Competitive Service

The competitive service includes all civilian positions in the Federal Government that are subject to Title 5, US Code and are not specifically excepted from the civil service laws by Statute, by the President, or by the Office of Personnel Management, and are not in the Senior Executive Service (SES). It includes most positions in the executive branch of the Government. The majority of positions in the Department of the Army are competitive service positions.

The most common method for entering the competitive service is to be selected for an appointment after competing in an examination with other non status applicants. Career and Career-conditional appointments are the most common competitive service appointments.

A competitive position is a position in the competitive service. Positions that would ordinarily be in the competitive service are in the excepted service while they are occupied by someone who was appointed under an excepted appointing authority. That applies to positions "when filled by" particular individuals, e.g., the Schedule "A" authority for appointment of a person with disabilities, or the appointment of a veteran under the Veterans Recruitment Appointment .

Competitive status is an employee's basic eligibility for noncompetitive assignment (e.g., by transfer, promotion, reassignment, demotion, or reinstatement) to a position in the competitive service without having to compete with members of the general public in an open competitive examination. Competitive status belongs to an employee, not to a position. A person on a career or career-conditional appointment acquires competitive status upon satisfactory completion of a probationary period. It may also be granted by statute, Executive Order, or the civil service rules without competitive examination, for example, former overseas employees.

Content last reviewed: 6/8/2006-SWL


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This page was last revised: 6/8/2006