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Background on Scientific and Professional Positions


Scientific and professional (ST) positions involve performance of high-level research and development in the physical, biological, medical or engineering sciences, or closely-related field. They are classified above the GS-15 level, but do not meet the functional criteria which characterizes senior executive service (SES) positions (e.g., directing the work of a largeorganizational unit, being held accountable for the success of specific programs,monitoring progress toward organizational goals including large-scale program evaluation).


ST research and development positions are characterized by the following features:


The stature, contributions and qualifications of an individual involved in research and development have a direct and major impact on the level of difficulty and responsibility for the work performed. ST incumbents would be expected to possess a graduate degree, significant research experience, and a national and/or international reputation in their field. Typically, the incumbent of an ST position:

Employment Provisions:

All ST positions are in the competitive service, however, appointments can be made without competitive examination. Agencies must have an allocation from the Office of Personnel Management before establishing an ST position.

Pay Provisions:

The ST pay system is ungraded. The pay range for ST positions is between 120 percent of GS-15/1 and Executive Level IV which is comparable with SES positions.

Page last edited: December 15, 2011

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