The recruitment and placement process of the Indian Health Service Scholarship Extern Program is a major annual activity of the IHS Scholarship Program.
Individuals receiving an IHS scholarship and other health professionals may be employed as an IHS extern for up to 120 workdays per calendar year. Health Professions Scholarship recipients are entitled to an externship. Extern assignments are available during non-academic periods. Students are assigned to an IHS health care facility where they will accumulate valuable clinical hours in their chosen health disciplines. This opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills developed in school provides practical hands-on experience that will be useful once they graduate.
IHS Extern Program details:
Individuals receiving a Health Professions Scholarship are entitled to employment by IHS during any non-academic period in accordance with the provisions of Section 105 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. (Note: This does not prohibit scholarship recipients or any other qualifying student from doing an externship and going to school as long as IHS is not paying tuition/fees during that time frame.) Students who are completing a rotation, whether clinical or on-the -job experience, that is part of a course requirement are not eligible.
Students who apply for a Civil Service externship must meet the following requirements:
- Undergraduate students must have at least a 2.0 grade point average; graduate students must have at least a 3.0 grade point average.
- Students must not be on probation or discontinued from the IHS Scholarship Program for any reason.
Commissioned Corps Service
Students may also apply to the Commissioned Officer Student Training and Externship Program (COSTEP) by contacting:
Tower Building, Plaza Level, Suite 100
1101 Wootton Parkway
Rockville, MD 20852
Phone: (240) 453-6072
In addition to the COSTEP application, students must submit all application materials listed below.
Deadlines for COSTEP applications are:
- December 31 for positions May 1 through August 31.
- May 1 for positions during September 1 through December 31.
- October 1 for positions during January 1 through April 30.
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Students seeking an externship either through Civil Service or COSTEP must submit the following documents to the IHS Area Coordinator in the IHS Area Office in which they are seeking placement:
Application Due Date
Completed, signed and dated applications must be received by the Area Coordinator before close of business on the first Friday on the month of February. COSTEP applications are due as outlined above.
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Externs receive a salary based on experience and years of academic training that is comparable to industry standard. Salary is waived if the externship fulfills a required field placement or an internship required under a health profession education program, in which case IHS will pay school tuition and fees.
Note: The salary is based on the student's experience and the number of completed semester hours in their academic program according to Personnel Standards, rules and regulations. The ratings listed below are proposed grade levels based on the number of credit hours completed. The personnel office responsible for the extern position will determine your grade level.
- GS-3: 30 semester hours/45 quarter hours
- GS-4: 60 semester hours/90 quarter hours
- GS-5: bachelor's degree (120 semester hours/180 quarter hours)
- GS-7: first year of graduate school (18 semester hours of graduate education, 27 quarter hours of graduate selection)
- GS-9: master's degree or equivalent graduate degree, or two full years of progressively higher graduate education leading to a degree such as Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or Juris Doctor (JD), if related
- GS-11: PhD or equivalent doctoral degree, or three full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a degree such as Master of Laws (LLM), if related
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Extern may request travel reimbursement for one round trip to the extern site. The request for Extern Travel Reimbursement (PDF - 13KB) must be completed and submitted prior to travel.
Travel reimbursements are authorized based on the travel and transportation allowance under federal regulations.
If an advance for travel is required, you may work directly through your coordinator and the Area Office, Service Unit or health clinic where you are assigned.
DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TRAVEL WITHOUT AUTHORIZED TRAVEL ORDERS.
Students are responsible for finding their own housing. Information on housing may be available from the Area Coordinator, Discipline Representative and/or Extern Preceptor. A minimal allowance can be made for transportation of goods, but requires authorization on your travel orders.
Please stay in touch with your Area Scholarship Coordinator and Extern Preceptor to verify all your arrangements before traveling to the Extern site.
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