U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
A - Z Index:
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z
#
Pharmacy Residency Program logo
   
 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. How do I apply for an IHS residency?
  2. Will I be notified when my application is complete?
  3. If I was a Junior COSTEP, do I still need to complete the entire residency application, including the PHS-50?
  4. I have a SRCOSTEP obligation after graduating. Can I do a residency before I finish my obligation?
  5. How do I schedule a site visit?
  6. Does Indian Preference apply to the residency training program?
  7. When will the selection process for IHS residencies occur?
  8. What are the requirements to be a commissioned corps officer in the US Public Health Service?
  9. If I’m not selected for a residency position, can my commissioned corps application be used for another position in the IHS?
  10. What salary can an IHS resident expect?
  11. Are IHS Residents eligible for loan repayment?
  12. Will IHS residents who are commissioned officers be eligible for Pharmacist Variable Special Pay?
  13. Will IHS residents who are Commissioned officers be eligible for the Accession Bonus?
  14. If I am not selected for an IHS residency and I've applied to the Commissioned Corps, do I have an obligation to the Indian Health Service?
  15. What is the resident's obligation after completing an IHS residency?
  16. As a commissioned officer, when I complete the residency, can I transfer to a different US Public Health Service Agency?
  17. Is an IHS Scholarship recipient (Section 104 obligor) eligible for placement in an IHS Pharmacy Residency Training Program?

1. How do I apply for an IHS residency?

Instructions for applying can be found at HOW TO APPLY link of the residency page.

2. Will I be notified when my application is complete?

You can use the application manager feature in USAJobs to track your on-line progress to a complete application package. For the hardcopy documents, you can contact the person to which it was sent (i.e. LCDR Damion Killsback for references receipt, Residency Program Director at individual sites for emailed documents, etc.).

3. If I was a Junior COSTEP, do I still need to complete the entire residency application, including the PHS-50?

Yes, a new PHS-50 needs to be completed.

4. I have a SRCOSTEP obligation after graduating. Can I do a residency before I finish my obligation?

SRCOSTEPs must serve their obligation before starting a residency.

5. How do I schedule a site visit?

Contact the Residency Director or Chief Pharmacist at the site you are interested in visiting. The Indian Health Service Residency Programs will also be represented at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting, Residency Showcase in December.

back to top

6. Does Indian Preference apply to the residency training program?

Yes, provided a BIA Form 4432 has been submitted with the application.

7. When will the selection process for IHS residencies occur?

IHS residency sites are not part of the ASHP match. The applicant selection will occur no later than the end of February each year, before the ASHP match deadline.

8. What are the requirements to be a commissioned corps officer in the US Public Health Service?

There are stringent requirements to be a commissioned officer including US citizenship, age, height-weight, and medical standards. You are encouraged to complete the pre-qualification questionnaire (Service tab/Online Applicant System/Enter a Pre-screening Application) to see if you meet the initial pre-screening standards for the commissioned corps.

To see a description of requirements for the Commissioned Corps, please visit the Commissioned Corps web site.

9. If I’m not selected for a residency position, can my commissioned corps application be used for another position in the IHS?

Yes, although you may want to update the information depending on when the original application was completed. Contact the Office of Commissioned Corps Operations, where you originally sent your PHS-50 application to the USPHS, to explore employment options other than residency.

back to top

10. What salary can an IHS resident expect?

It is advantageous for most IHS residents to choose the PHS Commissioned Corps personnel system.

Commissioned officer – most graduating students with a Pharm.D. will be classified as an 03 (Lieutenant). Prior COSTEP or military experience will contribute towards years of service (base pay). The Basic Housing Allowance will vary according to the geographic location of the residency site. A recent pharmacy graduate (Pharm.D.) with no prior COSTEP or military experience might expect to have a salary of approximately $60,000. Only base pay and specialty pay are taxable. Medical and dental coverage are included. For more information on pay and benefits, view the USPHS: Pharmacy’s Best Kept Secret (PDF) article.

An officer earns 30 days of annual leave per year and sick leave as needed. However, to meet the requirements of the residency training, the officers’ supervisor will determine the number of annual leave days that will be granted during the training year.

The Chief Pharmacist or the Residency Program Director at each respective site can give you an estimate of the expected salary range. The Public Health Service will do the final determination of your pay.

Civil Service – the residency training position is classified as a GS-9. An approximate salary for a GS-9, step 1 is $60,593, which is a special pay scale for pharmacists in the I.H.S. All pay is taxable. Employee payments and benefits for health insurance vary with the plan chosen. Benefits are provided to employees on a cost-sharing basis. A civil servant earns 13 working days of annual leave per year and accrues sick leave.

back to top

11. Are IHS Residents eligible for loan repayment?

IHS Residents are not eligible for loan repayment until they officially complete their residency training.

The chance of being accepted into the loan repayment program is dependant on how a specific site is ranked on the Loan Repayment Priority List; the amount of money appropriated by Congress each year and the number of applicants who apply. The list is available on the IHS Pharmacy Intranet.

12. Will IHS residents who are commissioned officers be eligible for Pharmacist Variable Special Pay?

Yes. A commissioned corps pharmacist officer could expect variable special pay of $15,000 annually.

13. Will IHS residents who are Commissioned officers be eligible for the Accession Bonus?

Yes. If the pharmacy resident, within 60 days of being called to active duty, signs a contract with the PHS commissioned corps for four years, he/she will receive $30,000 as a lump sum payment within 90 days of submitting the approved contract.

IHS Scholarship recipients are not eligible for the Commissioned Corps Pharmacist Accession Bonus. Commissioned Corps Personnel Manual – Part 4 – Regulations (PDF)

14. If I am not selected for an IHS residency and I’ve applied to the Commissioned Corps, do I have an obligation to the Indian Health Service?

No. If not selected, you may withdraw your application without any further obligation.

back to top

15. What is the resident’s obligation after completing an IHS residency?

None, unless a Commissioned Officer accepts the accession (sign-on) bonus, then he/she is obligated to find another IHS location to complete his or her service obligation post-residency. Transfers to other divisions of PHS are possible with agency approval only if no IHS locations have vacancies. The officer must be willing to transfer to other IHS practice sites post-residency.

Otherwise, after completing the residency, the Indian Health Service encourages residents to work for two years as a staff pharmacist at an Indian Health Service or tribal facility. Residency graduates have found this invaluable experience as a way of enhancing their experiential knowledge. IHS Residents are not eligible to receive loan repayment until they officially complete their residency training.

A civil servant employee would not be subject to the 2-year rule, assuming there were no other obligations.

16. As a commissioned officer, when I complete the residency, can I transfer to a different US Public Health Service Agency?

A permanent change of station (PCS) will not be considered until completing a two-year tour of duty with the Indian Health Service.

17. Is an IHS Scholarship recipient (Section 104 obligor) eligible for Priority placement in an IHS Pharmacy Residency Training Program?

Not until completing their scholarship service obligation.

back to top