Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Interdisciplinary: Microbiologist/Veterinary Medical Officer in Orient Point, New York

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
  • 1 vacancy - Orient Point, NY
Work Schedule is Full-Time - Permanent

Opened Thursday 12/1/2016 (6 day(s) ago)

** Closes Wednesday 12/7/2016 (0 day(s) away)

Job Overview

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!

The National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) is a complex world standard laboratory in veterinary sciences and deals with many complex and life-threatening diseases and pathogens, affecting both animals and humans. The NVSL diagnostic laboratories provide scientific and technical support to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Program Units engaged in regulations enforcement and animal disease control and eradication.

This position is located in the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (FADDL), NVSL, at Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC), Orient Point, NY. The function of this section is to provide support to FADDL, NVSL, National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), and international animal disease diagnostic laboratories to safeguard livestock from transboundary animal diseases (TADs). The purpose of this position is to function as a veterinary medical officer or microbiologist to support the operation and mission of either the Diagnostic Services or the Reagent and Vaccine Services sections of FADDL.

Required to travel daily to Plum Island from Orient Point, NY or Saybrook, CT aboard a Government-provided marine vessel. Due to the contagious nature to livestock of foot-and-mouth disease and other diseases under study at PIADC, PIADC Biological Safety Regulations specify a personal quarantine for employees working in PIADC BSL-3 biocontainment. As a condition for employment, all personnel entering the BSL-3 biocontainment facilities at Plum Island shall not be in contact with specific susceptible animals off the Plum Island premises for a period of five (5) days after leaving biocontainment. Currently, restricted species are cattle, sheep, goats, deer, other ruminants & swine. Horses, birds (agricultural and pet birds) & rabbits are normally permitted but restrictions may be placed on staff working with contagious agents affecting these species. Employees who violate this requirement may be removed from employment or subject to other disciplinary actions. Restricted livestock or other restricted animals should not be housed on the premises where the employee under quarantine restrictions lives.

APHIS is an emergency response agency. This means that all Agency employees may be asked or assigned to participate in rotating temporary duty assignments away from their assigned duty station to support emergency programs at some time during their careers with APHIS.

*Salary Information: *First time hires to the Federal government normally start at the lowest rate of the salary range.

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


The duties may include, but are not limited to:

  • Develops state-of-the-art digital inventory and TAD biological material catalogue systems and establishes fully functional and high standard inventory operations to meet current and future needs in National Bio-Agro Defense Facility (NBAF).
  • Develops new and improved methods and techniques for infectious diseases agent characterization for which standard methods are not described in the literature.
  • Conducts training sessions, presents lectures, and makes laboratory demonstrations for visitors and outside meetings. Conducts bench training for regional laboratory persons and scientists from the United States and other countries. Plans and coordinates clinical disease demonstrations for the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostician Training Schools (FADDTS). S/he develops, produces, tests for high grade reagents, and conducts animal inoculations in preparing the disease demonstrations for FADDTS and timely submits a report to leadership after each FADDTS.
  • Provides leadership in the national TAD repository team, makes work assignments, provides training, plans work schedules, and sets timelines for tasks to meet performance goals of the team.
  • Applies microbiological and molecular biological techniques in the conduct of disease diagnostics.
  • Follows guidelines and develops standard operating procedures, forms and documentation required to meet and maintain the quality standards set forth by the NVSL-FADDL quality assurance and quality control program.
  • Provides information, bench training, and reference assistance to colleagues in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approved foreign countries, state and university partners, and diagnostic laboratories.
  • Remains current on new issues in laboratory diagnostic sciences, concepts, research developments, methods of test validations, quality control and quality assurance and techniques through review of literatures and by communicating with diagnostic and research personnel at universities, laboratories, and other government agencies.
Travel Required
  • Occasional Travel
  • Travel for training and work assignments may be required.
Relocation Authorized
  • No
Job Requirements
Key Requirements
  • US Citizenship is required.
  • Subject to satisfactory completion of one year probationary period.
  • Position is subject to random and applicant drug testing.
  • Vaccinations may be required.
  • Subject to Department of Justice clearance.

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.

