Competitive and Excepted Services: The 2 Classes of Jobs in the Federal Government

April 10, 2007 – 9:02 am

Getting hired by the Federal government is a process that has changed in the past few years.  In the old days the Office of Personnel Management maintained files of all eligible candidates and copies of their Standard Ford 171 job application.  These days many agencies allow direct contact and do their own hiring and the SF 171 is no longer used.  There are now two classes of Federal government jobs.  Competitive Service and Excepted Service jobs.

Competitive Service

These jobs are under the jurisdiction of the OPM.  Subject to the civil service laws created by Congress, these laws ensure that applicants and employees receive “fair and equal treatment I the hiring process.”  Selecting officials have broad authority to review numerous candidates before making the decision.

Excepted Service

These are agency jobs which in certain situations, have the freedom to set their own requirements.  They are subject to rules on areas of appointment, pay and classification  rules as set down in Title 5 of the United States Code.  They are also subject to veterans’ preference.  Some Federal agencies have only exempted service positions, such as the FBI and the CIA.  Other agencies have a combination of Competitive Service and Excepted Service positions.

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