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We’re Hiring: National Water Quality Lab Leadership Positions

USGS hiring for NWQL Leadership 2022

Date Posted May 5, 2022 Last Updated July 20, 2023
Author Jeff McCoy (he/him)
Reading Time 6 minutes Share
A banner announcing that the USGS Water Mission Area is hiring leadership positions in the National Water Quality Lab. Apply online at Accepting Applications May 9th-May 23rd.

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Water Mission Area (WMA) is looking to hire two outstanding leaders and managers: one will serve as the National Water Quality Laboratory (NWQL) Assistant Chief and the other as the Analytical Services Chief. We are committed to inclusive hiring practices that build a healthy workplace where diversity is a strength, and everyone has the support they need to succeed. We encourage applicants who are BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, have a disability, or are of any marginalized identity. Apply online at USAJobs, where the positions will be open for submission of applications under a single posting from Monday, May 9 to Monday, May 23, 2022. This posting will close when we have received 75 applications, which may be sooner than the closing date.

Apply online at USAjobs: USGS-SAC-22-11461902-DHA-SD Supervisory Chemist (National Water Quality Laboratory (NWQL) Assistant Chief and Analytical Services (AS) Chief)

About the position: National Water Quality Laboratory Assistant Chief

The NWQL Assistant Chief works with the NWQL Lab Chief and Management Team to develop the strategic vision for the laboratory. As a senior manager at the NWQL, the incumbent provides oversight and leadership for scientific and technical vision, policy development and business development to ensure continued excellence of the NWQL. The incumbent leads a team of scientists that work with method development principal investigators to develop, validate and document new methods, and to transition those methods into production, fee-for-service analysis. The incumbent ensures excellence in the strategic and operational management of Quality Assurance Section (QAS) within the NWQL by providing oversight and leadership of scientific, technical, and policy processes to ensure continued excellence of Quality Assurance activities. The incumbent ensures excellence in the logistical operation of facilities management and sample login services by providing oversight and leadership to the Facilities and Login units at the NWQL. The incumbent will serve as the liaison in dealing with GSA, other agencies, and WMA Water Science Centers regarding issues, commitments, and matters that need senior management attention.

The position will be in Lakewood, Colorado and is a GS-14 supervisory chemist with an annual salary of $122,941 (Step 01) to $159,823 (Step 10).

About the position: Analytical Services Chief

The NWQL Analytical Services (AS) Chief is responsible for supervision of the NWQL production analytical units that conduct fee-for-service environmental chemical contaminant analyses of water, sediment, and tissue samples collected by USGS Water Science Centers and other Mission Area and Federal Agency partners. We are looking for an experienced and dynamic individual with strong technical, communication, and management skills. The incumbent will collaborate with the Strategic Laboratory Science Branch (SLSB) to implement next-generation analytical methods on an array of existing and emerging contaminants.

Other AS Chief duties include development of workforce plans and the annual NWQL pricing model, participation in the International Program, coordinating implementation of quality assurance/quality control practices to assure data quality and integrity, ensuring consistent, effective transition of research methods into production, and ensuring that NWQL laboratories are operated and maintained in a safe and responsible manner by complying with all relevant regulations and ordinances.

The position will be in Lakewood, Colorado and is a GS-14 supervisory chemist with an annual salary of $122,941 (Step 01) to $159,823 (Step 10).

About the National Water Quality Laboratory

The NWQL is the WMA’s flagship laboratory: it analyzes approximately forty thousand water, sediment, and tissue samples annually. These samples are analyzed for hundreds of chemical constituents and physical properties and approximately 2 million individual analytical results are produced each year. These results are used by USGS scientists, partners, and stakeholders to evaluate the quality of the Nation’s water resources, their suitability for use as drinking-water supplies, to assess the health of aquatic ecosystems, and study the impacts of human activities and climate change on water quality temporally and spatially. The NWQL is located on the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood, Colorado. It is one of four branches within the WMA’s Laboratory and Analytical Services Division.


Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions you have, we are here to help! Contact the hiring manager, Jeff McCoy (he/him), at

Additional Information

Calculating the value of the job

General Schedule Grades – The pay and responsibilities of these Federal jobs are defined by general schedule (GS) Grades, which are roughly equivalent to the levels concept used elsewhere. The position will be advertised at GS-14.

Pay – The annual salary of the position ranges from $122,941 (Step 01) to $159,823 (Step 10). The “steps” are intermediate performance-based pay increases. Typically, new hires into the federal government start at “Step 1”.

Benefits – These positions include health and life insurance, 5% retirement match, 11 federal holidays, 13 sick days + 13 vacation days per year, paid parental leave, and accrual of federal service to count towards a pension (typically an additive 1% of the average of your highest 3 years of salary for each year of service). See USGS human resources pay and benefits page here for more details.

Intangibles - If the mission of public service towards advancing water-resource monitoring, assessment, modeling, and research resonates with you, there will be no shortage of energy and motivation available when working with great colleagues on these challenges. Likewise, a flexible schedule and emphasis on work life balance are important components to work at the USGS.

Applying for the job

Creating a USA Jobs account - This position will be posted and filled using a public vacancy announcement on If you are remotely interested in applying to any of the positions mentioned here or elsewhere, get ahead by creating an account as soon as you can. Having an active account will allow you to set up job filters and get a jump start on getting your application materials together.

Qualifying for GS grades - We recognize that individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and different experiences will be able to excel at this job. That said, federal pay grades have requirements that applicants must meet for the system to pass you on to the pool that we can then review. We CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH: see USGS tips for combining education and experience and spell out how you meet the grade and Chemist job series qualifications.

Materials – You’ll need a resume and educational transcripts (unofficial are OK). Again, to make sure HR can see that you’re qualified, make sure your resume explicitly ties your experience to each of the qualifications listed for the position.

Application Window – The application window will be open on USAJobs from Monday May 9 to Monday May 23 15th. This vacancy is limited to the first 75 applications received and will close at midnight Eastern Time (ET) on the day this application limit is reached regardless of the closing date specified in this announcement.

Common Questions

Q: Is this open to non-U.S. citizens?

A: You must be a U.S. citizen or national (residents of American Samoa and Swains Island) to work for the Federal Government, but there are some exceptions. More information here:

Q: Should I use my CV/resume or the USAjobs template?

A: Either is fine. Whichever format you choose, we recommend taking time to explicitly spell out how your experience meets the qualification requirements for the job series and GS level.

USGS tips on combining education and experience

Job series qualifications for Chemist (job series 1320)

Q: I am a student graduating after the application window closes, can I still apply??

A: Yes. As long as you will meet the educational requirements, or combined education and experience qualifications before the start date, you can apply.


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