TSA Pay Scale Conversion To GS: A Detailed Guide

Have you ever wondered about TSA pay scale conversion to GS (General Schedule)? As a TSA employee, understanding the similarities and differences between these pay structures can help you determine where you stand in terms of compensation.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: While both TSA and GS use a stepped pay grade system, TSA grades are labeled EV, E, D, C, B, and A while GS uses numbers from 1-15. However, the two scales do roughly equate in terms of salary ranges.

Breakdown of the TSA Pay Scale

Understanding the TSA pay scale is essential for TSA employees to know how their salaries are structured. The pay scale consists of different bands, each corresponding to a specific level of responsibility and experience. Let’s break down the TSA pay scale to get a clearer picture.

EV and E Bands

The EV and E bands in the TSA pay scale are the highest-paying bands. They are reserved for executives and senior management positions within the agency. Employees in these bands are responsible for making critical decisions, leading teams, and ensuring the smooth operation of TSA’s mission.

In these bands, employees can expect to earn a competitive salary, reflecting their experience and expertise. The salaries in the EV and E bands are determined based on the General Schedule (GS) pay scale, which is used by most federal agencies.

For more information on the General Schedule (GS) pay scale, you can visit the official website of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

D, C, B, and A Bands

The D, C, B, and A bands in the TSA pay scale cover a wide range of positions within the agency. These bands include various roles, such as transportation security officers, administrative support personnel, and technical specialists.

Employees in the D band are typically in entry-level positions or those with limited experience. As employees gain experience and move up the ranks, they may progress to the C, B, or A bands, which offer higher salaries and more responsibility.

Band Description
D Band Entry-level positions with limited experience
C Band Positions with increased responsibility and experience
B Band Positions with higher-level responsibilities and expertise
A Band Senior-level positions with significant experience and expertise

It’s important to note that the salaries in the D, C, B, and A bands are also determined based on the General Schedule (GS) pay scale. This ensures that TSA employees receive fair compensation in line with other federal agencies.

For more information on the specific salary ranges for each band, TSA employees can refer to the TSA Pay Band Conversion chart available on the official TSA website.

Understanding the breakdown of the TSA pay scale is crucial for TSA employees to effectively navigate their career paths and plan their financial futures. By knowing which band they belong to and the corresponding salary range, employees can make informed decisions about their professional growth within the agency.

Overview of the General Schedule (GS) Pay Scale

The General Schedule (GS) pay scale is a system used by the United States federal government to determine the salaries of most white-collar employees. It consists of 15 grade levels, each with 10 steps.

The GS pay scale is based on a combination of factors, including the employee’s job responsibilities, education level, and years of experience. Understanding the GS pay scale is crucial for employees and job seekers in the federal government.

GS Grade Levels

The GS grade levels range from GS-1 to GS-15. Each grade level corresponds to a specific range of job responsibilities and qualifications. GS-1 and GS-2 positions typically require minimal education and experience, while GS-15 positions are reserved for top-level executives and high-ranking officials.

The higher the grade level, the higher the salary range.

For example, a GS-5 position may require a bachelor’s degree and a few years of relevant experience, while a GS-12 position may require a master’s degree and several years of specialized experience. The specific requirements for each grade level can vary depending on the agency and the position.

It’s important to note that the GS pay scale is not the same as the military pay scale or the pay scales used by state and local governments. Each entity has its own pay system, and the GS pay scale is specific to federal employees.

GS Step Increases

Within each GS grade level, there are 10 steps. Employees typically advance to the next step within their grade level after completing a certain number of years of service. The exact requirements for step increases can vary depending on the agency and the employee’s performance.

Step increases are an opportunity for employees to earn higher salaries and advance in their careers. They are typically accompanied by a pay raise, although the amount can vary. The length of time it takes to reach the highest step within a grade level can vary as well.

It’s important for employees to understand the step-increase process and the requirements for advancement. This knowledge can help them plan their careers and maximize their earning potential within the federal government.

To learn more about the General Schedule (GS) pay scale and its specific grade levels and step increases, you can visit the official website of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

How TSA Pay Grades Compare to GS Grades

Understanding how the pay grades of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) compare to the General Schedule (GS) grades can be helpful for individuals seeking career advancement or considering a job change within the federal government.

While both TSA and GS grades determine the salary of employees, their structures and requirements differ.

