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Glossary of Federal TermsExternal

Job Announcement Terminology

Job announcements at CDC are announced online through the USAJOBS web site. Each job posting has a collection of tabs across the top of the screen. See a brief description of each tab below.


Job title (e.g., Public Health Advisor, Epidemiologist, Accountant, etc.)

Salary Range

Includes the low and high salary range for each grade (e.g., GS-05) level. The salary may be expressed as annual or hourly.

Series and Grade

Includes the pay plan, series, and grade level (e.g., GS-0685-12)

Pay Plan – Represents the type of job and specific wage schedule from which the job is paid (e.g., GS, WG, RS, AD, ES, etc.).

Series – The occupational family to which the position belongs (e.g., the series code for the Public Health Advisor is 0685).

Grade – The numerical designation (01-15) which represents the pay-level and is based on the level of difficulty and responsibilities of the position (e.g., a Public Health Advisor position at the GS-11 level of difficulty would be expressed in a job announcement as GS-0685-11.)

Promotion Potential

Identifies the highest grade to which you could be promoted without further competition.

Who May Be Considered

Identifies who may be considered for the position.

The options are:

General Public – To be considered for a job that is open to the General Public, the only basic requirement is that you must be a United States citizen. Current or prior federal work experience is not required to be considered for positions open to the public.

Current and Former Federal Employees – To be considered for a job that is open to Current and Former Federal Employees, you must have career status or be eligible under a special appointing authority.

Examples include:

*You are currently working for CDC on a career or career-conditional appointment.

*You are currently working for a different federal agency on a career or career-conditional appointment.

*You previously attained career status in the federal government on another appointment, left federal service, and now wish to obtain a new appointment.

*You served in the federal service on a career-conditional appointment within the last three years, left the federal service, and now wish to obtain a new appointment.

*You are eligible for appointment under the Veterans Recruitment Appointment, the 30% or more Disabled Veteran Program, or the Veterans Employment Opportunity Act.

You are eligible for appointment under the Disability Program.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Employees Only

To be considered for a job that is open to CDC Employees Only, you must be currently working for CDC on a career or career-conditional appointment or under a special appointing authority (e.g., Veterans Recruitment Appointment, Disabilities Program).

If you are working for CDC on a temporary or term appointment, you are not eligible unless you previously attained career or career conditional status in the federal government on another appointment.

Open Period

The date the job announcement is open to receive applications.

Position Information

Identifies the duration and work schedule of the job.

Duration Jobs are typically listed as “permanent”, “temporary”, or “term”.

Permanent jobs do not have a time limit.

Temporary and term jobs have a time limit and the expected ending date will be noted on the job announcement. This date may be shortened depending on the business need. An employee may be released from a temporary (or term) job when his/her services are no longer needed.

Work Schedule

“Full time” positions have a 40-hour work week.

“Part time” positions have a 32-hour or less work week.

“Intermittent” positions involve irregular and occasional work schedules.

Duty Location

Includes the number of jobs that may be filled under this job announcement

Includes the location of the position

Job Summary

Identifies the organizational location of the position and a summary of the duties and responsibilities of the job. Additional job requirements may be listed in this section.

Key Requirements

Identifies critical requirements of this specific job announcement. Additional requirements may be listed in the Job Summary. Read the information carefully.

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Identifies the major duties and responsibilities of the position and additional duty location information.

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Qualifications and Evaluation

This section includes the qualification requirements for the job process which will be used to evaluate applications. Common terms that typically appear in this tab are:

  • Basic Qualifications or Minimum Qualification Requirements
  • Standards set by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
  • Help ensure that job applicants are qualified for a particular job.
  • Must be met to be considered for this particular job.
  • Are stated in terms of general or specialized experience.

General experience is progressively responsible clerical, office, or other type of experience that shows you have the ability to perform the duties of the job being filled.

Specialized experience is usually obtained from having worked in a position similar to the job being filled.

For some jobs, you can qualify based on your education instead of experience; or combination of your experience and education. Some jobs have a required education level and experience level that you must have to qualify.

Selective Factor

A selective factor is a special qualification requirement that is essential to performing the duties and responsibilities of a particular position (e.g., Fluency in speaking and writing Spanish).

Essentially, the selective factor is part of the basic or minimum qualifications described above.

You must meet the selective factor in order to qualify for the position. If you do not possess the required selective factor, your application is rated ineligible. The selective factor is indicated in the job announcement, if applicable.

How You Will be Evaluated

This section provides a description of how your application will be evaluated. Your experience, education, awards, performance appraisals/evaluations, training, self-development, and responses to the assessment and core questions are evaluated and rated based on the requirements of the position.

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How Foreign Education is Evaluated for Federal Jobs

Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet Federal qualification requirements if the applicant can show that the foreign education is comparable to education received in accredited educational institutions in the United States. It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide such evidence when applying for Federal jobs.

