US Department of Veterans Affairs - North Chicago, IL

Full-time | Part-time
The primary purpose of the Cytotechnologist position is to perform an advanced range of cytology duties while serving as an expert providing authoritative advice and consultation for more difficult, complex, or unique tests & cases requiring specialized knowledge, to include flow cytometry and molecular pathology.

Participates in VA and CAP proficiency testing programs, performs GYN, non-GYN, and FNA slide screening, specimen tracking, workload data capture, statistics maintenance, rapid on-site assessment of Cytology specimens, and all other duties related to running the Cytology Laboratory. The incumbent serves as the gatekeeper for all cytology specimens processed in cytology. Slides are screened. 90% of all negative GYN cases are released to the patient's electronic medical record by the incumbent. All abnormal GYN and all Non-GYN samples are initially screened by the incumbent and sent to the pathologist for final review and sign-out of the diagnosis. The incumbent ensures that the referral provider gets the results.

Issues the final diagnosis for those gynecological cases interpreted to be negative. These diagnoses include specimen adequacy, microbiological findings, and inflammatory related changes. Submits those cases considered atypical or reactive to a staff pathologist for review after recording initial cytologic interpretation of the specimen. Evaluates and interprets cytologic specimens for disease processes as manifested in cytopathologic preparations. Enters the diagnoses into the LIS after pathologist review. Communicates the diagnostic interpretation of these specimens and assists in directing the clinician in the management of patients.

Exercises judgment and initiative in solving the problems in securing clinical information. Aids in collection and specimen slide preparation. This includes fine needle aspiration, bronchoscopy specimens, touch preparations, and endoscopy specimens. Determines the adequacy of such specimens and, if appropriate, recommends repetition of the procedure where specimen is considered non-representative. Instructs clinicians on proper method of obtaining cytologic specimens for optimal diagnosis.

Correlates quantitative, biochemical, physiologic and morphologic data with other laboratory data and/or other patient data to verify results. Performs additional tests to certify or confirm abnormal patient results and reports results. Identifies unusual results or discrepancies/conditions which cause erroneous results. Takes appropriate action to make corrections and solve problems. Conducts literature search and assists in projects. Participates in teaching cytology basics.

Conducts studies and recommends changes to correct deficiencies and improve the specialty area - to include providing recommendations and better means to engage in and meet laboratory cytology accreditation requirements, recommending new/replacement instrumentation, and designing work flow to as a methodology to document compliance.

Identifies training needs appropriate for the type and complexity of the cytology laboratory services performed, and may provide necessary training to laboratory technicians - specific to in theoretical and practical aspects of cytology quality assurance.

Identifies, defines, and resolves issues associated with complex aspects of data or unique or controversial aspects of the cytology testing where no direct precedent exists.

Applies laws, policies, precedents, regulatory, licensing, and accrediting requirements to establish, monitor, and maintain the specialized testing accreditation requirements, and responds to external proficiency testing programs. Prepares reports and responds to requests for quality control information as prescribed by the College of American Pathologists.

Analyzes emerging trends and technology specific to cytology as part of improved quality control procedures. Evaluates new quality control protocols to determine their suitability for local use.

Maintains process control in a specialty area through a multifaceted quality assurance program, and represents the laboratory on any applicable cytology utilization reviews.

Work Schedule: Monday - Friday, 7:00am - 3:30pm, May be required to work weekends and holidays if needed.
Telework: Not Available
Virtual: This is not a virtual position.
Position Description/PD#: Cytotechnologist/PDZPBSA
Relocation/Recruitment Incentives: Not Authorized
Financial Disclosure Report: Not required

Travel Required
Not required

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential

Job family (Series)
0601 General Health Science


Conditions of Employment
You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this job
Designated and/or random drug testing may be required
Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959
You may be required to serve a probationary period
Subject to background/security investigation
Selected applicants will be required to complete an online onboarding process
To qualify for this position, applicants must meet all requirements by the closing date of this announcement, 10/03/2019.

