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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 515S
Category: Science & Engineering


Heads a major chemical program and laboratory regularly involved in complex chemical analyses, and employing several other professional chemists; manages the operation, including work flow, data quality control and budgetary control, of a laboratory section responsible for conducting and/or reviewing the chemical analyses of a variety of samples and supervises at least two professional chemists; or is the designated expert in a specialized field of chemistry.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Heads of a major chemical program and laboratory are distinguished by the fact that the principal end-product is the supervision of chemists and guidance of the chemical program, rather than the performance of chemistry itself. Expert positions are recognized and designated, in writing, by the deputy director level or designee as the agency's authority in a specialty area of chemistry. Agency criteria for expert designation shall be approved by the Department of Personnel. Changes to criteria will be made by the Department of Personnel with consultation with agency.

Typical Work

Participates in formulation and direction of department-wide policy regarding chemical program, chemical research, and chemical investigative functions; evaluates needs and feasibility of initiating or expanding, reducing, or eliminating significant portions of the chemical program; effectively recommends changes indicated;

Trains and supervises several subordinate chemists or chemists and microbiologist in a chemical program requiring the regular and frequent performance of original chemical research; coordinates laboratory activities and gives technical assistance in areas of research planning and development of original techniques;

Reviews laboratory results obtained and checks research reports of subordinates for justification of conclusions and resolution of the problems for which the study was conducted;

Participates in interagency and interstate committees and within a general framework commits the Department to participation in joint studies and projects;

Meets with representatives of companies, political subdivisions and industries on whom his laboratory has direct impact to discuss and resolve questions of adequacy of studies performed, approaches used, and results obtained; initiates changes and restudies according to his own judgment;

In the Department of Agriculture, supervises chemists and microbiologists in the chemical and biological analysis of dairy and food products for adulteration and contamination, including pesticide or other toxic residues on foods and raw agricultural products;

Performs other work as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of: inorganic, organic, and analytical chemistry; physical chemistry related to modern analytical instrumentation; research methods in micro-chemistry; research report writing; activities planning and fiscal aspects of laboratory management; principles of good supervision.

Ability to: plan large-scale chemical studies, including instrumentation and manpower utilization; supervise and train chemists in a laboratory setting; present technical information clearly, both orally and in writing; deal effectively with representatives of other agencies and businesses at an administrative level.

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.

Desirable Qualifications

A Bachelor's degree with a major in chemistry or a Bachelor's degree with a minimum of 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours of college level chemistry and six years of experience performing chemical analysis in an analytical laboratory including at least one year of experience leading or supervising professional chemists.


One year of experience as a Chemist 3.

NOTE: A Master's degree will substitute for two years of the required experience or a Ph.D. degree will substitute for three years of the required experience provided a Bachelor's degree and the required college-level chemistry have been achieved.

Class Specification History

Revised minimum qualifications: 3-1-66
Revised minimum qualifications: 11-12-87
Revised definition and distinguishing characteristics: 6-15-90
Revised minimum qualifications: 1-11-91
New class code: (formerly 53840) effective July 1, 2007