Updates to Classification Specifications

On March 13, 2023, Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 278, Recognizing the Value of Experience in State Government. Currently, most state job classifications allow experience to be substituted for education or do not require a higher education degree.  OSHR is currently working with state agencies to evaluate the minimum education and experience requirements in all state job classifications.  As a part of this process, it may be necessary to update some classification specifications. To learn more about the Order, visit EO 278 FAQs.

The State classification system contains about 1,400 job titles designed to ensure state agency and university positions are classified appropriately and consistently. Job classification, also referred to as job evaluation, is a process used to objectively evaluate job descriptions belonging to a job family in terms of compensable factors to determine the pay grade for each job. Those compensable factors include: the variety, complexity and scope of work performed, as well as the level of decision-making, communications, nature of supervision given/received, and required education, experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities. The job evaluation process is based strictly on the minimum requirements and essential duties and responsibilities of a job and not on the experience or level of performance of an individual in a job.

State agencies and universities are responsible for ensuring compliance with OSHR policies, programs and pay plans, including making equitable, consistent and legally defensible decisions regarding position classifications and individual employee salary management. It is likely that an agency has decentralized classification authority (i.e., Delegation of Authority), with OSHR oversight, for a number of jobs. The remainder of jobs require approval from OSHR which reviews those requests in accordance with North Carolina General Statues.

Classification Resources

Tab/Accordion Items

The Classification Specifications, or Classification Specs, provide basic information for approximately 1,400 job classifications. Visit the Classification Specs website to view or download the specifications.

Note: The documents are divided alphabetically, and saved in a PDF format. Adobe Acrobat Reader must be installed on a computer to download the documents.


This page provides resources such as common definitions and descriptions to help visitors understand information related to the State's classification system. 

Job Family:  A group of jobs involving work of a similar nature but requiring different skill and responsibility levels. Jobs at the state have been divided into twenty different job families.

Branch: Within a job family, jobs are grouped together further into categories called branches.

Job:  Work consisting of responsibilities and duties that are sufficiently alike to justify being covered by a single Class Spec. More than one employee may be assigned to a job (i.e., the job of administrative assistant II is held by more than one person, but these individuals are in the same job because they all perform similar duties and responsibilities). A job refers to the combination of duties and responsibilities that are carried out by all persons in that classification.

Position: Used to denote the unique responsibilities and duties assigned to one employee. In instances when there is only one person with a certain job title or job description, the position is the same as a job classification. If, however, there are multiple individuals with the same job title/job description, then each individual with that job title has his or her own position. In other words, a position represents a specific person and the unique duties and responsibilities that person performs.

Class Spec: Short for Classification Specification, this is a broad summary of the essential duties and responsibilities of a job. A Class Spec identifies the nature of the work that is performed, minimum education and experience required to perform the essential duties and responsibilities, and the knowledge, skill and abilities required. Class Specs are used by agency HR analysts and OSHR for the job evaluation process.

Forms for supervisors, managers and Human Resources staff to use in evaluating agency and university positions.

Supervisors and Managers

Human Resources Staff

Jobs at the state are divided into 20 job families identified below.

Administrative Support:  Provide clerical support for agency programs and business units and oversee basic operations such as mail room, call center and cashier functions. Typical functions include basic administrative duties (reception, scheduling meetings and taking minutes, correspondence and reports) and administering programs or business processes that do not rise to a professional level in another job family (procurement of basic office supplies, motor fleet tracking, reviewing applications for a program). The Executive Assistant series, is also included in this family, which provides administrative support to agency senior leadership.

Agricultural/Environmental/Scientific: Inspect, regulate, oversee and manage agricultural and environmental resources throughout the state and professional and paraprofessional scientific analysis at various state agencies. The branches within this family include: Agricultural Management, Chemistry, Environmental Health, Environmental Management, Forensics, Forestry, Geology, Natural Resources, Research and Wildlife/Fisheries.

Corrections: Oversee adult and juvenile offenders who may be incarcerated or supervised under probation, parole, or post-release supervision. Work includes a variety of programs and services to help offenders reenter society successfully. When offenders are incarcerated, these jobs have oversight of housing, clothing, supervision, feeding and medical needs, as well as education and training programs. Jobs may provide daily supervision of inmates and perform inspections and searches of facilities and inmates. Most of these jobs require Criminal Justice certification. The branches within this family include: Custody, Enterprise Management, Juvenile, Probation/ Parole, and Programs.

Education/Training:  Support curriculum and professional development, learning assessment and coordination/management of educational and training opportunities for staff, stakeholders or the public; administer and supervise educational programs and/or facilities, evaluate educational programs or facilities and the teachers who serve in them. The branches within this family include: Public Instruction, Program Education, and Staff Development.

Engineering:  Provide engineering/architectural services and related support for the development, maintenance, or renovation of virtually all aspects of state public infrastructure to include highways and roads, traffic, bridges, public transit, utilities, buildings, and facilities including those with specialized functions such as prisons, hospitals, etc. These jobs provide services such as planning and design, drafting, surveying, field work, testing, and inspection. Areas of engineering focus and expertise include civil, mechanical, structural, and environmental and jobs range from support functions to those requiring professional licensure in Engineering or Architecture. The branches within this family include: Architectural, Engineering, and Architectural/ Engineering Support.

Executive:  Perform executive level work managing/directing the overall operations of an agency, board, or commission in delivering agency services; act with the fully delegated authority of the agency-appointed or elected official. Provide leadership in setting agency goals and objectives; resolve internal resource allocation and program integration issues; and represent the agency with other government and legislative officials. Positions may be exempt from the State Human Resources Act and serve at the pleasure of the agency head. Titles include Chief Deputy and Associate State Superintendent.

