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Federal Classification

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  • ORegistration open
  • FClass full
  • GGuaranteed to Go
  • RRemote Classroom
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Course overview

Learn the basic, crosscutting principles you need to classify and analyze federal positions for compensation purposes, and apply these concepts by classifying GS, FWS, and alternative system positions. Improve your analytical skills in order to ask good questions about position duties and organizational design, write Factor Evaluation System (FES) position descriptions, and analyze position management alternatives.

  • Instructor assistance and feedback on assignments
  • Facilitated blogging and discussions
This course is part of the Human Resources Management Certificate Program, Level I, which can be completed entirely through distance education.

Enroll anytime in this online course. All materials supplied. Instructor-based study. Self-paced; take up to six months to complete. This course has been evaluated and approved by the Office of Personnel Management as meeting established competencies for the HR profession.

Who should attend?

Federal HR practitioners, administrative staff, managers, supervisors, and all others who need to know how to evaluate the level and pay of federal positions.

Learning outcomes

  • Learn the principles and the references that guide classification in the federal sector
  • Understand and apply procedures used to classify federal positions using the FES
  • Understand and apply procedures used to classify federal positions using the narrative system
  • Understand alternative HR systems and procedures commonly used to evaluate positions in such systems
  • Understand and apply procedures used to classify federal blue-collar positions using the job-grading system
  • Apply the rules applicable to classifying mixed grade/series and interdisciplinary positions
  • Apply the procedures used to classify federal leader, supervisory, and managerial positions
  • Recognize and apply the principles used to organize work (position management) and describe positions using the FES format
  • Describe positions using the FES format

Course outline

Lesson 1: Classification Principles and Approaches
        Guiding Principles for Federal Classification
                Equal pay for equal work
        Classification Approaches
                Non-quantitative method
                Quantitative method

Lesson 2: Introduction to Classifying Federal Jobs
        Environment and Impact of Federal Classification
        Federal Classification System Structures
                Federal white-collar classification systems
                        General Schedule
                        Federal Wage System
        Understanding Differences in Levels of Work
                Differences in levels of work for federal classification
                        Factor Evaluation System
                        Narrative system
                        Alternative classification systems

Lesson 3: References Used in Federal Classification
        Introduction to the Position Classification Standards
        The Classifiers Handbook
        Handbook of Occupational Groups and Series
        Digest of Significant Classification Decisions and Opinions

Lesson 4: The Factor Evaluation System (FES)
        Factor Evaluation System Components
                FES position descriptions and factors
                The Primary Standard
                FES occupational standards
                Understanding differences: FES standards
        Procedures Used to Classify FES Positions
        Documenting Your Classification Decisions
        Job Family Standards

Lesson 5: Narrative System
        Narrative Classification Standards
        Procedures for Classifying Narrative System Positions

Lesson 6: The Federal Job Grading System (FWS)
        Primary Reference Used in FWS Classification
        FWS Components
                Coding plan
                Key ranking jobs
                Job-grading standards
        Procedures for Classifying FWS Positions

Lesson 7: Alternative Classification Systems
        Demonstration Projects
        Alternative HR Systems
        Alternative Classification Systems
                FAA Core Compensation
                Commerce Alternative Personnel System

Lesson 8: Special Issues in Classification
        Classifying Mixed-Grade Positions
        Classifying Mixed-Series Positions
        Classifying Positions with No Directly Applicable Standard
        Classifying Interdisciplinary Positions
        Classifying Leader, Manager, and Supervisor Positions
        General Schedule Supervisory Guide
        Leaders and Supervisors: Alternative Classification Systems

Lesson 9: Organizing and Describing Positions
        The Process of Organizing Work
        Planning and Establishing Positions
        Position Descriptions

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