| NODIS Library | Human Resources and Personnel(3000s) | Search |

NPD 3213.1A
Effective Date: June 29, 2023
Expiration Date: June 29, 2028
Printable Format (PDF)

Subject: Excepted Service Appointments

Responsible Office: Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer


a. This directive sets forth NASA's policies and procedures for appointments to the Excepted Service, as required by Excepted Service, 5 CFR pt. 213, and Employment in the Excepted Service, 5 CFR pt. 302.

b. It is NASA's policy to:

(1) Increase employment of individuals with disabilities consistent with existing laws and 3 CFR 13548, Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities.

(2) Appoint individuals under the NASA Excepted (NEX) Employment authority covered by Powers of the Administration in Performance of Functions, Officers, and Employees, 51 U.S.C. § 20113 (b) in accordance with the NASA Desk Guide on NEX Employment. (3) Require individuals appointed to excepted service positions to serve a trial period consisting of one year for persons who are eligible for veterans' preference for Federal appointment and two years for non- preference eligibles. A trial period applies not only to the individual's first appointment but to any subsequent new appointment to the excepted service.

Note: Trial periods are not required for appointments to excepted service positions with time limitations or without authority for noncompetitive conversion to competitive appointments (e.g., attorney positions, experts, and consultants).

(4) Credit an employee's time spent on an excepted service appointment toward the completion of a probationary period and career or career- conditional tenure upon conversion to a career, or career-conditional appointment in the competitive service when the requirements of Length of probationary period; crediting service, 5 CFR 315.802 are met.

(5) Follow the appointment procedures set forth in 5 CFR pts. 213 and 302, and Attachment C, Guidelines for Excepted Service Appointments, of this directive when making excepted service appointment Positions covered by regulations, 5 CFR § 302.101(a).

(6) Use regulations and procedures set forth in Pathways Programs, 5 CFR 362, and NASA's Pathways Programs Desk Guide for making Pathways Programs appointments when recruiting and hiring students, recent graduates, and advanced degree candidates.


a. This directive is applicable to NASA Headquarters and NASA Centers, including Component Facilities and Technical and Service Support Centers.

b. In this directive, all mandatory actions (i.e., requirements) are denoted by statements containing the term "shall." The terms "may" or "can" denote discretionary privilege or permission, "should" denotes a good practice, and is recommended, but not required, "will" denotes expected outcome, and "are/is" denotes descriptive material.

c. In this directive, all document citations are assumed to be the latest version unless otherwise noted.


a. The Excepted Service, 5 U.S.C. § 2103.

b. Employment of Experts and Consultants; temporary and intermittent, 5 U.S.C. § 3109.

c. National Aeronautics and Space Act, 51 U.S.C. § 20113 (a).

d. Powers of the Administration in Performance of Functions, Officers and Employees, 51 U.S.C § 20113(b).

e. Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities, E.O. 13548.

f. Excepted Service, 5 CFR pt. 213.

g. Employment in the Excepted Service, 5 CFR pt. 302.

h. Positions covered by regulations, 5 CFR § 302.101(a).

i. Length of probationary period; crediting service, 5 CFR § 315.802.

j. Pathways Programs, 5 CFR pt. 362.


a. NSREF-3000-0777, NASA Desk Guide on NASA Excepted (NEX) Employment, dated August 7, 2019.

b. NSREF-3000-0567, NASA's Pathways Programs Desk Guide, dated February 18, 2016

c. NSREF-3000-0806, NASA's 21st Century Technical Expert and Fellows Program for Excepted Service, Schedule A (r) Desk Guide, dated February 20, 2020.


a. Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) or designee is responsible for:

(1) Setting Agency policy for excepted service appointments and monitoring program compliance.

(2) Reviewing request for authority to pass over a person who is eligible for compensable veterans' preference for a Federal appointment to select a non-preference eligible, coordinating such request with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and notifying the Human Resources (HR) Director when the request is forwarded to the OPM.

b. CHCO or designee in collaboration with HR Directors are responsible for:

(1) Implementing a proactive outreach program and advising selecting officials on the use of the Schedule A authority for hiring individuals with disabilities.

(2) Ensuring that job announcements open to applicants external to the Agency workforce contain information on how to apply under the Schedule A authority for hiring individuals with disabilities.

(3) Before the effective date of the excepted appointment, informing employees in writing who are currently serving on non-temporary appointments in the competitive service that the acceptance of an excepted service appointment will impact their conditions of employment.

(4) Establishing local procedures for accepting, referring, and maintaining resumes from applicants eligible for noncompetitive appointments to ensure proper application of veterans' preference laws, as applicable.

(5) While using the Agency qualification requirements, establishing procedures that ensure proper acceptance, consideration, referral, and documentation when filling attorney positions.

(6) Determining, in consultation with the hiring official, to use either the unranked method or the category rating-like method (described in Attachment C) prior to recruitment or the issuance of the vacancy announcement and documenting in the staffing case file with the reason(s) for the method chosen.

(7) Implementing applicable Agency guidance in accordance with NSREF-3000- 0777, NASA Desk Guide on NEX Employment, NSREF-3000-0567, NASA's Pathways Programs Desk Guide, and NSREF-3000-0806, NASA's 21st Century Technical Expert and Fellows Program for Excepted Service, Schedule A (r) Desk Guide.

