Position Classification

Human Resource Services in partnership with departments, colleges, and administrative units works to support and coordinate the equitable and consistent evaluation of jobs. Each position is classified based on the articulated duties, responsibilities, and job requirements as stated in the job description provided to Human Resource Services.

If you have any questions, contact your Human Resource Services employment coordinator.

Civil Service

The Employment Coordinator in partnership with departments, colleges, and administrative units works to support and coordinate the equitable and consistent evaluation of jobs.

Each Civil Service (CS) job description is evaluated for proper placement into a civil service classification. This assessment takes into account the assigned duties, responsibilities, and requirements of the job as depicted in the job description. The Civil Service class specifications define basic responsibilities and the minimum skill and knowledge requirements of each classification. A probationary period of either 6 or 12 months is required when entering a Civil Service classification.

How We Can Help

The Human Resource Employment Coordinator will assist with:

  • Job description development and appropriate classification of vacant positions based on university and departments needs and objectives.
  • Job description review when duties have changed in order to determine the proper classification.
  • Consultation during reorganization to ensure proper classification and reallocation of positions.

Extra Help

Departmental needs for employing individuals on a non-status (extra help) basis should be discussed with Human Resource Services (HRS) prior to the hiring to ensure that the individual is eligible for employment and will be properly compensated. The department must have available funds in its non-status budget (646) to cover such non-status appointments. Extra help appointments are subject to the statutory rules and procedures of the State Universities Civil Service System (SUCSS) and related biannual compliance audits. Pursuant to these rules, non-status employment is limited to those positions which are temporary or of an emergent nature. The work schedule established by the department must also be within the guidelines set forth in the definition of the type of extra help appointment requested.

Extra help employees are appointed to general categories (EDP Software, Clerical, Professional Services, Technical Assistant, Laboratory Assistant, Custodial, Food Services, Transportation, Stores, and NEC (Licensed Prof/Other)) which do not conform to specific status classifications. These general categories are maintained by Human Resource Services and may be amended as operational needs dictate. By definition, an extra help employee is called to work for periodic appointment periods as needed to provide additional help for work of an emergent nature where such services are not regularly required on a constant, repetitive basis and cannot readily be assigned to status employees.


An extra help employee must be employed within the salary range of the appropriate category, and all such appointments must be approved by HRS. Extra help employees may receive increases based upon merit or position responsibilities. Such increases must be authorized by the employing department/division and HRS. However, such increases shall be limited to the amount currently in effect for status employees and may not occur more frequently than once every 12 calendar months.

Job Code Class Title Hourly (minimum) Hourly (maximum)
9001 EDP Software (Programming/Systems Analysis) $12.00 $20.00
9002 Clerical (Typing, Registration, Data Entry, Bookstore) $12.00 $15.00
9003 Professional Services (Artist, Publ Editor, Translator) $12.00 $30.00
9004 Technical Assistant (Counselors, Research Assts, Photographers, Broadcasting) $12.00 $15.00
9005 Laboratory Assistant $12.00 $15.00
9006 Custodial $12.00 $15.00
9007 Food Services $12.00 $15.00
9008 Transportation $12.00 $15.00
9009 Stores $12.00 $15.00
9010 Licensed professionals/Authorized NEC $13.50 $100.00

Maximum Hours of Work

In accordance with the Statute and Rules of the SUCSS, an extra help position may be utilized for a maximum of 900 hours of actual work in any consecutive 12 month period. If an extra help position has accrued 900 consecutive hours, the position shall not be reestablished until six months have elapsed from the date of termination.

Upon working a total of 900 hours, an extra help employee cannot resume employment in any extra help appointment until a minimum of 30 calendar days have passed. It is possible for an employee to hold more than one extra help appointment concurrently, however, it should be noted that the number of hours worked on each appointment accumulate toward the employee's 900 hour maximum. Under no circumstances should the employee be worked beyond the 900 hours. Departments that exceed this statutory limitation will be required to provide justification to HRS necessary to fulfill compliance audit requirements. If the department determines that operational needs may result in the employee exceeding the 900 hour limitation, HRS must be contacted in order to receive a case-by-case exception from the SUCSS. This request should be received before the employee reaches the 900 hour limitation to assure that there is no lapse in the work schedule.

