Full-time equivalent

Last updated

Full-time equivalent (FTE), or whole time equivalent (WTE), is a unit of measurement that indicates the workload of an employed person (or student) in a way that makes workloads or class loads comparable across various contexts. [1] FTE is often used to measure a worker's or student's involvement in a project, or to track cost reductions in an organization. An FTE of 1.0 is equivalent to a full-time worker or student, while an FTE of 0.5 signals half of a full work or school load. [2]


In government

United States

According to the Federal government of the United States, FTE is defined by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) as the number of total hours worked divided by the maximum number of compensable hours in a full-time schedule as defined by law. [3] For example, if the normal schedule for a quarter is defined as 411.25 hours ([35 hours per week * (52 weeks per year – 5 weeks' regulatory vacation)] / 4), then someone working 100 hours during that quarter represents 100/411.25 = 0.24 FTE. Two employees working in total 400 hours during that same quarterly period represent 0.97 FTE. Ex. [4]

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget, or OMB, the President's budget office, will often place upper limits on the total number of FTE that a given agency may utilize each year. In the past, if agencies were given a ceiling on the actual number of employed workers, which was reported on a given day of the year, the agency could employ more than this number for much of the year. Then, as the reporting deadline approached, employees could be let go to reduce the total number to the authorized ceiling on the reporting date. Providing agencies with an FTE ceiling, which is calculated based on the total number of hours worked by all employees throughout the year, irrespective of the total numbers employed at any point in time, prevents agencies from using such a strategy. [5]

Although the generally accepted human-resources meaning for the "E" in FTE is "equivalent", the term is often overloaded in colloquial usage to indicate a "direct, as opposed to contract, full-time employee". [6] The term WYE (work year equivalent) is often used instead of FTE when describing the contractor work. [7]

In education

Full-time equivalent students [8] is one of the key metrics for measuring enrollment in colleges and universities. The measure is often annualized to cover the average annual full-time equivalent students and is designated by the acronym AAFTE.

Academics can increase their contribution by adopting a number of strategies: (a) increase class size; (b) teach new classes; (c) supervise more projects; (d) supervise more researchers. The latter strategy has the advantage of contributing to another key metric in universities—creating new knowledge and in particular publishing papers in highly ranked academic journals. It's also linked to another key metric—research funding which is often required to attract researchers.


In Australia, the equivalent to FTE for students is EFTSL (Equivalent Full-Time Student Load).


A professor teaches two undergraduate courses, supervises two undergraduate projects and supervises four researchers by thesis only (i.e. researchers do not take any courses). Each undergraduate course is worth one-tenth of all credits for the undergraduate program (i.e. 0.1 FTE). An undergraduate project is worth two-tenths of all credits for the undergraduate program (i.e. 0.2 FTE). A research thesis is worth all of the credits for the graduate program (i.e. 1 FTE). The professor's contribution is 29.4 FTEs:

ContributionFTEs allocatedClass sizeTotal FTEs
Course 10.110010
Course 20.115015
U/G Projects0.220.4
Research thesis144

To encourage more research some universities offer 2 FTEs or even 3 FTEs for each full-time researcher.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Community college</span> Educational institution

A community college is a type of educational institution. The term can have different meanings in different countries: many community colleges have an "open enrollment" for students who have graduated from high school. The term usually refers to a higher educational institution that provides workforce education and college transfer academic programs. Some institutions maintain athletic teams and dormitories similar to their university counterparts.

Earned Value Management (EVM), earned value project management, or earned value performance management (EVPM) is a project management technique for measuring project performance and progress in an objective manner.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Postgraduate education</span> Phase of higher education

Postgraduate or graduate education refers to academic or professional degrees, certificates, diplomas, or other qualifications pursued by post-secondary students who have earned an undergraduate (bachelor's) degree.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Open University</span> University in Milton Keynes, England, UK

The Open University (OU) is a British public research university and the largest university in the United Kingdom by number of students. The majority of the OU's undergraduate students are based in the United Kingdom and principally study off-campus; many of its courses can also be studied anywhere in the world. There are also a number of full-time postgraduate research students based on the 48-hectare university campus in Milton Keynes, where they use the OU facilities for research, as well as more than 1,000 members of academic and research staff and over 2,500 administrative, operational and support staff.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thesis</span> Document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree

A thesis, or dissertation, is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings. In some contexts, the word thesis or a cognate is used for part of a bachelor's or master's course, while dissertation is normally applied to a doctorate. This is the typical arrangement in American English. In other contexts, such as within most institutions of the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, the reverse is true. The term graduate thesis is sometimes used to refer to both master's theses and doctoral dissertations.

Education in England is overseen by the United Kingdom's Department for Education. Local government authorities are responsible for implementing policy for public education and state-funded schools at a local level.

