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

Job Title:Biological Science Laboratory Technician

Department:Department Of Agriculture

Agency:Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Job Announcement Number:24PQ-2014-0046

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

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.


$38,323.00 to $55,363.00 / Per Year


Wednesday, February 12, 2014 to Wednesday, February 19, 2014




Full Time - Term, not to exceed 13 months; may be extended up to 4 years.




2 vacancies - Brighton, MI View Map


This announcement is open to all United States citizens.


Public Trust - Background Investigation




About the Agency

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

This position is located at a Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ), Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) office and provides technical support to projects to develop methodology for excluding, detecting, surveying, controlling, and/or rearing the Emerald Ash Borer beetle and its parasitoids.

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


  • Occasional Travel
  • Periodic overnight travel is required.


  • No


  • You must be a US Citizen or US National.
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with the Selective Service.
  • Subject to satisfactory completion of one year trial period.
  • Valid state driver's license is required at the time of application.


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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:
-Assists laboratory supervisor in planning and implementing project activities.
-Scouts for potential collection sites, contacts property owners for permission to use sites, and sets up collection equipment.
-Maintains inventory of lab equipment and supplies, including greenhouse supplies for the production of food plants, and operates and ensures maintenance of standard laboratory and field equipment (e.g. balances, microscopes, GPS units) as well as specialized equipment designed for use in rearing and detecting insects or measuring, monitoring, or altering the physiological or behavioral state of pest organisms or their hosts.
-Trains laboratory employees in appropriate operation of government-owned vehicles, including bucket trucks, off-road vehicles, and pickup trucks.
-Independently conducts field and laboratory projects that support programs for developing methods to exclude, control, detect, and/or rear invasive pests.
-Uses 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, and perform word processing or develop graphics.
-Maintains experimental colonies of insect species within laboratory and/or quarantine facilities; determines the type of media, feed, and liquids required; prepares and places them in incubators or other rearing facility; selects proper light, temperature, and humidity conditions; separates insects into categories (e.g. species, stain, sex, age, stage of development); observes insect collections for signs of disease, effects of insecticides, or other experimental drugs; and reports observations to supervisors or specialists.
-Cuts and dissects trees and determines the presence and life stages of target insects.


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Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including the following experience and/or education, as identified by grade level.

FOR THE GS-6 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-5 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:
-Performing all aspects of insect rearing duties in an insect mass-production setting. 
-Procuring and performing quality control on insect host material, performing all aspects of care for greenhouse-grown plant material, setting up and maintaining insect rearing enclosures, maintaining a safe and sanitary laboratory environment, performing quality control on insect material in the laboratory, etc.

OR A half year (or 9 semester hours) of graduate education in biology, entomology, botany, or agriculture. Equivalent combinations of education and experience are qualifying for this grade level.

FOR THE GS-7 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-6 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:
-Independently conducting laboratory work for an insect mass-rearing program and/or designing and performing scientific studies of insects or insect rearing in a mass-rearing or similar setting. 
-Planning or directing projects aimed at improving efficiencies, quality control, or other process improvements in an insect mass-production setting with a federal, state, and/or university laboratory. 
-Developing work plans for field, greenhouse, and/or laboratory work for supervisory approval and use by staff members to conduct daily or otherwise scheduled duties.
-Preparing detailed laboratory reports, such as the results of specific investigations or projects (similar to those outlined above), wherein the candidate performed statistical analysis of data independently or as directed by supervisor.
-Writing detailed laboratory work or accomplishment reports to managers/supervisors as well as preparing posters or oral presentations covering this work.
-Directing the work of other technicians as a project or team leader, including directing the work of others, even where the work plan was developed by supervisor or manager.

OR One year (or 18 semester hours) of graduate education in biology, entomology, botany, or agriculture. Equivalent combinations of education and experience are qualifying for this grade level.

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

COMBINATION OF EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-6/7 GRADE LEVELS: Applicants may have combinations of successfully completed education and 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:
-As a condition of employment, satisfactory completion and favorable adjudication of a background investigation and/or fingerprint check may be required for this position.
-Work is performed in field, laboratory, and office settings.
-Field sites may be forested, agricultural, or in residential areas and can be uncomfortably hot, cold, windy, or wet. Movement through uneven/even rugged terrain is essential.
-Use of or work near dangerous equipment (e.g. chain saws, wood chippers, lift truck, etc.) is required.
-Laboratory work requires standing for long periods of time and some bending, stooping, and lifting of objects up to 40 pounds. Laboratory may be dusty or uncomfortable and include exposure to plant or insect allergens.
-Use of protective equipment or clothing is required for some tasks and may create some discomfort.
-May perform sedentary work on a computer for several hours at a time.


Applications will be evaluated in accordance with Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Delegated Examining Procedures using category rating. Applicants who meet basic minimum qualifications will be placed in one of three categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, or Qualified. Within these categories, applicants eligible for veteran's preference will receive selection priority over non-veterans. Category placement will be determined based on applicants’ quality of experience and the extent they possess the following knowledge, skills, and abilities (or competencies):

-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 follow written protocols, collect and record scientific data, and maintain records

The questionnaire will assess your qualifications for the job, and will be used to identify the best qualified applicants to be referred to the hiring manager for further consideration and possible interviews. Your ratings in this Assessment Questionnaire are subject to evaluation and verification based on the documents and references you submit.

