A competitive appointment is one in which the veteran competes with others on the list of eligibles. This is the normal entry route into the civil service for most employees. Veterans' preference applies in this situation, and those veterans who qualify as preference eligibles -- i.e., who are entitled to veterans' preference -- have 5 or 10 extra points added to their passing score on a civil service examination. Before a job is filled by competitive appointment, NIST announces the vacancy open to all qualified. Then, NIST determines the candidates' qualifications, and rates and ranks them according to job-related criteria. This list of eligibles, or certificate, is then given to the selecting official.
A noncompetitive appointment under special authority is one such as the Veterans Recruitment Appointment (VRA) authority (formerly known as the Veterans Readjustment Appointment authority) and the special authority for 30 percent or more disabled veterans. Eligibility under these special authorities gives veterans a very significant advantage over others seeking to enter the Federal service in that they do not compete with them. When utilizing one of these authorities, the eligible veteran may be appointed to any position for which the veteran is qualified. However, use of these special authorities is discretionary. Veterans' preference applies when making appointments under these special authorities if there are two or more candidates and one or more is a preference eligible. These authorities provide for noncompetitive conversion to the competitive service after a suitable period of satisfactory service.
A Merit Assignment selection under the Veterans' Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 (VEOA) is one in which the veteran competes with current federal employees under NIST's Merit Assignment Program (MAP). The VEOA allows eligible veterans to apply under MAP announcement (status vacancies) open to candidates outside the agency. However, NIST does not apply veterans' preference when considering individuals under MAP or under the VEOA. A VEOA eligible who competes under MAP and is selected will be given a career or career conditional appointment.
A Schedule A authority can be used to hire a veteran with mental retardation or a severe physical or psychiatric disability to fill any job in which the veteran is able to perform with or without reasonable accommodation; and on a "trial" basis. Then, after 2 years of successful performance, the veteran may noncompetitively converted to a permanent appointment in the competitive service.