Human Resources

Compensation Plan

Compensation Philosophy & Objectives

The Compensation Plan is intended to:

  • Support the mission of Tennessee Technology University in providing leadership and outstanding programs that benefit the people of Tennessee
  • Attract, motivate and retain a well-qualified workforce
  • Offer competitive compensation within relevant labor markets
  • Recognize and reward individual initiative and achievements
  • Ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations

Compensation Plan

Tennessee Tech administers a compensation plan that attracts, motivates, and retains a well-qualified workforce. The plans are designed to balance internal equity and market competitiveness. Comparable jobs will be compensated within similar pay ranges/grades based on a review of each job and relevant market data. Individuals with similar backgrounds in experience, skills, and education will be hired at comparable rates for the same or similar job classifications.

Human Resources is responsible for completing relevant compensation data analysis for use in the development of compensation strategies that support Tennessee Tech's objectives while staying within established budgetary constraints and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. The daily operation of the compensation plan is the responsibility of the Associate Vice President for Human Resources.

Tennessee Tech’s compensation plan is continuously evaluated and revised as needed to ensure that Tennessee Tech’s mission is being met.


In 2010 and 2011, Tennessee Tech worked with The Centre Group to complete a study of Tennessee Tech's compensation and classification system. The scope of the work included a review of the compensation system covering Clerical and Support, Administrative/Professional, and Executive positions. As a result of the study, new job families and pay grades were established for the Clerical and Support positions, and new pay grades were established for the Administrative/ Professional and Executive positions. Once the new pay grades were developed, a target level of pay was calculated for each employee based on the time in the job and the pay range to which the job was assigned. A pay-to-market gap was calculated representing the difference between the employee’s current pay and the target pay level. As Tennessee Tech's goal was to pay at market, not above, those employees whose pay was at or above market (midpoint) were considered to be at or above target level. Following TBR approval of Tennessee Tech's compensation plan at the September 2011 board meeting, Tennessee Tech implemented the results of the compensation study for non-faculty employees with an effective date of October 1, 2011.

Between 2011 – 2016, Tennessee Tech submitted minor changes to the compensation plan. In 2016, Tennessee Tech conducted an overall internal assessment of the compensation plan and determined a need for merit based pay. The revised compensation plan included merit based pay and was presented and approved by TBR at the June 2016 Board Meeting.


The Tennessee Tech employee compensation plan includes:

  • Non-exempt employees (regular positions involved in clerical, technical, paraprofessional, skilled crafts and service, and maintenance work); and,
  • Exempt employees (regular administrative, managerial, and professional non-faculty positions).

These plans exclude faculty, the President, academic department chairpersons, coaches, and other positions exempted upon implementation.

Both the administrative/professional plan for exempt employees and the clerical/support plan for non-exempt employees are based on a market pricing approach - review and systematic evaluation of the relevant jobs and comparison of salaries with surveyed market data.

Compensation Guidelines

All compensation decisions will follow Tennessee Tech Policy 644 Compensation.

New Hires

The starting compensation for all new employees regardless of classification will generally fall between the range minimum and range midpoint contingent on 1) prior relevant experience; 2) education/training in excess of position’s qualifications; and 3) market conditions. For each year of relevant experience in excess of the position’s requirements, a new employee will receive 0.5 years of credit, up to a maximum of three (3) years of credit. For a degree above what is required for the position, a new employee will receive one (1) additional year of credit. Therefore, relevant experience and degrees in excess of stated requirements will support a higher starting salary. Based on the degree and experience, Human Resources will provide recommendations on starting salary decisions. See Table 1 for an example of a new hire salary calculation. For positions that have proven unusually hard to fill, the hiring department should communicate with Human Resources to discuss possible strategies. No new employee will start employment below the minimum of the salary range.

Position Changes

If an employee is promoted to a higher grade job, the new hire guidelines are applied unless the calculated salary is less than their current salary. If the calculated salary is less than current salary, the employee will receive a 5% increase to their current salary. New time in grade is effective at promotion date.

If an employee is transferred to a new position at the same grade as prior position, the employee will receive the larger compensation amount of either their current salary or their salary calculated using the new hire guideline. This transfer is considered a lateral transfer and the time in grade date will be unchanged.

If, after market analysis and appropriate justification, a job is reclassified to a higher grade, the employee will receive an increase in compensation based on the application of the new hire guidelines. If the calculated salary is less than current salary, the employee will receive a 5% increase to their current salary. The time in grade date will be the date of the position reclassification.

If an employee is demoted to a lower grade job, the employee’s compensation will be adjusted using the new hire guidelines, or adjusted to the same pay position-in-range in the new grade as was in the prior grade. The time in grade date will remain unchanged if the experience of the prior position is relevant to the new position.

If an employee is appointed as interim, the compensation is the minimum of the pay grade or a 5% increase to their current salary, whichever is more.

Position Reclassification

Tennessee Tech is committed to a consistent, competitive, and equitable position classification process based on the requirements of the position.

Pursuant to TTU Policy 659, position reclassifications must establish significant, permanent changes, which include:

  • Substantial and permanent changes in job duties, job complexity, and/or knowledge and skills required that could result in a higher pay grade; or
  • Increase in supervisory responsibility due to departmental changes; or
  • Reclassification of a vacant position to a position with new, permanent responsibilities.

It is important to note that not all changes in a position should result in the position being reclassified. In cases where changes in job duties occur, but are not substantial enough to justify a higher pay grade through reclassification, the department supervisor should initiate an update of the existing Job Analysis Questionnaire (JAQ).

Position reclassifications that result in a compensation adjustment will follow the guidelines established in this plan.

Recognition for Degree Attainment

An employee who receives a degree at a higher level than their current academic standing and who has been employed with Tennessee Tech one (1) year or more at the time the degree is granted, will be eligible to receive a salary increase in the following amounts.

Merit Based Pay

Subject to legislative appropriations, the availability of funds, approval by the Board of Trustees, and Tennessee Tech administrator instructions, a merit bonus and/or salary increase based on documented work performance may be granted to eligible employees. Merit based pay should be understood to mean exceptional achievement of performance that is distinctly above and beyond the competent and professional fulfillment of regular duties. Tennessee Tech has established a performance evaluation process that incorporates an electronic evaluation system, a supervisor training program focused on performance rating and rating bias, and a review process by Human Resources and Affirmative Action to identify any adverse impact.

Incentive Compensation (Bonus) Plans

The purpose of the incentive compensation (bonus) plan is to motivate and reward key employees for accomplishing individual performance goals established in accordance with the business targets of the College or Department. Incentive compensation (bonus) plans are subject to review and approval by the appropriate Vice President or Provost and the Associate Vice President for Human Resources. Incentive (bonus) awards must be approved by the Associate Vice President for Human Resources prior to payment.

Cost of Living Increases

Subject to legislative appropriations, the availability of funds, approval by the Board of Trustees, and Tennessee Tech administrator instructions, cost of living increases may be granted to eligible employees.

TennessEe Tech Pay Grade, Clerical and Support Salary Ranges

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Human Resources