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Excepted Service Appointing Authorities

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OPM provides excepted service hiring authorities to fill special jobs or to fill any job in unusual or special circumstances under "Schedules A, B, and C." These excepted service authorities enable agencies to hire when it is not feasible or not practical to use traditional competitive hiring procedures, and can streamline hiring. Agencies may use any excepted service authority under Schedule A or Schedule B when it applies to your situation. Only OPM can provide exceptions on a case-by-case basis under Schedule C for jobs having a confidential or policy-determining character.

Select a link below to learn more:

* Other excepted service appointments (e.g., Presidential Management Fellows) are covered elsewhere in this Resource Center. The above-listed appointments are covered in this topic area because they are not presented elsewhere.

Schedule A Appointing Authorities: These authorities describe special jobs and situations for which it is impractical to use standard qualification requirements and to rate applicants using traditional competitive procedures.

For example, you must use a Schedule A exception to hire attorneys because, by law, OPM cannot develop qualification standards or examinations for attorney jobs. You can use exceptions for other special jobs, including chaplain, law clerk trainee, medical doctor, dentist, certain interpreters, experts for consultation purposes, and some others.

Other Schedule A exceptions will enable you to fill any job under special circumstances. Examples include:

  • When you have a critical hiring need to fill a short-term job or to fill a continuing job pending completion of examining, clearances, or other procedures.
  • When you have a temporary or part-time job in a remote or isolated location.
  • When you must hire a noncitizen because no qualified citizen is available.
  • When you must quickly staff a temporary board or commission established by law or Executive order.

You can also use Schedule A authority to hire applicants with mental retardation or a severe physical or psychiatric disability to fill any job in which the person is able to perform with or without reasonable accommodation. Applicants with disabilities frequently apply for consideration under Schedule A. You can use a Schedule A authority to hire them on a "trial" basis. Then, after 2 years of successful performance, you may noncompetitively convert them to a permanent appointment in the competitive service or they may remain on the excepted service appointment.

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Schedule B Appointing Authorities: These authorities also apply to jobs and situations for which it is impractical to rate applicants using competitive procedures. However, under Schedule B authorities applicants must meet the qualification standards for the job.

For example, Schedule B includes hiring authorities for the Student Temporary Employment Program, the Student Career Experience Program, and the Federal Career Intern Program. Only students qualify for student programs; it is not practical to use competitive procedures for them.

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Schedule C Appointing Authorities: OPM may grant hiring authority under Schedule C on a case-by-case basis in situations for which political appointments are appropriate. Schedule C appointees keep a confidential or policy-determining relationship to their supervisor and agency head. Generally, the authority to fill a Schedule C job is revoked when the incumbent leaves and agencies need specific approval from OPM to establish or reestablish the position.

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30-Day Critical Needs Appointments

  • What it provides: A 30-day critical need appointment under Schedule A may be made under 5 CFR 213.3102(i)(2), and may be extended for an additional 30 days. However, an individual may not be employed under this authority for more than 60 days in a 12-month period.
  • When to use it: To meet a short-term critical need requirement for individuals with specialized skills or on an interim basis to get an individual on board quickly to meet an emergency need pending completion of a competitive process, issuance of a clearance, or other procedure required for a longer appointment. You may not use it to extend another temporary appointment.
  • Who is eligible: An agency may determine what qualifications are required. An agency does not have to consider Career Transition Programs (CTP) or Reemployment Priority Lists (RPL). Keep in mind that OPM qualification standards and other requirements, such as adhering to the CTP and RPL, apply to competitive service appointments.
  • Benefits to the hiring manager: This authority allows a manager to meet an emergency requirement to fulfill the mission of an agency.

Appointments of Individuals With Mental Retardation or Psychiatric or Severe Physical Disabilities

  • What it provides: Under Schedule A, these flexibilities provide a way to hire persons who have a permanent, severe physical, psychiatric, or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Disabilities may include mental retardation, psychiatric disorders, muscular or neurological disorders, and less obvious disabilities such as lupus, AIDS, diabetes, or heart disease.
  • When to use it: To fill important positions in the agency that are a match for an individual with a disability. Remember that reasonable accommodations may be made. Individuals may be appointed under these authorities without public notice.
  • Who is eligible: Select this link to learn more about requirements for people with mental retardation or severe physical or psychiatric disabilities.
  • Benefits to the hiring manager:
    • Provides the manager with a skilled, motivated employee who can be converted, without competition, to a permanent position in the competitive civil service after completing 2 years on the job and demonstrating satisfactory performance (with or without accommodation).
    • Ensures that the opportunities for Government service are open to everyone.

Disabled veterans may also be considered under special hiring programs for disabled veterans with disability ratings from the Department of Veterans Affairs of 30 percent or more. For additional information, access the Appointing Veterans topic.

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