Laboratory Technician 1 (In-Training) - Multiple Positions

Washington State Department of Agriculture   Yakima, WA   Full-time     Science
Posted on January 24, 2024
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These in-training opportunities may be hired as a Laboratory Assistant 1, Laboratory Assistant 2, or a Laboratory Technician 1, depending on qualifications.


AGRICULTURE - A Cornerstone of Washington's Economy


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 Opportunity 

The WSDA Seed Program provides accurate, timely and high-quality seed analysis and certification services while continually striving for improvements in methods and technologies to assure success for the program and its seed industry stakeholders. WSDA Seed Program is a unit within the Commodity Inspection Division that conducts pre-harvest seed field inspections and laboratory seed testing of agricultural, vegetable, native plants, rangeland grasses and flower seeds grown under the certification and phytosanitary programs. The program is responsible for seed certification, seed testing, phytosanitary visual seed inspection, seed inspection and official seed sampling as well as the program is the state seed regulatory agent. Additionally, the program monitors two seed quarantines to assist producers to replicate disease and pest free commodities. 

WSDA Seed Program provides accredited laboratory services for state seed regulatory needs, seed certification tagging and common seed labeling. Seed viability is a required label component for The Federal Seed Act and state labeling laws. These positions work in the viability area of the lab and supports the laboratory Supervisor. The Laboratory Technician 1 receives assignments from the area lead or supervisor daily to complete activities. With little assistance, performs technical laboratory work and research, performing routine and advanced laboratory testing. These positions may oversee the work of others who are in-training and participate in the training process for new employees. 


If hired in the Laboratory Assistant 1 or 2 level, the incumbent will be required to successfully complete the training plan to reach the goal class of Laboratory Technician 1. 

Salary Ranges:

Laboratory Assistant 1 (In-Training): $38,640.00 - 51,384.00 annually
Laboratory Assistant 2 (In-Training): $42,444.00 - $56,676.00 annually
Laboratory Technician 1: $44,400.00 - $59,616.00 annually


Some of what you'll do:

  • Provides interpretation of regulations specific to the program daily operation, such as, Federal Seed Act, WAC's, AOSCA, OECD, ISTA, Canadian Grade, PCiT/PExD, and ISO-9001;2015.
  • Performs technical laboratory work and research, performing routine and advanced laboratory testing.
  • Conducts testing in a timely manner according to training and experience to produce quality results for certification, labeling, and marketing seed. 
  • Enters and retrieves data from a Specialized Seed Laboratory testing program database in addition to a good working knowledge of Microsoft, and WSDA Programs.
  • May review and signs completed laboratory reports before they are released to stakeholders. 
  • Identifies seedling abnormalities which are most commonly dead and abnormal seedlings. Normal and dormant/hard seed identified are reported as well. Lab Techs in viability normally report findings as percentages. 
  • Enters data accurately into Pure Harvest. 
  • Prevents cross contamination of samples and tests by always maintaining a clean and safe work environment. 
  • Conducts testing and applies any applicable certification standards to all samples submitted. 
  • Participates and assists in coordination of training new staff members and communicating seed testing rules and program accreditation.
  • Maintains SCST accreditation by participation in continuing education requirements.
  • Participates in annual proficiency test for AOSA and will pass according to the test standards. 
  • Prepares samples for the OECD grow out test plots and make test plot stakes for identification.
  • Mixing of chemical solutions for testing.
  • May assist with sanitizing lab equipment. Gathers and transports contaminated glassware or laboratory materials in the laboratory to the designated sanitation areas. Sterilizes, sorts, and restocks lab equipment such as beakers, containers, stir sticks and petri dishes according to laboratory procedures.


Who should apply?
Professionals with:

Laboratory Assistant 1 (In-Training) Level: 

  • High School Diploma or GED.

Laboratory Assistant 2 (In-Training) Level:

  • High School Diploma or GED.
  • One (1) year of experience with Laboratory practices or equivalent education or experience. 

Laboratory Technician 1 Level:

  • High school diploma or GED.
  • At least one (1) year of experience as a Laboratory Assistant 2.
  • Minimum of two (2) years working in a seed testing laboratory conducting purity and or germination with a wide variety of reclamation grasses, turf grasses, grains, flowers seeds, native species, and vegetables seed.
  • Must have and maintain technician certification with AOSA/SCST.
  • Certification with AOSA/SCST in purity or viability testing.

In addition to the above qualifications, the following desired knowledge, skills, and abilities will make your application more competitive:       

  • Knowledge of State, Federal and International seed testing procedures.
  • Experience working with a seed testing laboratory computer program or equivalent.
  • Familiarity with seed testing processes, procedures, and standards such as Association of Official Seed.
  • Analysts (AOSA), International Seed Testing Association (ISTA), Canadian Methods and Procedures, Federal Seed Act.
  • Knowledge of elementary bacteriology and chemistry, routine laboratory procedures and arithmetic.
  • Familiar with and be able to locate Washington State Administrative Codes related to seed certification standards and United States Department of Agriculture regulations.

Supplemental Information

Employee Benefits

  • A healthy work/life balance, which may include flexible work schedules, and teleworking.
  • WSDA provides an excellent benefits package beyond traditional benefits. State employment offers Dependent Care Assistance, Flexible Spending Accounts, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Tuition Waiver, Deferred Compensation, Employee Recognition Leave; click here for more information.
  • 12 paid Holidays & Vacation and Leave Accruals.
  • All Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required will be provided by the agency.

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.
If you are having technical difficulties creating, accessing, or completing your application, please call NEOGOV toll-free at (855) 524-5627 or email

The initial screening will be solely based on the contents and completeness of your application and the materials submitted. All information may be verified, and documentation may be required. Applications received via e-mail will not be accepted in lieu of applying through the state's on-line recruitment system.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Department of Agriculture celebrates our differences. We strive to hire great people from a wide variety of backgrounds. We are committed to a workplace that supports equal opportunity employment and inclusion regardless of race, religion, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, status as a protected veteran, genetics, status as an individual with a disability, or other applicable legally protected characteristics. We will also consider qualified applicants with criminal histories, consistent with applicable federal, state, and local laws.

We believe in the importance of recognizing the value each of us contribute to the success of the agency mission. Having a diverse workforce is this agency's greatest resource of strength and knowledge. It is through the combination of talents and abilities that we can pursue finding effective measures to provide the best customer service. We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive workplace for everyone and we strongly mean everyone.

For more information about the Washington State Department of Agriculture, visit us at