Animal Caretaker
Department of Veterans Affairs - Palo Alto, CA

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Department of Veterans Affairs

(VA) needs employees who possess the energy, compassion, and commitment to serve those who served our country. Whatever the job title, every position in VA will give you a chance to make a meaningful and personal contribution to the lives of truly special and deserving people - our Veterans. Working for VA is one of the most emotionally satisfying and professionally rewarding ways to dedicate the best within you to your Country's service.

If you are transitioning from the military or a Veteran already, we invite you to explore the benefits of continuing your career at the VA.

The VA is committed to hiring Veterans


The VA is much more than just another employer. It is an honorable, open and welcoming community of those who care. Gratitude is our motivation and service is our mission.

The VA has adopted Core Values and Characteristics that apply universally across the Department. The five Core Values define “who we are,” our culture and how we care for Veterans, their families and other beneficiaries. The Values are








espect and


xcellence (“I CARE”).

America's Veterans need you!

To find out more, go to



You must be a U.S. citizen to apply for this job.

You will be subject to a background/suitability investigation.

Pre-employment physical required.

Location: This position is located in the Research Service, Veterinary Medical Unit (VMU) at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) in Palo Alto, CA.

Major duties and responsibilities include:
The incumbent works in the Research Service, Veterinary Medical Unit (VMU), VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS), under the direction of the facility supervisor and the veterinary medical officer. The primary purpose of this position is to provide care to research animals by practicing standardized husbandry procedures. Major duties and responsibilities include:


Observe the general health status of all animals and identifies signs of illness and disease.


Documents the occurrence of any clinical problems that are observed in the animals.


Communicates effectively with veterinary staff regarding these occurrences and provides follow up to the veterinary staff as well as the investigators.


Provides standard and specialized care for a diverse group of species including mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, pigs and sheep.


Works with several species of transgenic mice and rats.


Monitors breeding and identification of all rodents in the colony and assures that required documentation is maintained to assure that all animals are properly identified.


Develops and shares solutions for operational challenges with VMU management.


Maintains cleanliness of animal rooms as well as support areas as assigned.


Maintains cleanliness of all equipment used by animals such as cages, water bottles, wire bar lids and filter tops.


Assures successful operation of ventilated racks and hoods.


Informs VMU supervisor of any needed repairs in a timely fashion.


Assures the accuracy of light cycles in the animal rooms.


Checks the condition of all cages on a daily basis and changes cages as frequently as needed to assure an appropriate micro-environment for the animals. Any dead animals are removed on a daily basis and are reported to the veterinary staff.


Receives incoming animals, checks shipping documents and houses them as described in standard operating procedures.


Provides VMU management with a current caging and equipment inventory in a timely manner to assure that caging needs are consistently met and equipment shortages do not occur.


Work Schedule:
M-F 8:00am - 4:30pm

For this position, the job element method is used to match what you (the applicant) can do against what the work calls for. Your knowledge, skills and abilities will be compared to the knowledge, skills and abilities (called job elements) needed for success. Your qualifications will first be evaluated against the prescribed screen out element, which usually appears as question 1 in the on-line questionnaire. A specific length of training and experience is not required, but you must show evidence of training or experience of sufficient scope and quality of your ability to do the work of this position. Evidence of specialized experience, which demonstrates you possess the knowledge, skills, and ability to perform the duties of this position, must be supported by detailed descriptions of your experience on your resume.

Those applicants who appear to meet the screen out element are considered for further rating; those who do not are rated ineligible and are eliminated from consideration. The potential eligibles are then rated against the remainder of the questions.

You will be rated on the following Job Elements as part of the assessment questionnaire for this position:














Position requires lifting of feed materials up to 50 pounds, walks or standing for an

extended period of time, and frequently work in a seated

position. Light physical effort is required to lift or handle small docile animals.

