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Glossary of NIH Job Terminology

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3Rs: Recruitment bonuses, relocation bonuses, and retention allowances. (See separate definitions of these terms.) (http://www.opm.gov/html/glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Ability: A competence to perform an observable behavior or a behavior that results in an observable product. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp#A External Web Site Policy)

Adjunct Investigator: A scientist who works full-time or part-time in an intramural setting, whose primary career appointment is elsewhere (e.g., medical school, university faculty, or at NIH outside of an IC’s intramural program). An Adjunct Investigator may possibly be assigned independent resources, which are subject to review by the BSC. (http://www1.od.nih.gov/oir/sourcebook/prof-desig/intradesigns.htm)

Administratively Determined (AD) Pay Systems: Established under Title 42. NIH has the authority to fix the compensation for particular groups of positions without regard to the General Schedule. Title 42 appointees may be clinicians, scientists, or trainees in the Intramural Research Training Awards (IRTAs) program. These positions are of a defined duration but can be renewed. Pay for Title 42 scientists and clinicians ranges from a rate equivalent to the minimum of the GS-13 to a maximum equal to Level IV of the Executive Schedule. Stipends for trainees in the IRTA program vary depending on the program component. (http://hr.od.nih.gov/benefits/pay/default.htm)

Alternative Work Schedules (AWS): Various work schedule arrangements in which traditional fixed 8-hour workdays or 40-hour workweeks are replaced by work schedules that allow employees to vary their length of a workweek or workday. There are two types of alternative work schedules - flexible work schedules and compressed work schedules. (http://www.opm.gov/html/glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Annual leave: A form of paid time off generally used for vacation time or other personal needs. Employees earn 13, 20, or 26 days of annual leave a year, depending on years of service. Annual leave accrues incrementally, i.e., 4, 6, or 8 hours every 2 weeks. SES members may carry over up to 90 days of annual leave to the next leave year; all other employees may carry over up to 30 days of annual leave. Employees generally receive a lump-sum payment for any unused annual leave upon separation from Federal service. (NOTE: Presidential appointees do not earn annual leave and cannot be charged leave for absences from work.) (http://www.opm.gov/html/glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

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Bargaining Unit/Unit: A grouping of employees that a union represents or seeks to represent that is found to be appropriate for collective bargaining purposes. The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) oversees representation elections and determines the appropriateness of units. (http://www.flra.gov/webfm_send//242 External Web Site Policy)

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Candidate: An applicant who meets the minimum qualifications requirements for a position, and is therefore eligible for consideration. See also “Eligible.” (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Career Appointment/Employee: The employment status of a permanent employee who has completed three years of substantially continuous, creditable service. (http://www.opm.gov/employ/var/GLOSSARY.HTM External Web Site Policy)

Career Conditional Appointment: The employment status of a permanent employee who has not completed three years of substantially continuous, creditable service. (http://www.opm.gov/employ/var/GLOSSARY.HTM External Web Site Policy)

Career Tenure: After serving three years of substantially continuous creditable service, a career conditional employee becomes a career employee and gains career tenure. Employees with career tenure have permanent reinstatement eligibility and may be considered for positions without having to take another competitive civil service examination. Substantially continuous service means service without a break for more than 30 calendar days (i.e., the break must be for less than or equal to 30 calendar days). (http://www.opm.gov/employ/var/GLOSSARY.HTM External Web Site Policy)

Career Transitional Assistance Program (CTAP): A program designed by an agency to actively assist its surplus and displaced employees by providing selection priority for competitive service vacancies. Under the career transition assistance plan (CTAP), you must notify employees who are surplus or have been displaced from your agency of vacancies that your agency plans to fill in their local commuting area. (See Chapter 4 and 5 CFR Part 330). (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Classification: A hierarchical structure of jobs, usually arranged into classes or pay grades according to some form of job evaluation. Also the term generally used to describe the Federal Government’s job evaluation system. (http://www.flra.gov/webfm_send//242 External Web Site Policy)

Clinical Fellow: A doctoral-level health professional with interest in biomedical research relevant to NIH program needs, who is employed on a time-limited appointment renewable subject to the five-year/eight-year rule. Clinical Fellows participate in protocol-based clinical research as well as laboratory research. (http://www1.od.nih.gov/oir/sourcebook/prof-desig/intradesigns.htm)

