Federal Qualification Details

The federal government, just like any employer, needs to know that all the people they are going to employ are well equipped to perform the task at hand. Therefore, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) annually drafts a document containing the minimum requirements and level of education necessary for each governmental job.

These documents cover the following:

  • Grading Criteria for Government Jobs: GS-3 and GS-4 are internship jobs; GS13- GS-15 are top-level supervisory jobs; GS-5 to GS-7 are entry-level position jobs, etc.
  • Classification of Federal Positions: This section contains official job titles, pay grade systems, a detailed job description, and the grade.
  • Occupational Information: Includes specific educational requirements, expected salary, level of prior experience needed, additional training, employment outlook, and other related occupations you can look into.
  • General Information of the Classification of Federal Positions: This section contains a light summary of the requirements of everyone who works for the federal government. For example, you cannot have pending court cases. It also explains how the OPM goes about classifying the positions.
  • FAQs: You will find answers for most, if not all, questions you might have.

Example of Federal Qualification

Federal qualifications differ for every job. For someone applying for a supervisory position, they need to meet the following requirements.

  • Master's degree or a doctoral degree plus an advanced course in the a relative field (the degree should be from a known university).
  • 3-4 years work experience in a similar position. Otherwise, you should have worked your way up from a lower position in the federal government.
  • You should be accountable, honest, decisive, a good communicator, resilient, and a problem solver.
  • Must be a legal US citizen with no pending court cases.
  • You should possess the technical skills for the position. For instance, if you are applying to be a mechanical supervisor, you need to be a certified mechanic.
  • Should be open to taking a short course in conflict management and mediation.
  • Must prove that you have a solid work history and can hold a position for prolonged periods.
  • Open to random drug tests, aside from the one you will take before an employer considers your application.

A prospective employee should crosscheck their qualifications to adequately prepare for an interview. If the applicant doesn't have a degree, they may be able to substitute educational requirements with prior experience. The applicant can argue that they have five years' experience, equivalent to a degree.

Types of a Federal Qualification

There are two types of federal qualification standards: competitive and excepted. Congress came up with civil laws to govern competitive qualifications. The said laws are meant to ensure that there is a free and open competition, diversity, and non-biased selection based on the applicants' skills. The statute, president, or the OPM are responsible for coming up with excepted qualifications. The positions in this category do not follow the job classification rules and pay system of the competitive positions.

Federal Eligibility vs. Federal Qualification

Federal eligibility means you belong to a particular group from which the government wants to hire. An employer could automatically disqualify you for the position if you are not eligible, despite your qualifications.

Contrary to popular opinion, eligibility has nothing to do with your educational background or work experience. The government established federal eligibility to ensure that the employee catalog is diverse and everyone has a fair shot at working for the government.

On the other hand, federal qualification entails your skills, work experience, education background, and any other qualification listed in the job requirements. The only way personnel management will look at your qualifications is if you meet the eligibility requirements. After which they will rank you according to how much your qualifications match the requirements