Biological Science Laboratory Technician (Microbiology)
Department Of Agriculture - Orient Point, NY

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Relocation expenses will not be paid.

This position is located in the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (FADDL), National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL), Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC). The incumbent is responsible for organizing and managing a wide variety of standard techniques in performing diagnostic tests, reagent production, developmental studies, and training assignments with exotic and endemic animal disease causing agents.

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APHIS is an emergency response agency. This means that all Agency employees may be asked or assigned to participate in rotating temporary duty assignments to support emergency programs at some time during their careers with APHIS. For details click: APHIS Emergency Response KEY REQUIREMENTS

U.S. Citizenship DUTIES:
The duties described are for the full-performance level. At developmental grade levels, assignments will be of more limited scope, performed with less independence and limited complexity.

The duties may include, but are not limited to:
Receives diagnostic specimens for Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) Investigations, selects appropriate test or viral identification procedure, conducts tests, and interprets and reports the results of the test or isolation method.

Performs tasks needed to prepare diagnostic reagents which include inoculation of cell cultures, animals; collection of animal tissues, cell culture fluid; purification techniques and molecular biology techniques.

Maintains accurate records of tests and experimental results, and recognizes and records variations in test results due to cell culture changes, chicken embryo lesions, or animal reactions.

Incumbent is expected to recognize problems in the assignment, make pertinent observations, draw conclusions and make suggestions for improvement of diagnostic and developmental procedures.

Prepares accurate, written reports describing test procedures and results.

Conducts bench training for technicians from FADDL and other laboratories and assists in training courses with demonstrations and brief presentations.

Maintains select agent inventories as required by the organization.

Conducts bench and diagnostic validation experiments: operating standard laboratory equipment, performing diagnostic testing, performing animal studies and diagnostic assay development and/or validation.

Assists in document preparation: standard operating procedures, forms, inventories, manuscripts for publication, applications for regulatory approvals or project funding.

To qualify, you MUST meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of the announcement.

Applicants can qualify by meeting the EDUCATION requirements specified below and/or the SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE requirements.


GS-07: Successful completion of 18 semester hours of graduate education in microbiology, biology or chemistry.

GS-08: Successful completion of 27 semester hours of graduate education in microbiology, biology or chemistry.

TRANSCRIPTS are required if:
You are qualifying for the position based on education.

You are qualifying for this position based on a combination of experience and education.

This education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college, or university. For more information on submitting transcripts, click: Transcripts .

Applicants must have one year of specialized experience equivalent in level of difficulty and responsibility to the next lower level in the Federal Service. This experience may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors.

Examples of qualifying experience at the GS-7 grade level include, but are not limited to:

Candidate has direct work experience in a GLP laboratory setting and select agent.

Candidate has direct work experience in primary and continuous cell cultures, infectious agent propagation, characterization, inactivation, concentration, and purification.

Candidate has direct work experience in real-time PCR, VN, monoclonal antibody development and ELISA.

Examples of qualifying experience at the GS-8 grade level include, but are not limited to:

Candidate has direct work experience in a GLP laboratory setting and select agent.

Candidate has direct work experience in primary and continuous cell cultures, infectious agent propagation, characterization, inactivation, concentration, and purification.

Candidate has direct work experience in performing various molecular and serological assays.

Candidate has direct work experience in real-time PCR, sequencing, VN, monoclonal antibody development and validation of diagnostic assay.

Candidate will be able to troubleshoot technical problems with minimal supervision and develop standard operating procedures (SOPs) and other quality documents with supervisor’s guidance.


Applicants may have combinations of successfully completed education and specialized experience to meet total qualification requirements. The total percentages must equal at least 100 percent to qualify for that grade level. To learn more about combining education and experience for this series, click the following:

Combining Education and Experience for Technical and Medical Support Positions

Special Conditions:
As a condition of employment, a background investigation may be required for this position.

Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with the Selective Service.

