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Starting Your Career at the U.S. Department of Labor

A Reference Guide for College Students and College Placement Officers

V. Qualification Requirements for Jobs

Most professional and administrative work in the Federal government is paid under the General Schedule (GS) pay system. The GS system is divided into 15 grades, each of which has 10 salary steps. The entry level of professional and administrative positions is normally at GS-5 and GS-7 and, in some instances, at the GS-9 level based on the occupation. Information on salaries can be obtained from a DOL Human Resources Office; however, the salary range for any particular vacancy will be cited on the vacancy announcement.

Typically, the grade level at which you are selected is commensurate to your work experience, academic background, or both. Having a bachelor's degree will normally qualify you for GS-5, and, depending on your academic achievement, GS-7. Generally, for jobs at GS-7 and higher, your background must demonstrate some experience closely related to the work to be performed. This is commonly referred to as "specialized" experience and vacancy announcements describe the specific requirements for different grade levels. If you have a Master's degree, you may qualify for some jobs at GS-9, and a doctorate could qualify you for GS-11. At these levels, the advanced degree must be directly related to the work of the job to be filled.

Whatever your background is, you are probably qualified for a variety of jobs in DOL, particularly those at the entry level of various career fields!

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