Public Health Laboratory Scientist Ii

Fairfax, Virginia
$56,957.47 - $94,929.54 Annually
Jun 25, 2022
Jul 09, 2022
Full Time
Job Announcement

The Fairfax County Health Department is the largest public health department in Virginia, serving 1.2 million residents from diverse ethnic, cultural, and economic backgrounds throughout Fairfax County, as well as the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church and the towns of Herndon, Vienna, and Clifton. With more than 100 years of leadership in the field, we are committed to protecting, promoting, and improving the health and quality of life for all in our community.

This position serves as lead scientist and subject matter expert to internal and external clients; participates in the training and onboarding of new laboratory personnel; and participates in the annual competency assessment of staff in their assigned work areas. Under minimal supervision, performs full performance public health laboratory work; performs progressively more difficult and complex laboratory analyses and/or lead professional duties in one or more specialty areas: microbiology, molecular biology, immunology, serology, clinical chemistry, parasitology, urine drug screening, environmental microbiology, environmental chemistry, and rabies. Applies critical decision-making skills to reach conclusions about diagnostic testing needs. Evaluates laboratory testing requests for appropriateness. Works independently and uses evidence-based criteria to interpret laboratory testing data. In collaboration with the PHLS III, writes and carries out verification and validation studies, investigations of non-conforming events, and documentation of corrective actions. Collects essential data for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of communicable disease and for the identification and prevention of environmental health hazards. Performs, evaluates, and interprets test results for medical providers and environmental health specialists. Reviews and confirms test results, QC, and log sheets performed by PH Lab Scientist I for accuracy and completeness and performs related work as required. Provides front-line oversight of the laboratory technical work and serves as a technical resource for PHSL I position. Maintains a culture of quality to assure delivery of accurate and timely laboratory test results using appropriate safety precautions.

Note: Multiple positions may be hired from this announcement.

Required Knowledge Skills and Abilities

(The knowledge, skills and abilities listed in this specification are representative of the class but are not an all-inclusive list.)


Considerable knowledge of biology, chemistry, clinical, environmental and medical laboratory procedures;
Considerable knowledge and understanding of quality control, documentation, quality assurance, and professional and regulatory standards of laboratory practice in a certified laboratory;
Knowledge of laboratory hazards and procedures;
Possess active listening skills;
Ability to work independently, accurately determining appropriate procedures and methods to obtain test results in a precise and accurate manner;
Ability to apply critical thinking skills to reach conclusions about diagnostic testing needs;
Ability to apply problem-solving skills to resolve complex issues such as troubleshooting instruments and testing failures;
Ability to pay close attention to detail;
Ability to work independently and part of a team;
Ability to make analytical judgments;
Ability to provide technical interpretation and recommendations for follow-up testing;
Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships;
Ability to operate, maintain and properly read various laboratory instruments;


Ability to perform successfully despite sudden deadlines and changing priorities, maintaining personal composure in high stress situations;
Ability to create and revise drafts of written reports and oral presentations;
Ability to work with medical professionals and environmental health specialists to answer technical questions and resolve issues pertaining to laboratory testing;
Ability to apply knowledge acquired from written text to laboratory situations;
Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing within the department and with customers and stakeholders;
Ability to interpret and follow complex technical instructions;
Ability to keep abreast of current developments in the field.

Employment Standards

Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with a bachelor's degree in medical/clinical laboratory science, microbiology, or chemistry; OR a degree in a directly related field of study; OR completion of a post-graduate degree in a directly related field of study relevant to public health clinical laboratory testing;
Plus four (4) years recent relevant experience performing high complexity testing in a clinical or public health laboratory environment

  • Possession of a valid motor vehicle driver's license
  • AED - Required within 60 days of hire
  • CPR - Required within 60 days of hire
  • Within one (1) year of hire obtain a certification in one of the following;
    • Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS),
    • Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS),
    • Medical Technologist (MT), or
    • Specialty area through a nationally recognized laboratory accreditation organization.

See the Fairfax County Health Department Laboratory's Public Health Laboratory Scientist Career Ladder Upward Mobility Policy for requirements necessary to progress from PHLS II Level I through Level 2.

  • The appointee to this position will be required to complete a criminal background check, a Child Protective Services Registry, a driving record check, and sanction screening to the satisfaction of the employer. A TB screening upon hire and annually thereafter.
  • All newly hired employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (two weeks after the last required dose) as a condition of employment or obtain approval of a medical or religious exemption prior to their start date. Proof of an exemption or vaccination status will be required during the pre-employment onboarding process. New employees who obtain an exemption from the vaccine mandate for medical or sincerely held religious beliefs may be subject to a weekly testing requirement. Vaccinated employees and employees with a medical or religious exemption will complete the attestation online on their first day of employment or shortly thereafter.

Note: This position is considered essential personnel.


  • Preferred applicants will possess 3- 4 years of experience performing Real Time RT-PCR on clinical specimens.
  • Applicants possessing experience in Next Generation Sequencing is highly desirable.
  • Strong background in clinical microbiology.
  • Working knowledge of microbiological and molecular procedures, chemistry, safety, and quality assurance is highly desirable for this position.
  • Experience and knowledge of EPA approved environmental test methods for drinking water is a plus.
  • Experience with Laboratory Information System (LIS).
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Ability to read, analyze, interpret and communicate complex scientific, technical, administrative and educational documents.
  • Ability to respond effectively to sensitive inquiries or complaints from both internal and external clients.
  • Candidates should possess strong written and verbal communication skills, must be results driven and detail oriented.
  • Previous experience serving in a leadership role is highly desirable.
  • Experience and knowledge of Health Department policies and procedures is a plus.
  • Self-motivated and result oriented.

While performing the duties of this position, the employee is regularly required to sit, talk, see, and hear. Job is generally sedentary in nature, however, job entails walking, sitting, standing, climbing stairs, reaching, and bending; uses hands to grasp, handle, or feel. Visual acuity is required to read data on computer monitor and laboratory equipment, and to distinguish fine gradation of color, bands, or structure and closely examine specimens microscopically. The incumbent must be able to operate keyboard driven equipment and possess the ability to communicate with others verbally and in writing. Employee must be able to drive a motor vehicle and may be required to lift up to 25 lbs. Must possess manual dexterity sufficient to work with small instruments and delicate laboratory equipment. All duties performed with or without reasonable accommodations.

Panel interview; may include practical exercise.

Fairfax County Government prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetics, political affiliation, or military status in the recruitment, selection, and hiring of its workforce.

Reasonable accommodations are available to persons with disabilities during application and/or interview processes per the Americans with Disabilities Act. Contact 703-324-4900 for assistance. TTY 703-222-7314. EEO/AA/TTY.

Effective July 2, 2022, compensation plans will be increased by 4.01% (market rate adjustment).