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Education and Experience Requirements

The following table shows the amounts of education and/or experience required to qualify for positions covered by this standard. Click here for information on how experience and education may be combined.


Education or Experience





4-year course of study leading to a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university

3 years, 1 year of which was equivalent to at least GS-4



1 full year of graduate level education in an accredited college or university or superior academic achievement


1 year equivalent to at least GS-5


master's or equivalent graduate degree or 2 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree or LL.B. or J.D., if related


1 year equivalent to at least GS-7


Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree Or 3 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree Or LL.M., if related


1 year equivalent to at least GS-9

GS-12 and above



1 year equivalent to at least next lower grade level

Equivalent combinations of education and experience are qualifying for all grade levels for which both education and experience are acceptable.


Undergraduate Education: One year of full-time undergraduate study is defined as 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours.

Graduate Education: Education at the graduate level in an accredited college or university in the amounts shown in the table meets the requirements for positions at GS-7 through GS-11. Such education must demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work.

One year of full-time graduate education is considered to be the number of credit hours that the school attended has determined to represent 1 year of full-time study. If that information cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours should be considered as satisfying the 1-year of full-time study requirement.

Part-time graduate education is creditable in accordance with its relationship to a year of full-time study at the school attended.

General Experience: general experience is 3 years of progressively responsible experience, 1 year of which was equivalent to at least GS-4, that demonstrates the ability to:

  • Analyze problems to identify significant factors, gather pertinent data, and recognize solutions;
  • Plan and organize work; and
  • Communicate effectively orally and in writing.

Such experience may have been gained in administrative, professional, technical, investigative, or other responsible work. Experience in substantive and relevant secretarial, clerical, or other responsible work may be qualifying as long as it provided evidence of the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA's) necessary to perform the duties of the position to be filled. Experience of a general clerical nature (typing, filing, routine procedural processing, maintaining records, or other non-specialized tasks) is not creditable. Trades or crafts experience appropriate to the position to be filled may be creditable for some positions.

Specialized Experience: Experience that equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position, and that is typically in or related to the work of the position to be filled. To be creditable, specialized experience must have been equivalent to at least the next lower grade level in the normal line of progression for the occupation in the organization. Applicants who have the 1 year of appropriate specialized experience, as indicated in the table, are not required by this standard to have general experience, education above the high school level, or any additional specialized experience to meet the minimum qualification requirements.

Examples of qualifying specialized experience:

To Qualify for GS-7: As a trainee, processing a wide variety of transactions subject to different sets of rules and regulations; performing a segment of the evaluative work of an administrative function; identifying issues or problems and seeking alternative solutions consistent with applicable regulations. Working under close supervision with completed work reviewed for effectiveness in meeting goals and compliance with regulations and precedents.


To Qualify for GS-9: Working as an advanced trainee, with work assignments selected to provide training in the analytic and judgmental aspects of the work and in the appropriate use of methods and techniques appropriate to the specialization; working under close supervision, applying a gradually increasing knowledge of and skill in the use of pertinent principles and techniques in securing, analyzing, and evaluating the essential facts needed for decision, work product, or project.


To Qualify for GS-11: Independent performance of all phases of work considered of limited difficulty (generally recurring work without major variations from the expected). The work includes responsibility for independently applying established methods and procedures, clearly applicable regulatory provisions, and standard practices and techniques to the work assigned. A substantial amount of comparative information and precedent is available; the more difficult cases are normally assigned to a higher graded individual. Work includes monitoring contract performance, dealing with problem situations and changes, investigating the cause of deviations, and documenting files.


To Qualify for GS-12: Performing analysis and evaluation duties in assigned cases of limited difficulty. Cases assigned involve the full range of situations and circumstances normally encountered in contracts or rate setting work of limited difficulty and employees are responsible for independently performing all phases of the work involved in such cases. The work includes responsibility for independently applying established methods and procedures, clearly applicable statutory or regulatory provisions, and standard practices and techniques in the performance of the full range of duties involved in assigned less difficult cases. Deviations from applicable procedures or from regulatory or statutory requirements are recognized and referred to the supervisor.


To Qualify for GS-13: Performing industry analysis to identify and evaluate technological and performance changes in products, the financial and socioeconomic climate, current and potential production and inventory problems, and initial costs versus lifetime costs; developing sources by locating new sources of supply; conducting negotiations, including formulating strategies to make the government's position more attractive; performing price/cost analysis, including analyzing marketing data and terms and conditions of previous power contracts; and to perform a variety of contract maintenance functions. Assignments may include assessing the potential costs and benefits of purchasing power from various sources, projecting out several years in the future; analyzing and developing a recommendation for the agency’s position on other entities' policies and proposals, and evaluating contract proposals for the purchase of power.


To Qualify for GS-14: Works as a senior expert in negotiating power marketing contracts, including complex, long-term contracts with sensitive, unique, precedent-setting, or unusual provisions. Evaluates reports, regulations, and other relevant material as a basis for developing and implementing guides or procedures. Works under general supervision with assignments given in terms of broad missions and functions; the employee is responsible for independently developing the scope and objectives of power marketing contract negotiation and other activities within these broad parameters. Interprets guidelines and uses experienced judgment in evaluating trends which may lead to new policies or require further study or research; uses ingenuity and originality in interpreting, applying, and deviating from established procedures or techniques.


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Page Last Updated: 7/13/2015 9:30 PM