NRAP Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is the NOAA Rotational Assignment Program (NRAP)?

Answer: NRAP is a competitive, NOAA-wide employee development program offering short-term rotational assignments to employees at all grade levels away from their regular position. NRAP offers rotational assignments in all occupational areas that support NOAA's missions. An NRAP assignment typically last from 3 to 6 months, but may not exceed 12 months.

Question: What is the purpose of the NRAP program?

Answer: The purpose of the NRAP program is to provide rotational assignments for NOAA employees to gain knowledge, broaden skills, and enhance professional growth. Assignments are structured to provide a developmental opportunity for the participant.

Question: Why does NOAA offer this program?

Answer: NOAA is committed to promoting a corporate culture and to developing the NOAA workforce to its fullest potential. NRAP is intended to promote cross-line, cross-disciplinary experiences that broaden employees' understanding of NOAA's goals, missions, and organizational structures.

Question: Who is eligible to apply for an NRAP assignment?

Answer: NRAP is open to all NOAA federal employees in permanent, full-time or part-time, civilian positions who are in pay band, general schedule, wage grade, or wage marine pay schedules. The employee must have a "meets or exceeds expectations" rating on their last performance review and be willing to accept Assignments that require relocating temporarily (for example, a different region if the Host Office pays your way or a different building). A Wage Mariner (WM) employee may participate in an NRAP Assignment that is developed strictly for WM employees, only within OMAO. Employees serving in term positions and contractors are not eligible to apply for NRAP.


Question: Do I need my supervisor's approval to participate in the NRAP program?

Answer: Yes, Supervisor approval is required to participate in the NRAP program. You do not need your Supervisor's approval to apply for an Assignment, but it is best to discuss the idea first and secure preliminary approval. You and your Supervisor will receive an email confirming that you applied for NRAP Assignments. In response to that email, your Supervisor's approval is required for your application to be considered. Again, it is strongly recommended that you discuss your interest in the NRAP program before applying.

Question: Do you forward the names of Applicants whose Supervisors did not approve their participation in NRAP?

Answer: No. If a Home Office Supervisor does not approve an Applicant to participate in NRAP, the application stops there.

Question: How do I apply for an NRAP assignment?

Answer: A Call for NRAP Applications and instructions on how to apply is emailed to all NOAA employees once a year.

Question: Which assignments may I apply for?

Answer: Most NOAA employees may apply for any NRAP Assignment submitted by any NOAA Line/Staff Office. The exceptions are Wage Mariners who must apply within OMAO, and employees who are in term positions. If you apply to an Assignment above your level of responsibility (e.g., ZA-2, GS-12), you must also explain in your application how the Assignment will meet your learning needs.

Question: Can I apply to an Assignment in a higher grade?

Answer: Yes, you may apply for Assignments above your grade level. Your online application must include a statement about why you feel you are qualified and how that Assignment will meet your learning needs.


Question: How often may I participate in the NRAP program?

Answer: It is recommended that an employee participate in the NRAP program, at most, once every 3 years. However, you may participate more frequently, if your Supervisor approves.

Question: Is a Personnel Action (SF-52) required for NRAP Assignment?

Answer: NRAP Assignments are developmental not "details," so a SF-52 is not required.

Question: What are the responsibilities of the Participant, the Home Office Supervisor, and the Host Office Supervisor?


Question: Who's responsible for the Participant's time and attendance, pay, and performance evaluation?

Answer: The NRAP Participant's Home Office is responsible for recording the NRAP Participant's time and attendance, paying the Participant's salary, and completing the Participant's performance review (with input from the Host Office).


Question: Can I earn compensatory time, credit hours, or overtime?

Answer: NRAP Participants are strongly discouraged from accruing compensatory, credit, or overtime hours. Compensatory or overtime must be paid by the Participant's Home Office. All requests for compensatory, credit, or overtime hours must be approved in advance by the Home Office Supervisor before it's earned.

Question: What happens if two Host Office Supervisors want the same Applicant?

Answer: In this situation, the Applicant picks the Assignment they prefer. Or the Applicant may do Assignments back to back (so long the combined time does not exceed a year). Two Supervisors in the same Host Office may decide to blend the duties into one Assignment. The point of NRAP is to bring about a valuable Assignment for all parties.

Question: If I'm not matched to an Assignment, will you tell me about other Assignments that are still open?

Answer: No. Between the three options you select, we usually find you an Assignment.

Question: Can several people fill one Assignment at the same time or back to back?

Answer: Yes, but the maximum length of the Assignment is 12 months.

Question: What is the latest date I can begin an Assignment?

Answer: An email will be sent to Participants to notify them that they are matched, and the 1-year clock starts ticking that day; Assignments must be completed within the year.

Question: May an NRAP assignment be extended?

Answer: Yes, an Assignment may be extended if, at the end of an Assignment, the Home and Host Offices agree to extend the time. However, an NRAP Assignment may not exceed 12 months, including any extensions. Be sure to keep the Host Office NRAP Coordinator updated on any extension requests and the outcome.

Question: What materials do I receive before I begin my Assignment?

Question: How do you track/monitor Assignments throughout the year?

Answer: Participants' work is tracked via the Learning Agreement and the Host Supervisor Evaluation Form.

Question: Who do I contact if I have questions about NRAP?

Answer: Please contact your Line/Staff Office NRAP Coordinator.