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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives

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IHS Physician Assistants

USPHS Commissioned Corps

Many of our public health professionals choose to become Commissioned Corps officers of the US Public Health Service, assigned to IHS. The Commissioned Corps is one of the seven uniformed services of the US government, but it is not a military service. More than 35 percent of USPHS commissioned officers work with IHS and receive many benefits similar to those provided by the military. If you choose to pursue this career option, you must commit to working with IHS for at least two years.


IHS Commissioned Corps Officers enjoy the same benefits as their counterparts in the US military services, but without many of the restrictions.

  • Competitive starting pay that increases with promotion and years of service
  • 30 days paid vacation
  • 10 paid Federal holidays
  • Continuing education*
  • Sick leave as needed
  • Comprehensive health care
  • Tax-free housing allowance
  • Space-available flights on military aircraft
  • No-cost malpractice coverage
  • No overhead expenses
  • Non-contributory retirement
  • Thrift savings (contributory) retirement
  • *Availability and reimbursement policies vary by profession and position.

Eligibility Requirements

  • US citizenship
  • Medical physical
  • Minimum two year commitment
  • Must be under 44 at time of commission
  • PAs employed by the PHS must be Certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants