More than 73,000 federal engineers, scientists, medical personnel, clerical employes and protective service workers nationwide will be getting special pay raises this month that will average about 3 percent.

Office of Personnel Management Director Constance Horner signed the order for the special pay raises late yesterday. OPM will formally announce them today.

Many of the special-rate employes, whose salaries are already 5 to 20 percent higher than regular civil servants in the same grade, are in the Washington area.

Most white-collar U.S. employes who are not under special pay rates are due an increase in January. The president has proposed a 2 percent raise, but Congress hopes to override it and put a 3 percent increase into effect as it did this year. It is unclear whether special-rate employes who get the October raise will be included in the January increase as well. The government in the past has argued that it is not required to give the special-rate employes both raises. But in March the National Treasury Employees Union won a case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that said special-rate employes were due both increases, and ordered back pay for some of them to 1982. The government is appealing that decision.

The special pay rates OPM will announce today will not cover 42,000 clerical employes in the Washington area. They got special-rate raises in April, ranging from 2.6 to 23 percent, to help agencies here compete with private employers. Those increases raised the salaries of stenographers, typists, data transcribers and related employes by $612 to $2,792 per year.

The October increases are the result of a government salary survey to see what kind of problems agencies were having in recruiting and keeping employes in hard-to-fill jobs. Most of those involved in the upcoming raise are in engineering fields.

Some of the raises will apply to all employes at all grade levels worldwide and others, especially in the clerical field, are limited to specific geographical areas from New York City to Alaska, and in some cases to certain agencies or areas in a specific city.

The special pay raises for Washington-area workers include electrical and electronics engineers in grades 9 through 12; mining engineers in GS 7 through 12; medical officers in GS 11 through 15; critical-care nurses in GS 9 and nurses in GS 5 through 7, and some therapeutic radiological technologists.

Job Mart

The National Credit Union Administration wants a clerk-typist, Grade 4. Call 357-1156.

The Architect of the Capitol has an opening for a restaurant cost accountant, $32,000 to $38,000. Call 357-1156.

Fish and Wildlife Service needs a procurement analyst, GS 13. Call Joyce Bryant at 343-3104.

Internal Revenue Service has openings for law librarians, GS 9 through 12. Call Minnie Sue Ripy at 566-6342.

National Institutes of Health is looking for two ultrasound technologists, GS 8. Call 496-7700.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wants a staff accountant, GS 11/12. Call 443-8373.

Bureau of Land Management has openings for temporary clerk-typists, GS 3/4. Call Betty Davis at 343-7645.