Careers and Testing

(Information courtesy of www.opm.gov.)


While most State and Local Government positions still require some form of written tests when applying, there is no single civil service “test” covering all civil service positions. To apply for many Federal jobs you do not have to take a traditional paper and pencil test. The vacancy announcements on the USAJOBS website will indicate if a specific written test is necessary. Otherwise, you should refer to the vacancy announcement to obtain information regarding how qualifications and abilities are evaluated.


Administrative Careers With America (ACWA)

On November 19, 1981, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia resolved a class-action suit that was filed in 1979 (http://archive.opm.gov/luevano_archive/luevano-archive.asp). The suit alleged that the Professional and Administrative Career Exam (PACE), which the Government used to fill approximately 110 occupations at the GS-5 and GS-7 grade levels, had an adverse impact on the selection of African Americans and Hispanics. The resolution of the suit (known as the “Luevano consent decree”) ended the PACE examination and required the use of alternative assessments for those occupations at the GS-5 and GS-7 grade levels that were once subject to the PACE exam (please see Appendix D of the Delegated Examining Operations Handbook, http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/hiring-authorities/competitive-hiring/deo_handbook.pdf (PDF file), for a complete listing). OPM has developed two types of instruments that you may use for filling those occupations:

  1. Administrative Careers with America (ACWA) Written Tests; and
  2. ACWA Rating Schedules.

NOTE: A rating schedule is an evaluation of an applicant’s job-related competencies or knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) performed by a rater or by an applicant’s self-rating (i.e., occupational questionnaire).


Administrative Careers With America (ACWA) Rating Schedule

The Administrative Careers With America (ACWA) rating schedule is a set of online occupational questionnaires used to evaluate applicants’ relevant personal, educational, and work experiences. An individual questionnaire takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. The questions are related to fundamental competencies, such as Problem Solving and Oral Communication. The questionnaire gives credit for experiences applicants have gained through a wide variety of sources, for example:

  • School,
  • Volunteer work,
  • Military service,
  • Paid employment,
  • Hobbies, or
  • Professional, charitable, religious, community, social, or other organizations

Administrative Careers With America (ACWA) Written Tests

The ACWA written tests consist of two major components:

  1. The ACWA Ability Test, and
  2. The Individual Achievement Record (Test 975)

The ACWA Ability Test score is made up of two parts:

  1. Part A: Verbal – vocabulary and reading items
  2. Part B: Mathematical Reasoning – tabular completions and word problems NOTE: The math and verbal parts are combined to create an overall score on the ability test.

The Individual Achievement Record (IAR) is a biodata instrument. A biodata instrument is a test that consists of items that ask about past events and behaviors which reflect personality attributes, attitudes, experiences, interests, and other characteristics related to a person’s possible overall performance for a given occupation.


