This Position Is No Longer Available
  1. Overview
  2. Duties
  3. Qualifications & Evaluations
  4. Benefits & Other Info
  5. How to Apply

Job Title:Engineering Technician

Department:Department Of Agriculture

Agency:Agricultural Research Service

Job Announcement Number:DEU-13-803660-CB

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.


$31,315.00 to $50,431.00 / Per Year


Monday, January 28, 2013 to Friday, February 08, 2013




Full Time - Permanent




1 vacancy in the following location:
Prosser, WA United StatesView Map


United States Citizens


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

This position provides technical support in agricultural research that is intended to develop improved field practices for grapes and berry crops. The specific focus is on quantifying microclimate variables and their effects on plant biology in perennial systems. The individual assists in the research process and contributes engineering, environmental instrumentation, field equipment, and mathematics knowledge to support field experiments.

The following conditions of employment apply to this position:

  • Must be willing and able to learn and use power tools. Position requires construction utilizing sheet and angle aluminum, plywood, Plexiglas, foams, and other materials.
  • May be required to lift objects weighing up to 50 pounds.
  • Field work may necessitate working in adverse weather conditions.
  • Must possess a valid state Driver's License and operate motor vehicles.
  • Data collection and equipment troubleshooting may occur outside normal working hours.

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


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The incumbent will:

  • Perform a wide range of standard and special purpose engineering tests.
  • Select appropriate guidelines to resolve operational problems not fully covered by precedents.
  • Observe and record test results for unusual responses indicating failure or malfunction in test equipment and visually examine test items to determine apparent damage or change.
  • Construct, assemble, install and repair complex precision field equipment used in the conduct of research assignments.
  • Assist research scientists in reaching accurate research interpretations and conclusions.
  • Assist in coordinating, implementing, and maintaining experimental treatments in field sites in multiple states;
  • Construct, modify, maintain, and troubleshoot commercially available and custom-built systems for measuring and/or controlling experimental variables such as plant temperature, soil water content, plant photosynthesis, etc.;
  • Specify, calibrate, operate, and troubleshoot electronic sensors; assemble, program, and troubleshoot electronic data acquisition and control systems for extended field deployment;
  • Participate in collaborative research with biosystems engineers and horticulturists from other units, federal agencies, and universities;
  • Keep detailed records of experimental procedures, tabulate and summarize data with reports and graphs, and analyze environmental and plant data using personal computers and science-specific software packages;
  • Assist with preparation of publications and presentations;
  • Maintain equipment and space assigned to the project in an orderly and safe condition. Perform a variety of light maintenance and housekeeping tasks involving the use of hand and power tools and equipment.


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NOTE: Applicants utilizing education in any way to qualify MUST submit supporting transcripts. Failure to do so will result in an ineligible rating.

Minimum Qualifications


Specialized Experience: One full-time year (12-months) of specialized work experience equivalent to the GS-04 grade level in the Federal service performing the following duties: selecting and modifying test equipment or procedures to meet unusual field conditions or requirements; constructing, installing and repairing experimental or other equipment used in the conduct of research assignments; assembling, tabulating, and analyzing collected data to identify errors, inconsistencies, or other deficiencies; and preparing charts, graphs, figures, and reports illustrating and summarizing research results.


Education: Bachelor's degree (a) with a major in an appropriate field of engineering, construction, or industrial technology; or (b) that included at least 24 semester hours in any combination of courses such as engineering, engineering or industrial technology, construction, physics, drafting, surveying, physical science, agronomy, soil or atmospheric sciences, or mathematics.


Combination: Combination of the specialized experience and education as described above, such that the percentage of required experience plus the percentage of education equals 100%.


Specialized Experience: One full-time year (12-months) of specialized work experience equivalent to the GS-06 grade level in the Federal service performing the following duties: selecting and modifying test equipment or procedures to meet unusual field conditions or requirements; constructing, installing and repairing experimental or other equipment used in the conduct of research assignments; assembling, tabulating, and analyzing collected data to identify errors, inconsistencies, or other deficiencies; preparing charts, graphs, figures, and reports illustrating and summarizing research results; and setting up and calibrating complex precision laboratory equipment.


Education: One full year of graduate education with a major in an appropriate field of engineering, engineering or industrial technology, physical science, agronomy, soil or atmospheric sciences.


Combination: Combination of the specialized experience graduate level education as described above, such that the percentage of required experience plus the percentage of education equals 100%.

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.

This position is open to all US Citizens and Nationals, and Noncompetitive and Special Hiring Authority eligibles.  You may apply under open-competitive, and noncompetitive procedures, however; you must meet the requirements for one of the following categories to apply as a noncompetitive eligible.

1. A current permanent competitive service employee; former Federal employee who achieved career status in the competitive service; or former Federal employee who served on a career conditional appointment without achieving career status in the competitive service who was separated less than three years ago. This includes applicants who have previously held, or currently hold this position and grade with the same promotion potential as announced for this announcement. You must submit the SF-50 that shows competitive service eligibility to be considered.