Collective Bargaining/Negotiating: The process of offer and counteroffer between union and management whereby the parties attempt to reach agreement over conditions of employment affecting the bargaining unit. This process may include the execution of a written document representing the terms of agreement reached between union and management. (http://www.flra.gov/webfm_send//242 External Web Site Policy)

CSRS: The Civil Service Retirement System. (http://www.opm.gov/retire/pre/csrs/index.asp External Web Site Policy)

Compensation: All forms of financial returns, services, and benefits employees receive as part of an employment relationship. The term often is used narrowly to mean only pay. (http://www.opm.gov/html/glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Competitive Appointment: An appointment based on selection from a competitive examination or under other specific authority. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Competitive Examining: The competitive examination, which is open to all applicants, may consist of a written test, an evaluation of an applicant's education and experience, and/or an evaluation of other attributes necessary for successful performance in the position to be filled.
The process used to fill civil service positions with candidates who apply from outside the Federal workforce. It is also used to enable current Federal employees without civil service status to compete for a permanent appointment and to enable employees with civil service status to compete for other Federal positions. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Competitive Status: A person's basic eligibility for assignment (for example, 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. Once acquired, status belongs to the individual, not to the position. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Compressed work schedule: A fixed work schedule that enables a full-time employee to complete the basic 80-hour biweekly work requirement in less than 10 workdays. (http://www.opm.gov/html/glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

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Direct Hiring Authority: Office of Personnel Management-approved agency recruiting plans which expedite recruitment of persons for appointment to positions in shortage occupations.

Eligible: An applicant who satisfies the minimum qualifications requirements for the position, and therefore is eligible for consideration. See also "Candidate." (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Excepted Service: A term used to describe all civil service positions that are not in either the competitive service or the Senior Executive Service. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Extramural: Organizational component of research in support of biomedical and behavioral research and research training by scientists located at universities, research institutions, and medical centers across the United States and abroad.

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Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA): The independent agency responsible for administering the Federal labor relations program. The FLRA decides, among other things, representation issues (e.g., the bargaining unit status of certain employees), unfair labor practices (ULPs) (violations of Federal labor law), negotiability disputes (i.e., scope of bargaining issues), and exceptions to arbitration awards. The General Counsel of the FLRA processes representation issues (investigates, conducts hearings, holds elections, issues unit certifications, etc.) and investigates, conducts hearings, holds elections, issues unit certifications, etc.) and investigates, resolves, settles and prosecutes ULPs. (http://www.flra.gov/webfm_send//242 External Web Site Policy)

FERS: The Federal Employees Retirement System. (http://www.opm.gov/fers_election/html/glossary.htm External Web Site Policy)

Full-Time Employees: Most full-time employees are scheduled to work 40 hours a week, 80 hours a pay period. Some have tours of more than 80 hours per pay period.

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General Schedule: The classification and pay system for most white-collar employees in the Federal Government. The pay structure for the General Schedule has 15 grade levels, with 10 salary steps at each grade. Positions are classified using government-wide standards to determine their proper occupational series, title, and grade within the General Schedule. (http://www.flra.gov/webfm_send//242 External Web Site Policy)

Grade: In the General Schedule, each of the 15 grades represents a unique band of difficulty and responsibility and is defined in statute at 5 U.S.C. 5104. Grades are the same across different occupations, so that a GS-7 secretary, a GS-7 engineer, and a GS-7 photographer are in positions of equivalent difficulty and responsibility. Each of the 15 grades is defined in statute. In the General Schedule system, grade is also used to mean “level of work.” (http://www.flra.gov/webfm_send//242 External Web Site Policy)

Grade Interval: The terms “two-grade interval” and “one-grade interval” refer to the differing patterns of career advancement through a sequence of General Schedule grades. The two basic patterns reflect a basic distinction between the two general kinds of white-collar work covered by the General Schedule. Two-grade interval work generally comprises jobs in the professional and administrative occupational categories, and promotions are granted in the two-grade increments from grades GS-5 through 11 and in one-grade increments at GS-12 and beyond. One-grade interval work generally comprises jobs in the clerical and technical occupational categories, and promotions are granted in one-grade increments.

