Check out our powerful new 2018 GS Pay Calculator. How is the GS pay raise determined?

Federal General Schedule (GS) Education Requirements

Created: February 29, 2016 Last Modified: December 18, 2017

General Schedule Grade is based on education, training, general work experience and specialized work experience. These educational requirements are laid out by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). There are 5 main career groups with different educational requirements:

  • Professional and Scientific Positions;
  • Administrative and Management Positions;
  • Technical and Medical Support Positions;
  • Clerical and Administrative Support Positions; and
  • Competitive Service Student Trainee Positions.

Each of these career groups have slightly different requirements. The table below shows the educational requirements for two of the most common career groups:

  • Professional and Scientific Positions; and
  • Clerical and Administrative Support Positions.

Important Notes

The Office of Personnel Management creates these standards, but intentionally leaves room for interpretation by individual agencies. Hiring agencies may make their own determination about what qualifies as "specialized" experience for a particular job.

These requirements are used to determine starting grade. Once you start a new job, you are immediately earning specialized work experience, which will continue increasing your grade. Equivalent combinations of education and experience are accepted for all grade levels and positions where both education and experience are acceptable.

Note: Some jobs also have other requirements such as typing speed, health, or age. These requirements are rare and only apply to certain jobs that require physical fitness.

Professional and Scientific Position Requirements

The table below shows the required work experience for Professional and Scientific Positions. Grades for these position range from GS-7 to GS-13+, based on qualifications. Jobs that fall into this category include: Engineering, Computer Science, Biology, Chemistry, and other technical positions.

Note: To qualify for a particular grade, you must meet the education requirements or the experience requirements — not both.

Grade Specialized Experience Education
GS-7 1 Year graduate-level education or superior academic achievement in under-graduate education 1 Year experience equivalent to GS-5
GS-9 2 years of graduate-level education leading to a master's degree or master's degree or equivalent graduate degree 1 Year experience equivalent to GS-7
GS-11 3 years of graduate-level education leading to a Ph.D. degree or Ph.D. degree or equivalent doctoral degree 1 Year experience equivalent to GS-9
GS-12 and Above 1 Year equivalent to next lower grade

Clerical and Administrative Support Position Requirements

The table below shows the required work experience for Clerical and Administrative Support Positions. Grades for these position range from GS-1 to GS-6+, based on qualifications. Jobs that fall into this category include: Clerical positions, Stenographers, and Administrative Support.

Grade General Experience Specialized Experience Education
GS-1
GS-2 3 months High School Diploma or Equivalent
GS-3 (Clerk-Stenographer only) 6 months High School Diploma or Equivalent
GS-3 (All Other Positions) 6 months 1 Year Above High School
GS-4 1 Year 2 Years Above High School
GS-5 (Clerk-Stenographer only) 2 Years 4 Years Above High School (except for Reporting Stenographer)
GS-5 (All Other Positions) 1 Year Equivalent to GS-4
GS-6 and Above 1 Year equivalent to next lower grade

** This Document Provided By GeneralSchedule.org **
Source: http://www.generalschedule.org/articles/general-schedule-education-requirements