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Federal Job Salaries

Class Location: The Internet.

Description: This course is designed to

Objective: Become familiar with

One of the benefits of working for the federal government is that you're guaranteed a minimum salary based on your particular skills, qualifications, and job position. The federal government has very specific guidelines, regulations, and classifications for all federal jobs, taking much of the subjectivity often found in the private sector out of salary determinations. The federal government uses a General Schedule (GS) salary range. Employees need specific outlined qualifications of education and experience for each of the GS categories. Each category then corresponds to a specific dollar-amount range within which that employee's salary must fall.

The federal government classifies employees into five basic job types. Professional occupations require specialized education and training, equivalent to a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Administrative occupations require general college-level education or increasingly responsible experience. Technical occupations include non-routine professional positions, such as computer or electronics technicians. Clerical occupations include personnel in support of office or business operations, such as a typist or mail clerk. The final category, other occupations, includes many blue-collar and trade jobs.

While these are the major classifications, many federal occupations include additional subdivisions. These are listed in the Handbook X-118, one of the government's personnel reference books. The OPM uses a classification of 21 occupational groups and families for all GS positions, and then further subdivides each classification.

All federal government employees are paid according to their GS grade, regardless of their job classification. Following is the General Schedule Salary Range as of January 2008:

GS-1 $17,046 $21,324
GS-2 $19,165 $24,115
GS-3 $20,911 $27,184
GS-4 $23,475 $30,522
GS-5 $26,264 $34,139
GS-6 $29,276 $38,060
GS-7 $32,534 $42,290
GS-8 $36,030 $46,839
GS-9 $39,795 $51,738
GS-10 $43,824 $56,973
GS-11 $48,148 $62,593
GS-12 $57,709 $75,025
GS-13 $68,625 $89,217
GS-14 $81,093 $105,420
GS-15 $95,390 $124,010

In addition, certain administrative and managerial positions have minimum requirements for education and experience based on the GS grade. The criteria involve either the education or experience minimums in combination or equivalency:

  • GS-5: a four-year course of study above high school leading to a bachelor's degree; three years of general experience, with one year equivalent to GS-4

  • GS-7: one full academic year of graduate-level education or superior academic achievement (college graduates in the upper third of their graduating class, with a minimum 3.0 GPA, or a member of a national scholastic honor society); one year of specialized experience at least equivalent to GS-5

  • GS-9: two full academic years of graduate-level education or a master's degree; one year of specialized experience at least equivalent to GS-7

  • GS-11: three full academic years of graduate-level education or a Ph.D.; one year of specialized experience at least equivalent to GS-9

  • GS-12: one year of specialized experience at least equivalent to next lower grade level; no education requirements, as experience is considered the primary factor

Specialized experience is defined as experience in or directly related to the duties of the position. Certain areas also require added criteria. Furthermore, some classifications include additional subdivisions. More information is available from the FJIC.

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