Extra help employees are limited to 25 hours per week maximum.


Faculty positions are exempt from the State Universities Civil Service System and are classified in accordance with Board of Trustee Regulations.

Tenure/Tenure Track

A tenure/tenure track faculty member holds rank within a department and follows University policies regarding promotion and tenure. These are considered regular appointments, provided it is a position classified as tenured faculty, faculty serving in probationary status on tenure track, or other faculty designated as regular appointments.

Visiting Faculty

The Regulations of the Board of Trustees recognizes three professorial ranks - Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor. Individuals who meet board and department criteria for appointment at one of these ranks may be appointed to a non-tenure-track position in any of these ranks in a "visiting" capacity. Individuals who receive visiting appointments must possess the appropriate terminal degree for the discipline (e.g., Ph.D., Ed.D., M.F.A., M.M.). A visiting appointment is appropriate when an individual is hired to replace a specific regular faculty member who is on leave or temporarily unable to teach, when a scholar with special expertise is brought to campus to make that expertise available to NIU students, or when the short-term filling of a vacant tenure-track position is necessary pending the initiation and completion of regular search procedures. Visiting appointments will often include research, graduate training/supervision, and/or service expectations normally associated with ranked faculty workloads. Visiting appointments are always temporary, with the anticipated term of appointment to be one year or less.

Adjunct Faculty

Adjunct faculty appointments are authorized in accordance with Board of Trustees regulations. Adjunct appointees shall enjoy the normal benefits and working conditions of the faculty with the following exceptions: They will be appointed on an annual or semester basis and will not be eligible for tenure.

Appointees may be utilized in teaching duties, on thesis and dissertation committees, as consultants for or as codirectors of research projects or public service programs, and in other activities in support of university programs. Adjunct appointments for teaching credit courses shall be less than 50% FTE.


Temporary instructional faculty may be appointed with the title of "Instructor." Ordinarily, positions filled by instructors require an appropriate baccalaureate or master's degree but do not require the doctorate. Each temporary appointment is a separate, non-continuous appointment, and there shall be no presumption of renewal or extension. The terms and conditions of employment for individuals appointed under this title are governed by a collective bargaining agreement.

Graduate Assistant

Position descriptions as provided on the Graduate Assistant Assignment Approval Form (GAAAF) are reviewed to determine proper classification.

It is important that graduate students are properly classified based on their duties. The following classifications are available for graduate assistant employment positions:

  • Graduate Staff Assistant (6138)
  • Graduate Research Assistant (6139)
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant (6140)

Graduate Assistantship appointments can be classified into one of three categories:

  • Teaching Assistants - Teaching Assistants aid in the instructional functions of the university. Their duties may include but are not limited to providing direct instruction in classroom, laboratory, and discussion sections, or in studio settings; tutoring students; mentoring engaged learning experiences for students; grading tests and assignments; developing instructional materials; accompanying or coaching artistic performances; and proctoring examinations.
  • Research Assistants - Research assistants apply research concepts, practices, or methods of scholarship by conducting experiments, analyzing data, presenting findings, collaborating with others in preparing publications, or conducting institutional research for an academic or administrative unit.
  • Staff Assistants - Staff Assistants assist in roles other than teaching or research. Duties of a staff assistant may include but are not limited to serving as a resident adviser, counselor, academic adviser, office support, or library assistant.


