DOD Civilian Pay (How does it work?)

by MyNameIsJeff MyNameIsJeff, CNA, EMT-B Member Student

Specializes in ED/Peds/Occ Health. Has 6 years experience.

Hi all,

I've worked for the DOD as an Army Civilian and as an MSA for the VA. I'm familiar with how the VA does their VN pay scale, and seeing a general listing for the GS 5-15 for Clinical Nursing for the DOD(AF), I was curious how it worked exactly. 


When I worked for the VA, it was explained to me that pay raises, (steps) weren't automatically given like they were as a DOD Civilian, and that they often had to be fought for and made it seem unappetizing to be a VA nurse. 


According to the DOD listing for the Clinical Nurse, if I started out as an RN with them, I'd have to have 1 year of experience with my ADN, or zero experience and my BSN, but I'd be a GS-5 which is clearly not logical for the pay difference.  However, it says the GS-7 would be for the ADN and 2 years, or the BSN plus 1 year, and so on and so forth. Is the GS bump through automatic like some positions are? Or is it something that, "has to be in the budget," or applied too, or fought for as well? 

Once I'm done my ADN, I'd be doing my BSN which I'd have done in about a year, so would I automatically bump up as well?


I currently work in a civilian hospital as a CNA until I finish my ADN,  but miss the perks and comradery of working in the DOD. However, I don't want to do it if the pay cut is astronomical. 



114 Posts

I'm no sure how the ADN to BSN will affect things, but the step increases are automatic in the GS system. The first couple of increases are yearly, then they go to every 2 years, then to every 3 years. Just Google GS step increase and you will find lots of info. Below is from the website.

"Within-grade step increases are based on an acceptable level of performance and longevity (waiting periods of 1 year at steps 1-3, 2 years at steps 4-6, and 3 years at steps 7-9). It normally takes 18 years to advance from step 1 to step 10 within a single GS grade if an employee remains in that single grade."

I would think that going from ADN to BSN would be a GRADE increase, not just a simple step increase. It might not be automatic though- it would have to be an option in your PD (position description) such as GS0610 grades 5-8; some jobs aren't eligible for an increase in grade. Depends on the facility and how the job description is written.

Hope that helps a little! Best of Luck!


MyNameIsJeff, CNA, EMT-B

Specializes in ED/Peds/Occ Health. Has 6 years experience. 32 Posts

Not even in the slightest. Thanks anyways.