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GS 12 vs GS 13

ProfessionalStudent5

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Hello,

Has anyone had experience with the VA and their pay scale? Curious if I would be eligible for a GS 12 or GS 13 payscale following post doc. I think it would be GS 12 but I haven't been able to get anyone on the phone to verify that. Thank you.
 

Psychchick09

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My understanding is that a GS12 requires 1 year of postdoctoral experience, where a GS13 requires 2, so if you did a 1-year postdoc, you’d be eligible at the GS12 level.


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Therapist4Chnge

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Thanks! That's what I thought. If you work there for a year do you automatically get bumped up to GS-13?
No. It all depends on how the position was approved. If it was up to GS-12...then no. If it was GS-12/13 then....maybe? I'd want it in writing that after a year you get moved to GS-13 or I wouldn't take the position. Just my 2 cents.
 
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summerbabe

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Wanted to echo the advice to avoid any USAJob postings that are only GS11-GS12, which will cap you.

I'm currently in a GS12 position after a year of VA postdoc. In order to go from GS12 to GS13, you need at least 1 year of experience at the GS12 level, gain licensure within 2 years of being hired on as a GS12, and pass all your performance evals.
 

cara susanna

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Yes, they used to allow post doc years to count for GS-13 (so if you completed a two year VA fellowship you could get GS-13 right away in your staff job) but that has changed. Unfortunately, it changed right before I would have been eligible for GS-13 based on that. :(
 
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AcronymAllergy

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Yes, they used to allow post doc years to count for GS-13 (so if you completed a two year VA fellowship you could get GS-13 right away in your staff job) but that has changed. Unfortunately, it changed right before I would have been eligible for GS-13 based on that. :(

Wow, that's news to me. Is it for non-VA fellowships or all fellowships? And do you think it might be specific to your VA?
 

thebalmofhurtminds

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Yes, they used to allow post doc years to count for GS-13 (so if you completed a two year VA fellowship you could get GS-13 right away in your staff job) but that has changed. Unfortunately, it changed right before I would have been eligible for GS-13 based on that. :(
I think that may be specific to your VA? A friend just accepted a position at a VA following a neuro (2 year) fellowship and he's starting at a GS-13.
 
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AcronymAllergy

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This is not something that should have regional differences. The description/definition is pretty clear.

One would think, but I've certainly heard of local HR departments interpreting things differently. Which is why establishing things ahead of time and getting it all in writing is a great idea.
 
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thebalmofhurtminds

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One would think, but I've certainly heard of local HR departments interpreting things differently. Which is why establishing things ahead of time and getting it all in writing is a great idea.
And some are ridiculously difficult about this. Another friend had HR tell her that they wouldn't provide her with any details in writing (e.g. loan forgiveness, grade, salary) until she onboarded and they had some sort of deciding meeting about her status.
 

AcronymAllergy

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And some are ridiculously difficult about this. Another friend had HR tell her that they wouldn't provide her with any details in writing (e.g. loan forgiveness, grade, salary) until she onboarded and they had some sort of deciding meeting about her status.

Yeah, that seems unreasonable. I can see HR essentially saying, "we can't guarantee anything about grade/step until the professional standards board makes a determination," at least back when there was a professional standards board, but they should at least be able to give written confirmation of what the criteria would be for GS12 vs. GS13, the agreed upon step (barring unforeseen complications), and eligibility to apply for EDRP.
 
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Sanman

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GS 13 step 3 or 4, probably.
Sounds about right. You would likely get the extra step increase for ABPP. Something to keep in mind is that while you would qualify for GS-13, local HR or, formerly the professional standards board, would have a bit of latitude with regard to step choice.
 
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AcronymAllergy

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Sounds about right. You would likely get the extra step increase for ABPP. Something to keep in mind is that while you would qaulify for GS-13, local HR or, formerly the professional standards board, would have a bit of latitude with regard to step choice.

Agreed. Theoretically, step 3 or 4 sounds right. But local HR might essentially say, "sorry, we don't start any providers without former VA experience beyond step 1." You can imagine how this might impact the ability of certain sites to recruit strong, experienced applicants.
 
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cara susanna

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I think that may be specific to your VA? A friend just accepted a position at a VA following a neuro (2 year) fellowship and he's starting at a GS-13.

My Chief of Psychology fought it pretty hard on my behalf, even going to the central office psychology people, without success. But it's possible it was the way local HR was interpreting it (which honestly, if I am learning that was the case, brings back my anger about it).

I completed about 1.5 years of a VA post doc so I was at GS-12 for .5 years before starting my staff psychologist job. I had been under the impression that I would get GS-13 half a year later. But then HR told me no, I would have to wait until it had been a year since I started my staff psychologist job.
 
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erg923

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Agreed. Theoretically, step 3 or 4 sounds right. But local HR might essentially say, "sorry, we don't start any providers without former VA experience beyond step 1." You can imagine how this might impact the ability of certain sites to recruit strong, experienced applicants.

Do you really think that could happen? Its equivalent work experience, not VA work experience, and scale definitions are very explicit about that. They cant just do whatever they want here.
 