2. A Veteran applying for a Veterans' Recruitment Appointment (VRA), must submit a copy of your DD-214 showing an honorable discharge to be considered. Eligibility for VRA appointments includes Disabled veterans; Veterans who served on active duty in the Armed Forces during a war declared by Congress, or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized; Veterans who, while serving on active duty in the Armed Forces, participated in a military operation for which the Armed Forces Service Medal was awarded; and Veterans separated from active duty within the past 3 years. Disabled veterans must provide the SF-15 and supporting documentation from the VA along with DD-214. NOTE: VRA only applies to positions at the GS-11 level and below.

3. A 30% or more Disabled Veteran. You must submit your DD214, a completed SF-15, and letter from the VA dated 1991 or later as proof to be considered.

4. A military spouse. Military spouses are eligible if their active duty military spouse: 1) receives a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move; 2) has a 100% disability rating; or 3) died while on active duty. Please submit supporting documentation as proof to be considered.

5. A Severely Physically Handicapped Schedule 'A' Appointment. Please submit documentation from a State or Federal Vocational Rehabilitation Service as proof to be considered.

6. A Former Peace Corps or VISTA Volunteers Appointment. Please submit documentation as proof to be considered.

7. Interchange Agreements and Miscellaneous Authorities. Please submit documentation as proof to be considered.


Your application will be evaluated and rated under Category Rating Procedures. Qualified candidates will be placed for selection consideration into 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:

  • Selection and Modification of Engineering Techniques, Procedures, and Equipment.
  • Equipment Use and Maintenance.
  • Data Collection and Analysis.
  • Data Reports and Presentation.

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.


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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:


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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Your application package must be complete by 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Friday, February 08, 2013.  You must apply online or by fax (see below for details).  Applications sent by mail (including e-mail) or hand-delivered will not be accepted.  Certain individuals are entitled to file a late application and must contact the Agency Contact listed below for details and application instructions. 

Choose either Option A or Option B to apply for this position:

Option A:  Online Application
Click the Apply Online button to create an account or log in to your existing USAJOBS account.  From USAJOBS, you will be routed to Application Manager.  Follow the prompts to complete the occupational questionnaire and upload (or reuse) supporting documents.  You must click the Submit My Answers button at the end of the process.

If you need technical assistance with the online application process, please send an e-mail to

Note: To return to a previously saved or incomplete application, use the following link:  Track your progress to a Complete Application Package using the My Application Packages checklist and status displays in Application Manager.

To fax supporting documents that you are unable to upload:
1. Click here to print a fax cover page 
2. Complete all blocks on the cover page using Vacancy ID 803660.  Documents will not be processed if information is missing.
3. Fax the completed cover page and your documents to 1-478-757-3144.

Option B:  Fax
If you cannot apply online, follow these steps to fax your complete application package.
1. Click the following link to print the occupational questionnaire View Occupational Questionnaire;
2. Click here to print the 1203FX form, which you will use to provide your responses to the occupational questionnaire; and  
3. Fax the completed 1203FX (all 6 pages), your resume, and supporting documents (including those specified in the Required Documents section below) to 1-478-757-3144.  The 1203FX will serve as the cover page for your fax transmission and must be placed on top of all other documents.


The following documents are required:  
   - Assessment questionnaire (completed online or submitted by fax using the 1203FX) 
   - Resume

In addition, you may need to submit supplemental documentation (as outlined below).  Failure to submit supplemental information by the closing date of this announcement will result in the loss of the particular consideration you are requesting.

Veterans' Preference:  To claim 5-point veterans' preference, submit Member 4 copy of your DD-214 or other proof of eligibility.  To claim 10-point veterans' preference, submit an SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference, plus the documentation required by that form.  Active Duty Service Members must submit a statement of discharge/certification of release or an official written document from the armed forces that certifies you are expected to be discharged or released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions no later than 120 days from the date the certification is signed.  Enlisted Record Briefs and military identification do NOT qualify as official documentation.

Transcripts:  If you indicate that you possess any form of post-secondary education, you must submit transcripts detailing your coursework and/or degree(s). At the time your education was obtained, the entire institution, applicable school within the institution, or the applicable curriculum must have been appropriately accredited by an accrediting organization recognized by the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education. You may lose consideration for this position if you fail to provide this information.

Foreign Education:  To receive credit for education outside the U.S., you must show proof that the education has been submitted to a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign educational credentials and that such education has been deemed to be at least equivalent to that gained in conventional U.S. education programs.


Midwest Services Branch
Phone: (816)426-5706
Agency Information:
Recruitment Effort for OPM and FSA
Call or e-mail us with your questions
Thank You, MO


Once your complete application package (including all required documents) is received, we will conduct an evaluation of your qualifications and determine your ranking.  The best qualified candidates will be referred for further consideration and possible interview.  You will be notified of the outcome.

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