Biological Science Laboratory Technician
Agriculture, Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service - Otis, MA

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Relocation expenses will not be paid

This position is assigned to a Center for Plant Health Science and Technology (CPHST) laboratory. The incumbent provides technical support to projects to develop methodology for excluding, detecting, surveying, controlling, and/or rearing invasive pests.

You can make a difference! The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP) needs bright, energetic and committed professionals to facilitate the domestic and international marketing of U.S. agricultural products and to protect the health and care of animals and plants in the United States. MRP offers an array of occupations and is committed to diversity in the workplace. We operate in domestic and global markets. Be part of an organization that protects the health and agriculture of the American people. Join our team!

This is a term appointment not to exceed 13 months. (Appointment may be extended up to 4 years without reannouncing.)
For more details click: Term Appointments

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


Additional Duty Location Info:
1 vacancy - Otis AFB, MA

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:
Independently conducts field and laboratory projects that support programs for developing methods to exclude, control, detect, and/or rear invasive pests.

Uses personal computers to enter experimental and/or quality control data into spreadsheets, calculate summary statistics on sets of data, interface with devices that accumulate data electronically, perform simple word processing, or develop graphics.

Operates and ensures maintenance of standard laboratory and field equipment, as well as other specialized equipment.

Provides input on the development and maintenance of Standard Operating Procedures or other similar manuals in areas directly related to the assignment.

Maintains experimental colonies of insect species within laboratory and/or quarantine facilities.

Cuts and dissects trees to determine the presence and life stages of target insects; surveys areas for the presence or absence of target insects.

Performs general laboratory procedures and keeps laboratory orderly and well-stocked; keeps field experimental sites orderly and well maintained.

Qualifications and Evaluations

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-5: 4-year course of study above high school leading to a bachelor's degree with a mojor in biology, chemistry, statistics, entomology, animal husbandry, botany, physics, agriculture, mathematics.

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 include, but are not limited to:

Knowledge of, and experience in, maintaining multiple strains of plant pathogenic fungi and entomopathic nematodes.

Experience in rearing lab-strain and field-collected insects for laboratory colonies and for projects related to the use of insect pathogens in pest management programs.

Experience in conducting field trials to assess biological control agents for potential use in insect pest management programs.

COMBINATION OF EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-X GRADE LEVEL: 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:
U.S. Citizenship

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

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

Valid state driver's license required at time of hiring.
Subject to satisfactory completion of one year trial period.

Overnight travel may be required.

Much of the work is performed outdoors, requiring movement through uneven rugged terrain. Field sites may be in forested, agricultural, or residential areas in uncomfortable weather conditions. Use of protective equipment or clothing is required for some tasks and use of, or work near, dangerous equipment is required (i.e. chain saws, wood chippers, lift trucks, etc.)

Laboratory work may subject incumbent to dusty or uncomfortable conditions and possibly exposure to plant or insect allergens or hazardous materials such as organic solvents, corrosives, or insecticides. Use of personal protective equipment will be required for some tasks.

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.

Ability to perform field plot and/or greenhouse support work.

Knowledge of entomology and insect rearing.

Ability to perform scientific work, including application of scientific principles and procedures as they apply to a lab setting.

Ability to use computers, computer software, databases, etc.

Ability to follow written protocols, collect and record scientific data, and maintain records.

Ability to organize, lead and/or supervise technical personnel.

Oral and written communication.

Ability to apply safe work practices and operate a motor vehicle.

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 .

Benefits and Other Info

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

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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