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, or simply the Carnegie Classification, is a framework for classifying colleges and universities in the United States. It was created in 1970 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Indiana University's Center for Postsecondary Research manages the classification system with the exception of the voluntary Classification on Community Engagement which is managed by the Public Purpose Institute at Albion College. The framework primarily serves educational and research purposes, where it is often important to identify groups of roughly comparable institutions. The classification includes all accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities in the United States that are represented in the National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

Three national rankings of universities in the United Kingdom are published annually – by The Complete University Guide, The Guardian and jointly by The Times and The Sunday Times. Rankings have also been produced in the past by The Daily Telegraph andFinancial Times. UK Universities also rank highly in global university rankings with 8 UK Universities ranking in the top 100 of the three major global rankings - QS World University Rankings, Times Higher Education World University Rankings and Academic Ranking of World Universities.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Teaching assistant</span> Individual who assists a teacher with instructional responsibilities

A teaching assistant or teacher's aide (TA) or education assistant (EA) or team teacher (TT) is an individual who assists a teacher with instructional responsibilities. TAs include graduate teaching assistants (GTAs), who are graduate students; undergraduate teaching assistants (UTAs), who are undergraduate students; secondary school TAs, who are either high school students or adults; and elementary school TAs, who are adults.

A credit is the recognition for having taken a course at school or university, used as measure if enough hours have been made for graduation.

A full-time job is employment in which workers work a minimum number of hours defined as such by their employer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Supervisor</span> Manager in a business or event

A supervisor, or lead, is the job title of a lower-level management position that is primarily based on authority over workers or a workplace. A supervisor can also be one of the most senior in the staff at the place of work, such as a professor who oversees a PhD dissertation. Supervision, on the other hand, can be performed by people without this formal title, for example by parents. The term supervisor itself can be used to refer to any personnel who have this task as part of their job description.

The Carnegie Unit and the Student Hour are strictly time-based references for measuring educational attainment used by American universities and colleges; the Carnegie Unit assesses secondary school attainment, and the Student Hour, derived from the Carnegie Unit, assesses collegiate attainment.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is a system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a part of the Institute for Education Sciences within the United States Department of Education. IPEDS consists of twelve interrelated survey components that are collected over three collection periods each year as described in the Data Collection and Dissemination Cycle. The completion of all IPEDS surveys is mandatory for all institutions that participate in, or are applicants for participation in, any federal financial assistance program authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Employment-to-population ratio</span> Statistical ratio; proportion of a working age population that is employed

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development defines the employment rate as the employment-to-population ratio. This is a statistical ratio that measures the proportion of a country's working age population that is employed. This includes people that have stopped looking for work. The International Labour Organization states that a person is considered employed if they have worked at least 1 hour in "gainful" employment in the most recent week.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission</span>

The Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission, often referred to as the ABLE Commission, is an agency of the state of Oklahoma. The ABLE Commission is charged with protecting the public welfare and interest through the enforcement of state laws pertaining to alcoholic beverages, charity games, and youth access to tobacco.

Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) is a measure of how well a manufacturing operation is utilized compared to its full potential, during the periods when it is scheduled to run. It identifies the percentage of manufacturing time that is truly productive. An OEE of 100% means that only good parts are produced, at the maximum speed, and without interruption.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Legislative staff in Colorado</span>

Legislative staffers in Colorado are employees of the state tasked with supporting the function of the Colorado General Assembly and the members who comprise that body. With very few exceptions, these personnel are non-partisan public servants. Colorado employs a total of 345 legislative staff across various functions.

Academic ranks in Russia are the conferred titles, indicating relative importance and power of professors, researchers, and administrative personnel in Russian academia and scientific institutions. The rank “certifies” the demonstrated ability of an individual to function in the specific academic position(s).


  1. "How to Calculate FTEs". carbon collective. March 24, 2021.
  2. "What Is Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) & How Is It Calculated?". Forbes. October 28, 2022.
  3. Orszag, Peter R. (June 22, 2009). "Implementing Guidance for the Reports on Use of Funds Pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" (PDF). Executive Office of the President of the United States of America.
  4. "FY 2023 EPA Budget in Brief" (PDF). EPA. March 1, 2022.
  6. Martinez, Homero (Oct 22, 2008). Dictionary for Air Travel and Tourism Activities. ISBN   9780595527090 . Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  7. "PROPOSAL for FY2011: NASA OSMA SARP". Office of Safety and Mission Assurance.
  8. "Full-time equivalent student Definition". OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms. March 5, 2003. Definition: A full-time equivalent (FTE) measure attempts to standardize a student's actual course load against the normal course load. Calculating the full-time/part-time status requires information on the time periods for actual and normal course loads.