Occupations / Positions for Which Written and/or Performance Tests are Required

Series/Title/Position(s)Grade(s)Test or Assessment
011 – Bond Sales Promotion5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
018 – Safety & Occupational Health Management5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
020 – Community Planning5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
023 – Outdoor Recreation Planning5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
025 – Park Ranger5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
028 – Environmental Protection Specialist5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
080 – Security Administration5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
082 – United States Marshal5 / 7written test
083 – Police2written test
083 – Park Police5written test
083a – Police (Secret Service)4 / 5written test
085 – Security Guard2written test
101 – Social Science5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
105 – Social Insurance Administration5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
106 – Unemployment Insurance5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
107 – Health Insurance Administration5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
110 – Economist5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
130 – Foreign Affairs5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
131 – International Relations5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
132 – Intelligence5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
140 – Workforce Research and Analysis5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
142 – Workforce Development5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
150 – Geography5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
170 – History5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
180 – Pyschology5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
184 – Sociology5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
187 – Social Services5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
190 – General Anthropology5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
193 – Archeology5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
201 – Human Resources Management5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
244 – Labor Mgmt Relations Examining5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
301 – Misc. Administration & Program5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
312 – Clerk-Stenographer3 / 4 / 5performance test or self certification
312 – Shorthand Reporter6 / 7 / 8 / 9performance test or self certification
319 – Closed Microphone Reporting6 / 7 / 8 / 9performance test only; mandatory for competitive appt & inservice placement
322 – Clerk-Typist2 / 3 / 4performance test or self certification
326 – Office Automation Clerical and Assistance2 / 3 / 4performance test or self certification
334 – Computer Specialist5 / 7ACWA for Alternative B only
341 – Administrative Officer5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
343 – Management and Program Analysis5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
346 – Logistics Management5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
356 – Data Transcriber2 / 3 / 4performance test or self certification
391 – Telecommunications5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
501 – Financial Admin. & Program5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
526 – Tax Specialist5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
560 – Budget Analysis5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
570 – Financial Institution Examining5 / 7ACWA, except for FDIC positions
673 – Hospital Housekeeping Management5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
685 – Public Health Program Specialist5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
901 – General Legal and Kindred Admin.5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
950 – Paralegal Specialist5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
958 – Pension Law Specialist5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
965 – Land Law Examining5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
967 – Passport & Visa Examining5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
987 – Tax Law Specialist5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
990 – General Claims Examining4written test
991 – Workers’ Comp Claims Examining5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
993 – Railroad Retirement Claims Examining5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
994 – Unemployment Comp Claims Examining5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
996 – Veterans Claims Examining5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1001 – General Arts and Information5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1015 – Museum Curator5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1016 – Museum Specialist and Technician2 / 3written test
1035 – Public Affairs5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1082 – Writing and Editing5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1083 – Technical Writing and Editing5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1101 – General Business and Industry5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1102 – Contract Specialist5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1103 – Industrial Property Management5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1104 – Property Disposal5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1130 – Public Utilities Specialist5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1140 – Trade Specialist5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1145 – Agricultural Program Specialist5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1146 – Agricultural Marketing5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1146 – Grain Marketing Specialist5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1147 – Agricultural Market Reporting5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1150 – Industrial Specialist5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1160 – Financial Analysis5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1163 – Insurance Examining5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1165 – Loan Specialist5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1169 – Internal Revenue Officer5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1170 – Realty5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1171 – Appraising & Assessing5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1173 – Housing Management5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1176 – Building Management5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1412 – Technical Information Services5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1420 – Archivist5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1421 – Archives Specialist5 / 7ACWA (Two-Grade Interval Only)
1654 – Printing Management Specialist5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1701 – General Education and Training5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1715 – Vocational Rehabilitation5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1720 – Education Program5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1801 – Civil Aviation Security Specialist5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1801 – Center Adjudications Officer5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1801 – District Adjudications Officer5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1810 – General Investigation5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1811 – Criminal Investigation5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1811 – Criminal Investigator – Treasury Enforcement Agent5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1849 – Wage & Hour Investigation5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1863 – Food Inspection5 / 7biographical data assessment
1889 – Import Specialist5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
1895 – Customs and Border Protection Officer5 / 7written test
1896 – Border Patrol Agent5 / 7written test & language proficiency
1910 – Quality Assurance5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
2001 – General Supply5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
2003 – Supply Program Management5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
2010 – Inventory Management5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
2030 – Distribution Facilities & Storage Management5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
2032 – Packaging5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
2050 – Supply Cataloging5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
2101 – Transportation Specialist5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
2101 – Airway Transportation System Specialist Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration5 / 7written test
2110 – Transportation Industry Analysis5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
2125 – Highway Safety5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
2130 – Traffic Management5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
2150 – Transportation Operations5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment
2152 – Air Traffic Control5 / 7written test for 5 / 7 – mandatory for competitive appt & inservice placement; optional above 7
2210 – Information Technology Management5 / 7ACWA or other valid assessment

(Information courtesy of www.opm.gov.)