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Working at FNS

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is committed to being one of the best agencies in the federal government. We offer rewarding career options with an unparalleled mix of training and real-world experience across all our programs.

We are always looking for talented and dedicated people to join us in making FNS a safe, fair, diverse, and rewarding place to work. You can be assured that working at FNS is a place where every job matters and every employee counts!

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Career Paths at FNS

Agency Support Services

Administrative Officer (GS-0341) Headquarters and Regional Offices
This position provides a variety of administrative, budgetary, and management services that are essential to the operation of an office. This work requires good oral and written communication skills.
There is no educational requirement but generally successful candidates will have the ability to work with budgets and have strong analytical skills.

Human Resources Specialist (GS-0201) Headquarters
Work with managers to attract, develop, manage, and keep a high-quality and diverse workforce. HR specialists also support employees with training, job, and benefits related questions.
There is no educational requirement but generally successful candidates will have the ability to apply basic human resources management knowledge concepts and principles.

Information Technology Specialist (GS-2210) Headquarters
This occupation covers positions that manage, supervise, lead, administer, develop, deliver, and support IT systems and services. There are 11 specialties within the IT Specialist occupation and these mimic the system development lifecycle management process, but all require knowledge of IT principles, concepts, and methods (e.g., data storage, software applications, networking).
Common degrees/certificates/coursework include computer science, information science, information systems management, mathematics, statistics, operations research, technology management, or engineering.

Financial Management

Accountant (GS-0510) Headquarters and Regional Offices
Ensure the integrity of agency financial management systems. Duties vary depending on the operational assignment. Accountants assigned to program areas manage grantee and state agency accounts and payments. Accountants assigned to administrative accounts support the payroll, travel, procurement, and property subsystems.
Common degrees/certificates/coursework include accounting, auditing business administration, business law, finance, or public administration.

Budget Analyst (GS-0560) Headquarters
Provide, direction, oversight, and guidance to managers in the creation and execution of their program budgets. They understand the authorizing legislation and regulations that govern the programs for which they are responsible as well as the appropriations laws that define how program dollars may legally be spent. They also forecast future program funding needs based on historical data.
There is no educational requirement but generally successful candidates will be detail oriented and have experience monitoring funds and working with financial information and systems.

Contracts Specialist (GS-1102) Headquarters
Responsible for the procurement of supplies and services. They may develop policies and procedures for work processes. Their work requires knowledge of the legislation and regulations that control government contracting. They are also familiar with common business and industry practices and supply sources.
Common degrees/certificates/coursework include accounting, business, finance, law, contracts, purchasing, economics, industrial management, marketing, quantitative methods, or organization and management.

Grants Management Specialist (GS-1109) Headquarters and Regional Offices
Award and manage federal grants and cooperative agreements. They may develop policy, review grant proposals, and close-out awards. Grants specialists also provide technical assistance to grantees.
There is no educational requirement but generally successful candidates will have experience with grants, funding, interpreting financial policy, and providing technical assistance and support to grantees.

Program Operations

Investigator (GS-1810) Field Office
Investigators plan, conduct, and manage investigations related to alleged fraud in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Common suspected violations include selling products, services, or cash for SNAP benefits. Employees investigate retailers and stores applying for or redeeming program benefits. Findings may lead to adverse actions, including administrative sanctions and/or financial penalties. Cases may be referred for civil or criminal investigation and/or prosecution to the appropriate authorities.
There are no educational requirement but generally successful candidates will have knowledge of investigative and research techniques and be familiar with the laws, rules, and regulations that apply to FNS programs.

Program Analyst (GS-0343) Headquarters
Program analysts are responsible for the development, monitoring, and evaluation of FNCS programs. This includes communication and outreach to ensure implementing agencies adhere to established guidelines. Program analyst work is often a combination of:

  • policy development, interpretation, and implementation.
  • program and policy analysis.
  • operational implementation and oversight.
  • and communication of policies and stakeholder training.

Qualifications are based on specialized experience which can be substituted with education. Successful candidates will have experience assisting in the implementation, operation, or policy development of social service, public health, or food programs; agriculture marketing programs; procurement programs; or supply chain management systems.

Program Specialist (GS-0301) Regional and Field Offices
Provide training to states, tribal organizations, and other agencies on the administration and delivery of FNCS programs. This position is also responsible for the direct administration of all aspects of SNAP retailer management. Program Specialists ensure program benefits reach the eligible recipients in compliance with program regulations. They do so by gathering information, identifying and analyzing issues, and developing recommendations. This work requires the ability to communicate the balance between access and integrity of programs.
Qualifications are based on specialized experience which can be substituted with education. Successful candidates will have experience developing reports and assisting with management evaluations, assisting in qualitative analysis, problem solving, and influencing and negotiating skills.

Program Support

Food Safety Specialist (GS-0601) Headquarters
Work involves ensuring the quality and safety of foods distributed through FNS nutrition assistance programs. Food safety specialists provide food safety education, training, and technical assistance to program operators.
Common degrees/certificates/coursework include biology, chemistry, food science, environmental health, public health, medical, health, or allied sciences.

Nutritionist (GS-0630) Headquarters and Regional Offices
Use their expertise to improve the nutrition and well-being of Americans. Work includes evaluating and promoting nutritional components of policies and programs. Staff develop standards, guidance, and educational material for use in federal nutrition programs. They are often asked to interpret and communicate technical information and provide training. Nutritionists also maintain a network of partners that includes:

  • administering agencies,
  • governmental or professional organizations, and
  • other health related organizations

Common degrees/certificates/coursework include dietetics, food, nutrition, food service management, institution management, or related science. Common professional registrations include Registered Dietitian, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, or Certified Nutrition Specialist.

Public Affairs Specialist (GS-1035) Headquarters and Regional Offices
Establish and maintain communication between FNS, the general public, and various stakeholders. The work involves identifying communication needs and developing tailored informational materials. Staff advise management on the potential public reaction to proposed policy. They also carry out public communication campaigns associated with policy decisions. Public Affairs Specialists also plan, execute, and evaluate the effectiveness of communication materials. The work requires skills in written and oral communication, analysis, and interpersonal relations.
There is no educational requirement but generally successful candidates will have experience working on information and communication programs, developing informational materials, communicating and writing effectively, and establishing and maintaining relationships.

Social Science Analyst (GS-0101) Headquarters
Social Science Analysts are responsible for designing, administering, supervising, or performing research studies to examine the effectiveness, efficiency, and operations of FNCS programs. Analysts provide technical support in social science studies on issues related to study design, measurement, and analysis, including conducting statistical analyses; interpreting data to develop agency policy, programmatic, or legislative initiatives; and developing Agency planning and reporting documents.
Common degrees/certificates/coursework include behavioral or social science or related discipline. Successful candidates will have experience designing, conducting, or performing data collection for formative, process, or impact evaluations of federal or state government programs and publishing in peer-reviewed journals.

Page updated: June 13, 2024