Utah State University

Field Technician

City Grand County
Posted Date 3 months ago(3/3/2023 10:53 AM)
Requisition ID
# of Openings
Job Locations
Category (Portal Searching)
Research (non-Faculty)
Position Type
Non-benefited (hourly) Part-Time
Job Classification
Percent of Time or Hours per Week
+/- 30 hours per week
Quinney College of Natural Resourcs
Wildland Resources
Advertised Salary
$17.00 per hour
Telework Eligible


Hiring two field research technicians for mid-June to mid-September 2023 to assist with a research project investigating the ecological interactions between mountain goats and American pikas. Primary work will be with Dr. Johan du Toit’s lab at Utah State University, but this work is in collaboration with an ongoing pika monitoring project through Colorado Mesa University; thus, there may be an opportunity to assist with pika trapping and tagging efforts. When we are not working, there will be opportunities to explore Utah’s southeast desert, including Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, and surrounding areas. There are many climbing areas, hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as the Colorado River nearby.


Daily ≥3-mile hikes with ~2,000 ft elevation gain, collecting vegetation transect data, conducting behavioral observations on American pikas, using VHF telemetry to track collared mountain goats, collecting mountain goat group composition data, collecting fresh scat from both pikas and goats, and clipping vegetation in exclosure plots at the end of the season. Other duties include: careful recording and organization of data on datasheets and/or tablets, care and maintenance of field equipment/field housing, and sample collection (scat, soil, and plants).


Technicians will be trained in data collection for 4 weeks; after this time, technicians will be expected to work as a team without direct supervision when necessary. Our camp and field site are located in the La Sal Mountains, near the town of Moab, UT. Housing is provided in the form of a backcountry yurt situated at the trailhead. At any given time, 3-4 people in our crew will occupy the yurt.


Although breathtakingly scenic, accessing the field site is physically demanding. The most common hike into the field is about 6 miles round trip; however, some of our grazing exclosure sites require longer and more strenuous hikes, some of which require moving safely on ridgelines with moderate exposure or across steep talus slopes. The majority of our work hours will be concentrated early in the morning before sunrise and in the late afternoon. Most days will involve difficult hiking through rocky cliffs and steep talus slopes. Weather conditions throughout the summer can be variable, including afternoon thunderstorms.


Estimated start date of June 12, but this will ultimately depend on snow conditions on the road we use to access the trailhead, so flexibility with the start date is required. Due to record snowfall this winter (‘22-‘23), we might not be able to access the trailhead until July. 


Minimum Qualifications:

  1. Interest in wildlife ecology, conservation, or related field.
  2. Enthusiasm, patience, and focus for watching animals for extended periods at a time.
  3. Enthusiasm for and ability to hike long days at high elevations (9,000-12,000 ft) in steep, uneven terrain, both on and off trails.
  4. Familiarity with navigation by maps, compass, and GPS.
  5. Willingness to work long and irregular hours, sometimes in the summer heat and/or inclement weather.
  6. Ability to work safely, effectively, and constructively in a small team in remote settings, without reliable access to cell service, and sometimes without direct supervision.
  7. Organized, detail-oriented, strong work ethic, and evidence of independent problem-solving/troubleshooting ability.
  8. Ability to maintain a positive attitude and a growth mindset about project setbacks and/or physical exertion and discomfort.
  9. Rock climbing, mountaineering, multi-day hiking, and/or backcountry backpacking experience, preferably at high elevations.
  10. Experience in outdoor leadership and/or backcountry travel, including leave-no-trace camping ethics.
  11. Bear awareness and ability to keep a bear safe camp.

Preferred Qualifications:

  1. Completed or near completion of a Bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology or related field.
  2. Previous experience working as a research technician.
  3. Previous experience working with a small team without direct supervision.
  4. Experience using VHF telemetry to track collared animals.
  5. Experience collecting behavioral data.
  6. Experience identifying alpine plant species.
  7. Knowledge of and experience with wilderness first aid techniques.