(8) Implementing the requirements of this directive and maintaining records to document recruitment processes and procedures, receipt of applicant resumes, eligibility and qualification determinations, the application of veterans' preference as applicable, availability/consideration of individuals on the reemployment priority list (RPL), certification of candidates, and selections.

(9) Managing requests to pass over individuals eligible for preference for Federal employment.

c. Supervisors are responsible for:

(1) Supporting the Agency policy of increasing the number of hires of individuals with disabilities by considering candidates eligible for Schedule A authority for vacancies.

(2) In the capacity of a hiring official, complying with veterans' preference laws and regulations, as applicable and providing written documentation of job-related reasons for non-selection of a preference applicant.




a. The CHCO or designee will ensure compliance with this directive and applicable laws and regulations on excepted service employment through the periodic evaluation of the HR Office's employment programs.

b. HR Directors will monitor program compliance by conducting periodic evaluations of their excepted service staffing case files.


NPD 3213.1, Excepted Service Appointments, dated June 01, 2021.

/s/ Bill Nelson

ATTACHMENT A: Definitions

CP. A term used to describe a veterans' preference group based on a disability rating of at least 10 percent but less than 30 percent.

CPS. A term used to describe a veterans' preference group based on a disability rating of at least 30 percent.

Excepted Service. Consists of civil service positions that are not in the competitive service or the Senior Executive Service.

Pathways Programs. Established by E.O. 13562, provides hiring authorities for recruiting and hiring students and recent graduates. Pathways includes three programs that provide Federal employment opportunities for current students, recent graduates, and individuals who have completed advanced degrees.

Pool of Candidates. Refers to a group of individuals who apply either through a vacancy announcement or are being considered using noncompetitive procedures who are eligible under a specific excepted service hiring authority (e.g., Schedule A authority for appointment of persons with disabilities).

Preference Eligible. Refers to a person who is eligible for veterans' preference for Federal appointment. Veterans' preference applies to most appointments in both the competitive and excepted service. Veterans' preference does not apply to internal Agency actions such as promotions, transfers, reassignments, and reinstatements.

Professional and Scientific Positions. Refers to positions with positive education requirements that OPM has determined can only be performed by individuals who have prescribed minimum education requirements. See the OPM Delegated Examining Operations Handbook (DEOH), Appendix K (Professional and Scientific Positions) for complete list of position titles and series.


CFR Code of Federal Regulations

CHCO Chief Human Capital Officer

DEOH Delegated Examining Operations Handbook

E.O. Executive Order

GS General Schedule

HR Human Resources

NEX NASA Excepted

NPD NASA Policy Directive

NPR NASA Procedural Requirement

OCHCO Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer

OPM Office of Personnel Management

RPL Reemployment Priority List

U.S.C. United States Code

ATTACHMENT C. Guidelines for Excepted Service Appointments

C.1 The following guidelines are for HR Professionals making appointments covered by 5 CFR § 302.101(a).

C.1.1 Resumes may be accepted using vacancy announcements or noncompetitively (i.e., without the use of a vacancy announcement).

C.1.2 Application of veterans' preference will be made to the pool of candidates (defined in Attachment A). A non-preference eligible may not be selected over a preference eligible without approval of a pass over request. Except for those positions that are exempt from appointment procedures under 5 CFR § 302.101(c).

Note: The most commonly used authorities at NASA include Attorney positions and the appointment of individuals with disabilities eligible under 5 CFR 213.3102(u).

C.1.3 For positions covered under 5 CFR pt. 302, candidates will be rated using either the unranked method or NASA's category rating-like method established under Special Agency Plans, 5 CFR § 302.105.

a. When using the unranked method, only assess applicants for appointment eligibility and minimum qualifications. Preference eligibles are identified on the certificate and referred ahead of non-preference eligibles. When there are no qualified preference applicants, all qualified applicants are referred.

b. When using the category rating-like method, establish two or more quality categories and the criteria for placement into each category before starting the recruitment process or issuing a vacancy announcement. Within each category, identify all qualified preference eligibles and place them on the certificate ahead of non-preference applicants. Place all eligible and qualified preference eligibles with a compensable service-connected disability of 10 percent or more (CPS and CP) in the highest quality category, ahead of all other applicants in that category (they float to the top). Exception for professional and scientific positions (defined in Attachment A) at the GS-9 grade level and above: CPS and CP eligibles do not float to the highest quality category; they are placed ahead of all other applicants within the same quality category.

c. When using the category rating-like method, selections are made from the highest category. When there are fewer than three applicants in the highest category, the highest and second highest category may be merged. If there are fewer than three applicants in the top two categories, all the categories may be merged. When merging categories, all preference eligibles, regardless of the category in which they were initially placed, move to the top of the newly merged category.

ATTACHMENT D. References

D.1 Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Delegated Examining Operations Handbook (DEOH).

(URL for Graphic)



This document does not bind the public, except as authorized by law or as incorporated into a contract. This document is uncontrolled when printed. Check the NASA Online Directives Information System (NODIS) Library to verify that this is the correct version before use: https://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov.