Pathways Recent Graduate Motor Carrier Safety Specialist Safety Investigator Job

Vacancy No. FMCSA.FO-2021-0054 Department Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Salary $35,265.00 to $80,263.00 Grade 05 to 09
Perm/Temp Permanent FT/PT Full-time
Open Date 8/23/2021 Close Date 11/22/2021
Job Link Apply Online Who may apply Status Candidates

Job Description (Please follow all instructions carefully)
  • Accepting applications
  • Open & closing dates

    Opening and closing dates 08/23/2021 to 11/22/2021

  • Service


  • Pay scale & grade

    GS 05 - 09

  • Salary

    $35,265 to $80,263 per year

  • Appointment type

    Recent Graduates - Recent Graduate - Excepted Service Appointment for initial period.

  • Work schedule



Many vacancies in the following locations:

  • Anchorage, AK
  • Montgomery, AL
  • Little Rock, AR
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Lakewood, CO
  • Hartford, CT
  • Washington, DC
  • Dover, DE
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  • Palm Beach County, FL
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  • Waukesha County, WI
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  • Charleston, WV
  • Cheyenne, WY
Relocation expenses reimbursed


Telework eligible

Yes as determined by agency policy

This job is open to
  • Recent graduates

    Individuals who have graduated from an accredited educational institute or certificate program within the last 2 years or 6 years for Veterans.

  • The public

    U.S. citizens, nationals or those who owe allegiance to the U.S.

Clarification from the agency

This position is part of the Pathways Program and is open only to eligible Recent Graduates -

Announcement number


Control number


  • Duties
    Duties Summary

    This position is for RECENT GRADUATES. The DOT Recent Graduates Program provides a one-year, entry level, developmental assignment designed to lead to a career in the civil service. 

    This is a trainee position located in a FMCSA Division office. The assignments are designed to expose the employee to a wide range of program functions and to refine program knowledge, inspection, and investigative skills to allow performance of higher level duties. 

    This is a 3 MONTH OPEN CONTINUOUS announcement.

    Learn more about this agency

    As a Motor Carrier Safety Specialist (Safety Investigator) trainee, you will provide support to higher grade employees conducting onsite safety and hazardous materials compliance reviews and enforcement investigations and learn how to:

    • Analyze compliance review, enforcement, and inspection results, accident and incident reports, complaints, and other information to identify safety and compliance problems or trends among the motor carriers and shippers in the assigned State; assist in developing an annual area work planning guide consistent with national, regional, and division goals.
    • Plan and carry out a schedule of safety, economic, security, and hazardous materials investigations of carrier and shipper operations; through personal interviews, examination of various records, and comparison with other known facts, determines whether the company is in compliance or whether the violations found indicate deliberate and conscious disregard of applicable regulations; makes a preliminary determination whether prosecution is warranted and evidence is sufficient to support enforcement action.
    • Conduct investigations into alleged violations either as follow up to an investigation or in response to complaints; upon advice and approval by the supervisor, initiates enforcement investigations to develop supportive evidence of the kinds and volume needed to sustain criminal or civil forfeiture actions, cease and desist orders, or other proceedings.
    • Plan and conduct unannounced roadside inspections of interstate commercial motor vehicles and driver’s documentation to determine carrier or driver compliance with applicable regulations; note deficiencies and declare out-of-service any vehicle or driver in accordance with the established Out of Service Criteria.
    • Conduct in-depth investigations into the causes of highway accidents and hazardous material incidents involving motor carriers to determine whether applicable regulations or laws have been violated; develop information for use in furthering the agency’s accident prevention program.

    The training process includes both classroom instruction and on-the-job training.  

    This is an ideal position for a person who wants to do meaningful work to make travel on our nation’s highways safer by promoting and enforcing compliance of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Programs. The ideal candidate will have excellent inter-personal and analytical skills with experience in influencing and relationship building to advance FMCSA’s safety-first culture. The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated ability to relate to all types of personalities in challenging and sometimes contentious, circumstances. This is an ideal position for a person who wants to be challenged and advance within the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

    Travel Required

    75% or less - Overnight travel, ranging from approximately 1 to 3 weeks per month, away from the official duty station is required in order to complete training assignments and perform official business. You may also be required to travel to a foreign country; e.g., Mexico or Canada, to carry out work assignments. Mode of travel will be through commercial airlines, government vehicles, privately owned vehicles or rental vehicles. Mode of travel is based on management needs. Inspectors can travel at will.

    Supervisory status


    Promotion Potential


  • Job family (Series)

    2123 Motor Carrier Safety

  • Requirements
    Requirements Conditions Of Employment
    • You must be a U.S. Citizen and meet Pathways Recent Graduate requirements.
    • Submit application and resume online by 11:59 PM EST on the closing date
    • Applicable documents are required for the Mandatory Education requirements.


