Lab Assistant/Engineering Assistant

Job ID
Location : Location
US-MA-Woods Hole

Job Summary

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is currently searching for a Laboratory Assistant II or Engineering Assistant I to join the Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering Department. This is a temporary, full-time, non-exempt position, and is eligible for limited benefits.   The initial duration of the appointment will be for 9 months and then will be evaluated for continuation beyond the initial temporary period based on funding availability and performance.


The successful candidate will provide technical assistance with the assembly and testing of oceanographic systems and related support equipment. With supervision, helps an engineering team in all phases of project development related to oceanographic instrumentation and underwater vehicles.  Duties may include mechanical assembly, basic electrical assembly, organizing parts and supplies, packing and shipping, moving test equipment, helping with testing on the dock or on small boats in local waters.


Candidates should have an aptitude and interest in basic mechanical and electrical assembly from previous employment, vocational school, high-school projects or hobbies (automobile work, boat building or repair, audio-visual equipment, gaming computers, maker-space 3D printing, etc.). Manual dexterity and familiarity with hand tools, including soldering, is highly desirable.


The internal working title for this position could be either Laboratory Assistant II or Engineering Assistant I. The final level of the position will be determined commensurate with the selected candidate's level of education and experience.

Essential Functions

Lab Assistant II:

  • Assists engineers and other technicians in basic assembly, cleaning and organization tasks;
  • With close supervision, provides general help in a laboratory environment.
  • Performs support during equipment checkout and testing.

Engineering Assistant I:

  • Assists in assembly, maintenance, and repair of equipment with specific instructions and review of work upon completion;
  • With close supervision, uses established procedures to perform prescribed tasks related to the engineering support of oceanographic research.

  • Assists in functional testing of instrumentation following well-defined procedures for set-up and operation of standard test equipment.


  • As deemed necessary by supervisor

Education & Experience

  • High School or equivalent plus one-year mechanical or electronics experience, or Technical School training beyond high school level.
  • Applicants are expected to have a basic understanding of and facility with common practical skills related to their area of work.



Special Requirements

  • TWIC
  • Must be a US Citizen
  • WHOI is a federal contractor required to comply with Executive Order 14042. As such, WHOI has enacted a Mandated COVID19 vaccination policy effective December 8, 2021 where you must register your vaccination status in order to begin your employment. The registration process entails confidentially submitting a vaccination card and/or your vaccination status or requesting to engage in the interactive exemption process for either a medical or religious reason.  

Physical Requirements

Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to, ability to lift less than 25 lbs independently, 2 times per day; carry 10-25 lbs, 2 times per day. Visual abilities to include near, far, peripheral, depth perception, and ability to distinguish basic colors. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions, communicate effectively in loud areas (pier/dock, warehouse). Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; use of hands for basic /fine grasping and manipulation, repetitive motion, reaching above and below the shoulders, pushing, pulling, kneeling, bending, twisting, and stooping. Other occupational requirements include talking, traveling, working around others, and with others. Will be exposed to dust or other irritants and electrical/mechanical/power equipment hazards. Physical duties are subject to change.


Sea Duty

May work at least 8 hours per day and, at times in excess of 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. Sleep and work hours can deviate from those on land. May be expected to work on watch schedule (such as 8 hours on and 8 hours off or 12 hours on and 8 hours off) for all or part of a cruise or to work as hours are needed to accomplish the planned work. May need to travel during holidays and for long distances to and from foreign ports. May experience rudimentary living and working conditions, with shared and basic living quarters and laboratories. May experience bad or extreme weather conditions, including heavy seas, winter weather or hot, tropical weather. Work on deck may occur in both hot and cold conditions around the clock. Sea conditions will lead to active ship motion. Should be able to climb steep and vertical ladders and able to enter and exit compartments through hatches, doors, and sills. Should be able to carry heavy gear and participate in the loading and unloading of the ship as well as in the activities on deck and in the labs during the cruise. Shipboard environment may include: confined areas, shared sleeping quarters (berths) and bathroom facilities, small and basic berthing, fixed meal times and basic menus. Modest levels of heating, cooling, ventilation, and illumination, limited or no email and internet access and limited off-duty and recreational facilities (library, lounge, movies). May be exposed to potential allergens and irritants, including paint fumes. May experience constant and intermittent loud noises, and slippery and uneven surfaces.






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