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AcronymAllergy

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Do you really think that could happen? Its equivalent work experience, not VA work experience, and scale definitions are very explicit about that. They cant just do whatever they want here.

I've heard of it happening. More commonly, I've heard of there being disagreements between the applicant and HR as to the appropriate step. I have no idea if either situation was resolved (e.g., if HR ended up being told, "yeah, you can't do that").

Edit: Although based on Sanman's response, it may have been either a mischaracterization or inaccurate recollection on the part of the person who told me about it, or the HR employee explained it to said person incorrectly.
 
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Sanman

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Do you really think that could happen? Its equivalent work experience, not VA work experience, and scale definitions are very explicit about that. They cant just do whatever they want here.

They cannot have a hard and fast rule about it, but it varies based on how you account for that experience, your previous salary etc. I have a colleague that had several more years experience licensed than I and was offered a gs13 step 1 when hired because it was at CMHC with a much lower salary and unrelated to the clinical position taken at the VA. I had a six figure salary before coming in, relevant geriatric experience, and was started at a step more commensurate with my experience and previous pay. Having served on my professional standards board, I was explicitly told that this was allowed. It also depends on whether experience was relevant. Someone who is a professor for 10 yrs can be a step 1 if taking a clinical position because experience is not relevant.
 
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thebalmofhurtminds

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My Chief of Psychology fought it pretty hard on my behalf, even going to the central office psychology people, without success. But it's possible it was the way local HR was interpreting it (which honestly, if I am learning that was the case, brings back my anger about it).

I completed about 1.5 years of a VA post doc so I was at GS-12 for .5 years before starting my staff psychologist job. I had been under the impression that I would get GS-13 half a year later. But then HR told me no, I would have to wait until it had been a year since I started my staff psychologist job.
Well, that might be the issue. The friend in question is completing his full 2-year post-doc and is currently licensed. His GS-13 job (at the same VA) will start when his post-doc finishes. I'm not sure how it works if you leave post-doc early.
 
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Therapist4Chnge

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One would think, but I've certainly heard of local HR departments interpreting things differently. Which is why establishing things ahead of time and getting it all in writing is a great idea.
Once you get the local VA HR ppl involved....g-d help you all. I did my intern year at a VA and it took months for the local HR to do things.
 
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Sanman

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Uh, yea. Guarantee he was doing similar things to CMHC, lol

Unrelated meaning general clinical vs a specialty clinical position. Not saying that similar clinical skills were not involved. Just explaining how HR justifies it. This also has to do with budgets and such. I had no idea that salary from previous position was factored into the decision before being on the board.
 
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beginner2011

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I had no idea that salary from previous position was factored into the decision before being on the board.
Interesting! What about someone coming from independent practice? There's no salary, but say they were 5 years out from degree and collecting $200k/year income, then applied for a GS13 position with only trainee experience through the VA. Would their previous year income be considered in their step?
 
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Sanman

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Interesting! What about someone coming from independent practice? There's no salary, but say they were 5 years out from degree and collecting $200k/year income, then applied for a GS13 position with only trainee experience through the VA. Would their previous year income be considered in their step?

We considered the value of benefits, etc. If it was someone with valuable experience then you could opt for maybe a step 4 or 5 vs slightly lower. We aren't talking wild swings, but if the extra couple of thousand helped sure. Especially if it was mental health clinic at a CBOC and you wanted someone experienced on their own out there. If it was SARP, inpatient, health psych, etc 5 yrs general outpatient experience is not going to mean much.
 
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ProfessionalStudent5

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Sounds about right. You would likely get the extra step increase for ABPP. Something to keep in mind is that while you would qualify for GS-13, local HR or, formerly the professional standards board, would have a bit of latitude with regard to step choice.

Is there any document that explains what constitutes a difference in steps?
 

Sanman

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IWillSurvive

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IWillSurvive

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As a GS-12 approaching GS-13 eligibility (a few months out), at what point can I begin applying for GS-13 positions? Do I have to wait until I am literally awarded 13 at my current site? By the time I am interviewed, selected, and the on-boarding process is complete, it's likely I would be GS-13. However, the GS-13 apps don't seem to have a space to include the information on how far I am from 13...
 

AcronymAllergy

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As a GS-12 approaching GS-13 eligibility (a few months out), at what point can I begin applying for GS-13 positions? Do I have to wait until I am literally awarded 13 at my current site? By the time I am interviewed, selected, and the on-boarding process is complete, it's likely I would be GS-13. However, the GS-13 apps don't seem to have a space to include the information on how far I am from 13...

Probably depends on who's reviewing applications as the first stop. If it's HR pre-screening things before they send apps to the service for further review, odds are they'd screen out your application for not meeting position criteria (even if you will by the time you're hired). Being only a few months out, I'd say I would start looking around, and would then email individual sites to see if I'd be eligible to apply.
 

IWillSurvive

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Probably depends on who's reviewing applications as the first stop. If it's HR pre-screening things before they send apps to the service for further review, odds are they'd screen out your application for not meeting position criteria (even if you will by the time you're hired). Being only a few months out, I'd say I would start looking around, and would then email individual sites to see if I'd be eligible to apply.
Gotcha, this is helpful.
 
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