    • have obtained a qualifying associates, bachelors, master's, professional, doctorate, vocational or technical degree or certificate from a qualifying educational institution, within the previous 2 years unless military service interfered with a veteran’s eligibility to apply during that two year time frame. Veterans meeting the above exclusion may apply within 2 years of discharge or 6 years from the date of receipt of the degree whichever comes first; AND
    • meet the basic qualification standards outlined under the Qualifications section for this series and grade level(s).

    If selected, you: 

    • must sign a Pathways Recent Graduate Program Participant Agreement;
    • will serve on an excepted service appointment for at least a one year trial period;
    • must successfully pass all requirements associated with the FMCSA Training Academy; AND
    • will be evaluated for conversion to a term or permanent appointment in the competitive service at the end of one year.


    • SELECTIVE SERVICE: Males born after 12/31/1959 must be  registered for the Selective Service.
    • DECLARATION FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT: Selectee is required to complete a Declaration for Federal Employment (OF-306) to determine suitability for federal employment.
    • BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION: A background security investigation is required for all selected individuals. Appointment will be subject to the applicant’s successful completion of the security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to meet these requirements will be grounds for termination.
    • DRUG TESTING: Tentatively selected candidates are required to undergo urinalysis in accordance with DOT 3910.1D entitled "Drug and Alcohol-Free Departmental Workplace", which includes testing for marijuana. Marijuana is legal in some states, however it’s still illegal at the federal level. Therefore, if selected for the position you will be required to submit to a pre-employment/pre-appointment drug test, you will also be subject to Random Drug Testing.
    • DRIVER’S LICENSE: You must drive a motor vehicle in order to drive to and from assigned trucking companies to conduct compliance reviews. You must maintain a valid State driver's license to perform these official duties.
    • GOVERNMENT TRAVEL CARD: A government contractor-issued travel card will be issued and must be retained for official business only.

    (continued in the 'Other Information' section)


    To meet the minimum qualifications for this position, you must meet the Pathways Recent Graduate Program requirements, the education requirements AND the following experience/education qualifications for the grade at which you are requesting consideration.

    To qualify for the GS-05 on Experience, you must have at least one year of experience equal or equivalent to the GS-04, it must include:

    • Experience in applying safety regulations.
    • Experience collecting and reviewing data.

    To qualify for the GS-05 on Education alone, you must have at least:

    • A four year course of study leading to a Bachelor's degree.

    You can also qualify based on a combination of graduate level education and experience.

    To qualify for the GS-07 on Experience, you must have at least one year of experience equal or equivalent to the GS-05, it must include:

    • Experience in applying Federal and/or State safety regulations.
    • Experience collecting and reviewing data.

    To qualify for the GS-07 on Education alone, you must have at least:

    • 1 year of graduate-level education OR superior academic achievement.
    • **Superior Academic Achievement is based on (1) class standing, (2) grade-point average, or (3) honor society membership.

      1. Class standing -- Applicants must be in the upper third of the graduating class in the college, university, or major subdivision, such as the College of Liberal Arts or the School of Business Administration, based on completed courses.
      2. Grade-point average (G.P.A.) -- Applicants must have a grade-point average of: 3.0 or higher out of a possible 4.0 ("B" or better) as recorded on their official transcript, or as computed based on 4 years of education, or as computed based on courses completed during the final 2 years of the curriculum; or 3.5 or higher out of a possible 4.0 ("B+" or better) based on the average of the required courses completed in the major field or the required courses in the major field completed during the final 2 years of the curriculum.

    You can also qualify based on a combination of graduate level education and experience.

    To qualify for the GS-09 on Experience, you must have at least one year of experience equal or equivalent to the GS-07, it must include:

    • Experience applying safety regulations concerning trucks and buses.
    • Experience reviewing, collecting, and analyzing data to prepare written summaries and reports.

    To qualify for the GS-09 on Education alone, you must have:

    • At least 2 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree
    • Master's degree or have been awarded a master's or equivalent graduate degree.
    • LL.B. or J.D., if related

    You can also qualify based on a combination of graduate education and experience.  

    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.


    Individual Occupational Requirement for GS-2123:

    Your major of study must be in: accounting, business administration, business of commercial law, commerce, economics, engineering, finance, industrial management, statistics, traffic management, transportation, motor mechanics or other fields related to the position.

    College or university education -- Educational course work may be at either the undergraduate or graduate level. Successful completion of graduate level courses will be accepted as evidence that an applicant also possesses the knowledge taught in courses at lower levels in the same field.

