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Laboratory Assistant, Senior

Salary: $15.25-$18.62 hourly / $2,653-$3,239 monthly / Range: 4796

DEFINITION: Under general direction, performs routine administrative and planning tasks for the Public Health Laboratory; serves as a technical expert to other Laboratory Assistants performing water quality testing in the Public Health Laboratory; leads other Laboratory Assistants in their duties by providing day to day direction, prioritizing work assignments, and reviewing work for quality; performs related duties as assigned.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: This classification is distinguished from the Laboratory Assistant by its responsibility for providing day to day direction to staff involved in water quality testing and assisting the Public Health Laboratory Supervisor with administrative tasks related to the lab such as supply planning and ordering, and performance and staffing issues. The Public Health Laboratory Supervisor is distinguished by the responsibility for providing overall professional and administrative direction to all sections of the Public Health Laboratory.


1. Performs bacteriological examinations of drinking, recreational, and waste water; reads and records test results; maintains quality control records; makes records and notations of invalid specimens to satisfy state inspectors; notifies specimen submitter of failure to pass established EPA and State standards.
2. Provides training to other Laboratory Assistants and other temporary or extra-help staff assigned to water testing; assigns tasks and priorities; reviews work of other staff in the water testing lab for completeness and correctness; ensures that staff follow applicable safety and quality procedures; acts as supervisor over staff involved in water quality testing during weekend and night testing when Public Health Laboratory Supervisor is unavailable.
3. Coordinates with Environmental Health Services staff to plan for testing during storm events or other peak water testing periods; plans for staffing needs, including the use of Environmental Health staff to assist during peak testing periods; plans for lab supply needs and ensures proper supply levels for special projects.
4. Orders supplies for all specialties of both main and branch public health laboratories, such as food microbiology, sexually transmitted diseases, TB, and rabies; researches pricing to obtain best price and/or verifies pricing from vendors is correct; enters orders into order/inventory control program; conducts inventory of supplies and plans for upcoming requirements.
5. Confers with Public Health Laboratory Supervisor to resolve staffing or performance issues; provides supervisor with input for performance evaluations; makes recommendations regarding merit increases, disciplinary issues, and process changes.


1. Two years of experience providing laboratory testing assistance to professional microbiologists; or,
2. two years of experience performing duties equivalent to a Laboratory Assistant with Santa Barbara County; or,
3. a combination of training, education, and experience that is equivalent to one of the employment standards listed above and that provides the required knowledge and abilities.

Additional Qualifications: Occasionally, on an as needed basis, incumbents must be able to work outside of normal hours including evenings and weekends.

Knowledge of: common laboratory equipment, methods, and procedures; metric system weights and measures; current state water regulations that apply to collection, transport, and testing; water bacteriology test methods including water quality control procedures; laboratory safety procedures and policies; names and purposes of most public health laboratory test kits, reagents, and equipment; laboratory testing procedures sufficient to plan for supply needs; standard English usage.

Ability to: operate and maintain laboratory equipment; maintain accurate records; complete work according to industry and safety protocols; work independently; perform basic mathematical computations including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers and fractions; train and direct staff; monitor compliance of other staff with laboratory safety and testing procedures; use standard computer software; learn laboratory computer applications; communicate effectively both orally and in writing; develop and maintain effective working relationships.


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