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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Eligibility Criteria





Man Health Professional

Are You Eligible?

As a health professional, you are eligible to apply if you:

  • Are a US citizen.
  • Have a health profession degree or are in postgraduate training or in your final year of a health profession school.
  • Have a valid state license to practice in a health profession. Health profession students in their final year of post-graduate clinical training/school are eligible to apply before obtaining a license. However, you are not eligible for an award until you provide proof of licensure to the branch office.
  • Are committed to practice at an Indian health facility.
  • Can begin service on or before September 30 for two continuous years of full-time clinical practice.
  • Are not currently receiving funding or fulfilling a service commitment with another federal loan repayment or scholarship program (for example, National Health Service Corps LRP or Scholarship Program, IHS Scholarship Program, Nurse Corps LRP, etc.).

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IHS Health Profession Disciplines

You are eligible to apply to the LRP if you are specializing in any of the following health profession disciplines:

  • Acupuncturist: Licensed
  • Advanced Practice Nurse — Nurse Practitioner, Certified Nurse Midwife, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) — priority consideration will be given to CRNAs.
  • Certified Professional Coder: AAPC or AHIMA
  • Chemical Dependency Counseling: Bachelor's and master's degree levels
  • Chiropractor: Licensed
  • Clinical Psychology: PhD and PsyD
  • Counseling: Master's degree-level only
  • Counseling Psychology: PhD
  • Dental Assistant: Certified
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Dentistry: DDS and DMD
  • Diagnostic Radiology Technology: Certificate, Associate and BS degree
  • Engineering (Environmental): BS — Engineers must provide environmental engineering services to be eligible.
  • Environmental Health (Sanitarian): BS and MS
  • Health Records: RHIT and RHIA
  • Medical Laboratory Scientist: Associate and BS
  • Medical Laboratory Technician: Associate and BS
  • Medical Technology: Associate and BS
  • Medicine: Allopathic and Osteopathic
  • Naturopathic Medicine: Licensed
  • Nurse: Associate, BS and MS
  • Optometry: OD
  • Pharmacy: BS, PharmD
  • Physician Assistant: Certified
  • Podiatry: DPM
  • Public Health Nutritionist/Registered Dietician
  • Rehabilitative Services — Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology: MS and DPT
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Social Work: Master's degree-level only
  • Ultrasonography
  • Other health professions as determined by the needs of Indian health programs.

Health care professionals in all of the health profession disciplines listed above are eligible to apply, but the health profession disciplines receiving annual funding changes depending on Indian health program staffing needs. Below is a table of LRP awards distributed during Fiscal Year (FY) 2014.

Awards by Health Profession Discipline Fiscal Year (FY) 2014
Health Profession Discipline Total Awards New Awards
(two-year commitment)
Contract Extensions (one-year commitment)
Behavioral Health 33 21 12
Dental (Dentist & Dental Hygienist) 96 46 50
Nursing 147 131 16
Optometry 31 6 25
Pharmacy 182 45 137
Physician 72 35 37
Physician Assistant/Advanced Practice Nurse (PA/APN) 53 33 20
Podiatry 13 3 10
Rehabilitative Services 29 11 18
Other Health Professions* 54 48 6
Total 710 379 331

* Includes Dietetics/Nutrition, Engineering, Health Records, Medical Laboratory Scientist, Medical Laboratory, Medical Technology, Respiratory Therapy, Sanitation and Chiropractor.

Visit the IHS Careers Opportunities Web page to learn more about IHS health profession disciplines.

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Qualified Student Loans

The LRP repays qualified student loans.

Qualified student loans are limited to government (federal, state, local) and commercial loans used to pay for health profession schools and related expenses, including tuition, fees, books, lab expenses and reasonable living expenses.

A number of federal program loans require documentation, but do not require additional verification since they already meet statutory requirements. These loans include:

  • Health Education Assistance Loan (HEAL) Program
  • Guaranteed Student Loan (GSL) Program
  • Perkins Loan, formerly National Direct Student Loan (NDSL) Program
  • Health Professions Student Loan (HPSL) Program
  • Supplemental Loans for Students (SLS)
  • Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) Loans

All other loans require lender verification, including loans from undergraduate and graduate health professions schools.

For consolidated loans (health profession education loans combined with commercial, non-health profession or other education loans), only the health profession portion for the discipline for which you are hired can be repaid by the LRP. Visit the Payments and Examples page for further clarification on the loan repayment process.

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