Department of Defense Education Activity

Probationary Period

If you are a new employee with a career-conditional appointment, you must serve a two-year probationary period. The change from one year to two years took effect Nov. 26, 2015, as part of the fiscal year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. The probationary period is really the final and most important step in the examining process. It affords the supervisor an opportunity to evaluate the employee's performance and conduct on the job, and to remove the person without undue formality, if necessary. A person who is transferred, promoted, demoted, or reassigned before completing probation is required to complete the probationary period in the new position. Prior Federal civilian service may count toward completion of probation if it is in the same agency, same line of work, and without a break in service.

Care should be taken to distinguish the 2-year probationary period from the 3-year career-conditional period. The probationary period is used to determine the employee's ability and fitness required for permanent Government service. The 3-year career-conditional period is established only to measure the employee's interest in, and the Government's ability to provide a career in the Federal service.