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Frequently Asked Questions

What are Trust Positions?

Trust Fund positions are unique to the Smithsonian. They are paid from a variety of sources, including the Smithsonian endowment, revenue from our business activities, donations, and grants and contracts. Trust employees are not part of the civil service, nor does trust fund employment lead to Federal status. The salary ranges for trust positions are generally the same as for federal positions and in many cases trust and federal employees work side by side. Trust employees have their own benefit program which is similar to the federal benefit program. On job announcements, trust jobs are designated with the pay plans IS, HG, IL or AE. Federal jobs are designated with pay plans GS, WG or SL.

Where Can I Find Information About Veterans' Preference?

Information about Veteran’s Preference can be found at http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/vetpref/index.aspx and http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/veterans-services/vet-guide/. Veterans' Preference does not apply to Status or Merit announcements nor does it apply to Smithsonian trust announcements. For further clarification each of our announcements contains language regarding how Veterans' Preference is applied.

Is The Smithsonian Part of the Government?

The Smithsonian is a Trust Instrumentality of the United States. The Board of Regents is the governing body and consists of the Chief Justice of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, three members of the United States Senate, three members of the United States House of Representatives, and nine citizens. The Smithsonian receives an annual Congressional appropriation that accounts for approximately 2/3 of our total budget.

Are Smithsonian Federal Employees the Same as Employees at a Regular Federal Agency?

Generally, yes. Smithsonian federal employees are regular civil service employees. The Smithsonian does not have political appointees.

How Long Will it Take to Fill the Job?

The target is 58 days after the closing date listed on the job announcement. The process may take more or less time depending on the number of applicants and the nature of the position.

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Do I Have to be a US Citizen to Work at the Smithsonian?

You must be a U.S. citizen to hold a federal civil service position. Trust positions require that the applicant has the right to work in the United States as evidenced by the possession of a green card, work visa, student visa or other Employment Authorization Document (EAD) obtained from the United States Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services

I See Two Announcements Listed that Look almost Exactly the Same. What is the Difference?

Frequently for our federal positions we will post two separate announcements for the same position. One of the announcements will have the letters ‘DEU’ in its announcement number, the other will have ‘MPA’. The DEU announcement is open to all U.S. citizens to apply and has certain rules regarding the application of Veterans' Preference.
The MPA announcement is only open to current or previous federal employees with reinstatement eligibility, certain Veterans, and persons who are eligible for federal positions under a Special Appointing Authority such as Schedule A or Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. You may apply to both announcements as long as you meet the eligibility requirements for each type of announcement. Selections may be made from either or both announcements.

Can I Apply to Multiple Jobs?

Yes, but you must submit a separate application package or complete an online application as requested in the position announcement.

What is Smithsonian Enterprises (SE)?

SE is a revenue generating division of the Smithsonian and manages the Smithsonian Magazine Group, Museum Stores, Licensing, IMAX Theaters, Smithsonian Mail Order Catalogue, Smithsonian Journeys, Smithsonianstore.com and SmithsonianMagazine.com. SE also manages the partnerships that produce Smithsonian Books and the Smithsonian Channel HDTV. Income generated by SE is managed by the Smithsonian Institution and used for Smithsonian programs and facilities.

What does ‘All’ mean with regard to who may apply?

When ‘All’ is listed in the "Who May Apply" field of our Job Announcement’s page it means one of two things. For federal positions this typically means all U.S. citizens. For trust announcements it means all individuals who have eligibility to work in the U.S., including non U.S. Citizens. Please see individual vacancy announcements for more specific information.

What does ‘Status Only’ mean with regard to who may apply?

When ‘Status Only’ is listed in the "Who May Apply" field of our Job Announcement’s page there are three categories of applicants who are eligible to apply:


  • Applicants Eligible under a Special Hiring Authority: A person with non-competitive appointment eligibility.
  • Veterans: A Veteran eligible for veterans' preference or separated from the armed forces under honorable conditions after 3 years or more of continuous military service. Please see individual vacancy announcements for more specific information.

What does ‘SI Only’ mean with regard to who may apply?

When ‘SI Only’ is listed in the "Who May Apply" field of our Job Announcement’s page it means one of two things. For federal positions this means current Smithsonian employees who are Status Eligible (see above) which includes current federal and trust employees. For trust announcements it means all current Smithsonian employees which includes federal and trust employees. Please see individual vacancy announcements for more specific information.

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