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Recruitment Policy Studio

Federal Section
Hiring Toolkit

Excepted Service Hiring

Understanding the Excepted Service

Excepted service is defined by section 2103 of title 5, United States Code, as includes all positions in the executive branch of the Federal Government which are specifically excepted from the competitive service by or pursuant to statute, by the President, or by the Office of Personnel Management, and which are not in the Senior Executive Service.

When OPM excepts positions from the competitive service, it places the positions in the excepted service under Schedules A, B, C or D in accordance with 5 CFR part 213. These excepted service appointing authorities enable agencies to hire when it is not feasible or not practical to use traditional competitive hiring procedures, and can streamline hiring.

Most excepted service positions are not required to be posted on USAJOBS. As a result, it is important to look at “careers” or “employment opportunities” sections on individual agency web sites for job announcements.

Excepted Service Appointing Authorities:

Provide Alternatives When Traditional Competitive Hiring Procedures Are Impractical. Excepted service hiring authorities can help agencies resolve problems that arise from unusual hiring situations that do not lend themselves to traditional competitive procedures.

Provide Alternatives To Address Special Needs. Excepted service authorities provide for appointment to the excepted service, rather than to the competitive civil service, to allow agencies to meet their critical needs, and those of groups of prospective employees and individuals with special needs.

Agencies may use any of the governmentwide excepted service appointing authorities under Schedule A, Schedule B, or Schedule D when the authority applies to their situation. Only OPM can provide exceptions on a case-by-case basis under Schedule C for jobs having a confidential or policy-determining character.

Examples of governmentwide excepted service appointment authorities include:
  • Pathways – internship, recent graduates, and Presidential Management Fellows – Programs (Schedule D)
  • 30-day critical needs appointment authority (Schedule A)
  • Appointment authority for individuals with disabilities (Schedule A)
Positions are placed in the excepted service either by statute, executive order, or OPM action. In some cases all of the positions within the agency (e.g., FBI) are in the excepted service. In other cases certain positions are in the excepted service such as attorney positions.

Excepted Service Hiring