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Most government jobs are competitive service positions open to the public. These jobs are usually listed on usajobs.gov, and applicants must meet specific requirements for education and experience and take a competitive examination. The best qualified applicants are considered for hire. Noncompetitive, or excepted service, government jobs are civil service positions that qualified individuals may apply for without completing the lengthy competitive service application process.
Schedule of Noncompetitive Positions
Excepted service positions fall into schedule A, B and C. Schedule A positions include attorneys, faculty members and intelligence workers whose position does not deal with confidential or policy making duties, and where applying qualifications and requirements is not practical. Specific reasons why the competitive hiring process might not be practical vary, but may include streamlining the hiring process to fill a critical position quickly, or for posts in which examinations are not practical for positions such as dentists or chaplains. Schedule B positions are also not confidential, and include positions in which administering a competitive exam is not practical. Schedule B includes student employment programs. Schedule C positions are those that deal in policy making, and require a close relationship with an appointed or elected official or department head. Schedule C employees are usually appointed. For example, most subcabinet-level positions are Schedule C excepted service jobs. These positions are usually removed once the incumbent has left office.
Finding Excepted Service Positions
Excepted service positions are not always publicly announced, but can be found on the hiring department's website. Most positions in the legislative and judicial branches are noncompetitive. Other agencies that commonly have excepted service openings include the Federal Reserve System, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of State Foreign Service positions, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.