malarious wrote:Hey all, I am supposed to start in TARDEC when I graduate, but the information on pay is always a range. Anyone have information on the starting salary as a Bachelors of Electrical Engineering? Failing that, any higher degrees?
I don't have an first hand experience with TARDEC, but as you know they use the DB scale, so it is a little harder to estimate than that GS. However, in trying to find an answer to your question, I ended up finding a resource on this forum... that you had posted. Back in this thread (viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2080
) you posted the ARL DB paytable, but I think you weren't sure how how to read it. I'll try to help you interpret it, but I've never dealt with DB scale, so others may know better.
First, find your job series and match it to the category. This gets us to "Engineers & Scientists." Then we need to pick a Pay Band, I think we can do this by working backwards from the equivalent GS. With a Bachelor's you would start at a GS-7 (technically GS-5 is Bachelor's, and GS-7 is Bachelor's with high academic achievement, but in qualifying for SMART, you'll meet that threshold). From this, we know it will be "DB2," the pay band for GS 5/1 to GS 11/10 (Translation GS 5 step 1 to GS 11 step 10). There are 3 variants of "DB2," so since you are electrical engineering, you'll want "DB2e2." Finally, you'll pick the locality. There is a column for Detroit, MI. For the GS scale, this is in the same locality area as Warren, MI (where I think TARDEC is), so this column is where I would look. So your pay band will be "$37,630 - $87,091".
From my limited know of DB, I think they are allowed to start you anywhere in this range. I would recommend try to find market price for someone of your credentials online, and maybe even trying to do some interviews and get offers that you can show them to support this market valuation.
To narrow this window a bit more, I think we can consider the GS scale again. This pay band encompasses GS 5 through GS 11, but engineers skip GS 8 and GS 10, so really its GS 5, 7, 9, and 11. They don't occupy equal quarters of this range, but for rough math I think we can say they do. From that I would say, if on the GS scale you'd be a 7, then within that payband you could reasonably expect $49,995 - $62,360. (The OPM calculator for the GS scale gives a $45,266 - $58,844 range, which might be closer to what you should expect).
Takeaways: You should expect ~$45,266 - $62,360, maybe you can negotiate a little higher, but likely not by much unless you have some stellar credentials. If they offer less than $45,266, its not really a fair offer.