These two labels perform roughly the same function that “exempt” and “non-exempt” tend to have in the private sector as a short-hand way to distinguish higher level “professional” work and lower level clerical and technical work. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) did not apply to the Federal Government when the General Schedule was established. Therefore, the FLSA categories do not serve, in the Federal compensation environment, as a basic distinction upon which the pay structure is built. (http://www.flra.gov/webfm_send//242 External Web Site Policy)

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Holiday: A paid day off for Federal employees. Federal employees currently receive 10 paid holidays each year:
New Year's Day (January 1).
Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Third Monday in January).
Washington's Birthday (Third Monday in February).
Memorial Day (Last Monday in May).
Independence Day (July 4).
Labor Day (First Monday in September).
Columbus Day (Second Monday in October).
Veterans Day (November 11).
Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November).
Christmas Day (December 25).
Also, Presidential Inauguration Day for Federal employees in the Washington, DC, area (January 20 following a Presidential election). (http://www.opm.gov/html/glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

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Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): The Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) is a process by which employees who have been involuntarily separated may receive selection priority for jobs in agencies other than the one in which they were previously employed. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Interdisciplinary Position: A position involving duties and responsibilities closely related to more than one professional occupation. As a result, you could classify the position into two or more professional occupational series. The nature of the work is such that persons with education and experience in two or more professions may be considered equally well qualified to do the work. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Intermittent Employees: Employees that do not have regular tour. They are hired at the discretion of a supervisor. These employees do not earn annual leave or sick leave, and are not paid for holidays.

Intramural: Organizational component of research which is conducted by federally employed scientists within its laboratories on or near the NIH campus and in the NIH research hospital.

Investigator: An NIH employee who is a tenure-track scientist on a time-limited appointment. Investigators are selected by a competitive national search. A tenure-track position represents a commitment by the IC of independent resources, including salary, operating budget, personnel, and space. Research resources are adjusted based on scientific merit. (http://www1.od.nih.gov/oir/sourcebook/prof-desig/intradesigns.htm)

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Knowledge: A body of information applied directly to the performance of a function. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

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Locality Pay: Supplemental locality-based payments in addition to the rate of basic pay that apply in the 48 contiguous States in areas where non-Federal pay exceeds Federal pay by more than 5 percent. Most Federal employees—including General Schedule, Senior Executive Services, and senior-level employees, but excluding blue-collar employees and officials paid under the Executive Schedule—are eligible for locality pay.

A locality pay area is a geographic area that serves as the basis for setting pay and is established by the President’s Pay Agent for General Schedule employees in the 48 contiguous States and Washington, DC. The Pay Agent has established 32 GS locality pay areas, including the “Rest of U.S.” locality pay area. (http://www.flra.gov/webfm_send//242 External Web Site Policy)

Luevano Consent Decree: A court decree entered on November 19, 1981 by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in the civil action known as Luevano v. OPM and numbered as No. 79-271. The decree became effective on January 18, 1982. The decree has as its purpose the elimination of adverse impact, if any, in the appointment of African Americans and Hispanics to a variety of positions at GS-05 and GS-07 formerly covered by the Professional and Administrative Career Examination (PACE). (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

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Major duties: Those specific duties that are series and grade determining in the classification of a position or job. (http://www.opm.gov/html/glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Minimum Qualifications: Qualifications that an applicant must possess, at a minimum, to be eligible for hire or promotion under the competitive system. Minimum qualifications are typically expressed in terms of job-related years of experience or education, i.e., course credit hours or a combination of the two. Applicants who do not meet the minimum qualification requirements for the position receive no further consideration. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

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Noncompetitive Action: A promotion, demotion, reassignment, transfer, reinstatement, or an appointment based on prior service.

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Occupational Group: A major subdivision in the Federal GS classification system that consists of related occupations grouped together numerically within the same multiple of 100. Under each group are a number of occupational series. For example, "GS-600" is the Medical, Hospital, Dental, and Public Health Group. Included in this Group is the Nurse Series, GS-610, the Pharmacist Series, GS-660, and the Environmental Health Technician Series, GS-698. (http://www.opm.gov/fedclass/html/gsseries.asp External Web Site Policy)

Occupational Series or Series: A specific occupation or subgroup within an occupational group and generally includes all jobs in that particular kind of work at all grade levels. Each series is designated with a four-digit numerical code (e.g., GS-0201 is the code for the Human Resources Management Series). (http://www.opm.gov/html/glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Outstanding Scholar: A hiring program created by the Luevano Consent Decree. This program permits the hiring of any individual with a baccalaureate degree who has at least a 3.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale or is in the top 10 percent of his or her graduating class (or of a major subdivision, such as a College of Arts and Sciences). (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

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Part-Time Employees: Part-time employees have a regular tour that is 32 to 64 hours a pay period (two weeks).

