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General Information

This page has general information related to various aspects of state employment.    Please click on the topic to view information.


Kentucky state government is made up of three branches: the Legislative Branch, the Judicial Branch, and the Executive Branch.
The  Legislative Branch is made up of the elected members of the Kentucky General Assembly and staff. Legislators are chosen by voters in their districts to serve in either the House of Representatives or the Senate. With the aid of their professional staff employed in the Legislative Research Commission (LRC), they write and enact the laws of Kentucky. LRC employees are not covered by the merit system in KRS Chapter 18A.
The Judicial Branch includes the state’s court system. It interprets and applies the laws under the Kentucky and United States Constitutions. As with the Legislative Branch, Judicial Branch employees are not covered by the merit system in KRS Chapter 18A.
The Executive Branch, headed by the governor, carries out the laws through "agencies" – cabinets, departments, boards, commissions, and offices. Most Executive Branch employees are covered by one of the three personnel systems: KRS 18A, KRS 16 and the Career and Technical System.   Employees in state government are assigned to an agency within the Executive Branch.   An employee appointed to a position in the classified service whose appointment and continued employment are subject to the classified service provisions of KRS 18A is considered to be under the ‘merit system’.
Within the Executive Branch, agencies are grouped into "Cabinets." There are currently eleven program cabinets: Transportation, Economic Development, Finance & Administration, Tourism, Arts & Heritage, Education & Workforce Development, Health & Family Services, Justice & Public Safety, Personnel, Labor, Energy & Environment, and Public Protection. The General Government Cabinet is comprised of departments headed by elected officials.


Learn about the differences between merit and non-merit employment.  Learn more.        


Reinstatement is a privilege, not a right. Learn more.        


Reversion rights include the right to return to the last merit position in which you attained status in certain instances. KRS 18A.005(35).  Learn more.        


The Commonwealth has employment opportunities for both high school and college graduates.   Many of these job titles require limited or no work experience and offer an excellent entry level path for beginning a career with the state.  Click on the links below to view lists of these job titles then go to the COS logon page and Search Openings  to look for matching vacancies and apply.       

High School graduates        

College graduates with Bachelor's degrees        


Locations of Jobs      

There are approximately 33,000 employees in the Executive Branch of state government working in all 120 counties across the Commonwealth.        

            • Click here to see a list of the top 20 counties of employment in full-time state positions.
            • Click here to view a map of Kentucky counties.  For detailed information about each county, visit the US Census Bureau.                          
            • Click here to see a list of established positions in Kentucky state government (Executive Branch).  Keep in mind that this list is not a vacancy list, but rather a listing by county, cabinet and department of where state positions are located. 
            • Click here to search actual job vacancies.   

A transfer allows for the movement of any state employee with merit status from one position to another of the same grade having the same salary ranges, the same level of responsibility within the classified service, and the same salary received immediately prior to transfer KRS 18A.005 (38). If these conditions are met, in order to be considered for a voluntary transfer to another position you will need to notify the agency to which you are interested in transferring.  The agency has sole discretion on deciding if they want to pursue a transfer action.​       

Key points to consider:       

          • An employee with merit status in the classified service of one agency may transfer, without a break in service of a single workday, to a merit position in another agency without competing or applying to a job vacancy announcement open to the public.
          • An employee may transfer to a position at the same or lower grade level; however, a transfer to a position with a lower pay grade may mean a reduction in pay, which is at the hiring agency's discretion.
          • Transfer or demotion from a 40 hour week to a 37.5 hour week will result in a reduction in base pay.
          • To transfer, the minimum requirements for the position must be met.
          • Transfer eligibility does not guarantee a job offer.