Academic Year 2022 (Effective July 1, 2021)
Job Code Classification Title Minimum Full-time (0.50 FTE) Minimum 3/4-time (0.375 FTE) Minimum Half-time (0.25 FTE) Rate Type
6138 Staff Assistant $18.36 $18.36 $18.36 Hourly
6139 Research Assistant $795.50 $596.63 $397.75 Semi-monthly
6140 Teaching Assistant $795.50 $596.63 $397.75 Semi-monthly
Academic Year 2023 (Starting Fall 2023) - All Other Programs
Job Code Classification Title Minimum Full-time (0.50 FTE) Minimum 3/4-time (0.375 FTE) Minimum Half-time (0.25 FTE) Rate Type
6138 Staff Assistant $21.30 $21.30 $21.30 Hourly
6139 Research Assistant $852.00 $639.00 $426.00 Semi-monthly
6140 Teaching Assistant $852.00 $639.00 $426.00 Semi-monthly
Academic Year 2023 (Starting Fall 2023) - Ph.D. Programs Only
Job Code Classification Title Minimum Full-time (0.50 FTE) Minimum 3/4-time (0.375 FTE) Minimum Half-time (0.25 FTE) Rate Type
6138 Staff Assistant $25.63 $25.63 $25.63 Hourly
6139 Research Assistant $1025.00 $768.75 $512.50 Semi-monthly
6140 Teaching Assistant $1025.00 $768.75 $512.50 Semi-monthly

Supportive Professional Staff (SPS)

SPS positions are exempt from the State Universities Civil Service System. In order to be exempt a comprehensive review of the job description by Human Resource Services is required.

Position descriptions are reviewed to determine if an appropriate Civil Service job classification is available. If a Civil Service classification does not align with the job description, then the position may be made SPS provided it fits within one of the three exemption categories.

Additional information regarding exemption for the Civil Service System is available from the State Universities Civil Service System (SUCSS), scroll down the page to the last section "Exemption Procedures."

Exemption Categories

Supportive Professional Staff appointments can be exempted under one of three categories:

  • Primary Administrator 36e(2) - The presidents and vice-presidents of each educational institution, In general, these positions are typically given the final campus/agency decision-making and oversight authority by their Board or Trustees, or other Governing Body. Those directly affiliated positions that are assigned to manage and support any aspect of the primary campus/agency decision making and oversight authority may also be considered exempt in accordance with this procedure.
  • Principal Administrative (PAA) 36e(3) - A PAA is defined as an employee who is charged with high level administrative responsibilities, whose decisions are based on administrative polices and who exercises discretion and independent judgment. A PAA performs these duties with only general administrative supervision or direction, e.g. Director, Associate or Assistant Director. In addition, a PAA can be defined as an employee who is in a position requiring knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction and study (as distinguished from a general academic education) and which requires the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment, e.g., physician, attorney, engineer, architect.
  • Teaching, Research, and Extension Faculty 36e(4) - These positions include those who provide direct classroom instruction to the institution's students as their primary function, most specifically related to the normal academic curricula. This activity, however, is not specifically limited to those members of the tenure-track faculty (Professor, Associate Professor, and Assistant Professor), but also extends to those positions who provide direct instructional support, or academic/career planning/counseling to students as their primary function. Likewise, those positions with primary administrative or supervisory responsibility for a group of employees falling within this category are considered exempt in accordance with this standard.

Title Change

In order to change the title for Supportive Professional Staff employee a current job description articulating the responsibilities of the position should be submitted to Human Resource Services along with a Position Request Form (PRF).

Converting from SPS to a Civil Service Position

Civil Service employment is governed by the State Universities Civil Service System (SUCSS) statutes, the NIU Board of Trustee Regulations, and university policies and procedure. Many Civil Service positions are also under the auspices of a labor agreement, which may have additional work rules, salary implications, and stipulations.

Employees who are in a Supportive Professional Staff (SPS) position and are converted to Civil Service either voluntarily or because of a SUCSS audit findings, will be covered under Civil Service and NIU terms of employment on the first day in the Civil Service position. As a result of moving from Supportive Professional Staff to Civil Service employment, the employee can expect the following changes:

  • Vacation accrual must be accrued prior to use.
  • Vacation accrual for non-exempt employees ranges from 12 and 25 days, depending on years of service.
  • Vacation accrual for exempt employees ranges from 25 and 28 days, depending on years of service.
  • Employee accrues seniority in Civil Service classifications and gains seniority rights.
  • Position may become eligible for overtime based on the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) determination.
  • Position may be represented by a union, based on the classification.
  • The notice rights in the Board of Trustee Regulations no longer apply.


