Federal Manager's Daily Report

OPM has circulated to agencies, for what will have to be a quick review, draft revisions to occupational qualifications and candidate assessment under a Trump administration executive order downplaying the role of formal education in the former and self-assessments in the latter.

OPM sought comments by November 30 on potential revisions to the GS qualifications operating manual and separate group coverage qualification standards for administrative and management positions and for professional and scientific positions.


Under the proposed revisions, “candidates will now be able to qualify for employment on the basis of competency-based assessments when there are no legal educational requirements to perform a job. While many agencies already use skills and competency-based assessments once a list of certified candidates is developed, education and experience are currently the most common considerations when putting together a list of certified candidates,” a memo said.

It adds that the order requires agencies to “use assessments at the pre-certification stage as a third, and co-equal, mode of establishing minimum qualification (in addition to education and experience), absent OPM requirements for positive education and/or license. Developing competency-based assessments will benefit the federal workforce by generating larger pools of highly skilled job candidates from which agencies may choose their employees, thereby enabling highly skilled workers with non-traditional educational paths to serve the American public.”

A late-September memo had told agencies to review occupational series to determine whether educational requirements are a necessity for the position. That memo included a list of some 120 occupational series for review by HR personnel and subject matter experts, some of which require a degree while others require a combination of education or training and experience.

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