Salary: $40,812.00 – $54,492.00 Annually
Location: Thurston County – Olympia, WA
Job Type: Full Time – Non-Permanent
Remote Employment: Flexible/Hybrid
Department: Dept. of Agriculture
Job Number: 2023-05235
Closing: Continuous

The Washington State Department of Agriculture has been serving the state for more than 100 years. Through service, regulation, and advocacy, we keep agriculture viable and vital in Washington State, while protecting consumers, public health, and the environment. We work extensively with farmers and ranchers, but our responsibilities – from ensuring food safety to environmental protection – touch the lives of millions of people locally, nationally, and abroad. The agency includes 780 employees approximately and grows close to 1,000 employees at the peak of seasonal work. To learn more and view additional openings, please visit our Employment Page.

The Pest Program is hiring for a non-permanent full time Scientific Technician 3! The Pest Program conducts surveys, diagnostics and control activities for pests and diseases of important agricultural commodities throughout Washington State. Pest Program employees conduct surveys for Northern giant hornet, Japanese beetle, spongy moth, apple maggot, Phytophthora ramorum, Spartina and other invasive insect pests, diseases, and noxious weeds.  Some employees work in the Plant Pest and Molecular Diagnostics Lab, or the Entomology labs in Olympia or Yakima to provide diagnostics of survey samples.   Others assist with control and eradication efforts for Northern, giant hornet, Japanese beetle, spongy moth, invasive snails, Spartina and knotweed.  Regardless of the threat, Pest program employees use cutting edge technology, scientific processes, and teamwork to protect some of Washington’s most valuable agricultural crops.

The Scientific Technician in the Plant Pathology and Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory independently performs a wide variety of bacterial and fungal diagnostic testing using culture/morphological, biochemical assays, molecular, and serological techniques as well as assist with media/reagent preparation.  This position works directly with the Pest Biologists in performing laboratory operations as assigned by the Chief Plant Pathologist and is an integral part of the Pest Program.

Position and Salary Information
WSDA is recruiting for a full-time non-permanent Scientific Technician 3 position within the Pest Program. This position is located in Olympia, Washington. This is a non-represented position.

The base pay offered will take into account internal equity and may vary depending on the preferred candidate’s job-related knowledge, skills, and experience. The typical starting salary range for this position is: $40,812 Step A – $53,100 Step L annually. 

Some of what you will do: 

  • Perform advanced technical scientific duties including preparing and processing samples according to stringent protocols, conducts studies on target pests involving sampling, identification, and molecular analysis. Pests include but are not limited to Fungi, Bacteria, Viral, Mollusks, and Insects.
  • Conduct laboratory investigations and experiments by performing established isolations, culture/morphological, biochemical assays, molecular and serological techniques to look for suspected pathogens/pests.
  • Perform biological and microscopic analyses of laboratory specimens and cultures following established laboratory procedures, interprets and records the results.
  • Supervise and direct duties of lower level technicians in field sampling and surveying. 
  • Travel in-state to various locations in fields conditions that may involve long hours in inclement weather. 
  • Accurately records sample data and monitors collections sites while utilizing various GPS and data collection devices. 
  • Use computer terminal to create and maintain laboratory databases, process analyzed data, maintain sample records, view technical references, enter diagnostic results, and order/maintain equipment supply inventories under the guidance of the Plant Pathologist.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelors degree involving study in a biological science AND one year of biological lab techniques experience.

  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite with demonstrated ability to learn and use institutional software systems.

  • Must be able to work full time with variable schedule and available to work above 40 hours per week as the workload necessitates.

  • Valid unrestricted driver’s license.

Preferred / Desired Qualifications: 

  • Additional experience in detection, survey, control or eradication of pest or invasive species.

  • Additional experience in biological science laboratory performing DNA extraction/isolation techniques and polymerase chain reaction.

Contact Us
Should you have any questions regarding this position or the online application, contact the Human Resource Office at Prior to a new appointment into the Department of Agriculture, a background check including criminal record history will be conducted. Information from the background check will not necessarily preclude employment but will be considered in determining the applicant’s suitability and competence to perform in the position. The Human Resources Division may use referrals from this recruitment to help fill future similar vacancies for up to six months.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture requires all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. Exemption may be granted for religious or medical purposes and should be requested a minimum of (7) seven days prior to the first day of employment. Accommodations will be subject to approval based on the essential functions required of the position.

How to apply
You must complete your profile and answer the supplemental questions. In addition to completing the online application, and supplemental questions applicants must attach the following documents to their profile to be considered for this position:

· Current resume detailing experience and education.

· A cover letter describing how you meet the specific qualifications for this position.

· Three professional references.

By submitting these materials, you are indicating that all information is true and correct. The state may verify information. Any untruthful or misleading information is cause for removal from the applicant pool or dismissal if employed. Applications with comments “see attachments” will be considered incomplete.

For more information and to apply:

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