    For more information on the Pathways Program, please visit:

    You must provide a copy of ALL of your college/vocational/technical transcript(s). See  "Required Documents" section for additional information.

    Students enrolled in a qualifying degree program can apply if the anticipated graduation date is within six months of closing date of the announcement. Graduation transcript must be received before start date.  Other applicants must meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of this announcement.

    Foreign Education: If your education was completed or is from foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs and such education has been deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at a U.S. accredited college or university. For further information, visit:

    Additional information

    (Conditions of Employment Continued:)

    • PASSPORT:  You must be able to obtain and maintain an official government passport and to keep the status of that Passport valid for work related travel.
    • TRIAL PERIOD: The intern is in a trial period throughout the entire Pathways Internship appointment.
    • PHYSICAL LOCATION: Intern will be required to work onsite unless COVID-19 restrictions mandate change.
    • PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: This position requires a considerable amount of physical activity involving regular and recurring periods of standing, bending, climbing, stooping in and around large commercial motor vehicles in various weather conditions such as extreme heat and extreme cold. You will also be exposed to dirt, grime, grease, dust, high noise levels, and spilled or leaking hazardous materials on a recurring basis while performing inspections/investigations.
    • TRAINING: You must successfully complete a residential 10-week formal training course including any pre- and/or post-course training requirements. Travel to and from this residential training will be paid as allowed by government travel regulations. Individuals who do not successfully complete the training academy will be separated from employment. 


    • Successful completion of the FMCSA Safety Investigator Academy, including any pre- and/or post-Academy training requirements; and,
    • Successful completion of a minimum of 6 compliance reviews or onsite investigations under the direction of a person certified to conduct compliance reviews and onsite investigations; and,
    • Successful completion of a minimum of 32 Level I and/or V roadside inspections, under the direction of a person certified to conduct Level I and/or V roadside inspections. (May include specialized passenger vehicle Level I, and/or V roadside inspections and/or specialized HM and/or specialized cargo tank and/or other bulk packaging.)

    FMCSA Basic Investigative Enforcement Training Academy Requirements

    Attendance/Curriculum:  The Academy training curriculum focuses on the policies, regulations, and procedures for carrying out compliance and enforcement responsibilities for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Courses specifically include information on how to interpret regulations, how to investigate possible violations of regulations in accordance with the field operations training manual, how to conduct and document a Level I roadside inspection and how to write and document a basic enforcement investigation report.

    All new FMCSA Academy hires are required to attend and successfully complete this training program. Since expertise and knowledge of FMCSA programs, policies, and procedures is critically important to the agency and difficult to obtain through alternate sources, the following policies are in effect.

    Test/Remediation Requirements:
    (a) A student may not fail more than one, Written Examination in an Academy Training Program. Immediately upon failing a second, regularly scheduled, written Examination, the student will be dismissed from the Academy Training Program.

    (i) Individuals hired under the Delegating Examining Unit (DEU) procedures, who fail their Academy Training Program, will be dismissed from employment with FMCSA immediately.

    (ii) Individuals hired through the Pathways Recent Graduate program, who fail their Academy Training Program, will be dismissed from employment with FMCSA immediately.

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    Location/Salary Clarification:

    This announcement establishes an open continuous (3 month) Standing Register.  This Register will be used to fill positions as they become vacant.  Duty locations will vary. Your consideration will be based on your top 3 location choices. The difference in the salary at the GS-07 and 09 levels is determined by the locality pay in each location. Salaries for all areas are available on the OPM website at If the position is offered to you remotely (approved to work from home), your home address becomes your duty station for pay setting purposes.

    This vacancy may be used by any DOT agency to fill similar positions within 90 days.

    For this announcement, all applicants will be reviewed to determine if they meet the basic qualifications for this position, specifically the educational and specialized experience requirements. 

    Applicants will not be rated or ranked.

    All applications that are verified to meet the basic qualifications will be referred to the selecting official.

    All answers provided in the on-line process must be substantiated by a resume. If, upon review, it is determined that your resume and/or supporting documents do not support your answer choices, your application may be removed from consideration.

    Ultimately, the Automated Staffing Office is responsible for determining an applicant's eligibility. Please ensure that your resume provide enough detail to support your answers to the Vacancy Specific Questions.

    To preview questions please click here.

    Background checks and security clearance
    Security clearance


    Drug test required


    Position sensitivity and risk

    Moderate Risk (MR)

    Trust determination process


  • Required Documents
    Required Documents

    ALL Applicants must provide a resume that fully supports the required specialized experience and was created within USA Jobs Resume Builder and respond to the vacancy questions by the closing date of the vacancy. 

