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Clerical and Office Support Positions
Clerical and Office Support Positions (Primarily Grades GS-2 to GS-8)
  • Office Automation Clerk, GS-2/3/4. Employees perform a variety of general office duties, e.g., perform word-processing and computer data entry; sort and distribute mail; screen telephone callers and visitors; and maintain office records and files.
  • Program Clerk (Office Automation), GS-2/3/4. Employees maintain computerized data files; assemble material for mailing; perform word processing; assist telephone callers and office visitors; prepare travel documents; and assist in the processing of grant proposals.
  • Program Assistant (Office Automation), GS-5/6. Employees assist program managers by personally handling the technician work associated with a research grant program. Employees process grant awards, declinations and withdrawals, e.g., review, verify, monitor and track proposal activities; examine budgets for adjustments; prepare grant packages; coordinate panel meetings; maintain grant files; generate computerized reports; perform data entry; assist callers; prepare travel documents; and prepare word-processing assignments.
  • Secretary (Office Automation), GS-4/5/6. Employees serve as personal assistants and perform a variety of general office work, e.g., maintain the supervisor's calendar; review and control incoming and outgoing correspondence; establish and maintain office files; greet and screen callers and visitors; coordinate meetings and make travel arrangements; draft and type a variety of correspondence; and perform liaison functions.
  • Office Automation Clerk positions are normally filled at grades GS-4 and below.
  • A written examination may be required for appointment to positions at grades GS-4 and below.
  • A written examination is not required for Secretary and Program Assistant positions at grades GS-5 and above. Eligibility for these levels is based on related experience and/or education.
  • Appointments are made under the NSF delegated examining authority.
  • NSF Standing Registers of qualified candidates may be maintained for the immediate referral of candidates for jobs which frequently occur at grades GS-6 and below. Other positions are advertised by individual vacancy announcements.
  • Office support positions usually have promotion potential to grade GS-6. Other opportunities at GS-7 and above (e.g., Senior Program Assistant, Personnel Assistant, Computer Assistant, etc.) are periodically available and are normally filled by internal competition.
Recruiting Sources

NSF standing registers, educational institutions, job fairs, placement offices, employment services, other Federal agencies and advertisements.

  • Candidates for positions at grades GS-4 and below must have successfully passed the written clerical examination, when required, and have a valid Notice of Results.
  • Candidates must meet qualification requirements.
  • A typing speed of 40 words per minute, with 3 or fewer errors, is required for all positions.
  • Candidates must be a citizen or national of the United States.

The following table shows the minimum eligibility requirements for office support positions at grades GS-2 to GS-6.



OR Education




3 months


High school graduation or equivalent


6 months


1 year above high school


1 year


2 years above high school



1 year

4 years above high school



1 year

Generally, not applicable

General experience is progressively responsible clerical, office, or other work that indicates ability to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to perform the duties of the position.

Specialized experience is experience in or related to the position that equipped you with the knowledge and skills to successfully perform the duties of the position. Specialized experience must have been equivalent to the next lower grade level. Equivalent combinations of post-high school education and experience may be used to meet total requirements at grades GS-5 and below. The civil service written test is generally required for appointments at grades GS-4 and below. Call our personnel office, 703-292-8182, for testing locations. All applicants must be able to type at least 40 words per minute, based on a 5-minute sample, with no more than 3 errors.
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