U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I have to be an American Indian or Alaska Native to work for the Indian Health Service (IHS)?
  2. Does IHS have a Loan Repayment Program?
  3. Is there an IHS Scholarship Program for medical students?
  4. Are opportunities for students available through IHS?
  5. How do I upload my Curriculum Vitae (CV) on this Web site?
  6. Is there an age limit to work at IHS?
  7. Does IHS accept volunteers?
  8. I’m interested in learning more about a particular IHS Area and want to speak to the primary contact person for more information. What is the best way to contact that person?
  9. If I was to become a Commissioned Corps officer in IHS, would my prior military service count toward retirement?

1. Do I have to be an American Indian or Alaska Native to work for the Indian Health Service (IHS)?
No. To learn more about Indian preference, visit the Jobs@IHS Web site.

2. Do you have a Loan Repayment Program?
Yes. The maximum repayment dollar amount for qualifying loans is $20,000 per year (after taxes). To learn more about this program, visit the IHS Loan Repayment Program Web site.

3. Is there an IHS Scholarship Program for medical students?
Yes. The IHS Scholarship Program is open to American Indian and Alaska Native students interested in pursuing a health professional or allied health professional career. Visit the IHS Scholarship Program Web site for program information and how to apply.

4. Are opportunities for students available through IHS?
Yes. There are numerous opportunities for PA students to gain clinical practice while experiencing what a career at IHS has to offer. Please visit the IHS PA: Student Opportunities page for more information.

5. How do I upload my Curriculum Vitae (CV) on this Web site?
Go to the Contact Us page to begin working with a recruiter regarding your interest in a position as a physician assistant with IHS. Once you have completed and submitted the online form, you will be able to upload your CV.

6. Is there an age limit to work in an Indian health Program?
There are no age requirements for the Civil Service or Tribal hire career paths at IHS. However, if you choose to pursue employment with us through the US Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps, you must be under the age of 44 at the time of commissioning. Also, in an effort to increase the number of highly qualified and experienced PAs on staff, the USPHS may allow certain candidates who are older than 44 years of age and possess specific medical skills and training to join IHS as a USPHS Commissioned Corps officer. Contact USPHS  Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov for more information.

7. Do the Indian Health Programs accept volunteers?
Yes, we do accept volunteers. Go to the Contact Us page to complete the requested information, upload your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and submit your request. The IHS determines the credentialing process for each volunteer by location. Because the credentialing process can be time consuming, most IHS sites prefer individuals who are interested in recurrent volunteering.

8. I'm interested in learning more about a particular Indian Health Program and want to speak to the primary contact person for more information. What is the best way to contact that person?
The best way to get employee and facility contact information for a particular Area is to visit the IHS Employee and Facility Locator page on the IHS Web site.

9. If I was to become a Commissioned Corps officer within IHS, would my prior military service count toward retirement?
Yes, your military service counts toward retirement when you join IHS through the US Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps. Your retirement date will be calculated prior to commissioning you as an officer.

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