Assistant Air Quality Chemist/Air Quality Chemist

  • South Coast Air Quality Management District
  • Aug 09, 2019
Full time Air Quality

Job Description

CLOSING DATE: 08/27/19 05:01 PM


South Coast Air Quality Management District is one of the largest and most technologically sophisticated environmental regulatory agencies in the nation. We serve a four-county region that includes all of Orange County and parts of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties, home to almost 17 million people. South Coast AQMD's headquarters is located in Diamond Bar, 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, at the junction of the 57 and 60 freeways.  With a highly diverse and dedicated "Clean Air Team" of over 900 budgeted positions, an annual budget (FY 2019-20) of $170.9  million, South Coast AQMD's mission is to protect public health from air pollution through a comprehensive program of planning, regulation, education, enforcement, compliance incentives, technical innovation, and promotion of public understanding of air quality issues.
South Coast AQMD's state-of-the-art laboratory employs over 45 staff in a 20,000 square foot facility dedicated to air quality sample analysis.  It provides a broad array of services, generating data that is used for strategic planning, investigating residents' complaints, protecting public health through analysis of hazardous air pollutants, evaluating new products and processes, and determining compliance with regulations.  We also provide data to the California Air Resources Board, US EPA, law enforcement agencies and universities.  Results generated by the laboratory have been the catalyst for agency-wide policy decisions, special studies and development of new technologies.  We analyze over 20,000 samples every year using gas, ion, and liquid chromatographs, GC/MS, X-ray analyzers, FTIR, wet chemistry, microscopes, and ICP/MS to generate detailed information on the types and amount of contaminants in ambient air.  Most instruments have a PC for data acquisition, and many are automated and computer-controlled.  Because of this broad diversity of instrumentation, our laboratory enjoys national recognition as a front-runner in the field of air quality analytical chemistry.  Our staff has a strong team spirit, is highly trained, motivated and dedicated to finding new and innovative techniques to improve results, while maintaining high quality standards.
We are currently recruiting to fill multiple vacancies.  From this recruitment process, we expect to establish an eligibility list from which current and future vacancies at this level may be filled, during the life of the list.

Under general supervision, an Air Quality Chemist conducts qualitative and quantitative chemical and physical analyses, using a variety of techniques, procedures and instrumentation, to evaluate air quality and determine the kind and concentration of contaminants present; develops, recommends and implements new analytical methods; and performs other related work as required.  This position will assist several different groups in the laboratory including the recruitment for a new group that will develop and implement mobile based proton transfer mass spectrometry measurements.
Assistant Air Quality Chemists and Air Quality Chemists are alternatively staffed classes, as the duties performed by the two are similar and vary primarily in the degree of difficulty and complexity of work, the breadth and depth of knowledge required, and the independence of action with which the work is performed.  Positions are allocated at the Air Quality Chemist level and new staff may be hired at either level, depending on their qualifications and the needs of South Coast AQMD.  Individuals hired at the level of Assistant Air Quality Chemist are eligible for consideration for promotion to the next level upon successful performance of assigned duties for the required minimum period of time.
Monthly Salary Range: $5,302-$6,933
This is the entry-level class in the professional Air Quality Chemist class series.  Incumbents assigned to this class build upon their education, learning the micro-analytical, instrumental, physical and wet-chemical techniques utilized in conducting qualitative and quantitative chemical and physical analyses of air quality samples.
Monthly Salary Range: $6,369-$8,328
This is the experienced, journey-level class in the professional Air Quality Chemist series and is responsible for performing more complex work, including peer review of work, with greater independence of action and less supervision.


Conducts qualitative and quantitative chemical and physical analyses of solid, liquid, and gaseous samples taken in connection with air quality monitoring, industrial source testing, compliance, and other air pollution control programs; and determines, within laboratory guidelines and under senior and principal direction, which methods to use to separate, identify and determine the concentration of contaminants.
Uses a variety of chemical laboratory techniques, such as gas, ion, and liquid chromatography, spectrophotometry, spectroscopy, total combustion analysis, microscopy, wet chemistry, and other analytical methods, to analyze samples; may serve as a functional expert on specific analytical procedures or data-collection methods; and trains or assists in training other laboratory staff on specific procedures and methods.Develops and implements new analytical methods, as directed, to meet changing laboratory and South Coast AQMD needs and performs special projects.
Assures proper chain-of-custody with respect to samples and applies quality assurance/quality control procedures to evaluate laboratory results, including maintaining data, performing peer review of other chemists' work to verify accuracy and appropriateness of data and calculations, flagging errors and problems, recommending modifications, and taking corrective action.
Applies professional training and experience; keeps abreast of updated and new laboratory methods, instrumentation, procedures, protocols, equipment, and data analysis techniques through review of professional literature and other technical resources; and attends assigned training and conferences.
Maintains detailed and accurate records related to laboratory work; prepares professional laboratory reports that describe methods and procedures used in analyses and summarizes test results and conclusions; and prepares databases and customizes software, as needed.
Prepares, for senior or principal chemist review, research reports and papers for publication and may present papers at technical meetings and conferences.
Prepares orders for consumables and other supplies, and may prepare or assist in developing instrument or equipment bid specifications.
Confers and works collaboratively with other laboratory personnel, South Coast AQMD staff, and contacts outside South Coast AQMD, and participates on various committees and in working groups.
Testifies in court and before South Coast AQMD's Hearing Board regarding test methods and results.


EDUCATION:  Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Chemistry, preferably with an emphasis in qualitative and quantitative analysis.
ASSISTANT AIR QUALITY CHEMIST:  No experience is required.
AIR QUALITY CHEMIST:  Three years as an Assistant Air Quality Chemist or equivalent.
SUBSTITUTION:  A Master of Science (MS) degree in Chemistry may substitute for up to one year of the required experience; a doctorate in chemistry may substitute for up to two years of experience.
KNOWLEDGE OF:  Current methods, procedures, protocols, and instrumentation relating to organic, inorganic, and physical qualitative and quantitative analysis; quality assurance and quality control principles; operational principles of chemical laboratory instrumentation and techniques; principles of electronic circuitry and components; relevant professional research literature and resources; professional report writing; principles and methods of statistical analysis; database design, information management, and computer programming, as they relate to laboratory analysis of air contaminants; safety procedures and practices relating to laboratory work; and PC software applications common to the field and the general business environment of South Coast AQMD.
SKILL OR ABILITY TO: Develop, modify, and employ a variety of analytical methods, techniques and instrumentation in analyzing laboratory samples; maintain, calibrate, modify and repair electronic instrumentation; maintain accurate and complete records and data, input and review quality assurance and quality control data, and prepare written reports on test methods and results; survey literature and other resources for new analytical methods and instrumentation that might be used or adapted for specialized needs; design databases and data analysis procedures; proficiently use PC software applications common to chemical analysis and the general business environment of South Coast AQMD; read, understand, and follow verbal and written instructions; perform chemical laboratory analyses and operate related equipment safely; communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing; establish and maintain effective relationships with all those contacted in the course of work.
LICENSE:  Possession of a valid California Class "C" Driver's License and a good driving record may be required.
The most competitively qualified candidates will have an advanced degree in Chemistry and related experience performing both routine and innovative laboratory analyses including atmospheric measurements conducted on mobile platforms or for field studies.

Job Level

Entry-level,   Mid-level  


Government- Local/Regional

Listing Logo