Pay Period: A two week period that begins on a Sunday and ends on a Saturday. There are usually 26 pay periods in the calendar year.

Pay plan: A pay structure or set of pay rates that is used to pay a defined group of employees. OPM approves two-character pay plan codes for most agencies. The pay plan is a convenient way to identify and group human resources data. "GS" is the pay plan covering most white-collar employees. Other common examples are "EX" (Executive Schedule), "ES" (Senior Executive Service), and "WG" (wage grade employees). There are more than 160 pay plans in the executive branch. (http://www.opm.gov/html/glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Physician's Comparability Allowance (PCA) Act: Enacted to enhance the ability of Federal agencies to recruit and retain physicians in shortage categories by authorizing the payment of comparability allowances known as PCAs. The allowances are compensation paid in addition to base pay. The are based upon the position held.

Postdoctoral Fellow: A trainee who participates in laboratory-based or population-based biomedical research for the purpose of obtaining advanced training under the direction of a senior member of the scientific staff. Such trainees are not NIH employees and must have not more than five years of relevant research experience since their actual degree. The duration of a training award is limited to five years. (http://www1.od.nih.gov/oir/sourcebook/prof-desig/intradesigns.htm)

Preference Eligible: A veteran, spouse, widow, or mother, who meets the definition provided in 5 U.S.C. §2108 External Web Site Policy. Preference eligibles' are entitled to have 5 or 10 points added to their earned score on a civil service examination. Preference does not apply, however, to in-service placement action such as promotions. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Probationary Period: In general, a period of employment during which an employee’s performance and qualifications are evaluated prior to an appointment becoming permanent. Prior to successful completion of such a period, employees have limited appeal rights. In some contexts, this period is referred to as a trial period. (http://www.flra.gov/webfm_send//242 External Web Site Policy)

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Recruitment Bonuses: The lump-sum payment of up to 25 percent of basic pay to a newly-appointed Federal employee = to fill a position that would otherwise be difficult to fill. In return, the employee must sign an agreement to fulfill a period of service with the agency (6-month minimum for recruitment bonuses). Agencies may pay recruitment and relocation bonuses to employees under the General Schedule, Senior Executive Service, senior-level, Executive Schedule, and certain other pay systems. (http://www.opm.gov/html/glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Reinstatement: Non-competitive appointment of a person formerly employed in the competitive service (i.e., who either had a competitive status or was serving probation when separated) into the competitive service as a career or career-conditional employee. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Reinstatement Eligibility: The conditions under which a person may be reinstated into the competitive service. (http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/get-cfr.cgi?TITLE=5&PART=315&SECTION=401&TYPE=TEXT External Web Site Policy)

Relocation Bonus: The lump-sum payment of up to 25 percent of basic pay to a current Federal employee who must relocate to fill a position that would otherwise be difficult to fill. In return, the employee must sign an agreement to fulfill a period of service with the agency (6-month minimum for recruitment bonuses). Agencies may pay recruitment and relocation bonuses to employees under the General Schedule, Senior Executive Service, senior-level, Executive Schedule, and certain other pay systems. (http://www.opm.gov/html/glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Research Assistant: An NIH employee appointed under the General Schedule. Research Assistants serve in a scientific, technical support capacity at GS-11 and below. (http://www1.od.nih.gov/oir/sourcebook/prof-desig/intradesigns.htm)

Research Fellow: An NIH scientist with a doctoral degree, employed on a time-limited appointment renewable subject to the five-year/eight year rule. Research Fellows provide service relevant to the IC’s program needs. The appointment gives the fellow experience in laboratory-based or population-based biomedical research. Scientists with considerable experience beyond postdoctoral training may be designated Senior Research Fellows. (http://www1.od.nih.gov/oir/sourcebook/prof-desig/intradesigns.htm)

Retention Allowance: continuing (i.e., biweekly) payments of up to 25 percent of basic pay to an employee with unusually high or unique qualifications or to an employee who is serving a special agency need that makes it essential to retain the employee if he/she would be likely to leave the Federal Government (for any reason, including retirement) in the absence of a retention allowance. Agencies may pay retention allowances to employees under the General Schedule, Senior Executive Service, senior-level, Executive Schedule, and certain other pay systems. (http://www.opm.gov/html/glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