Time-In-Grade Requirement: Applicants who are current Federal employees and have held a GS grade any time in the past 52 weeks must also meet time-in-grade requirements by the closing date of this announcement. For a GS-11 position you must have served 52 weeks at the GS-09. The grade may have been in any occupation, but must have been held in the Federal service. An SF-50 that shows your time-in-grade eligibility must be submitted with your application materials. If the most recent SF-50 has an effective date within the past year, it may not clearly demonstrate you possess one-year time-in-grade, as required by the announcement. In this instance, you must provide an additional SF-50 that clearly demonstrates one-year time-in-grade.

Note: Time-In-Grade requirements also apply to former Federal employees applying for reinstatement as well as current employees applying for Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 (VEOA) appointment.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY: In accordance with 38 U.S.C. 7402(d), No person shall serve in direct patient care positions unless they are proficient in basic written and spoken English. You must be proficient in basic written and spoken English in order to meet the requirements of this position.
BASIC EDUCATION REQUIREMENT: Must possess successful completion of a full 4 year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree that included a major field of study or specific course requirements related to the health sciences or allied sciences appropriate to the work of this position. (TRANSCRIPT REQUIRED)

You may qualify based on your experience and/or education as described below:
Specialized Experience: You must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the next lower grade GS-09 in the normal line of progression for the occupation in the organization. Examples of specialized experience would typically include, but are not limited to: possessing working experience in a medical facility as a cytotechnologist performing highly specialized cytologic examinations on body fluids and other cytology samples; determining new procedures for preparation and screening of cytology specimens and maintains current procedures; developing and implementing the use of new protocols for performance of tests and evaluation of results; aiding in collection and specimen slide preparation including fine needle aspiration (FNA), bronchoscopy specimens, touch preparations, and endoscopy specimens; instructing clinicians on the proper method of obtaining cytologic specimens for optimal diagnosis; preparing reagents and verifies correct instrument operation. (This experience must be documented in your resume.) ASCP Cytotechnologist certification preferred. OR,
Education: Applicants may substitute education for the required experience. To qualify based on education for this grade level you must have 3 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree or Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree that provided the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to do the work of the position. (Transcripts Required) . OR,
Combination: Applicants may also combine education and experience to qualify at this level. You must have an combination of specialized experience and education beyond post-high school graduate level education and qualifying specialized experience (as described above) to meet the total qualification requirements. (Transcript Required) .
You will be rated on the following Competencies for this position:
Clinical Data Collection/Documentation
Diagnostic Medical Testing
Specimen Collection
Technology Application

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religions; spiritual; community; student; social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Note: A full year of work is considered to be 35-40 hours of work per week. Part-time experience will be credited on the basis of time actually spent in appropriate activities. Applicants wishing to receive credit for such experience must indicate clearly the nature of their duties and responsibilities in each position and the number of hours a week spent in such employment.

Physical Requirements: The work requires prolonged sitting and viewing into a microscope, occasional periods of prolonged standing to prepare specimens, walking within the laboratory and to the patient's bedside, reaching for supplies or materials, lifting heavy items such as reagent packs, and requires dexterity to perform specialized procedures. The work requires typing/ data entry using a computer. Assignments within the laboratory require visual acuity, color vision and depth perception.

For more information on these qualification standards, please visit the United States Office of Personnel Management's website at
There is no educational substitution at this grade level.

A transcript must be submitted with your application if you are basing all or part of your qualifications on education.

Note: Only education or degrees recognized by the U.S. Department of Education from accredited colleges, universities, schools, or institutions may be used to qualify for Federal employment. You can verify your education here: If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. For further information, visit:

Additional information
Receiving Service Credit or Earning Annual (Vacation) Leave: Federal Employees earn annual leave at a rate (4, 6 or 8 hours per pay period) which is based on the number of years they have served as a Federal employee. VA may offer newly-appointed Federal employee's credit for their job-related non-federal experience or active duty uniformed military service. This credited service can be used in determining the rate at which they earn annual leave. Such credit must be requested and approved prior to the appointment date and is not guaranteed.