Financial/Business Management: Support the functions of the state accounting system, financial planning and management activities by setting statewide fiscal and accounting policies and procedures, ensuring adequate supply and optimum utilization of funds and safety on investment. Functions include: accounting; budgeting; forecasting; compliance; grant administration; financial reporting; auditing; procurement; and real estate administration.

Human Resources: Support and implement state and university human resources policies, programs and practices in accordance with state and university strategies, goals and objectives. Functions include: classification and compensation; benefits; performance management; diversity and inclusion; safety and workers’ compensation; employee and management relations; learning and development; recruitment; HRIS; salary administration; and, legal/regulatory compliance and reporting.

Human Services:  Provide support services for adults and children with mental, physical, behavioral and emotional issues. Assess the situations or conditions of clients and assist in obtaining counseling, education or case management to improve their social and personal conditions. Some positions provide direct services to clients, while others engage in planning, administering or evaluating services by a variety of human services staff at the state, local or third-party level. Jobs in this family are found in Department of Health and Human Resources, DPS-Adult Corrections and Juvenile Justice, and Department of Public Instruction.

Information/Communication/Media:  Support and promote priorities, programs and activities of an agency to improve public understanding of organization’s mission, vision values and goals. Work with agency leadership and staff to increase government transparency and provide better services to internal and external stakeholders. Job functions in this family include: marketing and digital communications; graphic design; media relations; and, government-wide news release distribution.

Information Technology: Support the technological infrastructure of state government. Job functions vary broadly and include call center or hands-on technical support, coordinating and implementing technology solutions to meet business needs, trouble-shooting and resolving complex network, software, hardware, operating systems, peripherals, or other related technology problems, configuring and programming technology solutions, design and develop system architecture, and management oversight at various levels. Branches within this family include: Applications Development; Architecture and Design; Information Technology Management; Contracts and Strategic Sourcing; Networking, Operations; Project Management; Security; Systems Administration; and User Support.

Institutional Support Services: Provide food service and custodial support to state institutions and facilities. Job functions include food preparation, housekeeping, and supervision and management of those functions. Branches in this family are Food Service and Housekeeping.

Law Enforcement/Public Safety: Protect and enhance public safety against crimes and/or natural and man-made disasters, as well as ensure the sustainability of North Carolina’s natural resources for the public’s benefit. Branches within this family include: Firefighting; Law Enforcement; Law Enforcement Support; Military, Security; and, Telecommunications.

Legal:  Attorneys, Agency General Counsels, Paralegals, and Agency Legal Consultants who support agencies’ legal functions, including some roles unique in management, such as consumer protection and tort claims work, Court Reporter and Rules Review Commission Legal Counsel classifications. Jobs that require a law degree and licensure are on the Attorney Pay Plan. Jobs that do not require a law degree or licensure are on the General Pay Plan. The Attorney series includes positions that perform litigation work; i.e., agencies with specific statutory authority to litigate. All other advisory legal jobs are assigned to the Agency Legal Consultant or the Agency General Counsel series.

Medical/Health:  Provide direct medical and psychological services to clients of all ages. Services range from preventative to diagnostic measures culminating in therapy and/or treatment for various conditions and illnesses. Many jobs require professional licensure or certification to perform the duties and include, but are not limited to, nurses, physicians and psychologists. The branches in this family include: Allied Health; Dental; Dietitian and Nutrition; Health Care Support; Medical Laboratory; Medical Support; Nursing; Pharmacy; Physician Practitioner; Psychology; Public Health; and Veterinary.

Natural/Historic/Cultural Resources:  Promote, manage and preserve the state’s natural and cultural resources. Job functions include: providing library services, such as research and information retrieval; providing curatorial and archival services that promote, preserve and provide access to the state’s historical sites; promote and preserve the state’s cultural arts; and managing natural resources such as the state’s zoo and aquariums. Job branches in this family include: Arts; Historical Resources; Library Science; and Zoo and Aquarium.

Operations/Trades: Skilled trades and crafts are part of this job family. Responsibilities include the management, maintenance, and operation of state facilities, equipment and grounds, and require technical or managerial knowledge and abilities, plus a practical knowledge of trades, crafts, or manual labor operations. Branches in this family include some pilots, plumbers, bridge inspectors, locksmiths, painters and welders.

Planning/Economic Development:  Conduct planning studies and research projects, develop public programs and/or policies, and promote industrial economic growth and development. Also includes expanding and exporting state products and resources. Work involves project planning, design and administration; methodology development; data/information collection and analysis; database development and management; publication and report preparation; and communication, instruction, and public education.  Branches in this family include: Business Development; Community Planning; Program Planning; and Social Research.

Program Management:  Implement, supervise, manage, and direct government programs that do not involve specializations captured in other job families (for example, Human Services or Corrections). Job functions include administering, supervising and managing diverse government programs impacting the public, to include determining eligibility and compliance, shaping program policies and goals, overseeing program funding, and implementing or proposing legislative changes. Branches in this family include: Employment and Manpower; Hearings; Motor Vehicles; Program Management; and Revenue.

Safety/Inspections: Responsible for the safety and health of agency workers and visitors. The level of positions responsible for agency safety programs is determined by the variety of work environments that employees and visitors are exposed to and the criticality and variety of hazards associated within those work environments. Branches in this family include: Agricultural; Animal Health; Consumer Services; Emergency Management; Facility Safety; Food Safety; Health; OSHA; Program Inspection; and Safety.