Biological Science Laboratory Technician
Department Of Agriculture 497 reviews - Falmouth, MA

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Relocation expenses will not be paid. This position is located at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ), Pest Survey Detection & Exclusion Laboratory at Otis Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts. This position provides technical support to projects to develop methodology for excluding, detecting, 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 KEY REQUIREMENTS

U.S. Citizenship DUTIES:
The duties may include, but are not limited to the following:
Maintains experimental colonies of exotic pest species within laboratory and/or quarantine facilities.

Independently conducts field and laboratory project tasks 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 (e.g. data-loggers, GPS units), perform simple word processing, or develop graphics.

Operates and ensures maintenance of standard laboratory and field equipment, such as balances, microscopes, and GPS units, as well as specialized equipment designed or modified for use in rearing insects; detecting insects; or measuring, monitoring, or altering the physiological or behavioral state of pest organisms or their hosts.

Provides input on the development and maintenance of Standard Operating Procedures or other similar manuals in areas directly related to the assignment, such as insect rearing, quarantine, or environmental compliance.

Performs general laboratory procedures, such as washing glassware and plastic ware, preparing stock solutions and insect diet formulations, sterilizing glassware and solutions, and daily updating logs and notebooks.

Keeps the laboratory orderly, clean, and well-stocked, and ensures that laboratory equipment is properly maintained.

Collects, records, and summarizes experimental and rearing production and quality control data, along with notations of unusual conditions or circumstances that may influence the result.

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: Four-year course of study above high school leading to a bachelor's degree with major study or at least 24 semester hours in any combination of courses, such as biology, chemistry, statistics, entomology, animal husbandry, botany, physics, agriculture, or mathematics. At least 6 semester hours of courses must have been in entomology.

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:

Maintaining colonies of insects in insect containment and rearing production facilities.

Mating insects across strains and subspecies to produce hybrids for behavioral and molecular tests; conducting behavioral assays.

Conducting studies to determine how insect survival and development is affected by host plant quality (species, phenology).

Recording experimental and quality control data related to the production of insects and their natural enemies; entering data into computer spreadsheets.

Performing daily duties in an insect containment facility, such as monitoring climatic data, cleaning, and processing and removing trash.


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:
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.

Subject to satisfactory completion of a one-year trial period.

Valid state driver's license required at time of hiring.

Work is primarily performed in an office or laboratory. Some work may be carried out in a federally approved insect quarantine facility.

Laboratory work requires standing for long periods of time as well as some bending, stooping, and lifting of objects up to 40 pounds.

Areas of the laboratory are dusty with potential for exposure to insect allergens.

Field projects will, in some cases, require extensive walking over uneven terrain.

Use of protective equipment or clothing is required for some tasks and may create some discomfort.

Field sites may be forested, agricultural, or residential areas and can be uncomfortably hot, cold, windy, or wet.

Use of, or work near, dangerous equipment (e.g. chain saws, wood chippers) may occasionally be required.

Overnight travel 5-10 days per month may be required.

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 the 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 .

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

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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