BASIC REQUIREMENT VETERINARY MEDICAL OFFICER (0701): Degree: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or equivalent degree, i.e., Veterinary Medical Doctor (VMD), obtained at a school or college of veterinary medicine accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education (AVMA). The AVMA website has a listing of all AVMA-accredited veterinary medical schools. AVMA website:

OR Graduates of foreign veterinary medical schools that are not accredited by the AVMA Council on Education must meet one of the following requirements: a) Proof of certification of their final transcript by the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG); b) Possession of a permanent, full, and unrestricted license to practice veterinary medicine in a State, District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a territory of the United States that includes successful completion of the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) or its predecessors, the National Board Examination (NBE) and the Clinical Competency Test (CCT); OR c) Proof that the education obtained in a foreign veterinary medical program is equivalent to that gained in a veterinary medical program that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education. An AVMA-accredited veterinary medical school or college must have accepted the final transcript from the foreign veterinary medical school at full value for placement into an advanced degree, postgraduate educational program, or training program (e.g., residency or graduate program).

In addition, graduates of foreign veterinary medical programs must also provide proof of proficiency in the English language by successfully completing one of the nationally and internationally recognized examinations that incorporate assessments of reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Examples of examinations that assess mastery of the English language are shown below:

a) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - Minimum scores for the TOEFL are 560 for the paper-based version; 220 for the computer-based version; or overall score of 83 for the internet-based version (including 26 or higher in speaking, 26 or higher in listening, and 17 or higher in writing). For the computer-based and paper-based test versions, applicants must also complete the Test of Spoken English (TSE) and the Test of Written English (TWE). Minimum required scores are 55 for the TSE and 5.5 for the TWE. b) Academic tests (listening, writing, and speaking) offered by the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Applicants must achieve a minimum overall band score of 7.0, with at least 7.0 in speaking, 6.5 in listening, and 6.0 in writing; OR c) Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL). Applicants must achieve a minimum overall band score of 70, with at least 60 in speaking, 60 in listening, and 50 in writing.

Graduates of foreign veterinary medical programs must submit test results with their application. Results of more than one test or testing session cannot be combined to meet the standard.

Waiver Provision: English language proficiency assessments may be waived for qualified job applicants whose native language is English (i.e., the official or common language of an individuals country of birth is English) who submit a diploma or other official documentation as proof of graduation from a high (secondary) school where the entire curriculum and educational programs were taught in the English language for the entire 3 or 4 years of full-time attendance.

FOR THE GS-11 LEVEL (0701): Applicants who meet the basic requirements qualify for this grade level.

FOR THE GS-12 LEVEL (0701): Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-11 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:

  • Leading large animal studies of infectious diseases.
  • Leading developmental and licensing project of veterinary biologics.
  • Designing virology, immunology, or molecular biology based pathogen characterization projects; leading trouble-shooting; and solving technical problems in the relevant fields. SUBSTITUTION OF EDUCATION FOR EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-12 GRADE LEVEL (0701):Successful completion of a Masters degree in an area of specialization including, but not limited to: animal science, avian medicine, food safety, infectious diseases, veterinary clinical sciences, pathobiology, biomedical sciences, veterinary anatomy, veterinary preventive medicine, comparative biological sciences, epidemiology, veterinary parasitology, molecular veterinary biosciences, public health, microbiology, pathology, immunology, laboratory animal medicine, toxicology, wildlife, zoological animal medicine, or other sciences related to the work of a veterinary medical officer position. Education must be obtained from an accredited college or university. Must submit transcripts if qualifying based on education.** OR

RESIDENCY/POST GRADUATE TRAINING PROGRAM FOR THE GS-12 GRADE LEVEL (0701):**Successful completion of two years of an internship, residency program, or fellowship training program in a discipline related to the position. Applicants should provide a certificate or letter documenting the completion of this program in order to qualify for the GS-12 grade level.

