GS-15 Pay Scale - General Schedule 2021
GS-15 Yearly Pay
$110,460.00 - $143,598.00
GS-15 Monthly Pay
$9,205.00 - $11,966.50
GS-15 Hourly Pay
$52.93 - $68.81
GS-15 is the 15th paygrade in the General Schedule (GS) payscale, the payscale used to determine the salaries of most civilian government employees. The GS-15 pay grade is generally reserved for top-level positions such as supervisors, high-level technical specialists, and top professionals holding advanced degrees.
The next pay scale above GS-15 is known as Senior Level Service (SES) and is reserved for high level executive positions are the government’s more renowned researchers. GS-15 pay is capped at level V of the Executive Schedule.
Starting salary for a GS-15 employee is $110,460.00 per year at Step 1, with a maximum possible base pay of $143,598.00 per year at Step 10. The hourly base pay of a Step 1 GS-15 employee is $52.93 per hour1.
Generally, employees will start as a GS-15 Step 1 and advance one step at a time as they gain more experience on the position. If you get a promotion to a higher paygrade, you get to keep your current step, and will continue accumulating weeks of experience until you advance to the next step at your new paygrade. The table below lists the annual GS base pay at every step for a GS-15.
|GS Grade||Step 1||Step 2||Step 3||Step 4||Step 5||Step 6||Step 7||Step 8||Step 9||Step 10|
How much will I actually earn as a GS-15 employee?
The salary table and hourly rates listed above are the base pay for a GS-15 employee, which will be determined by your paygrade and step. However, the actual pay you will earn will be higher, based on the cost-of-living adjustment for the locality in which you work.
In 2021, the actual salary adjustments for a GS-15 employee will range from a maximum cost-of-living raise of 15.95% for employees working in Des Moines, to a minimum of a 41.44% cost-of-living raise in San Francisco. To determine the adjusted base pay for a GS-15 in your area, visit the Locality Adjustments Table or use our GS Salary Calculator
How do I get a promotion to GS-15?
Within the GS scale, promotions between grades (like a promotion from GS-14 to GS-15) come from advancing up the "career ladder" associated with a position, or by moving to a job with a higher starting pay grade then your current GS grade.
The basic requirements for advancing to the GS-15 paygrade are: At least 1 year experience at GS-13 or equivalent.
What kind of jobs are paid at GS-15 rates?
Under the GS system, all jobs are broken down into Job Series, each of which is identified with a numerical code. Each series has a starting paygrade, which is the paygrade new hires begin at, and a maximum paygrade, the highest paygrade an employee in that job series can hold. Here are some examples of job types that can be held by a GS-15 employee.
|Job Series||Job Category||Starting Paygrade||Maximum Paygrade|
|Ecology||Professional and Scientific||GS-6||GS-15|
|Architecture||Professional and Scientific||GS-6||GS-15|
|Customs Entry and Liquidating||Administrative and Management||GS-4||GS-15|
|Multiseries Position Classification Standard for Therapist||Professional and Scientific||GS-6||GS-15|
|Internal Revenue Officer||Administrative and Management||GS-4||GS-15|
What military rank is GS-15 comparable to?
- Calculation of hourly pay is based on 5 U.S.C. 5504(b), which specifies an average of 2,087 hours worked yearly for use in hourly wage calculations.
- Civilian-military equivalency determination is based on the Department of Defense's Working Capital Funds civilian-military equivalency rate .