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Schedule A Appointment: A category of excepted service appointment that is applicable to positions that are not of a confidential or policy-determining character, and that are not in the Senior Executive Service, but for which it is impracticable to apply competitive examining requirements (e.g., qualification standards). Agencies must obtain authorization from OPM to make a Schedule A appointment. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Schedule B Appointment: A category of excepted service appointment that is applicable to positions that are not of a confidential or policy-determining character, and that are not in the Senior Executive Service, but for which it is impracticable to hold open competition or to apply the usual competitive examining procedures. Candidates appointed under Schedule B authority must meet the basic qualification requirements established by OPM for the occupation and grade level. Agencies must obtain authorization from OPM to make a Schedule B appointment. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Schedule C Appointment: A category of excepted service appointment that is applicable to positions that are of a confidential or policy-determining nature. Agencies must obtain authorization from OPM to make a Schedule C appointment. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Selective Factor: A KSA, competency, or special qualification without which a candidate could not perform the duties of a position in a satisfactory manner. Selective factors are applied in addition to minimum qualifications. Applicants who do not meet a selective factor are ineligible for further consideration. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Senior Executive Service (SES): The employment system that applies to any positions that are classified above GS-15 and involve executive management and high policy-making responsibilities. SES positions are excluded from the competitive service, the system of rules and regulations that applies to most civil service positions. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Senior Investigator: An NIH employee who has been granted tenure by the Deputy Director for Intramural Research (DDIR), after review and recommendation by the NIH Central Tenure Committee or the Senior Biomedical Research Service Policy Board. Tenure represents a long-term commitment of independent resources, including salary, operating budget, personnel, and space, for the conduct of an independent basic, clinical, or epidemiological research program in an IC; research resources are adjusted based on scientific merit. (http://www1.od.nih.gov/oir/sourcebook/prof-desig/intradesigns.htm)

Senior Research Assistant: An NIH employee appointed under the General Schedule. Senior Research Assistants serve in a scientific, technical support capacity at GS-12 or GS-13. They may design experiments with direction and provide expert, highly skilled technical support, but are not expected to initiate original research programs. (http://www1.od.nih.gov/oir/sourcebook/prof-desig/intradesigns.htm)

Senior Scientist/Senior Clinician: A scientist in a time-limited, renewable appointment. (NOTE: Extremely rare exceptions for appointment of a Staff Scientist to a permanent GS position for recruitment or retention purposes must be approved by the DDIR.) A senior scientist/senior clinician is either (1) a manager of a large IC program/department with responsibility for substantial resources (category 1)or (2) a senior scientist or clinician spending a limited period of time at the NIH (category 2). A Senior Scientist/Clinician may be assigned independent resources, which are subject to review by the IC Board of Scientific Counselors. (http://www1.od.nih.gov/oir/sourcebook/prof-desig/intradesigns.htm)

Sick leave: Paid time off for medical, dental, or optical examination or treatment of an employee or family member, care of a sick family member, or bereavement. Employees earn 13 days of sick leave each year (which accumulates without limit in succeeding years). Sick leave accrues incrementally, i.e., 4 hours every 2 weeks. Employees also may use sick leave for adoption purposes. Unused sick leave is not cashed out upon separation. (NOTE: Presidential appointees do not earn sick leave and cannot be charged leave for absences from work.) (http://www.opm.gov/html/glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Skill: An observable competence to perform a learned psychomotor act. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Staff Clinician: An NIH employee on a time-limited, renewable appointment or, by exception on a permanent appointment for retention and recruitment reasons. The Staff Clinician is a physician or dentist who spends a majority of his/her time providing critical patient care services but who may also be the principal investigator on clinical protocols, under the supervision of a Senior Investigator. (http://www1.od.nih.gov/oir/sourcebook/prof-desig/intradesigns.htm)

Staff Scientist: An NIH employee appointed to a time-limited, renewable position. (NOTE: Extremely rare exceptions for appointment of a Staff Scientist to a permanent GS position for recruitment or retention purposes must be approved by the DDIR.) A Staff Scientist usually has a doctoral degree and is selected by the IC to support the long-term research of a Senior Investigator with outstanding Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC) reviews. Staff Scientists do not receive independent resources, although they often work independently and have sophisticated skills and knowledge essential to the work of the laboratory. A subset of Staff Scientists includes Facility Heads, who independently manage a substantial core facility, e.g., a sequencing laboratory or an NMR facility that provides central support for more than one Senior Investigator. Staff Scientists should be capable of independently designing experiments, but do not have responsibilities for initiating new research programs. (http://www1.od.nih.gov/oir/sourcebook/prof-desig/intradesigns.htm)

Status Applicant: An applicant who has satisfied requirements for competitive status. Status applicants are those individuals who are currently serving on a career or career-conditional appointment, individuals who are eligible for reinstatement External Web Site Policy, or individuals who are applying under the VEOA program.

