Animal Health Technician

Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration | Charleston, SC

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Posted Date 3/23/2020
Description This position requires broad practical knowledge of animal husbandry and animal behavior. incumbent' s primary responsibilities are for support to the animal husbandry programs of the Veterinary Medical Unit (VMU). Incumbent must be able to work independently, and be able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.


NOTE: This is a TERM appointment (not-to-exceed 1 year and 1 day). Term appointments are non-status, nonpermanent appointments of limited duration (more than 1 year but not more than 4). Term employees are eligible to earn leave and generally have the same benefits as permanent employees including health and life insurance, within-grade increases and Federal Employees Retirement System and Thrift Savings Plan coverage. Term appointments may be extended without further competition (up to the 4-year maximum). The appointment to a Term position does not confer eligibility for promotion or reassignment to other positions or the ability to be non-competitively converted to permanent employment.
Duties include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Makes daily and routine observations of animals, recognizes deviations from normal health status by examination for signs of illness or injury and reports any to the VMU Supervisor.
  • Administer any topical medications as directed by the VMU Supervisor or Veterinary Medical Officer
  • (VMO).
  • Makes all annotations necessary on animal health records concerning such treatment.
  • Make daily rounds of animal rooms, checking and recording environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, and air flow. Responsible for noting and reporting abnormal conditions to the VMU Supervisor.
  • Provide adequate feed and water and environmental enrichment to all animals in accordance with verbal and/or written instructions. Prepare special diets as required.
  • Clean cages, racks, pans, floors and other areas of the facility according to established schedule.
  • Consult with VMU Supervisor when deviations from the schedule are warranted and follow their instructions.
  • Operates various equipment ( cage washer, autoclaves, floor machines, and sanitize(s) while utilizing all safety precautions. Prepare cages or water bottles for the next day by either sterilizing or by preparatory set up.
  • Handle animals in a humane manner according to all regulations and guidelines. Follow procedures set by the VMU Supervisor and the Veterinary Medical Officer (VMO) for effective maintenance of environments for animals, different species and different health status.
  • Sanitize cages, racks, and water bottles with the tunnel or rack washer according to established standard operating procedures.
  • Assists research technicians, investigators, or VMU Supervisor in restraining animals and in the collection of specimens (blood, urine, tissues) for chemical and histological examination.
  • Maintains and cleans animal rooms, laboratories, and storage areas according to established standard operating procedures.
  • Verify sanitation through use of monitoring systems, Steris temperature strips or RODAC plates.
  • Maintain census records by room and by investigator. Accuracy is important since these records are the basis for per diem charges.
  • Assist investigators by performing procedures (i.e. special diet preparation, and restraint, gavaging).
  • Ensure proper stock levels of necessary supplies, including needles, syringes, bandage materials, medications, IV fluids and specialized animal equipment.
  • Receives animals, observes and records health conditions of new animals and accurately verifies packing slips with actual shipment and records data in log.
  • Performs other duties as assigned

Work Schedule: Monday-Friday; 8:00AM-4:30PM
Recruitment & Relocation Incentives: Not authorized
Financial Disclosure Report: Not Required


Experience: You must have at least one (1) full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-4 grade level in the Federal service. Examples of qualifying specialized experience include work as a laborer, manager, or owner of a livestock ranch or farm involving direct work with livestock'; work with livestock in a feed lot; work as a Livestock Market Inspector; work as an Animal Welfare Inspector; or work as an assistant to a veterinarian who works with livestock. This experience must be clearly demonstrated on your resume. ~OR~

Education: Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study leading to a bachelor's degree with major study or at least 24 semester hours of courses in zoology, biology, chemistry, or agricultural subjects. Note: Transcripts are required. ~OR~

Combination of education and experience: For GS-5 level positions, only education in excess of the first 60 semester hours of a course of study leading to a bachelor's degree is creditable toward meeting the specialized experience requirements. Two full academic years of study, or 60 semester hours, beyond the second year is equivalent to l year of specialized experience.


You will be rated on the following Competencies as part of the assessment questionnaire for this position:
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Customer Service
  • Technical Competence
  • Technical Credibility


IMPORTANT: A full year of work is considered to be 35-40 hours of work per week. All experience listed on your resume must include the month and year start/end dates. Part-time experience will be credited on the basis of time actually spent in appropriate activities. Applicants wishing to receive credit for such experience must indicate clearly the nature of their duties and responsibilities in each position and the number of hours a week spent in such employment.

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.

For more information on these qualification standards, please visit the United States Office of Personnel Management's website at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/.

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