Plant Protection Aid
Department Of Agriculture - Harlingen, TX

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Relocation expenses will not be paid.

You will serve as a team member and perform a variety of survey, control and regulatory activities.

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
  • U.S. Citizenship

DUTIES: The duties may include, but are not limited to:
  • Inspects and re-inspects orchards, fields, groves, storage sites, nurseries, raid yards, industrial sites, etc., to determine the presence and degree of presence of harmful insects, plants and plant disease.
  • Using standard procedures removes and destroys alternate host plants and diseased or infested plants and assists with the fumigation or treatment of equipment, plants, or soils. Maintains, baits, installs and collects insect traps.
  • Cleans and maintains motor vehicles and hand tool equipment, keeping all in good working order.
  • Collects and records data and prepares simple reports.
  • Develops rough maps showing control and eradication treatments.

QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED: 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 GENERAL EXPERIENCE requirements.


GS-3: Applicants must have successfully completed one year of education above high school that included at least 4 semester hours in courses such as biology, plant pathology, entomology, zoology, botany, forestry, chemistry, agriculture, or physics.

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

    GENERAL EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-3 GRADE LEVEL: Applicants must possess 6 months of general experience which includes any type of work that demonstrates the ability to perform the work of the position or experience that provided a familiarity with the subject matter or processes of the broad subject area of the occupation. 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:

    • Survey and map specific areas for plant pests and/or diseases.
    • Identify Mexican Fruit Fly (Anastrepha ludens) sterile and non-sterile flies.
    • Communicate plant pest control measures in order to gain cooperation.
    • Operate equipment such as hand tools and spray equipment.
    Applicants may have combinations of successfully completed education and general 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.
  • Applicants will be required to operate various hand tools and spray equipment; carry hand tools and pesticides weighing up to 50 pounds; and operate cars, pickups and various other motorized equipment.

    • 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 recognize agricultural products/commodities, their origin and their condition.
      • Knowledge of plant pests/disease detection, identification and control.
      • Oral and written communication and Interpersonal Skills.
      • Ability to use maps, mapping software and/or mapping system.
    • 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: 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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