DD214 (Member 4 copy) or other veterans' documents required to receive veterans' preference.

Subject to satisfactory completion of one year probationary period.

The work requires good hand dexterity and eye-hand coordination.

There is some lifting up to 25 pounds.

Periodically, the diagnostic workload during a disease outbreak requires considerable overtime.

Work is performed in a tight security laboratory in which all clothing is changed upon entering the laboratory, and a complete shower is taken on leaving the area. Protective devices such as gloves, goggles, face mask, or respirators are used to perform laboratory and animal tasks.

Due to the contagious nature to livestock of foot-and-mouth disease, and other diseases under study at PIADC, PIADC Biological Safety Regulations specify a personal quarantine for employees working in PIADC BSL-3 biocontainment. As a condition for employment, all personnel entering the BSL-3 biocontainment facilities at Plum Island shall not be in contact with specific susceptible animals off the Plum Island premises for a period of five (5) days after leaving biocontainment. Currently, restricted species are cattle, sheep, goats, deer & other ruminants, & swine. Horses, birds (agricultural and pet birds) & rabbits are normally permitted but restrictions may be placed on staff working with contagious agents affecting these species. Employees who violate this requirement may be removed from employment or subject to other disciplinary actions. Restricted livestock or other restricted animals should not be housed on the premises where the employee under quarantine restrictions lives.

Required to travel daily to and from Orient Point, New York and Plum Island or Saybrook, Connecticut aboard a Government-provided marine vessel.

Immunizations with vaccines may be required to enter facilities conducting work with human diseases.

We understand that accepting a position with Veterinary Services may require the need for spousal career placement assistance. To help you and your family make a successful career transition, Veterinary Services is dedicated to providing information on career placement assistance. Please visit the following web links for more information:

This position is subject to unscheduled overnight details of undetermined lengths in the event of animal health emergencies or other conditions requiring immediate response, as required by the Agency. (Extensive periods of time may be designated for overnight details.) HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED:

Your application will be rated on the extent and quality of your experience, education and training relevant to the position. Your resume must support that you meet the specialized experience requirements described above and are proficient in the following skills or competencies below. Please note you are not required to provide specific narrative responses to the skills and competencies described in this section.

Communication Skills-Interpersonal, Oral, Written

Ability to Prioritize Work, Meet Deadlines, Lead Others, and Supervise staff

Ability to Diagnose and Treat Abnormal Animal, Livestock, Bird, Poultry and Wildlife Conditions and Contagious Diseases

Skill at Performing Laboratory Diagnostics, Biologics and Research Testing

Knowledge of General Laboratory Functions, Procedures, Techniques, Equipment, and Professional Practices

Category rating procedures will be used to rank and select eligible candidates. The following quality categories will be used: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, and Qualified. Within each quality category, veterans' preference eligibles will receive selection priority over non-veterans.

Your final category placement will be based on your responses to the assessment questionnaire. Please ensure your resume provides enough detail to support your responses.

If, after reviewing your resume and / or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your score can / will be adjusted to more accurately reflect your abilities. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Deliberate attempts to falsify information may be grounds for not selecting you.
To preview questions please click here .

Eligibility for employee benefits depends on your type of appointment and your tour of duty (work schedule). Generally, you must be hired on a permanent basis and have a regular full or part-time work schedule. For more information on potential benefits, go to: Federal Employee Benefits

Range for GS-7: $43,738 to $56,863 (incl. 28.72% locality pay)

Range for GS-8: $48,439 to $62,966 (incl. 28.72% locality pay)

This salary range does not reflect the general pay increase scheduled for April 2013. OTHER INFORMATION:

For information regarding CTAP eligibility for displaced Federal employees click: Career Transition Assistance Programs

More than one selection may be made if another vacancy occurs within 90 days of the issuance of the certification of eligibles.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc) should contact: USDA's TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).

For information on filing a complaint of discrimination, click: Filing a Complaint

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