Later steps in the selection process are specifically designed to verify your ratings. Attempts to falsify information; inflate your qualifications or providing inaccurate information on federal documents may be grounds to adjust your rating or to not select you. Errors, omissions or providing inaccurate information on federal documents may affect your eligibility. If selected providing inaccurate information on federal documents could also be grounds for dismissing you from the position/agency. Please follow all instructions carefully.
To preview questions please click here.


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  • Career Transition Assistance Plan(CTAP) or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): If you are claiming CTAP/ICTAP eligibility, provide proof of eligibility to include your most recent performance appraisal, SF-50 showing the full performance level or career ladder of your current or previous position, and proof of eligibility such as a RIF separation notice or letter from OPM/your agency. CTAP/ICTAP eligibles will be considered well-qualified if achieving a rating of 85 or above. Information about CTAP/ICTAP eligibility is at: OPM's Career Transition Resources website.

  • 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).

  • Direct Deposit – Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to a financial institution of your choosing.

  • E-Verify: Federal law requires agencies to use the E-Verify system to confirm the employment eligibility of all new hires. If you are selected as a newly hired employee, the documentation you present for purposes of completing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Form 1-9 on your entry-on-duty date will be verified through the DHS 'E-VERIFY' system. Under the system, the new hire is required to resolve any identified discrepancies as a condition of continued employment.


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Please read the entire announcement and all the instructions before you begin. The following instructions outline our application process.

  • You must complete this application process and submit all required documents electronically by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.

  • We are available to assist you during business hours (normally 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday). Applying online is highly encouraged. If applying online poses a hardship, please contact our office during business hours well before the closing date for an alternate method. All hardship application packages with supporting documents must be submitted no later than noon on the closing date of the announcement in order to be entered into the system prior to its closing.

  • This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us if you require this for any part of the application and hiring process.

Step 1: Create a USAJOBS account (if you do not already have one) at It is recommended that as part of your profile you set up automatic email notification to be informed when the status of your application changes. If you choose not to set up this automatic notification, then you will have to log into your USAJOBS account to check on the status of your application.
Step 2: Create a Resume with USAJOBS or upload a Resume into your USAJOBS account. You may want to customize your resume to ensure it documents duties and accomplishments you have gained that are directly related to this position in order to verify that qualifications are met. In addition, your resume must support your responses to the online questionnaire (you may preview the online questionnaire by clicking on the link at the end of the How You Will Be Evaluated section of the job announcement).
Step 3: Click "Apply Online" and follow the prompts to complete the Occupational Questionnaire and attach any additional documents that may be required. You can update your application or documents anytime while the announcement is open. Simply log into your USAJOBS account and click on "Application Status." Click on the position title, and then select "Update Application” to continue.


You must submit a complete Application Package, prior to 11:59, ET, on the closing date of this announcement. The following documents must be submitted for your application package to be considered complete. It is your responsibility to ensure all required documents are received within the required timeframes. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, illegible fax transmissions, delays in the mail service, system failure or downtime, etc. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration.

  • Resume that includes the following information: 1) job information for which you are applying; 2) personal information; 3) education; 4) work experience including the work schedule and hours worked per week as well as dates of employment; and title, series and grade if applicable; 5) supervisors phone number and e-mail address for each work period listed and whether or not we may contact them for reference checks; and, 6) other qualifications.

  • College Transcripts if education is required for meeting basic qualifications and/or used as a substitute for specialized experience. An unofficial copy is sufficient with the application; however, if selected, an official college transcript will be required prior to entering on duty. All education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college, or university. Foreign education must be evaluated by an approved organization. For additional information, refer to the U.S. Department of Education web site at All transcripts must be in English or include an English translation.

  • DD-214 (Member 4 Copy) if claiming Veterans’ Preference. Veterans claiming 10 point preference must also submit a VA Letter and an SF-15 Application for 10-point Veteran Preference. Current active duty members must submit a certification that they are expected to be discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is submitted.

  • Other required documents may include:

    • CTAP/ICTAP: Certification of Expected Separation, Reduction-In-Force Separation Notice, Notice of Proposed Removal, or appropriate OPM/Agency certification; AND most recent performance evaluation; AND SF-50 demonstrating your separation or the position from which you will be separated.


Phone: 612-336-3326
Fax: 612-336-3560
Agency Information:
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
100 N 6th Street, Butler Sq Bldg, 510C
Minneapolis, MN
Fax: 612-336-3560


If you set up your USAJOBS account to send automatic email notifications, you will receive an email acknowledging: 1) the submission of your online Occupational Questionnaire and resume was successful, 2) if you were referred to the selecting official for consideration, and 3) if you were selected or not selected. If you choose not to set up automatic email notifications, you must check your USAJOBS account for the latest status of your application. Your application may be reviewed to verify that you meet the qualifications and eligibility requirements for the position prior to issuing lists to a selecting official. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted. We expect to make a final job offer within 40 days after the closing date of the announcement.

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