Training and Development
An agency may noncompetitively convert a Fellow who has successfully obtained certification from their agency's ERB (Executive Resources Board), or equivalent, without a break in service, to a term or permanent position in the competitive service (5 CFR §336.409). Excepted service agencies would convert to a similar position in the excepted service. Conversions must be effective by the expiration of the PMF’s excepted service appointment, including any extensions. A conversion is not allowed prior to full completion of the 2-year fellowship.
For additional information on the certification and ERB process, go to the Certification webpage.
If the agency converts the Fellow to a term appointment, it may subsequently noncompetitively convert the Fellow to a permanent appointment before the expiration of the term appointment (5 CFR §362.107(b) and 5 CFR §315.201(b)(1)xv)) and only within the agency as a whole. For example, if the PMF is converted to a term appointment in FEMA, he/she may be noncompetitively converted to a position within FEMA or DHS.
Once a PMF is noncompetitively appointed to a career-conditional position, he or she does not serve a probationary period and acquires competitive status immediately. The certified Fellow can only convert to a position within the employing agency and agencies cannot convert Fellows from other agencies (5 CFR §362.107(c)(2)).
To be eligible for conversion to the competitive service, the Fellow must:
- Be a U.S. citizen. Agencies that convert non-U.S. citizen Fellows are giving permanent appointments in the excepted service.
- Successfully complete all PMF Program Requirements.
- Meet the OPM Qualification Standard for the position to which the Fellow may be converted.
- Maintain acceptable performance under the agency's approved performance management system.
- Obtain ERB certification prior to conversion.
It is important to remember that eligibility for conversion does not guarantee that the agency will decide to opt for conversion.
A Fellow’s appointment expires on the second-year anniversary (or the expiration date of any approved extension) unless converted. This means the Fellow’s conversion must take place on their second-year anniversary (or on the expiration date of any approved extension).
Conversion results must be recorded in the PMF Talent Management System by the Fellow’s Agency PMF Coordinator.
An agency may convert the Fellow into a different Job Series/Position than the Job Series/Position that they were appointed under at the beginning of their fellowship, as long as the Fellow meets qualifications for the target Job Series/Position. The converted position’s career ladder must be less than or equal to the career ladder of the position the PMF previously held and as advertised in the Fellow’s initial appointment opportunity. For example, if the Finalist applied for an appointment opportunity announcing the position as a GS-9/11/12/13 (a Full Promotion Level (FPL) to the GS-13), was selected and appointed as a Fellow for that position, then the position the Fellow is converted into cannot have an FPL greater than a GS-13. Agencies should have a policy for converting Fellows into their term or permanent positions, including converting into different positions and/or career ladders.
Conversion is not mandatory nor guaranteed for Fellows and is at the agency’s discretion. If the agency is unable to convert their Fellow to a term or permanent position (e.g., due to budgetary constraints, freezes, staffing changes), the Fellow should review FAQ #13.
Additional Pathways Reference Materials can be found at OPM’s webpage at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/hiring-information/students-recent-graduates/?page=1#url=Reference-Materials.
A certified Fellow is also a member of the PMF alumni community. For additional information on PMF Alumni, please visit our Alumni webpage. And for a list of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) specific to Fellows, please visit our Current PMFs\FAQs webpage.