Careers at UMass Amherst

Technical Assistant I/Animal Care (Full -and/or Part-time position available)

Apply now Job no: 517645
Work type: Staff Full Time
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: Animal Care Services
Union: USA/MTA
Categories: College of Natural Sciences

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.


Job Summary

Under the direct supervision of the Animal Care Managers performs a variety of duties related to the care of laboratory animals. Primary responsibilities are to maintain a clean and healthy environment for laboratory animals and observe animals for their general health and wellbeing. 


Essential Functions

  • Independently observes, records, and reports atypical findings of the environment, maintenance activities of physical plant, and animal health or behavior. These observations are to include but are not limited to sick animals, maintenance problems, safety hazards, mistreatment or inappropriate treatment of animals.
  • Performs animal husbandry duties; e.g., feeding, watering, cage/pen cleaning.
  • Sanitizes animal rooms, animal procedure rooms, animal corridors, cage-wash rooms, animal morgue refrigerator, and necropsy room.
  • Handles restraint and sexing of laboratory animals.
  • Maintains animal room records; e.g., census, sanitation, enrichment, feeding, and cage card animal identification.
  • Prepares and distributes routine medications as directed by veterinary staff; e.g., medicated drinking water or feed.
  • Sanitizes all animal care equipment.
  • Operates and performs routine maintenance on rack washers, autoclaves, animal waste removal systems and, and bio-safety cabinets / clean bench hoods.
  • Maintains validation records of cage-washer efficiencies and room maintenance records of assigned areas.
  • Keeps assigned work areas stocked with supplies needed for routine operation of the area.
  • Removes and disposes of waste.
  • Works with Animal Biosafety Level-2 & ABSL-3 practices, including changing animals in a biosafety cabinet and special handling of bedding including packaging it for incineration.
  • Provides general technical assistance to supervisor or investigators.
  • Operates motor vehicle to travel to work sites.
  • Functionally supervises student employees.


Other Functions

  • Performs other tasks as directed by the Supervisor of Animal Care.


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • High School diploma or G.E.D.
  • 4 years of full time relevant experience (e.g., husbandry or research experiences with rodents and/or other research animal species, experience with daily care and observation of small mammals, birds etc. at a pet store or zoo, etc.). Certification as an Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician (ALAT) by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) may be substituted in lieu of experience.
  • Experience working with common laboratory animals including non-human primates.
  • Valid Class D State Driver’s License.
  • Ability to provide care for laboratory animals in a safe and sanitary manner, using the necessary equipment and under the established institutional operating procedures.
  • Ability to handle, restrain, and determine the gender of all common laboratory animals without injuring the animals or endangering oneself or others.
  • Knowledge of universal identification systems used for marking laboratory animals and ability to keep accurate records pertaining to this identification.
  • Knowledge concerning personal hygiene and personal safety with regard to hazardous substances; to be aware of proper institutional sanitation procedures, handling of equipment and chemicals used to clean, disinfect, and sterilize.
  • Ability to functionally supervise work study students effectively and to schedule the workload in an efficient and productive manner.
  • Basic to intermediate computing skills.


Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Knowledge of or experience working with ABSL-2 and ABSL-3.


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

  • Ability to bend, stoop and lift and/or carry heavy objects weighing up to fifty (50) pounds, unassisted.
  • Good physical stamina.
  • Must be able to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
    • Minimum required PPE: scrubs, exam gloves, head cover, dust mask, shoe covers.
    • Additional PPE: e.g., safety glasses, face shield, jump suit, respirator may be required for some areas.
  • Showering may be required.


Additional Details

This position is considered Essential Personnel.  Essential personnel are expected to report to work in the event of an emergency closing of the UMass Amherst campus, including delayed openings and early closings.  Employees designated as essential personnel and who report to work during emergency closure periods will be compensated in accordance with their respective collective bargaining agreements.  Employees designated as essential personnel and who do not report to work during emergency closure periods will be required to use accrued time.


Work Schedule

  • Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm.
  • May be expected to participate in a weekend and holiday rotation schedule as needed.
  • Some evening work may be required.


Salary Information

Grade 11

UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

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