In accordance with the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 41.06.070 for a position to be considered eligible for the Washington State University Administrative Professional service it must qualify for one of the following exemption criteria listed below. To remain in compliance with the RCW and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) HRS audits each position and must determine the exemption, official title, and if eligible for overtime or not.


Individuals in an academic-exempt position are responsible for providing academic advisement for prospective and current students within a specified academic department or equivalent unit of a college. Such activities include but are not limited to, participating in the student recruitment process, analyzing applications, transfer evaluations and transcripts, assessing academic level, responding to academic inquiries, and developing individual academic plans.

Administrative Assistant

A president or vice president may have individual(s) acting as his or her administrative assistant(s). The employee normally performs supportive work for his or her superior as an individual contributor without subordinates.

Confidential Secretary

The offices of the President, Vice Presidents, the Provost, Vice Provosts or Executive Director for Budget and Planning may have individual(s) responsible for a variety of confidential office support and/or secretarial duties.


Individuals in counseling-exempt positions are responsible for directing and/or participating in providing academic, athletic, medical, career, financial aid, student activity, and/or personal counseling to students. Such activities include, but are not limited to, providing individual and group guidance services using recognized professional techniques and practices.


These managerial or professional level positions must have substantial responsibility for one or more of the following: establishing the unit’s fundraising goals and developing methods to accomplish them; planning and conducting public contact programs designed to promote the public’s understanding of the unit’s activities; cultivating donors.


Individuals in these positions administer energy education, applied research, and technology transfer programs.

Executive Head

Executive heads of major academic or administrative divisions are analogous in the hierarchy to vice presidents, deans, and chairs. Directors may be considered executive heads as determined by HRS. An executive head is in charge of a separate budgetary unit or units and direct the work of others.

Extension and/or Continuing Education

Individuals considered exempt in this category are responsible for originating and developing formal education programs for the general public, usually involving close contact with faculty and staff or training or consulting with specific groups in the community to enable them to provide specialized training and/or services to the community.

Graphic Arts or Publications

Individuals qualifying for exemption under this category will be involved in performing selected graphic arts or publication activities requiring prescribed academic preparation or special visual techniques, requiring original design and layout, and/or can be distinguished from positions associated with the standard editorial functions.

Internal Audits and Investigations

Individuals in these positions examine and analyze fiscal records of the institution for compliance with various internal and external regulations and policies, effectiveness of established controls, efficiency of operations, and accuracy of reports and records. They report to management on audit results and make recommendations for improving operations.

Legislative Relations

Individuals in these positions promote information flow to and from local, state, and national governments; devise the institution’s lobbying strategies; and monitor and analyze bills and policies.


Managerial or professional level positions having substantial responsibility for directing or controlling program operations and who are accountable for the allocation of resources and program results or who are responsible for the formulation of institutional policy.


Individuals in these positions exercise discretion and independent judgment in effecting, executing, and discharging personnel functions, such as employment, classification, benefits, affirmative action/equal employment opportunity, labor relations, employee relations, and training. Positions that perform clerical, secretarial, or technical duties in support of personnel functions are excluded from exemption under this definition.

Principal Assistant Exemption

Individuals serving as principal assistants to executive heads of a major administrative or academic division and who have major administrative or program responsibility within the division/department and report directly to the executive head. The employee must regularly exercises independent judgment and discretion in work directly related to management policies or department business operations and must have delegated authority to make commitments that affect department operations.

Note: Positions exempted using this definition shall not appear below the fifth level in terms of a reporting relationship to the President. Executive heads of major administrative or academic divisions may have more than one principal assistant exemption reporting to them as determined by HRS. In addition, a position exempted based on the principal assistant definition cannot have another position exempted based on the principal assistant definition reporting to it.

Public Information

Individuals in positions exempted under this definition plan and direct the development and communication of information designed to keep the public informed of the institution’s programs, accomplishments, and point of view. Incumbents exercise discretion in determining content of written copy. Other duties may include creating ideas, laying out artwork, contacting media representatives, and representing the institution directly before the general public.


Individuals in research-exempt positions spend the majority of their time in one or more of the following activities: identification and definition of research problems, design of approaches or hypotheses and methodology to be used, design of specific phases of research projects, analysis of results, development of conclusion and hypothesis, and presentation of research results in publishable form.

Senior Computer Systems and Network Programming

Individuals in positions exempted under this definition require skill above the journey- level; independently perform work assignments; and devise methods and processes to meet new and unique work requirements and problems. The employee’s primary duty includes at least one of the following:

  • The application of systems analysis techniques and procedures including consulting with users to determine hardware, software, or system functional specifications;
  • The design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing, or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes based on and related to user or system design specifications;
  • The design, documentation, testing, creation or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems;
  • A combination of these duties, the performance of which requires the same level of skills.

Note: Individuals in positions primarily engaged in the operation, manufacture, repair, or maintenance of computer hardware or related equipment and positions whose work relies heavily on the use of computers and computer software programs, but who are not engaged in system analysis or programming, are excluded from exemption under this definition.