The federal Office of Personnel Management's General Schedule classifies white-collar federal jobs into 15 pay grades from GS-1, the lowest, to GS-15, the highest. Grades depends on a position's difficulty, responsibility level and required qualifications.
GS-9 jobs typically require a master's degree, GS-5 jobs a bachelor's degree and GS-2 jobs a high school diploma.
Each pay grade is divided into 10 steps, with advancement based on performance level and length of service. Reaching the highest step within a particular pay grade typically requires 18 years.
As of 2015, annual base pay for a GS-1 job at step 1 was $18,161; at step 10, a GS-1 job paid $22,712 per year. Jobs at step 1 of the GS-15 pay grade qualified for $101,630 annual pay, and those at step 10 paid $132,122.