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How to convert military rank to federal civil service

There are many reasons to want to find the equivalent of a military rank in the federal civil service. Military veterans returning to civilian life may want to find out what their pay would be in the civilian workforce, while joint military and civilian operations may use pay scales to help determine seniority among workers. There are standardised comparisons available, thanks in part to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has a specialised program for hiring veterans, and the U.S. State Department, which sometimes provides housing for military liaison officers.

Convert your title to a pay grade. There are three classes of pay grade -- one for enlisted personnel, one of warrant officers, and one for officers, so make sure you are converting to the proper grade. For example, an Army sergeant first class and a Marine Corps gunnery sergeant both have a paygrade of E-7. Note that the Air Force no longer has warrant officers.

Once you've calculated your pay grade, compare it to the following list of General Schedule, or GS grades, for civil service:

GS 1-3: E-1 through E-3

GS 4: E-4

GS 5: E-5 and E-6

GS 6: E-7 through E-9

GS 7: W-1 and W-2, O-1

GS 8: W-3 and W-4

GS 9: O-2

GS 10 or GS 11: O-3

GS 12: O-4

GS 13 or 14: O-5

GS 15: O-6

For flag officers, or admirals in the Navy, and generals in the Army, Air Force and Marines, the functional pay equivalent is the Senior Executive Service, which does not have specific pay scales on the General Schedule.

Match your experience against job requirements if you are trying to obtain a federal job after serving in the military. While the conversions will help gauge what positions may be the best fit, specialised experience in certain areas could mean a higher general schedule placement.

Things You'll Need

  • Rank in the U.S. Armed Forces to compare
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About the Author

Francis Matthews currently write SEO-friendly news articles for websites with topics as varied as military lodging, health supplements, car dealers and health insurance finders. Matthews has worked in corporate communications and as a reporter at a newspaper tasked with late-breaking news stories. He has a Bachelor of Arts in history and Spanish from Eckerd College.