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Home > Careers at Commerce > SES & Senior Professional Opportunities

Senior Executive Service (SES)

The SES is a corps of men and women who administer public programs at the top levels of Federal Government. Positions are primarily managerial and supervisory. The SES is a grade-less system in which salary is linked to individual performance.

Basic annual salaries range from $114,468 to $158,500; however, an agency with a certified SES performance appraisal system can set basic pay at rates up to $172,200 (subject to change). Members of the SES are not eligible for locality pay. Some positions include additional recruitment incentives. T he OPM SES web page contains additional information and resources on the SES.

How SES Jobs Are Filled

Each Federal agency determines the qualifications required for its SES positions, and whether to consider only current Federal civil service appointees or all qualified candidates. At the Department of Commerce, SES jobs are open to all qualified candidates.

There are two methods of entry into the SES:

  • Apply directly to a Federal agency for a specific SES position
  • Apply for a Federal Agency’s SES Candidate Development Program (SESCDP). Qualifications Review Board (QRB) certified graduates of an SESCDP advertised to “all qualified Civil Service appointees” or “all qualified persons” are eligible for (but not guaranteed) career appointment to an SES position without further competition.

Qualifications Requirements

In addition to the professional/technical qualifications of a particular position, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has identified five Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) common to all SES positions. For SES Basic Qualifications, refer to OPM’s SES Qualifications Guide.