President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that would adjust the federal hiring process to allow assessments to take the place of educational requirements for many federal jobs, but some positions still mandate a certain degree or certification for applicants to be considered qualified to take the job.

According to a memo sent by acting Office of Personnel Management Director Michael Rigas to agency chief human capital officers, nearly 600,000, or 27.5 percent, of current federal employees are classified under jobs that have a positive education requirement.

Such a requirement, according to an Army human resources fact sheet, is a “determination by the Office of Personnel Management that the duties of a position cannot be performed by an individual who does not have the prescribed minimum education.”

By comparison, some federal job listings may use degrees as a means to prove that an applicant has the needed skills to accomplish the job, but that degree is not necessary if the applicant can prove that they meet the requirements by some other means.

Some of the positive education requirements are for jobs like nurses and lawyers, who must meet certain educational criteria to practice that profession at all, and others require a license or certificate to perform that work.

The changes would not eliminate the ability for federal job applicants to use degrees to prove their qualifications, but rather would enable those applicants without degrees to use assessments as “a third, and co-equal, mode of establishing minimum qualification (in addition to education and experience).”

The memo asks agency human capital officers to review the list of job series with positive education requirements and provide any changes to the list based on the way that agency has applied education requirements in its job postings.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

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