Skip Navigation
U.S. Department of Energy
Sign In to access application status,
saved documents and Job Search Agents
Job Details
Accelerator Operator
Job ID #: 12389 Location: Newport News, VA
Functional Area: Technology Division: Accelerator Ops, R & D
Position Type: Regular Education Required: Some College
Experience Required: None Relocation Provided: No

As a matter of corporate policy, all JSA employees are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  All successful hires will be required to provide COVID-19 vaccination verification as a condition of employment, subject to limited legally recognized exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccination.

SALARY RANGE:  $51,400 - $70,000 (AO) 
Under the supervision of an Operations Crew Chief and senior Accelerator Operators, incumbent will be responsible for the safe operation of the Jefferson Lab accelerators and their systems, for delivering a high quality, high energy electron beam for the Department of Energy Nuclear Physics program. Accelerator systems consist of several miles of ultra-high vacuum beam line, vacuum pumps, bending magnets, focusing and steering magnets, high energy power supplies, superconducting radio frequency cavities, lasers, low conductivity cooling water systems, 2°K refrigeration systems, invasive and non-invasive beam diagnostic and monitoring systems and a large distributed computer control system.

Accelerator Operators develop knowledge on the operations of a wide spectrum of accelerator systems. This knowledge is obtained from a combination of online training, on the job training and operational experience. An operator must have a strong self-motivated desire to learn. They must be willing to ask questions when needed but also able to dig in and figure things out for themselves if necessary. Upon hiring the incumbent will have 6 months to complete Accelerator Operator qualifications. This is a self-paced program based mainly online and includes demonstrated performance of various routine operator tasks. Most complete this training in a little over 4 months however your learning will not stop there as this is just the minimum to be safe and able to effectively contribute in the Control Room, it can take 2+ years to fully understand it all and even then there is always something new to learn.

Accelerator operations normally consists of monitoring and controlling systems via computer generated graphical interfaces. Operators use these controls to perform set up, testing, tuning and troubleshooting of the electron beam. Along with operating the accelerator and its systems, operators are also tasked to maintain accurate records of system performance and control room activities. Accelerator Operators must be able to perform well as a team with the other members on their shift. They must be able to share the duties of simultaneous operation of multiple experiments as well as effectively communicating information back and forth among those on their shift. They will be required to interact with technicians, engineers and scientists on a technical level to adequately explain system status or problems, receive, understand and carry out actions. Accelerator Operators must be able to think logically to solve problems, to look at symptoms, determine possible causes, develop a plan and carry out actions to work toward correcting the problem.

The accelerator operates 24/7 for periods of several weeks or months followed by periods of accelerator down time for maintenance and reconfiguration. During the accelerator operational periods operators work a shift schedule that includes alternate weekends with corresponding days off during the week. Over a 14 day/two week period, an operator will work seven days on-shift, the next seven days will contain three off-shift work days and four off days. 24/7 operations means ~75% of the time operators are the only ones on site to respond to any problems or emergencies that occur. They often use their knowledge to correct problems without additional assistance but if assistance is required, they can work with the system expert remotely or locally to correct the problem. They are trained in electrical safety allowing them to assist electrical groups with repairs after hours. They provide the initial response to emergencies such as smoke and fire alarms making the call as to if a real or false alarm, they investigate oxygen deficiency alarms as well as provide the local response to 911 calls supplying initial first aid and CPR if necessary. Accelerator Operators are encouraged to work with their supervisor to find other productive tasks beyond operating the accelerator that are inline with their interests, skills, experience and training. It is during their off shift work days or accelerator non-operational periods where operators can work with various accelerator support groups on activities that can include installing, maintaining, upgrading, troubleshooting and repairing accelerator mechanical, electrical and electronic systems. If they have the knowledge and skills they can also work with a software group to develop software for display and control screens, develop control system drivers, scripts and control algorithms.

Other tasks available include researching, writing and maintaining operation procedures and training material, assisting with the scheduling, coordinating and tracking maintenance between groups, statistically analyzing RF cavity parameters and making changes to cavity operations to improve performance.

- Associate's degree or above in Physics or other technical or scientific discipline or have an equivalent combination of related education, experience, and specific training.
- Good communication skills are essential, along with teamwork skills and the ability to work well with others in a demanding technical environment.
- Self-motivated with a high desire to learn anything and everything possible.

- Operational experience in a similarly complex facility (e.g. nuclear power operations, centrally controlled industrial processing plant) is a plus.
- A working knowledge of large distributed computer control systems, accelerator operations, or one or more of the accelerator systems is a plus.

The following are some of the additional knowledge, skills and experience that would be considered a plus:
- Software: Intermediate level experience in one or more of the following: C, C++, Java, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Python, Tcl, Tk, EPICS, SQL, MySQL, HTML, CSS, version control such as GIT.
- Linux at the command line. Ex. understand the use of common linux commands such as cp, ls, cdmv, rm, mkdir, chmod, ps, ssh, less, alias, awk, |, <, >, write/edit shell scripts and config files, use grep and regular expressions.
- Mechanical/Electrical Technician skills: Read schematics and wiring diagrams. Use common hand and machine tools. Use of test equipment such as multimeters, oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, time-domain reflectometers. Familiar with the use of a Lock Out - Tag Out system. Experience troubleshooting and repairing electrical, electronic and/or electro-mechanical systems.
- Maintenance Management: Coordinate between multiple work groups under varying operating conditions. Track and investigate down time and repair activities, develop lessons learned, suggest and follow through on changes. Plan and schedule upcoming maintenance both short term and long term.
- Mathematics: BS in Applied Mathematics, BS in Statistics, BS in Mathematics with emphasis in Statistics.

• Ability to comprehend and follow instructions
• Ability to understand, remember, and communicate highly technical information and make decisions
• Ability to organize, prioritize and complete complex and varied tasks

• Ability to traverse across various locations on the laboratory site and access work areas
• Ability to stoop, kneel, bend over and climb ladders and work at heights
• Ability to work in confined spaces
• Ability to stand and work for extended periods
• Ability to carry up to 40 lbs and lift 15 lbs above head frequently
• Ability to perceive temperatures and work in both hot and cold conditions.
• Ability to identify and distinguish colors
• Manual capability to pick, pinch, or otherwise work with fingers; seize, grasp, hold, turn, use hand tools and other equipment
• Visual capabilities sufficient to use computer workstations, read drawings and other documents and see safety alarms
• Auditory capabilities to hear safety alarms

Jefferson Science Associates, LLC (JSA) manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab). JSA is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, or veteran status or on any other basis prohibited by federal, state, or local law. As part of the JSA’s equal employment opportunity policy, we also take affirmative action as called for by applicable laws and Executive Orders to ensure that minority group individuals, females, disabled veterans, recently separated veterans, other protected veterans, Armed Forces, and qualified disabled persons are introduced into our workforce and considered for promotional opportunities.

JSA is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities (unless doing so will result in an undue hardship). If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the employment process, please send an e-mail to or call (757) 269-7598 to provide the nature of your request. Reasonable accommodations are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Employment with JSA is conditional upon DOE approval if at any time during your employment you are participating in a Foreign Government Talent Recruitment Program or Affiliated activity. Generally, such programs/activities include any foreign-state-sponsored attempt to acquire U.S.-funded scientific research through programs run or funded by the government that target scientists, engineers, students, academics, researchers, and entrepreneurs of all nationalities working or educated in the United States. This includes positions or appointments, both domestic and foreign, titled academic, professional, or institutional appointments whether or not remuneration is received and whether full-time, part-time or voluntary.

Move Up   Back to top