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

Job Title:Biological Laboratory Technician

Department:Department Of Agriculture

Agency:Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Job Announcement Number:24PQ-2014-0048

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

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.

SALARY RANGE:

$39,750.00 to $57,424.00 / Per Year

OPEN PERIOD:

Friday, February 14, 2014 to Friday, February 21, 2014

SERIES & GRADE:

GS-0404-06/07

POSITION INFORMATION:

Full-Time - Permanent

PROMOTION POTENTIAL:

07

DUTY LOCATIONS:

1 vacancy - Houston, TX View Map

WHO MAY APPLY:

This announcement is open to all United States citizens. (Current and Former Federal employees may also apply to Merit Promotion announcement #6PQ-2014-0032.)

SECURITY CLEARANCE:

Public Trust - Background Investigation

SUPERVISORY STATUS:

No

JOB SUMMARY:

About the Agency

If selected for this position, you will serve a variety of duties in a Plant Inspection Station / laboratory environment in support of the Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) Identification specialists (Identifiers) and assist them with special projects in the disciplines of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Botany.


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

TRAVEL REQUIRED

  • Occasional Travel
  • Minimal travel may be necessary

RELOCATION AUTHORIZED

  • No

KEY REQUIREMENTS

  • 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 probationary period.

DUTIES:

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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:

  • Pre-processing of routine interceptions submitted to the Plant Inspection Station
  • Processing of specimens to facilitate identification
  • Manage assigned collections (Entomology, Botany and Plant Pathology)
  • Schedules, organizes and executes other pest identification support activities, as assigned
  • Provides assistant to the Plant Health Safeguarding Specialist in the inspection of propagative plant materials
  • Communicates with importers, brokers, and truck drivers about delivery, pick-up, and status of plant shipments, and coordinates the orderly flow of plant materials into and through the plant inspection station
  • Helps design and set up demonstrations to train CBP and PPQ officers in the area of pest and plant identification
  • Generate and review monthly data reports


QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED:

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Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including the following specialized experience and/or education, as identified by grade level
FOR THE GS-06 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-05 level) that demonstrates:

  • This position requires knowledge of general biological science sufficiently advanced to recognize various taxa (e.g., Orders. Families, Genera) in the disciplines of entomology, botany, malacology, and mycology, and to use the technical terminology associated with their taxonomy.
  • The incumbent collects insect and disease samples and assists in the identification and damage assessment of any problems they have caused; compiles and summarizes data obtained from surveys, biological evaluations, and pilot tests. Using prescribed procedures, the technician resolves common administrative concerns related to the project
  • This position requires the technician to schedule, organize, and execute long term projects concurrently, for pest identification support and other plant pest inspection activities.
  • Runs computer programs to organize the data for analysis; and provides the data to professional personnel after checking it and developing explanations for unusually high or low figures or figures that seem inconsistent. Subsequently, also assists with development of reports after higher graded employees have refined and justified the data and analyzed the results.
OR Graduate Level Education or an internship in the fields of Entomology, Botany, Plant Pathology, and Agriculture;
 FOR THE GS-07 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-06 level) that demonstrates:
  • This position requires knowledge of general biological science sufficiently advanced to recognize various taxa (e.g., Orders. Families, Genera) in the disciplines of entomology, botany, malacology, and mycology, and to use the technical terminology associated with their taxonomy.
  • The incumbent collects insect and disease samples and assists in the identification and damage assessment of any problems they have caused; compiles and summarizes data obtained from surveys, biological evaluations, and pilot tests. Using prescribed procedures, the technician resolves common administrative concerns related to the project
  • This position requires the technician to schedule, organize, and execute long term projects concurrently, for pest identification support and other plant pest inspection activities.
  • Runs computer programs to organize the data for analysis; and provides the data to professional personnel after checking it and developing explanations for unusually high or low figures or figures that seem inconsistent. Subsequently, also assists with development of reports after higher graded employees have refined and justified the data and analyzed the results.
 OR one full year of graduate education in the fields of Entomology, Botany, Plant Pathology, and Agriculture
COMBINATION OF EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-6 AND 7 GRADE LEVELS: 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:

  • As a condition of employment, satisfactory completion and favorable adjudication of a background investigation and/or fingerprint check may be required for this position.
  • Successful completion of a one-year probationary or trial period (if new hire to the Federal service).
  • Occasional Field work may be required
  • Some work may occur outside of the Plant Inspection Station to assist Safeguarding Specialists in the field
  • May be exposed to mildly irritating chemicals, such as potassium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, ethyl alcohol, Essie’s solution and Hoyer’s Solution
  • May be required to serve at other locations during emergency

HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED:

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 use computers, computer software, databases, etc.
    • Ability to follow written protocols, collect and record scientific data, and maintain records
    • Oral and written communication skills
    • Ability to apply safe work practices and operate a motor vehicle
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.


BENEFITS:

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OTHER INFORMATION:

  • 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.


HOW TO APPLY:

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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 www.usajobs.gov. 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.


REQUIRED DOCUMENTS:

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 http://www.ed.gov. 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.

AGENCY CONTACT INFO:

DO NOT EMAIL DOCUMENTS
Phone: 612-336-3345
Fax: 612-336-3560
Email: Mary.M.Buresh@aphis.usda.gov
Agency Information:
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
100 N 6th Street, Butler Sq Bldg, 510C
Minneapolis, MN
55403
US
Fax: 612-336-3560

WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT:

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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Job Announcement Number:

24PQ-2014-0048

Control Number:

361784600