Education received in foreign colleges or universities will be considered acceptable based on any of the following. This information must be submitted to the contact identified in the vacancy announcement, within the time limits specified in the vacancy announcement.

  1. The specific courses have been accepted for college-level credit by an accredited U.S. college or university because they would be creditable if the student were to further his or her education at that institution.
  2. An evaluation of the education by an accredited U.S. college or university shows that the education is equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. college or university.
  3. An accredited U.S. State university reports the other institution as one whose transcript is given full value or full value is given in subject areas applicable to the curricula at the State University.
  4. The applicant submits an evaluation of the coursework from an organization recognized for accreditation by the Department of Education that shows that the coursework is equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. college or university.
  5. The education completed outside the U.S. has been submitted to a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign educational credentials and such education has been deemed at least equivalent to that gained in conventional U.S. education programs.

A list of private organizations prepared by the National Association of Credential Evaluation ServicesExternal (NACES) is available. NACES evaluates foreign educational credits for employment and other purposes. All organizations on this list operate for a fee, based on the extent of the education to be evaluated. This link is provided for your general information and may not be all-inclusive. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not endorse any particular service.

Benefits and Other Information

This tab identifies benefits available to federal employees and other critical position information. Read the information carefully.

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How to Apply

This tab provides:

  • critical information and procedures for applying for the job
  • required documents (e.g., college transcripts, licenses, etc.)
  • contact information in case you have questions about the job announcement; and
  • what you can expect after you have submitted your application.

Read all the information and follow all instructions carefully. Failure to follow the instructions may result in your not being considered for the position.

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Other Common Terms

Bargaining Unit

This statement identifies whether the position is represented by a recognized union.

Probationary/Trial Period Requirements

This statement describes the requirement to serve a probationary or trial period.

You must serve a one-year probationary/trial period when you are first hired for a permanent job on a career or career-conditional appointment.

You must serve an additional one-year probationary period if you are selected from a public notice announcement for a new position, even if you have already served a probationary period (e.g., when you were first hired).

You must serve a two-year probationary/trial period if you are hired for an excepted service appointment.

You will be required to serve a one-year managerial or supervisory probationary/trial period when you are selected for your first management or supervisory job in the federal service.

Promotion Potential

Identifies the highest grade to which you could be promoted without further competition. For jobs with promotion potential, promotions may occur, at management’s discretion, after you have:

  • worked at the lower grade level based on the requirements of the position (i.e., some positions require three months, six months, or one year at the lower grade level.);
  • performed at an acceptable level of competence;
  • demonstrated your ability to perform work at the next higher grade level.

For example, a position advertised at the GS-11 level with promotion potential to the GS-13 level means that you would be eligible for promotion to the GS-12 level, assuming acceptable level of performance, at the end of your first year of employment. Once promoted to the GS-12 level, you would be eligible for promotion to the GS-13 level at the end of a year assuming acceptable level of performance.


Time-in-grade applies to the promotion of current and former federal employees. Generally, employees must serve three months, six months, or one year at the next lower grade level based on the requirements of the position. This requirement is called time-in-grade.

Time-in-grade restrictions do not apply to former federal employees who have had a break in service of more than one year.

Time-in-grade also does not apply under vacancy announcements open to the public.

Employees are eligible for competitive merit promotion consideration if they are within 30 days of meeting the time-in-grade requirements of the position.

Reinstatement EligibilityExternal  

Individuals, who previously held a career or career-conditional appointment with the Federal government, may be eligible for reinstatement, which allows reentry to the Federal competitive service workforce without competing with the public. Reinstatement eligible candidates can also apply for Federal jobs open only to status or merit promotion candidates. Learn more about ReinstatementExternal.

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Application Process: Fact Sheet

By law, employment at most U.S. federal government agencies, including CDC, is limited to U.S. citizens. However, non-U.S. citizens may be hired provided they meet certain legal requirements, as described by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPMExternal).

Generally, CDC positions are filled through a competitive hiring process under delegated examining (DE) or merit promotion (MP) procedures. CDC may also fill positions through Excepted Service regulationsExternal. See detailed explanations of DE and MP below.

Delegated Examining (DE)

All U.S. citizens are eligible to apply.

Prior Federal experience is not required.

A category rating method is used to place qualified candidates into quality categories.

Veteran’s preference rules apply.

Merit Promotion (MP)

Application consideration is limited to the following applicant types:

Current federal employees serving under a career or career conditional appointment

Former federal employees eligible for reinstatement

U.S. citizens eligible for appointment under a special hiring authority (e.g., certain military veterans, persons with disability, Peace Corps volunteers, etc.)

Allows consideration of the top ranked candidates

Veterans’ preference points are not applied.

U.S. citizenship is required.

