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Civilian Faculty Pay Schedule -

For those interested in applying for a civilian faculty position in the federal government, this article provides information on the Administratively Determined (AD) salary procedures. This article’s information is based upon faculty management documents from the U.S. Armed Forces’ war colleges, command and staff colleges, and service academies. This article is especially useful to applicants who have prior General Schedule (GS) service and are interested to know how the AD system differs from the GS system.

Civilian faculty positions announced on USAJOBS are identified as Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and/or Professor opportunities in the Excepted Service. Alternatively, the position announcement may be titled as “Professor of [insert academic discipline]” with additional information indicating the appointment may be made at the Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor rank depending upon the qualifications of the selected applicant. These different academic ranks have corresponding grades within the AD pay scale. Likewise, AD grades are similar to salary control point (SCP) processes used in the GS system.

To better understand why the AD system differs from the GS system, it is important to mention that unlike USAJOBS announcements for GS opportunities, a civilian faculty announcement might not include SCP information related to the following subjects:

  • Pay scale and grade: The announcement will state the pay scale is AD, and the grade may be stated as 00. What the announcement may not include is information on the AD grade numbers and their associated academic ranks.
  • Salary: The announcement may include a broad salary range that someone with GS experience would identify as ranging from mid- to senior-grade GS and possibly up to the Senior Executive Service pay bands. What the announcement may not include is information on the pay steps associated with each AD grade.

For example, a USAJOBS civilian faculty announcement usually has the following sections and information:

  • Title: Instructor/Assistant Professor/Associate Professor/Professor
  • Service: Excepted
  • Pay scale and grade: AD 00
  • Salary: $87,663 to $171,627 per year

The Duties and Requirements sections would list qualifications for academic discipline, education, and experience. However, the other sections of the announcement might not include additional information on AD grades and pay steps associated with such a broad salary range.

Using the above example, an applicant may have these questions:

  • What AD grade (a.k.a., academic rank) would be assigned to a selected applicant?
    • Answer: Most educational institutions use AD-21 for Instructor, AD-22 for Assistant Professor, AD-23 for Associate Professor, AD-24 for Professor, and AD-25 or a higher grade number for administrative faculty and leadership (Dean, Chancellor, etc.). The selected applicant’s AD grade will be assigned based upon qualification instructions in the hiring organization’s faculty management documents.
  • I have GS experience, and the broad salary range for this position includes my prior GS salary. Would an AD salary offer align with the salary earned during my prior GS service?
    • Answer: Although the position announcement’s broad salary range may include your prior GS salary, the AD system is not required to align with your prior salary as part of a transfer, break in service, or reinstatement hiring action. Almost 60 pay steps exist within the AD-21 to 25+ grade range, so the starting salary offer will be determined by step instructions in the hiring organization’s faculty management documents.

An applicant should separately research the hiring organization’s documents, which are discoverable through Internet searches of civilian faculty pay and other faculty affairs webpages. However, do not limit a search to just the hiring organization. Review documents from multiple academic institutions to obtain a sense of appointment trends within the AD system. An applicant should review these documents to self-assess AD grade qualification based upon factors such as education, teaching experience, and publication record. After predicting an AD grade, an applicant should then review the pay step tables and determination instructions in these documents.

The AD system’s use of SCP processes for determining civilian faculty grade and step represents a difference from the GS system. Since USAJOBS announcements might not include AD system details, an applicant should conduct additional research on faculty management documents to understand SCP processes. It is also helpful to network with current civilian faculty and ask AD system questions during an interview. This information is beneficial for making informed decisions while applying for civilian faculty employment.

About the Author:

This article was contributed to by a federal employee with first-hand knowledge on the subject. We hope this article will serve to inform others perusing federal employment under the Administratively Determined (AD) pay schedule.

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