Student Career Experience Program (SCEP): Degree seeking students who are enrolled in an accredited program (either high school, undergraduate, or graduate program) are eligible for SCEP positions. The SCEP students gain valuable work experience related to their academic studies. The SCEP allows students to work full-time or part-time while they finish their degree and, after graduation, participants who meet all the requirements of the program may be non competitively converted to a permanent position. At NIH, SCEP positions are listed online (when available) at USAJOBS.gov/StudentJobs External Web Site Policy.

Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) formerly known as Stay-in-School: This program allows degree seeking students to gain work experience either on a full-time or part-time schedule year round on a temporary basis. The STEP students usually obtain this work experience during the summer months. The most common STEP jobs are clerical or assistant work. The STEP allows students to gain valuable work experience while finishing their education.

Students Research Programs: Registered students (at all levels from high school through graduate, medical or dental school) are offered a range of research training programs at NIH. The purpose of the student research programs is to enhance a student's knowledge and understanding of biomedical research and to contribute to the achievement of a student's educational goals. (http://www1.od.nih.gov/oir/sourcebook/prof-desig/intradesigns.htm)

Superior qualifications appointment or above minimum hiring: Appointment of an individual to a General Schedule position at a step above the first step of the grade based on the employee's superior qualifications or a special need of the agency for the employee's services. Agencies may set pay at the higher step only upon initial appointment or upon reappointment after a 90-day break in service. (http://www.opm.gov/html/glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

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Temporary Appointment: A non-status appointment to a competitive service position for a specific time period not to exceed one year. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Term Appointment: A non-status appointment to a position in the competitive service for a specific period of more than one year and lasting not more than four years. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP): A retirement savings and investment plan established by Congress in the Federal Employees' Retirement System Act of 1986 to provide eligible Federal employees savings and tax benefits similar to those offered by many private corporations. It is a defined contribution plan administered by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. CSRS employees can also contribute but receive no agency contributions. (http://www.opm.gov/fers_election/html/glossary.htm External Web Site Policy)

Time-In-Grade: The length of time served at a certain grade level. It usually is used in reference to the length of time needed to satisfy the promotion requirements of the next highest level. (http://www.opm.gov/employ/var/GLOSSARY.HTM External Web Site Policy)

Time-In-Grade Restrictions: Requirements intended to prevent excessively rapid promotions in the General Schedule. Generally, an employee may not be promoted more than two grades within one year to positions up to GS-5. Above GS-5, an employee must serve a minimum of one year in grade, and cannot be promoted more than one grade, or two grades if that is the normal progression. (http://www.opm.gov/employ/var/GLOSSARY.HTM External Web Site Policy)

Title 38: A type of compensation that is applied to clinical center nurses (pay plan GN) and allied health professionals (pay plans GS, GM) who work for NIH. These occupations are identified by the DHHS Assistant Secretary for Personnel Administration, and are appointed under Title 5.

Title 38 (Physician Special Pay): Physician Special Pay (PSP) is a supplementary pay system established to facilitate the recruitment and retention of civilian physicians and dentists. At the NIH, physicians paid under Title 5 are eligible if they spend at least 10% of their time in direct patient care activities or services related to such specialties as radiology or pathology, or if they oversee large interventional clinical trials.

Title 42: See Administratively Determined (AD) Pay Systems

Title 5: Title reserved in the United States Code and Code of Federal Regulations which pertains to Government Organization and Employees. It establishes the basic law for managing human resources in the federal government. Title 5 includes pay plans such as General Schedule (GS), Wage Grade (WG), and Senior Executive Service (SES).

Transfer: A change of an employee, without a break in service of one full workday, from a position in one agency to a position in another agency that can be filled under the same appointing authority. (http://www.opm.gov/feddata/gppa/gppa35.pdf External Web Site Policy)

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US Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps: A career all-officer Uniformed Service for health care professionals.

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Veterans’ Preference: A special privilege that entitles qualifying veterans to certain advantages in consideration for federal employment. (http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2003/DEOH-Glossary.asp External Web Site Policy)

This page last reviewed on April 23, 2014

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