Required Documents

Along with the online application, please attach:

  1. Resume to be uploaded at the beginning of your application in the Candidate Profile under “Resume/CV” 
  2. Contact information for three references
  3. Cover letter to be typed/pasted at the end of your application. Please detail your interest in and qualification for this position, as well as your wildlife and outdoor (climbing, hiking, backpacking, etc.) experience

**Document size may not exceed 10 MB.**

Advertised Salary

$17.00 per hour


This position requires considerable physical activity.  Employees must have sufficient strength to perform the duties and responsibilities of the position including heavy lifting (up to 80 lbs.) and/or pushing and pulling of heavy objects. Employees must be prepared to assume uncomfortable positions, such as crawling, kneeling, and squatting.  Employees work outside and will not be protected from weather conditions, including extreme cold and extreme heat for extended periods.  Employees will be exposed to challenging outdoor terrain.

College/Department Highlights

The S. J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources is nationally and internationally recognized for its research, extension, and teaching on natural and socio-environmental ecosystems. It is a high-impact college at Utah State University with almost $11M in research funding annually, 61 tenure-track faculty in three departments, and close partnerships with federal and state natural resource agencies.  

The Department of Wildland Resources in QCNR encompasses research in applied terrestrial ecology, including the ecology and management of wildlife, forests, rangelands, conservation biology, and climate change adaptation.  Award-winning faculty teach courses that prepare students for professional careers in many natural resources fields, including programs accredited by the Society of American Foresters and the Society for Range Management and aligned with the Society of Ecological Restoration. 

University Highlights

Utah State University (USU) was founded in 1888 and is Utah’s land-grant and space-grant university. USU is one of only 146 research institutions in the U.S. classified as R1 “very high research activity” by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. As one of the two premier research institutions in Utah, USU provides a high-quality education at an affordable price. With its main campus in Logan, the university serves approximately 27,500 students, including 24,255 undergraduates and 3,171 graduate students. USU Online has served students from all 50 states and 55 countries for 25 years.


USU’s statewide system features three residential campuses, 30 total campus locations, and 23 Extension education centers. The university employs 903 full-time faculty members, 124 executive administrators, and 1,649 full-time support staff. USU offers 115 undergraduate majors, as well as 91 master’s and 42 doctoral degrees. Learn more about USU.


A core characteristic of USU is engagement with communities and people in economic development, improvements to quality of life, and human capital. Through the practical application of knowledge, the University and its faculty engage and share expertise with the state, nation, and world, preserving the historical land-grant tradition of partnering with communities to address critical societal issues in the interest of the public good.


The USU main campus is located in beautiful Logan, Utah, a city of about 50,000 situated in a picturesque mountain valley about 80 miles north of Salt Lake City. Outstanding recreational opportunities abound in the nearby mountains and proximate region.


USU is sensitive to the needs of dual career couples and provides a Dual Career Assistance program to support careers for partners who are also seeking employment.


USU endeavors to provide reasonable accommodations to ensure equal access in all aspects of employment to qualified persons with disabilities. To request a reasonable accommodation for a disability, please contact the university’s ADA Coordinator in the Human Resource office at 435-797-0122 or submit a request at hr@usu.edu.


USU Land Acknowledgment

Please visit our website to learn about Utah State’s land acknowledgment of the eight tribes of Utah.


Notice of Non-discrimination

In its programs and activities, including in admissions and employment, Utah State University does not discriminate or tolerate discrimination, including harassment, based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, status as a protected veteran, or any other status protected by University policy, Title IX, or any other federal, state, or local law.

The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the application of Title IX and its implementing regulations and/or USU’s non-discrimination policies:


Executive Director of the Office of Equity Matthew Pinner, discrimination@usu.edu, Distance Education Rm. 401, 435-797-1266

Title IX Coordinator Matthew Pinner, titleix@usu.edu, Distance Education Rm. 404, 435-797-1266

Mailing address: 5100 Old Main Hill, Logan, Ut 84322

For further information regarding non-discrimination, please visit https://equity.usu.edu/, or contact:

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 800-421-3481, OCR@ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education, Denver Regional Office, 303-844-5695, OCR.Denver@ed.gov


*updated 11/2022


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