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NIST Pay Systems

Alternative Personnel Management System (APMS)

Most NIST employees are covered by the NIST Alternative Personnel Management System (APMS) for white collar employees engaged in scientific and technical, administrative, technician, or clerical work. These employees are grouped and paid according to career path. An employee's occupational series determines which career path applies to the position; the pay band within the career path determines an employee's salary. There are four career paths at NIST: 

  • ZP, Scientific and Professional
  • ZA, Administrative
  • ZT, Technician
  • ZS, Support

Click here to see a chart of NIST Career Paths and corresponding General Schedule grades. (Adobe Acrobat Reader required. Get Acrobat Reader. If you cannot access these files, please contact Human Resources.)

Executive-Level Pay

Senior Executive Service (SES) employees are paid under a system established by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 for managers and supervisors in positions above GS-15 through Executive Level IV. There are six pay levels in the SES pay system. The minimum pay rate may be no lower than 120 percent of step 1 of GS-15, but is usually set at about 135 percent of step 1 of GS-15. The maximum pay rate is linked to Executive Level IV. Individual rates of pay for members of the NIST SES are determined by the Office of the Secretary of Commerce according to the qualifications, performance, and individual position requirements.

ST-3104 positions are specially designated positions involved in high-level scientific research activities. ST-3104 pay is determined by the Office of the Secretary of Commerce. The minimum payable rate for ST-3104 is 120 percent of step 1 of GS-15. The maximum rate is linked to Executive Level IV.

SES and ST Pay Charts

Experts and Consultants

Agencies may appoint a qualified expert or consultant to an expert or consultant position that requires only intermittent and/or temporary employment. Such an appointment is excepted from competitive examination, position classification, and the General Schedule pay rates. Experts and consultants may be paid a rate not to exceed the daily equivalent of the highest payable rate in the General Schedule (GS-15, step 10), excluding locality pay, unless a higher rate is specifically authorized by statute.

Federal Wage System

Federal Wage System employees (sometimes referred to as blue collar workers) are paid under the Prevailing Rate System. These positions are often called "Wage Grade" or "Wage Board" jobs with pay plans designated as WG, WS, WL, WP, WI, WN, WD or WT.

Federal Wage Schedules