Special Employment Consideration: VA encourages persons with disabilities to apply, including those eligible for hiring under 5 CFR 213.3102(u), Schedule A, Appointment of persons with disabilities [i.e., intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities, or psychiatric disabilities], and/or Disabled veterans with a compensable service-connected disability of 30% or more. Contact the Agency Contact for information on how to apply under this appointment authority via the Selective Placement Coordinator.

The Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) and Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) provide eligible displaced Federal/VA competitive service employees with selection priority over other candidates for competitive service vacancies. To be qualified you must submit appropriate documentation (a copy of the agency notice, your most recent performance rating, and your most recent SF-50 noting current position, grade level, and duty location) and be found well-qualified for this vacancy. To be well-qualified: applicants must possess experience that exceeds the minimum qualifications of the position including all selective factors, and who are proficient in most of the required competencies of the job. Information about ICTAP and CTAP eligibility is on OPM's Career Transition Resources website at

Placement Policy: The posting of this announcement does not obligate management to fill a vacancy or vacancies by promotion. The position may be filled by reassignment, change to lower grade, transfer, appointment, or reinstatement. Management may use any one or any combination of these methods to fill the position.

It is the policy of the VA to not deny employment to those that have faced financial hardships or periods of unemployment.

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.

Veterans and Transitioning Service Members: Please visit the VA for Vets site for career-search tools for Veterans seeking employment at VA, career development services for our existing Veterans, and coaching and reintegration support for military service members.

For more information on the "Who may apply" eligibility requirements, please refer to the OHRM Status Candidates and Other Candidate Definitions document.

If you are unable to apply online view the following link for information regarding an Alternate Application.

How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.


Narrative responses are not required at this time. If you are referred for consideration, you may be asked to submit additional job related information, which may include, but not limited to; responses to the knowledge, skills and abilities; completion of a work sample, and/or contact for an interview.Your resume and/or supporting documentation will be verified. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating or consideration for employment.

Background checks and security clearance
Security clearance
Not Required

Drug test required

Required Documents

Required Documents
To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package which includes:

The following documents are accepted, and may be required if applicable to your eligibility and/or qualifications for this position. Please use this checklist to make sure you have included other documents required for your application, such as a copy of your transcript (if using education to qualify), SF-50's (current/former Federal employees), documentation to support Veterans Preference claims, or ICTAP/CTAP documentation (for displaced Federal employees). You will not be contacted for additional information.
Cover Letter
DD-214/ Statement of Service
Disability Letter (Schedule A)
Disability Letter (VA)
Other (1)
Other (2)
Other (3)
PCS Orders
Professional Certification
Proof of Marriage Status
Separation Notice (RIF)
SF-50/ Notification of Personnel Action

SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action (if applicable for Time in Grade and/or Eligibility):
Most recent SF-50 if you are a current or former Federal employee
An SF-50 showing your time-in-grade eligibility must be submitted with your application materials. If the most recent SF-50 has an effective date within the past year, it may not clearly demonstrate you possess one-year time-in-grade, as required by the announcement. In this instance, you must provide an additional SF-50 that clearly demonstrates one-year time-in-grade
Award 50's do not provide sufficient information and will not be accepted for the purpose of verifying time-in-grade.

Examples of appropriate SF-50's include:
Within grade increases at the highest grade held; or
Promotions with an effective date more than one year old; or
SF-50's at the highest grade held with an effective date more than one year old.
Veterans' Preference: When applying for Federal Jobs, eligible Veterans should claim preference for 5pt (TP), 10pt (CP/CPS/XP), or for Sole Survivor Preference (SSP) in the questionnaire. You must provide a legible copy of your DD214(s) which shows dates and character of service (honorable, general, etc.). If you are currently serving on active duty and expect to be released or discharged within 120 days you must submit documentation related to your active duty service which reflects the dates of service, character of service (honorable, general, etc.), and dates of impending separation. Additionally, disabled veterans and others eligible for 10-point preference (such as widows or mothers of eligible Veterans) must also submit an SF-15 "Application for 10 Point Veteran Preference" with required proof as stated on the form. Documentation is required to award preference. For more information on Veterans' Preference, please visit
If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:
Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.


A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Learn more about federal benefits.

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Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.