BASIC REQUIREMENT MICROBIOLOGIST (0403):1. Degree: Microbiology; or biology, chemistry, or basic medical science that included at least 20 semester hours in microbiology and other subjects related to the study of microorganisms, and 20 semester hours in the physical and mathematical sciences combining course work in organic chemistry or biochemistry, physics, and college algebra, or their equivalent. *OR 2. Combination of education and experience: courses equivalent to a major in microbiology, biology, chemistry, or basic medical science that included courses shown above, plus appropriate experience or additional education. FOR THE GS-11 (0403):* Applicants must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower level which demonstrates:

  • Working with large animal studies of infectious diseases.
  • Developing animal biologics.
  • Characterizing pathogens using sequencing, real-time PCR and serological (ELISA and VN) assays and conducting trouble-shooting. OR FOR THE GS-11 LEVEL EDUCATION SUBSTITUTION (0403): 3 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree or Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree in the area of Microbiology, or specific area of study such as bacteriology, virology, mycology, algology, protozoology, parasitology, immunology, serology, microbial genetics, or soil microbiology.

FOR THE GS-12 LEVEL (0403): Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-11 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:

  • Leading large animal studies of infectious diseases.
  • Leading developmental and licensing project of veterinary biologics.
  • Designing virology, immunology, or molecular biology based pathogen characterization projects; leading trouble-shooting; and solving technical problems in the relevant fields.* (There is no education substitution at this level for 0403.)*

TRANSCRIPTS are required. This position requires specific coursework or a degree in a specific field to be basically qualified. This education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college, or university.

COMBINATION OF EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-11 GRADE LEVEL (0403): 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 Professional and Scientific Positions Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

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.
  • Subject to Department of Justice clearance.
  • Successful completion of a one-year probationary or trial period (if new hire to the Federal service).
  • This position is designated a public trust position and is subject to satisfactory completion and favorable adjudication of initial background investigation and reinvestigation as a condition of employment.
  • Position may be eligible for telework.

  • This position involves standing, sitting, moving about the laboratory, carrying equipment (cell culture racks, cages and bottles), and reaching into incubators and centrifuges.

  • When working with animals, physical exertion is required in restraint, administering inoculations and therapy, performing clinical tests, killing humanely, and collecting tissue specimens.
  • Working with cattle requires quick and strenuous physical exertion.
  • The work involves the risk of exposure to viruses and bacteria that may be human pathogens (Class 3 Agents) and requires working with viruses exotic to the United States. These agents require the use of biological safety cabinets and work is performed in a biological containment laboratory (agricultural biosafety level 3) in which all clothing is changed and a complete shower is taken upon leaving the containment facility.
  • May be a high noise level due to the air supply/exhaust system (no recirculated air) and from laboratory equipment used continuously, such as centrifuges, grinders, freezers and biological safety cabinets. Protective devices such as face masks and heavy gloves may be used.
  • Required to travel daily to and from Orient Point, New York, and Plum Island, or Old Saybrook, Connecticut, and Plum Island aboard Government-provided marine vessels.
  • Vaccinations may be required.
  • Participation in the Plum Island Animal Disease Center’s Personnel Reliability Program and restricting access to livestock is also required.
  • Drug testing is a mandatory requirement for this position as well as the proper security clearance.
  • This position is subject to unscheduled overnight details of undetermined lengths in the event of animal health emergencies or other conditions requiring immediate response, as required by the Agency. (Extensive periods of time may be designated for overnight details.)
  • We understand that accepting a position with Veterinary Services may require the need for spousal career placement assistance. To help you and your family make a successful career transition, Veterinary Services is dedicated to providing information on career placement assistance. Please visit the following web links for more information:
Security Clearance

Public Trust - Background Investigation

Additional Information
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.


The Federal Service offers a comprehensive benefits package. Explore the benefits offered to most Federal employees at:

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: OPMs 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: USDAs 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 I-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.
  • It is the policy of the Government not to deny employment simply because an individual has been unemployed or has had financial difficulties that have arisen through no fault of the individual. See more information at:

Salary Range: $66,940.00 to $104,304.00 / Per Year

Series & Grade: GS-0701, 0403-11/12

Promotion Potential: 12

Supervisory Status: No

Who May Apply: US Citizens and Nationals; no prior Federal experience is required.

Control Number: 457816700

Job Announcement Number: 24VS-APHIS-MA-2017-0175