How they are further classified


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Series and Pay Grades

Series and grade refers to the Federal government's system for categorizing and defining jobs. If you have never worked in the Federal government, you do not have to enter a series or grade on your resume for previous, non-government jobs. Upon application, however, you may be prompted to pick the highest grade you desire or are eligible for.

Here are some guidelines and general information:

  • A step is a raise in salary. Most grades in the Federal government have 10 steps.
  • If you are just starting out, you can qualify for jobs at the GS-2 level with a high school diploma or as little as 3 months of general work experience. At GS-3 and GS-4 levels, you can qualify with more months of general experience. Starting at GS-5, jobs generally require 1 year of specialized experience without a degree to qualify.
  • When you have a degree but no specialized experience in a career field, you are eligible for appointment at the GS-5 pay scale. (If you maintained a B average, or met other academic credentials in college, you can start out at the GS-7 pay scale.)
  • To qualify for jobs at the GS-7 and higher grades, your background must have included experience closely related to the work to be performed in the job for which you are applying.
  • You can qualify for GS-9 positions on the basis of a master’s degree, and for GS-11 positions on the basis of a doctorate.

For more information on grades, steps, and Federal salaries, please go to the 2012 General Schedule (GS). The "Occupational Groups" contains a list that will help you identify the General Schedule series positions that are of the greatest interest to you. You may obtain additional information in the "GS Position Classification Standards" and the "Qualification Standards for General Schedule Positions."

This page was last modified on 20 March 2012, at 17:00.