Relevant Career Information - Things You Should Know
Requirements and Resources
Understanding the Federal requirements applicable and resources available to you can assist you in managing a successful Federal Career.
Time in Grade Requirements
Federal employees may be appointed into positions that offer promotion potential within their position or non-promotable positions, where they will have to compete for future promotional opportunities. In either situation, Federal employees will have to meet time-in-grade requirements prior to receiving a merit promotion. Federal employees who have qualifying experience at a higher pay grade can apply for positions that are open to the public without taking time-in-grade requirements into consideration.
There is often a misperception that service-connected disabled Veterans or individuals who qualify for special hiring authorities are exempt from time-in-grade requirements, which is not the case. When applying for Federal positions check with the agency Human Resources Office you are applying to for employment to find out how time in-grade requirements will apply in your case. Information regarding Time-in-Grade constraints can be located within Title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
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Preference eligibles, including those with derived preferences, who served under career or career-conditional appointment for any period of time, have lifetime reinstatement eligibility to any competitive service position for which qualified. They have this eligibility regardless of whether their Armed Forces service occurred before or after career or career-conditional appointment. Competition under the agency's merit promotion plan is required if the position is at a higher grade level or has more promotion potential than a position previously held.
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Standard Form 50 (SF-50) Notification of Personnel Action
The SF-50 is used government wide for employment and benefits programs. The SF-50 Form is composed of 3 sections:
- ACTION (First action, Second action)
- EMPLOYEE DATA
- POSITION DATA
The Standard Form 50 is used to document civilian Government service for Federal applications and is a written documentation of a personnel action that may influence position or pay.
The SF-50 is one of the most important pieces of documentation a Federal employee will be required to provide in order to verify the employee’s federal service. SF-50s are used to document appointments and to verify benefits and non-competitive status under Executive Order 12721 and must accompany all federal applications.
Employees who are veterans should take the time to check their SF-50s for accuracy and should pay particular attention to the following items:
- Check your name, SSN, DOB for accuracy (Items 1, 2, 3) – this information will follow you throughout the system, across all federal agency lines, and should be accurate
- Check the appointment authority (Item 5B or 6B), e.g. VRA, 30% or more disabled, career
- Check your position title (Item 7 or 15)– if this information is not correct, request a title change through your supervisor
- Check your service computation date (Item 31) – if this is your first Federal appointment, the date will be the same as your entrance on duty date to your current position. This date may be adjusted based on prior Federal and military service. You will need to provide proof of military service and SF-50s documenting prior federal service. This is the date used to determine your leave annual leave accrual rate (at least 1 year but less than 3 years, 4 hours of annual leave per pay period; at least 3 years but less than 15, 6 hours per pay period; 15 years or more, 8 hours per pay period)
- Check your work schedule (Item 32)– it will be either full time, part time, or intermittent
- Review any comments in the Remarks section (item 45).
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How do I obtain a copy of my SF-50?
Visit http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/ for information pertaining to replacement of a SF-50 or contact the agency you worked for Human Resources Office for assistance.
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Education and Training Opportunities: Read Below for Descriptions of Some of the Training and Educational Programs Offered Within the Federal Government.
Center for Leadership Development
OPM's Center for Leadership Development (CLD) is dedicated to transforming leaders to better serve the Federal government. CLD offers educational programs for every stage of your career. As the government designated provider of agency, interagency and tri-sector leadership development, CLD offers government-to-government educational courses, certificate programs, tailored solutions and technology systems by USALearning to respond to your immediate challenges and emerging needs. CLD innovative services are delivered through e-Learning, in classroom settings, at our residential centers of the Federal Executive Institute (FEI) in Charlottesville, VA, the Eastern Management Development Center (EMDC) in Washington, DC and the Western Management Development Center (WMDC) in Denver, CO, your home agency, and locations across the United States. For more information go to https://leadership.opm.gov/index.aspx
Lead Certificate Program
OPM's LEAD Certificate Program empowers leaders to take charge of their professional development by providing a clear path to leadership education that is relevant at five different levels, from Project Team Lead through Executive. If you are already a Federal employee, LEAD offers "must have" leadership skills and provides interagency experience that puts you squarely on the path to career advancement. If you are a veteran, LEAD helps build skills to transition from a military career to a civilian career.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has approved the LEAD program as a non-college degree program, LEAD offers excellent leadership education at every level for career-oriented veterans. For more information on the Lead Certificate Program go to https://cldcentral.usalearning.net/mod/page/view.php?id=249
HR University and Accredited Courses
HR University (HRU) is the Federal Government's "one stop" Human Resources Career Development Center. HRU is aimed at professionalizing the Federal HR career field and is designed to address competency and skill gaps within the HR community, achieve Governmentwide savings, identify and offer the best HR training across Government, provide supervisors, managers and executives with critical leadership competencies and HR technical knowledge needed to succeed, and establish a means for sharing resources across all agencies. Find out more about training opportunities at https://hru.gov/Training_Opportunities.aspx.
Partnerships with Universities
If you’re thinking about where to go to get the advanced learning that could help you take the next step on your career path, make sure you know about the tuition discounts on higher education that are available to you. Some of the agreements also extend the benefits to spouses, and legal dependents. These are opportunities for both in person and online learning, depending on the program. OPM has made agreements with several institutions. For additional information about the Federal Academic Alliances go to https://www.opm.gov/wiki/training//Our-Academic-Partners.ashx.
Student Loan Repayment
The Federal student loan repayment program permits agencies to repay federally insured student loans as a recruitment or retention incentive for candidates or current employees of the agency. The program implements 5 U.S.C. 5379, which authorizes agencies to set up their own student loan repayment programs to attract or retain highly qualified employees. For more information go here.
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