    The following is a list of documents that are only required based on the type of position and consideration for which you are applying.  Please review each of the following sections to determine which, if any, additional documents you need to provide with your application.


    TRANSCRIPTS ARE REQUIRED: You must submit a transcript with your application. The transcript may be an unofficial transcript at the time of application, but must show that you meet the stated education requirements, including specific major or class requirements. However, you will need to provide an official transcript before you are given a final job offer.

    VETERANS: Your last DD214 (member 4 copy), Certificate of Release or Discharge From Active Duty, that shows the type of discharge and all dates of active duty is required to verify your eligibility.  It need not be official.

    • If you are applying to a vacancy opened to all US Citizens under category rating and wish to be considered as a preference eligible, you need to submit a copy of your DD214 (member-4 copy).
    • If you are claiming preference eligibility as a disabled veteran, you must submit proof of entitlement of this preference which is normally a valid letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs certifying to the present existence of the service-connected disability and indicating the percentage of your disability.  An SF-15 is desired, but not required.
    • If you are applying to a vacancy opened Status and you are requesting consideration under Veteran's Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA) (, you need to provide a copy of your last DD214 (member-4 copy), which verifies your military service dates, reason for separation, OR certification of separation that shows a discharge date within 120 days of the closing of this announcement, and eligibility for consideration under the Veterans Employment Opportunity Act.

    NON COMPETITIVE APPLICANTS: If requesting concurrent consideration for Non-competitive (NC) appointment eligibility,  you must provide the appropriate SPECIAL APPOINTING AUTHORITY DOCUMENTS, such as PCS orders (military spouse) describing move & marriage certificate; letter from VA or DD214 describing 100% disability of spouse; letter from State Vocational Office certifying disability (schedule A), etc. For more information, visit military spouse NC appointments or Persons with Disabilities NC appointments.

    DISPLACED EMPLOYEES: If requesting consideration under the Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or Interagency CTAP program (ICTAP), you must meet the well qualified standards for this vacancy (meeting minimum requirements for position and scoring at least an 85 or falling in the Gold Category)  and provide all of the following documents:  

    • Your most recent performance appraisal,
    • The proof of eligibility letter from the Agency, and
    • Your most current SF-50, displaying current series and grade.

    Displaced employees may be eligible for ICTAP or CTAP priority consideration. For more information, please review the OPM Employee's Guide to Career Transition.

    Failure to submit any of the required documents by the closing date of the vacancy will result in your removal from consideration for this position. Please review your application prior to final submission and ensure you have submitted all appropriate documents. Uploading documents to USAJobs does NOT ensure inclusion with your application to our system.  You must verify that the documents are in the system with your application prior to final submission.

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

  • Benefits

    A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding.

    Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

  • How to Apply
    How to Apply

    You must submit a complete application package (including resume, vacancy questions and supporting documents) no later than midnight Eastern Time on the closing date of the announcement.

    • To begin, click the "Apply Online" button on the job announcement posting.
    • Follow the directions to register, submit all required documents and complete the assessment questionnaire.
    • You may review your saved application(s) at

    If you are having difficulty applying online, please contact the DOT Automated Staffing Office via email at:

    Agency contact information Automated Staffing Office Automated Staffing Office






    Submit Application and Documents Online
    1200 New Jersey Ave SE / HAHR - 50
    Washington, District of Columbia 20590
    United States
    Learn more about this agency

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was established as a separate administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000, pursuant to the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999.

    Our primary mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

    FMCSA is headquartered in Washington, DC. We employ more than 1,500 individuals, in all 50 States and the District of Columbia, dedicated to improving bus and truck safety and saving lives.

    The U.S. Department of Transportation strives to ensure that equity, transparency, accountability, collaboration, and communication permeate all that we do for the betterment of the Department, the traveling public, and our nation.  As such, DOT values a highly diverse workforce of persons who promote a culture of belonging by respecting the personal dignity and worth of each individual and fostering a positive environment where all feel safe and welcome.  If these commitments coincide with your personal ideals and professional aspirations, please consider joining the DOT family.

    The Department of Transportation (DOT) is ranked #3 in the 2020 best places to work in the Federal Government!

    Next steps

    You may check your application status by logging into (Select "My USAJOBS" and click "Applications"). Within two weeks of the closing date, a Human Resources Specialist will evaluate your application. Ratings will be determined based on the documents and information received by the closing date.  The most highly qualified candidates are then referred to the hiring manager for further consideration in veteran preference order. If you are selected for an interview, the hiring manager will contact you directly. Once the position is filled, we will notify all applicants of their final status.

Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

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.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:

  • An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Legal and regulatory guidance

Note: We cannot accept applications on behalf of Federal Agencies. Application instructions are listed within the Job Description.