Finally, the Federal Government Pay scale Made Clear

The federal government pay scale is laid out in the GS (General Schedule).

The GS was designed to keep Federal government salaries on a par for all federal jobs throughout the various Federal agencies.

The GS is divided into 15 grades and each grade has 10 levels. There used to be 3 GS "supergrades" GS-16, GS-17 and GS-18. These were replaced by the (SES) Senior Executive Service.

The following is a BASE Pay Scale For Positions (2006)

Note: U.S. locations also receive additional pay adjustment above the base pay ranging from 12.64% to 30.34%.

Grade

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Step 7

Step 8

Step 9

Step 10

1

16630

17185

17739

18289

18842

19167

19713

20264

20286

20798

2

18698

19142

19761

20286

20512

21115

21718

22321

22924

23527

3

20401

21081

21761

22441

23121

23801

24481

25161

25841

26521

4

22902

23665

24428

25191

25954

26717

27480

28243

29006

29769

5

25623

26477

27331

28185

29039

29893

30747

31601

32455

33309

6

28562

29514

30466

31418

32370

33322

34274

35226

36178

37130

7

31740

32798

33856

34914

35972

37030

38088

39146

40204

41262

8

35151

36323

37495

38667

39839

41011

42183

43355

44527

45699

9

38824

40118

41412

42706

44000

45294

46588

47882

49176

50470

10

42755

44180

45605

47030

48455

49880

51305

52730

54155

55580

11

46974

48540

50106

51672

53238

54804

56370

57936

59502

61068

12

56301

58178

60055

61932

63809

65686

67563

69440

71317

73194

13

66951

69183

71415

73647

75879

78111

80343

82575

84807

87039

14

79115

81752

84389

87026

89663

92300

94937

97574

100211

102848

15

93063

96165

99267

102369

105471

108573

111675

114777

117879

120981

The qualifications needed for each job are described in detail in the vacancy announcements that advertise job openings. Each job also has a code that corresponds to its minimum requirements. Understanding these codes will speed your search. Most federal positions require resumes in order to apply. They may require the OF 612, Resumix or the SES depending on the position and the job announcement.

Gaining work experience will often qualify you for higher GS levels. A rule of thumb is, 1 year of experience related to the job could raise your grade by one GS level in most clerical and technician positions.

In administrative, professional, and scientific positions, GS level increases in increments of two until you reach a GS-12. After that, GS level increases one level at a time.

GS levels by education

  • GS-1: No high school diploma
  • GS-2 (GS-3 for clerk-steno positions): High school diploma
  • GS-3: 1 year of full-time study after high school
  • GS-4: Associate degree or 2 years of full-time study after high school
  • GS-5 or GS-7: depending on agency policy and applicant's academic credentials Bachelor's degree or
4 years of full-time study after high school
  • GS-7: Bachelor's degree plus 1 year of full-time graduate study
  • GS-9(GS-11 for some research positions): Master's degree or 2 years of full-time graduate study
  • GS-9: Law degree (J.D. or LL.B.)
  • GS-11(GS-12 for some research positions): PhD. or equivalent doctorate or advanced law deg
When applying for a federal position, you must be totally aware of what GS level is being asked for, Know exactly what you qualify for and make sure that your resume is written in the exact format required by the agency you are applying for.

Need help writing your Federal resume?

Let a Professional Federal Resume Writer prepare your Resume and you are Guaranteed to Get More Interviews & Job Offers

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