TSA Pay Grades

The TSA utilizes a unique pay scale system that is separate from the General Schedule. The TSA pay scale consists of 17 grades, ranging from TSA-1 to TSA-17. Each grade corresponds to a specific salary range and represents a different level of responsibility and experience.

TSA employees are typically hired at lower grade levels and have the opportunity to progress to higher grades through performance evaluations and promotions.

GS Pay Grades

On the other hand, the General Schedule (GS) pay scale is the most common pay system used by federal agencies. It consists of 15 grades, ranging from GS-1 to GS-15. Each GS grade has multiple steps, with employees advancing to higher steps within their grade as they gain experience and tenure.

The GS system is used to determine the salaries of most federal employees, including those in administrative, professional, technical, and clerical positions.

Conversion from TSA to GS Grades

While the TSA pay scale is separate from the GS system, it is possible to convert TSA grades to their GS equivalents. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provides a conversion chart that outlines the equivalencies between TSA and GS grades.

This chart can help TSA employees understand how their current grade aligns with the GS system and what GS grade they would be eligible for if they were to transition to a different federal agency.

Factors to Consider

When comparing TSA and GS pay grades, it’s important to consider the differences in job responsibilities, experience requirements, and promotion opportunities. While a TSA employee may have a certain grade, their responsibilities and experience may not directly align with a GS employee at the same grade level.

Additionally, the promotion opportunities and potential for salary increases may differ between the two systems.

It’s also worth noting that the GS system is more widely recognized and used by federal agencies, which can provide more flexibility and opportunities for career advancement within the government. However, the TSA pay scale offers its own unique benefits and opportunities for growth within the agency.

Pay Scale Conversion Charts


The TSA Executive Vehicle/E band pay scale is generally equivalent to the following GS grade levels (OPM 2022):

TSA EV/E Band Equivalent GS Grade
EV GS-15
E7 GS-14
E6 GS-13
E5 GS-12
E4 GS-11
E3 GS-9
E2 GS-7
E1 GS-5

For example, a TSA employee at the E5 level could expect to equate to a GS-12 if converting to the General Schedule pay system.


The TSA D and C bands generally convert as follows (OPM 2022):

TSA Band Equivalent GS Grade
D2 GS-13
D1 GS-12
C3 GS-11
C2 GS-9
C1 GS-7

So a TSA employee at the D1 level would equate to a GS-12 grade.


For non-supervisory TSA roles, the B and A bands generally convert as:

TSA Band Equivalent GS Grade
B GS-6
A GS-4

However, supervisory B and A roles may equate higher:

TSA Band Equivalent GS Grade
B (Supervisory) GS-8
A (Supervisory) GS-6

So pay close attention to whether the B/A role is supervisory when determining the GS equivalent.

Other Considerations in Comparing TSA and GS Pay

When comparing the pay scales of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the General Schedule (GS) system, it is important to consider a few additional factors that can impact salary and compensation. These factors include locality pay adjustments and special rate tables.

Locality Pay Adjustments

Locality pay adjustments are an important consideration when comparing TSA and GS pay. The GS pay scale takes into account the cost of living in different areas of the country by providing additional compensation based on the employee’s duty location.

This means that employees working in high-cost areas, such as New York City or San Francisco, may receive higher salaries compared to employees working in lower-cost areas.

TSA employees, on the other hand, do not receive locality pay adjustments. Their pay is standardized across the country, regardless of the cost of living in their specific duty location. While this may seem like a disadvantage for TSA employees working in high-cost areas, it is important to note that TSA wages are still competitive when compared to other similar federal agencies.

Special Rate Tables

Special rate tables are another factor to consider when comparing TSA and GS pay. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) may establish special rates of pay for certain occupations or locations where there is a significant recruitment or retention problem.

These special rates can result in higher salaries for employees in these positions.

While special rate tables exist for certain GS positions, they do not currently apply to TSA employees. This means that TSA employees do not receive any additional compensation beyond their base pay, even if they work in positions that may be eligible for special rates under the GS system.

It is worth noting that while TSA employees may not receive locality pay adjustments or special rate tables, they still have access to a range of benefits and opportunities for career advancement within the agency.

Additionally, TSA employees play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and security of the traveling public, which can be personally rewarding.

TSA Pay Scale Conversion To GS – Conclusion

Understanding how your TSA pay lines up with GS grades can give you valuable context. While the grade labels differ between the two pay structures, the underlying step systems result in fairly equivalent salary ranges in many cases.

With key factors like locality pay and special salary rates, make sure to evaluate your specific situation when comparing TSA and GS compensation.

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