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

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US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps

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As a commissioned officer with the US Public Health Service (USPHS), you will make a commitment to serve a population that can greatly benefit from your services and, in return, you will receive a meaningful and rewarding career path with comprehensive uniformed service benefits. While the USPHS is not a military service, dentists interested in pursuing this path will serve as a commissioned officer assigned to IHS for a minimum two-year service commitment. What’s more, if you’re a dentist eligible for the Accession Bonus you can receive an additional bonus of up to $75,000 (payable in two installments) for a four-year commitment to the Commissioned Corps and the Indian Health Service.

USPHS is currently only recruiting dentists. Dental hygienists and assistants interested in pursuing federal employment are encouraged to apply through the civil service.

Commissioned Corps Benefits

Commissioned Corps officers working within the Indian health system enjoy similar benefits as their counterparts in their sister uniformed services.

  • Accession bonus for those who qualify with a DDS or DMD.
  • 30 days paid vacation.
  • 10 paid federal holidays.
  • Sick leave as needed.
  • Comprehensive health care.
  • Tax-free subsistence and housing allowance.
  • No-cost malpractice coverage.
  • Retirement plan with benefits. Eligibility beginning 20 years after service.
  • Thrift savings (contributory) retirement, similar to a 401k.
  • Annual continuing education where available.
  • Space-available flights on military aircraft.

Commissioned Corps Eligibility

  • US citizenship.
  • Physical examination.
  • Minimum two-year commitment.
  • Must be under 44 at the time of commission.
    • If you are applying with active-duty time in any uniformed service, the age limit may be extended by the amount of active-duty time served. For example, if you have served three years of active duty in the Armed Forces, you may enter USPHS any time prior to your 47th birthday.
  • Have a valid license from any US state; Washington, DC; Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; US Virgin Islands; or Guam.
  • Registered dental hygienists must hold a fully accredited bachelor’s degree in any subject and valid licensure from any US state; Washington, DC; Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; US Virgin Islands; or Guam.
  • A desire to excel and grow as a dental health care provider while delivering much-needed dental care.

You must apply for your commission through USPHS, in addition to applying for employment, in order to become a commissioned officer. Visit USPHSExit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving for more information.



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