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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 516N
Category: Science & Engineering


In a natural resources agency, supervises a team of professional level scientific program staff with at least one Natural Resource Scientist 3 or serves as the as the agency’s designated expert in a specific scientific field.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Professional experts will be designated in writing by the agency director as the agency’s expert in a natural resource science specialty field. Positions perform scientific research in support of agency scientific programs and activities.

Typical Work

Defines the research project; consults with agency management to determine need, goals and objectives;

Conducts surveys, analyzes and records field conditions;

Selects tree, plant or ecological system and sets the parameters of the study, including environmental manipulations or treatments involved;

Develops and defines the record keeping and reporting procedures;

Trains and supervises other personnel in survey, sample plot installation, field evaluation and reporting work;

Gathers and evaluates sample data; formulates and justifies conclusions and recommendations;

Writes reports;

Analyzes and applies related research work conducted by others in specialty field;

Provides consultative service to resource managers in specialty field;

Plans and directs control of treatment projects, including the hiring, training and supervision of field crews;

Performs other work as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of: the body of principles, practices, and methods in the specialty field of natural science; statistical theory and techniques; research design and methods; logic and grammar, advanced methods of problem solving; purposes and objectives of agency scientific programs and activities.

Ability to: reason logically, draw valid conclusions and make appropriate recommendations; gather and analyze data; participate in conferences and interviews; speak and write effectively; establish and maintain effective working relationships.

Legal Requirement(s)

There may be instances where individual positions must have additional licenses or certification. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate licenses/certifications are obtained for each position.

Selective certification for the designated specialty field may be required.

NOTE: Some positions require possession of a valid Washington State Geologist license. Some positions may additionally require possession of a Washington State Engineering Geologist specialty license and/or a Washington State Hydrogeologist specialty license.

Desirable Qualifications

A Bachelor’s degree with major study in a natural science


Six years of professional research work experience in a specialty field (a specialty field is designated for each position).

A Master’s degree, without a PhD degree in a specialty field, will substitute for two years of the required experience, provided the field of major study was in the specialty field.

A Ph.D. degree will substitute for three years of the required experience, provided the field of major study was in the specialty field.

Class Specification History

New class established: 07-09-2004.
Deleted distinguishing characteristic title; added typical work, knowledge and abilities language; changed minimum qualifications title to desirable qualifications, 12-13-2006.
Revised class code: (formerly 95660), effective 07-01-2007.
Revised definition, distinguishing characteristics and abilities and minimum qualifications, adopted 06-13-2019, effective 07-01-2019..
Revised legal requirements and desirable qualifications, adopted June 22, 2023, effective July 1, 2023.