All CDC job announcements filled through DE or MP procedures are published on the USAJobsCdc-pdfExternal website. Instructions for submitting an application are included in each job announcement. Visit the USAJobs resource centerExternal to learn more about the competitive hiring process and how jobs are filled in the federal government.

Veterans’ Preference

Candidates who served on active duty in the United States military during certain dates or campaigns, and were separated under honorable or general conditions, may be eligible for veterans’ preference.

CDC adjudicates veteran preference claims based on the documentation submitted (e.g., DD-214, Report of SeparationExternal.

Veterans’ preference points are applied to all jobs announced under Delegated Examining procedures. See table below.

For veteran’s employment information, visit the Feds Hire VetsExternal website today.

The table lists each military veteran category, associated preference points applied to DE applications, and a description of each type of military veteran.

Military Veteran Categories
Category Preference Points Description of Preference Category
CPX 10 Compensable preference based on a service-connected disability of 30% or more
CP 10 Compensable preference based on a service-connected disability of 10% or more, but less than 30%
XP 10 Other preference granted to recipients of the Purple Heart, persons with a non-compensable service-connected disability (less than 10%), widow/widower or mother of a deceased veteran, or spouse or mother of a disabled veteran.
TP 5 Preference (i.e., other types of qualifying military service)
NV 0 Non-veteran


You must be a current employee of CDC (serving on a career or career conditional appointment) to apply for positions open to CDC employees only.

Specific instructions for submitting job applications are contained in each job announcement. In most cases, you must apply for CDC jobs using the online application system. Contact the Human Resources Customer Service Center via email or by phone at (770) 488-1725 [TTY/TDD (770) 488-1228]. If the online application system or process poses a hardship and you require assistance or reasonable accommodations, be sure to contact HR three business days before the closing date of the announcement. Reasonable accommodations will be provided on an individual basis.

Read the job announcement thoroughly to determine which documents are required. The required documents are listed under the “How to Apply” tab of the job announcement.

What is an SF-50, and how can I obtain a copy?

An SF-50 is the standard form for Notification of Personnel Action. If you are a current or former Federal employee, you must include a copy of your latest SF-50 with your application as proof of your Federal service and civil service status.

If you are a current Federal employee, you may obtain a copy of your latest SF-50 from your agency’s human resources office. If you are a former Federal employee, visit the USAJobs websiteExternal for detailed information on obtaining your official personnel records.

Once you submit your application, you will be transported back to the USAJobs websiteExternal for confirmation of your submission. A notification will populate advising you that your resume has been sent for review and consideration. The notification will further advise you of how to sign up to receive email notification alerts of your application status, as well as include a link to track the status of your application by logging into your USAJobs accountExternal

A photocopy or copy from the school’s web site is sufficient at the application stage. However, you will be required to provide an official transcript if you are selected for the position.

You must reapply if the job is re-announced, unless the replacement job announcement states otherwise.

Only qualified veterans may receive consideration for a position after the job announcement has closed. Learn more about the Special Provisions for VeteransExternal.

All supporting documentation must be submitted via the document upload or fax-imaging features in the online application system, as noted in the “How to Apply” tab of the job announcement. All documents must be received in the human resources office by midnight of the closing date of the job announcement to receive consideration.

You must submit a separate application for each job for which you would like to be considered.

Interview and Selection Procedures – Fact Sheet 

We do our best to make hiring decisions within 45 business days of the closing date of the job announcement; however, managers typically have up to 90 days to make a final selection. You may check your application status online at USAJOBS.

In most cases, the selecting official or a member of his/her staff will call you to arrange an interview. You will be interviewed either by the selecting official or by an interview panel consisting of three to five individuals familiar with the job.

The selecting official or a member of the interview panel should be able to provide you with a projected time frame for filling the position. Once the selecting official has made a final selection, he/she will contact the human resources office. The human resources office will contact the selected candidate and extend a “tentative” offer of employment. Tentative offers are followed by a formal letter outlining the terms and conditions of employment. Candidates who were interviewed but not selected are notified after the selected candidate has accepted the official offer.

We recommend that you wait until you receive the official offer before giving notice to your present employer or making financial commitments to relocate.

We conduct a standard background check on all new hires and employees transferring from another federal agency. For most positions, this is a fairly straightforward process that takes approximately three to five weeks to complete. For positions that require a higher-level “security clearance”, the background investigation process is more extensive. The job announcement will indicate whether or not a position requires a security clearance. If you are selected for a position that requires a security clearance, you will receive specific guidance and instructions from us about what to expect during the investigation process.

Most new hires and employees transferring from another federal agency start work two to four weeks after receiving their official offer of employment.

Most of our positions require the completion of a one-year probationary period.

The decision to pay for moving/relocation expenses is made before a position is posted and is reflected in the job announcement.

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Five Tips to Communicating Your Qualifications (Video)

Resume Review Process (Video)

For more Applicant Information, visit the Job Seeker Resource CenterExternal.

Page last reviewed: April 1, 2016