and qualifications criteria listed.

    In order to be rated qualified, an applicant's overall experience and training must indicate possession of the minimum knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform the duties of this position.

    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.

    Benefits and Other Info


    The Smithsonian offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, vacation and sick leave, holidays, health/life
    insurance, accident insurance, and excellent retirement program options.
    Please see Benefits at <ahref=""> for a complete description.

    Other Information:
    Flexible Spending Accounts - <a
    Health Insurance - <a
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    Life Insurance - <a
    Long Term Care Insurance - <a
    Retirement Program - <a

    How to Apply

    How to Apply:
    Click on the "Apply Online" button on the upper right side of the page. Please Note:
    • You must apply for this position online through the 'Apply Online' button and submit required supplemental documents (if they are relevant to you).
    • You may submit required documents by uploading them online during the application process; OR You may manually fax required documents. Faxes are received by an automated system, not a physical fax machine. Documents that are faxed as part of the application process must be sent with the system generated cover sheet by the closing date. Documents faxed without the system generated coversheet are not retrievable and cannot be considered as part of the application package.
    • The complete application package, including any required documents, is due in the Smithsonian Office of Human Resources on the closing date of the announcement by 11:59 PM Eastern Time.
    • If you are unable to apply online, paper applications may be accepted with prior approval of the Contact Person listed below.
    Required Documents:
    Your application package should include the following documents:
    • Detailed resume created in the USAJOBS Resume Builder.
    • Proof of Veteran's Preference - DD214 (Member 4 Copy), if you are a veteran. Additionally, applicants claiming 10-point preference must complete Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, as well as additional documentation required by the SF-15, such as a VA letter.
    Next Steps:
    At the end of the application process you will be able to create and save a PDF file that contains your responses to the assessment questions. You may save this file as initial receipt of your application. After the job announcement closes, you will receive an email from the Smithsonian with confirmation of receipt. The Smithsonian receives many applications for each job. Each application is reviewed carefully which may take a few weeks. We will send you an e-mail to update you as we go through phases of the application review process. You may also check your application status by logging into and selecting the tab "My USAJOBS;" e-mailing; or by contacting the Office of Human Resources Representative listed.

    Additional Information:
    • Tips on applying for Smithsonian jobs are available at
    • The Smithsonian does not pay relocation expenses.
    • The Smithsonian embraces diversity and equal employment opportunity (