More physical effort can be required for working with the larger species such as

pigs or sheep. Requires strength and agility to capture and restrain these larger


During the performance of animal care duties the incumbent may come in contact with animal dander etc. The incumbent will be provided the appropriate personal protective equipment to eliminate the potential for direct contact with animal excretions. Cage wash equipment can be noisy and the cage wash area can be wet. The incumbent will be provided the appropriate protective equipment to ameliorate these conditions. All employees are participants in VAPAHCS occupational health program.

Additional information on the qualification requirements is outlined in the OPM Job Qualification System for Trades and Labor Occupations which is available for your review on OPM's web site at

IN DESCRIBING YOUR KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES, PLEASE BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC. WE MAY NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS. If your resume does not support your questionnaire answers, we will not allow credit for your responses.

Veteran's Preference


When applying for Federal jobs, eligible veterans should claim preference on the Occupational Questionnaire in the section provided and provide a legible copy of DD-214(s) showing all dates of service as well as character of service (honorable, general, etc.). Additionally, veterans with service-connected disability of 10% or more must also submit a copy of their official statement from the Department of Veterans Affairs, or from a branch of the Armed Forces, certifying their service-connected disability and/or their receipt of compensation for service-connected disability. If the military member is within 120 days of separation and does not yet have a DD214, the member may instead submit any written document from the armed forces that certifies the service member is expected to be discharged or released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is signed.

Veterans with service-connected disability of less than 10%, non service-connected disability, and Purple Heart recipients, as-well-as those claiming derived preference for a spouse, widow or widower, or natural mother, should refer to and submit a completed "

SF15, "Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference

," (go to

) and required documentation with your application materials. For more information on Veterans' Preference, please visit


Applicants will be ranked based on three quality groups, as follows:

Best Qualified - applicants possessing knowledge, skills and abilities that substantially exceed the minimum qualifications of the position and who are highly proficient in all requirements of the job and can perform effectively in the position;

Well Qualified - applicants possessing knowledge, skills and abilities that exceed the minimum qualification of the position and who are proficient in most of the requirements of the job;

Qualified - applicants possessing knowledge, skills and abilities that meet the minimum qualifications of the position.

After the vacancy announcement closes, reviewed applications are evaluated against the questionnaire responses and placed in the appropriate quality group. Qualified veterans will be afforded preference by being placed at the top of the appropriate quality group. Qualifying veterans with a service-connected disability of 10% or more will be placed at the top of the best-qualified group. The best-qualified group is the first to be referred to the hiring facility for further consideration and possible interview. The remaining groups may be referred based on the number of applicants available.

VA offers a comprehensive benefits package. This link provides an overview of the benefits currently offered:


The Federal Government has special appointing authorities for persons with qualifying disabilities (go to

). For additional information on these, and other special appointing authorities, refer to this


or contact the hiring Human Resources Management Service at: 3801 Miranda Avenue

Palo Alto, CA 94304

Veterans and Transitioning Service Members:
Please visit the

VA for Vets

site for career-search tools for Veterans seeking employment at VA, career development services for our existing Veterans, and coaching and reintegration support for military service members.


Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan

(ICTAP) and

Career Transition Assistance Plan

(CTAP) provide eligible displaced Federal competitive service employees with selection priority over other candidates for competitive service vacancies. To be qualified you must submit appropriate documentation (a copy of the agency notice, your most recent performance rating, and your most recent SF-50 noting current position, grade level, and duty location) and be found well-qualified (have a final rating of 85 or more) for this vacancy. Information about ICTAP and CTAP eligibility is on OPM's Career Transition Resources website at


VA may offer newly-appointed Federal employees credit for their job-related non-federal experience or active duty uniformed military service. This credited service can be used in determining the rate at which they earn annual leave. Such credit must be requested and approved prior to the appointment date and is not guaranteed.

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.

You may be required to serve a probationary period.

Department of Veterans Affairs - 17 months ago - save job - block
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The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a government-run military veteran benefit system with Cabinet-level status. It is...