Postdoctoral Scholar

Postdoctoral scholars advance institutional research and scholarship and enhance professional skills and research training for individuals who recently received a doctoral degree (or equivalent).

Individuals in these positions do not engage in instruction except on a part-time and occasional basis, and are not expected to supervise other professional staff.

NIU faculty or research scholars/scientists are responsible for the mentorship of their postdoc by providing the following:

  • An active line of research or scholarship that will enhance the postdoctoral scholar’s own research and scholarly development.
  • Fundamentals of grantsmanship and proposal best practices including identification of key research questions, aims and objectives, project timelines, and program management.
  • Opportunities for interaction with other practitioners in their field, including dissemination of their work at conferences, workshops, and seminars.
  • Instruction in professional practices of research integrity, scientific method, laboratory safety, and other discipline practices.
  • Counseling on positioning for future employment in academia, government, or industry.

*The National Science Foundation (NSF) requires postdoc mentoring plans (DMP) as part of the proposal and funding evaluation process.

Postdoctoral Scholars are exempt from Civil Service under section 36e4 and are classified as temporary Supportive Professional Staff (SPS). Appointments are on a limited-term basis.

A search is not required for these positions.

Additional Material


The following are descriptions of the approved classifications. These descriptions are intended to present a descriptive list of the range of duties and are not intended to reflect all duties performed within the classification.

On-Campus Student Job Classifications

  • Clerical (1100) - Students hired under this classification generally perform the following types of duties: general office work, filing, photocopying, answering phone calls and relaying calls and messages to appropriate staff, sending and receiving mail, cashiering in a non-food service department, assisting in maintaining records, greeting customers, scheduling meetings, and assisting in responding to customer inquiries.
  • Professional Services (1101) - Students hired under this classification number have a professional or trained skill. Students hired under this classification generally perform the following types of duties: personal training, assisting a Human Resources assistant or officer, assisting a Payroll specialist, interpreting at special events and presentations, cartography, and assisting in or designing illustrations.
  • Technical, Laboratory Assistant, and Supervisor (1102) - Students hired under this classification generally perform the following types of duties: technical duties, such as: computer lab attendant, scientific lab worker, research assistant, audio-visual job. Supervisor type duties for other student staff, such as: training, scheduling work times, answering questions regarding computer applications or programs, trouble shooting computer problems, assisting in maintenance of computer equipment, and assisting with web design and applications.
  • Service (1103) - Students hired under this classification generally perform the following types of duties: food service, library work, custodial, housing, transportation, and University Programming and Activities.
  • Recreation (1104) - Students hired under this classification generally work at the Campus Recreation Center, performing the following types of duties: trip leaders, supervise off-campus recreational trips, and schedule various intramural leagues (indoor and outdoor).
  • Negotiated/Flat Rate (1105)
  • Auditorium Technical Staff (1106) - Students hired under this classification work at the NIU Convocation Center, using and maintaining technical equipment used for: sound systems, lighting systems, rigging, and set construction
  • Internship (1107)

On-Campus Student Pay

Job Code Class Title Hourly (minimum) Hourly (maximum)
001100 Clerical
(Cashier, Clerk, Lab Attendant)
$12.00 $13.00
001101 Paraprofessional
(Archaeologist, Cartographer, Interpreter, HR Assistant, Personal Trainer)
$12.00 $14.00
001102 Technical
(Audio-Visual, Computer Assistant, Lab Assistant Supervisor, Interns, Research Assistant, Tutor)
$12.00 $30.00
001103 Service
(Custodial, Food Service, Transportation, Housing, Library, UP&A)
$12.00 $13.00
001104 Recreational $12.00 $14.00
001106 Auditorium Technical Staff
(used for the Convocation Center)
$12.00 $15.00
001107 Intern
(used for interns not earning academic credit)
$12.00 $15.00
001108 Intern
(used for interns earning academic credit)
$12.00 $15.00
001109 Undergraduate Student Instructional Assistant
(used for Undergrads who offer instructional support)
$12.00 $20.00
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