Preparing a Position Description

The Position Description - commonly referred to as the PD - briefly describes the key or major duties and responsibilities of a position or a number of positions. The primary use of PDs is for classification and pay purposes. However, a PD also serves as the basis for preparing an employee's performance plan/objectives, preparing a formal training plan, or reviewing and evaluating employees' current or prior work experience.

Since a supervisor determines work assignments for employees he/she supervises, it follows that he/she should have responsibility for ensuring that job descriptions accurately describe the duties and responsibilities required and performed. Specifically, he/she must consider the following:

  • Mission
  • Economy and efficiency
  • Employee motivation
  • Career development/ladders
  • Recruitment & retention
  • A balance of trainees to a full performance level
  • Productivity

Supervisors should prepare newly written position descriptions only when there is no similar position in Fully Automated System for Classification (FASCLASS). Position descriptions should be as brief as possible while still including all significant facts.

Position Description (PD) Adequacy

A PD is adequate when it contains sufficient information to determine the title, series and grade of the position. Essential elements include:

  1. Major duties that show the knowledge, skill and ability required to perform significant tasks of the job.

  2. Percentage of time spent on each major duty.

  3. An unnumbered statement at the end of major duties: "Performs other duties as assigned." This makes it clear that the assignment of duties to employees is not limited by the content of the position description. However, supervisors should avoid assigning employees incidental duties that are inappropriate to their positions and qualifications.

PD Format

PD's are written in several formats depending on the type of position. PDs must be prepared in the format of the standard used to evaluate the grade controlling work. The following provides information on the various formats in use.


    • I. Supervisory Controls
    • II. Introduction
    • III. Duties and Responsibilities
    • IV. Other Significant Facts
    • V. Evaluation (type of evaluation varies with classification standard used)


    1. Major Duties
    2. Factor Evaluation:
      • Factor 1. Knowledge Required by the Position
      • Factor 2. Supervisory Controls
      • Factor 3. Guidelines
      • Factor 4. Complexity
      • Factor 5. Scope and Effect
      • Factor 6. Personal Contacts
      • Factor 7. Purpose of Contacts
      • Factor 8. Physical Demands
      • Factor 9. Work Environment

    Factor evaluation must include for each factor the factor level assigned, corresponding points assigned, description of the duties in terms of each factor (justifying the factor level), total points assigned, and resulting grade.


    • I. Supervisory Controls
    • II. Introduction
    • III. Duties and Responsibilities
    • IV. Work Environment
    • V. Physical Demands
    • V1. Evaluation (type of evaluation varies with classification standard used)

PDs should be prepared and submitted to the servicing Civilian Personnel Operations Center (CPOC) by electronic means for classification review, FLSA determination, final preparation, and for input into FASCLASS.

Content last reviewed: 5/31/2006-LAR


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This page was last revised: 11/23/2011