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

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Military Transition

Military Transition

The Indian Health Service (IHS) is committed to the ongoing success of our nation's military and those who have served in the military. As a veteran, you have shown integrity, leadership, teamwork and a sincere desire to give back to your country. All of these qualities make you an ideal candidate for an IHS career and we want to partner with you in the next step of your journey.

Health professionals seeking a career in Indian health share similar values and perspectives that set the stage for successful careers and fulfilling lives in small town, rural and even urban settings. Areas where Tribal communities are located offer some of the most breathtaking scenery anywhere in the United States, along with many opportunities to engage in recreational pursuits.

Each individual has his or her own set of circumstances that can affect his or her transition from military service into an Indian health career. Our goal is to ensure that you find a community that matches your personal and professional needs. As you search for the right opportunity, we encourage you to take into account all factors that will influence your decision. This will go a long way toward selecting the career path that best suits your needs.

When transitioning from the military to civilian life, a career at IHS will allow you to continue to serve the public while growing the skills you acquired during your years of military service. Careers with IHS in both health professions and non-health professions are a good fit for many veterans from a variety of backgrounds who seek the opportunity, adventure and purpose that working with a Tribal community provides. IHS extends hiring preference to both qualified Indian applicants and military service members transitioning to civilian life.

IHS offers a choice of three distinct career paths:

  • Civil Service
  • Tribal or Urban Indian Programs
  • United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps*

NOTE: The USPHS Commissioned Corps is a career option available only to licensed health professionals.

Geographically, IHS is divided into 12 physical Areas of the United States: Alaska, Albuquerque, Bemidji, Billings, California, Great Plains, Nashville, Navajo, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Portland and Tucson. Each of these Areas offers Indian health professionals vast opportunities for professional development and personal fulfillment, working with an appreciative and deserving medically underserved patient population. To learn more about the 12 IHS Areas and the American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) that live within them, visit the IHS Locations Page.

A History of Honor and Respect

American Indians and Alaska Natives hold veterans in the highest regard and seek to show respect and unwavering support to those who have served our nation and its people. Often this is portrayed through lasting traditions such as songs sung in veterans' honor or the recognition of veterans during pow wows and other ceremonial events. In fact, veterans are often recognized with ceremonies and dances that relate their sacrifices to the community, such as the Comanche Guard Dance performed in honor of our nation's veterans.

- Coming Home: Strength Through Culture. Native Words Native Warriors, National Museum of the American Indian Education Office. 2007.