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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Dentist and Dental Hygienist Careers

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The Application Process

If you are ready for the opportunity, adventure and purpose that a career with the Indian Health Service Division of Oral Health (DOH) offers, we are ready to assist you through the application process. The application process for each personnel system - the Commissioned Corps of the US Public Health Service (USPHS), the federal Civil Service, or direct Tribal hire - have specific requirements.

Our goal is to act as your marketing agent to inform our Indian Health Service (IHS) and Tribal sites that you are available for hire. It is perfectly acceptable to be undecided about which personnel system you wish to pursue. The checklist below will guide you to provide the necessary pre-application documents that will allow us to market you nationwide. In addition, we encourage you to visit the current vacancy list and contact the site directly to express your interest. When you wish to formally apply for a specific position you will need to follow the guidance of the local site.

Choosing Your Career Path

First, please choose the personnel system(s) you are interested in:

The Application

Keep in mind, there will be a formal application process for you to follow at the local level for each position. The Primary Job Contact (or Area Contact if no Primary Job Contact is provided) at the site will be your best source for guidance through that process. They may be obtained by clicking on the Job Title of the individual position you are interested in applying for on our current vacancy list. This opens a second page - the detailed Job Description - which includes the Primary Job Contact (or Area Contact if no Primary Job Contact is provided).

Please note that also on this detailed Job Description the individual sites (programs) are either federally managed (listed as Affiliation: IHS) or Tribally managed (listed as Affiliation: Tribal or Urban). The federal programs (listed as IHS) utilize www.USAJOBS.gov to collect your formal application materials. You will go to this site to formally apply for any positions that are federally managed, but you must first obtain a specific Job Announcement Number for each position that you want to apply to. This is often best obtained from the Primary Job Contact.

The Tribally managed programs (listed as Tribal or Urban) have their own application process and this is best obtained from the local or Primary Job Contact.

The personnel systems which are available at each site (or program) are also listed at the Detailed Job Description under the Career Path (Commissioned Corps, Civil Service, and/or Tribal Hire).

Your Pre-Application

So now that you have an overview of the formal application process, if you would like us to market you nationwide, please submit a profile at this website and attach your CV or Resume and Cover Letter as they are described below.

Federal Civil Service Pre-Application Process

1. Prepare a CV or Resume, including:

  • Contact information, education, community outreach
  • Employment history (please remember to include locations and dates)
  • Dental license numbers and expiration dates from all states that you hold licensure (this includes active and inactive). Dental students can include which licensing board they are planning to take.

2. Cover letter of intent, including:

  • Indian Health Service Division of Oral Health as addressee
  • Dates of Availability (current dental students should list date of expected licensure or later)
  • Geographic Preference
  • Any other information that is not included in your CV/Resume.

Click here to submit your profile and upload your resume and cover letter, or if you have already submitted your profile, you may send your documents to DentalJobs@ihs.gov.

NOTE: The Alaska and California Areas do not currently offer federal Civil Service employment opportunities.

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Commissioned Corps Pre-Application Process

[Note: for applicants who have not yet decided which career path to pursue, you should follow the Commissioned Corps path as it is the most comprehensive. In your cover letter of intent, please express your interest in all personnel systems.]

1. Prepare a CV or Resume, including:

  • Contact information, education, community outreach
  • Employment history (please remember to include locations and dates)
  • Dental license numbers and expiration dates from all states that you hold licensure (this includes active and inactive). Dental students can include which licensing board they are planning to take.

2. Cover letter of intent, including:

  • Indian Health Service Division of Oral Health as addressee
  • Dates of Availability (current dental students should list date of expected licensure or later)
  • Geographic Preference
  • Any other information that is not included in your CV/Resume.

Click here to submit your profile and upload your resume and cover letter, or if you have already submitted your profile, you may send your documents to DentalJobs@ihs.gov.

NOTE: For more information about the Commissioned Corps, please visit About Dental Careers. There is information about benefits, compensation, eligibility, and advancements for a Commissioned Officer. This website also compares the 2 federal paths - Commissioned Corps and Civil Service. After viewing this information, if you are interested in the Commissioned Corps go to their website at www.USPHS.gov and follow the directions given there and by clicking on the icon "Apply Now" there. Please be aware that joining the IHS through the Commissioned Corps carries unique responsibilities with it and involves a whole additional and separate application procedure that is communicated through the USPHS website. You must follow the directions at www.USPHS.gov in order to receive a Commission in the U.S. Public Health Service. You may be contacted by additional Agencies (Federal BOP, USCG, and Immigration Health) concerning job openings. You must ALSO follow the directions at this website in order to identify a job and receive a job offer from the Indian Health Service.

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Direct Tribal Hire Pre-Application Process

1. Prepare a CV or Resume, including:

  • Contact information, education, community outreach
  • Employment history (please remember to include locations and dates)
  • Dental license numbers and expiration dates from all states that you hold licensure (this includes active and inactive). Dental students can include which licensing board they are planning to take.

2. Cover letter of intent, including:

  • Indian Health Service Division of Oral Health as addressee
  • Dates of Availability (current dental students should list date of expected licensure or later)
  • Geographic Preference
  • Any other information that is not included in your CV/Resume.

Click here to submit your profile and upload your resume and cover letter, or if you have already submitted your profile, you may send your documents to DentalJobs@ihs.gov.

Note: Additional Tribal Hire Requirements

If you have decided on Tribal Hire, then there will be a formal application process for you to follow at the local level. The Primary Job Contact at the site will be your best source of guidance for the Tribal Hire process.

Positions listed as Tribal hire are not part of the federal personnel systems, so pay and benefits vary by Tribe. Tribal hire opportunities generally require a license in the state in which the employee will work. The only exception is Alaska, which allows dentists with a valid license from another US state to work for the Tribal Corporation for a predetermined period of time while they actively pursue a valid Alaska license.

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