Biological Science Technician (Soils)
Department Of Agriculture - Kimberly, ID

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Find Solutions to Agricultural Problems that Affect Americans Every Day, From Field to Table

Who May Apply: All U.S. Citizens.

This position will be assisting researchers in conducting studies and experiments to determine emissions of ammonia and greenhouse gasses from manure handling and storage facilities. The work will include setup and maintenance of monitoring equipment on site, sampling manure storage areas, and laboratory analysis of manure samples.

A thorough understanding of conducting Soils research, field work, and the ability to use research equipment are necessary for this position. The work requires some physical exertion and the selectee must be able to lift 50 lbs or more. In many situations, the duration of the activity contributes to the arduous nature of the job. Field work is often conducted in adverse conditions (extreme high and low temperatures; inclement weather). Work for extended periods of time at manure storage facilities where there is a great deal of odor and precautions must be taken to avoid potential illness due to handling of waste samples (i.e., face mask).

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.
  • Must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this position
  • Suitable for Federal employment, determined by a background investigation
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service
  • Must possess a Valid Driver's License.

DUTIES: The incumbent will perform a variety of duties in the following areas related to the research and study of soils:
  • Assists in one or more phases of the research process by performing a variety of technical duties, in a laboratory, field, or greenhouse environment, common to the assigned area of work.
  • Performs routine and recurring techniques and studies using a variety of specialized equipment.
  • Maintains, calibrates and modifies equipment and automated systems used for test and evaluation procedures.
  • Collects, prepares, evaluates, and verifies samples and supporting records;
  • Maintains records and locates and compiles data and other information from various sources.
  • Keeps detailed records of experimental data.
  • Tabulates, statistically analyzes and summarizes data using personal computers and software packages.
  • Maintains inventory of chemicals, prepares solutions and reagents for use in the laboratory, field, or greenhouse, and safely disposes of waste material (both chemical and biological).
  • Keeps work-site in a neat and orderly manner.

QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED: To Qualify at the GS-05 Level:

Specialized Experience: At least one full-time year (12-months) of specialized work experience equivalent to the GS-04 grade level in the Federal service:
  • assisting with research in a field or greenhouse environment related to soils;
  • maintaining, calibrating, and modifying equipment used for soil and plant testing; and
  • keeping records of experimental data.

Education: Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study leading to a bachelor's degree with a major study or at least 24 semester hours in any combination of the following courses: soil science, environmental science, agronomy, biology, chemistry, botany, agriculture, geology, or other closely related field which demonstrates the knowledge, skills and abilities required by this position. At least 6 semester hours of courses must have been directly related to the study of soils, agronomy, or environmental science. Note: One year of full-time undergraduate study is defined as 30 semester hours, 45 quarter hours, or the equivalent in a college or university. (MUST SUBMIT TRANSCRIPTS)


A Combination of Education and Experience: Applicants may qualify based on an appropriate combination of successfully completed education and experience. Only education in excess of the first 60 semester hours of a course of study leading to a bachelor's degree is creditable toward meeting the specialized experience requirements. At least 6 semester hours of courses must have been directly related to the study of soils, agronomy, or environmental science. (MUST SUBMIT TRANSCRIPTS)

All qualification requirements must be met by the closing date of this vacancy announcement.

Applicants must be available to report for duty at the time a selection is made. Selections are typically made within 30 days of the closing date of the announcement.

HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED: Your application will be evaluated and rated under Category Rating Procedures. Qualified candidates will be placed for selection consideration into one of three categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified or Qualified. Within these categories, applicants eligible for veterans' preference will receive selection priority over non-veterans. Your resume will be reviewed and compared against your responses to the online questionnaire. We strongly encourage you to answer every question that accompanies this vacancy, as your responses will better highlight your specific qualifications.

Your qualifications will be evaluated on the following competencies:
  • Knowledge of the principles and practices of soils, agronomy and biological sciences
  • Skill with research techniques, procedures, and experiments
  • Knowledge of safety, quality control, and use of specialized equipment
  • Ability to analyze and summarize experimental data using software programs
Please note that your resume must thoroughly support your responses to the assessment questionnaire. High self-assessment in the applicant questions that is not supported by information in your resume may eliminate you from best-qualified status and subsequent referral to the selecting official.

Displaced/Surplus Employees: Individuals eligible under the USDA Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) must be well qualified for the position to receive consideration for special priority selection. CTAP and ICTAP eligibles within the local commuting area will be considered well qualified if the applicant meets the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors, and is rated in the Well Qualified Category as described in the How You Will Be Evaluated section. Employees seeking CTAP/ICTAP eligibility must submit a copy of the agency notice, a copy of their most recent performance rating and a copy of their most recent SF-50 noting current position, grade level and duty location. Please annotate your application to reflect that you are applying as a CTAP or ICTAP eligible. CLICK HERE for additional information on CTAP and ICTAP.

BENEFITS: The Federal government offers a number of exceptional benefits to its employees. The following link provides an overview of the benefits currently offered to Federal employees: .

OTHER INFORMATION: Financial Disclosure Requirement:
The Research, Education and Economics (REE) agencies inspire public confidence in our missions by maintaining high ethical principles. Employees are subject to Federal government-wide regulations and statutes as described on the REE Ethics Webpage. You may be required to submit a financial disclosure report if hired for this position.

False Statements:
If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired; may be fired after beginning work; or may be fined or jailed.

Reasonable Accommodation:
Reasonable accommodation is provided to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, or have questions regarding reasonable accommodation and/or accessibility for any part of the application and hiring process, please contact the Disability Program Manager on 202-720-6161 or through the DC Relay Service on (202) 855-1234 (TDD). The decision to grant reasonable accommodation is made on a case-by-case basis.

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