2024 GS Pay Schedule Now Available — FederalPay just published the official 2024 pay schedules. Click here to use the 2024 GS Calculator.

GS-12 Pay Scale - General Schedule 2023

GS-12 Yearly Pay
$71,099.00 - $92,429.00
GS-12 Monthly Pay
$5,924.92 - $7,702.42
GS-12 Hourly Pay
$34.07 - $44.29
Per-Step Increase
Education Req's
Master's or Ph.D.

GS-12 is the 12th paygrade in the General Schedule (GS) payscale, the payscale used to determine the salaries of most civilian government employees. The GS-12 pay grade is generally held by white-collar employees in mid-level positions.

GS-12 is the highest grade one can achieve before the position becomes "Career Competitive" meaning that the position must be listed on USAJobs.gov and be available any qualified U.S. citizen to apply. Because of positions receive above GS-12 are competitive and thus harder to obtain many scientists and engineers will reach GS-12 within the first 3 to 5 years of their career and then spend significantly longer as a GS-12 before being promoted.

Starting salary for a GS-12 employee is $71,099.00 per year at Step 1, with a maximum possible base pay of $92,429.00 per year at Step 10. The hourly base pay of a Step 1 GS-12 employee is $34.07 per hour1.

The table on this page shows the base pay rates for a GS-12 employee. To calculate pay with locality adjustments taken into account, use our General Schedule pay calculator.

Generally, employees will start as a GS-12 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-12.

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-12 employee?

The salary table and hourly rates listed above are the base pay for a GS-12 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 2023, the actual salary adjustments for a GS-12 employee will range from a maximum cost-of-living raise of 44.15% for employees working in San Francisco, to a minimum of a 16.5% cost-of-living raise in areas without a specified cost-of-living adjustment. To determine the adjusted base pay for a GS-12 in your area, visit the Locality Adjustments Table or use our GS Salary Calculator

How do I get a promotion to GS-12?

Within the GS scale, promotions between grades (like a promotion from GS-11 to GS-12) 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-12 paygrade are: At least 1 year experience at GS-11 or equivalent.

What kind of jobs are paid at GS-12 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-12 employee.

Job Series Job Category Starting Paygrade Maximum Paygrade
General Inspection, Investigation, Enforcement, and ComplianceAdministrative and ManagementGS-4GS-15
EcologyProfessional and ScientificGS-6GS-15
Labor Management Relations ExaminingAdministrative and ManagementGS-4GS-15
ToxicologyProfessional and ScientificGS-6GS-15
Emergency ManagementAdministrative and ManagementGS-4GS-15
Search For GS-12 Jobs Now

What military rank is GS-12 comparable to?

A GS-12 employee in civilian government is rougly equivalent to an O-4 in the military, in terms of compensation. In the U.S. Army, O-4 is ranked Major.


  1. 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.
  2. Civilian-military equivalency determination is based on the Department of Defense's Working Capital Funds civilian-military equivalency rate .
** This Document Provided By www.FederalPay.org - The Civil Employee's Resource **
Source: www.federalpay.org/gs/2023/GS-12