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Career Paths

grounp of health professionals

Transitioning to civilian life can pose a unique set of challenges for veterans, but the skills you acquired during military service can provide a launching pad to a new career in Indian health. Whether you are entry level, managerial or hold a post-graduate degree, a variety of career opportunities including health care, customer service, administration, staff support and more are available for you to pursue and continue to grow your skills. Working in the civil service or for a Tribal or Urban Indian Program offers health professionals and non-health professionals a world of opportunities to build their careers while enjoying competitive salary and benefits packages. The USPHS Commissioned Corps offers comprehensive federal benefits as well but is an option available only to licensed health professionals.

Civil Service

The civil service is ideal for both health professionals and non-health professionals. Flexibility, negotiable starting pay and eligibility to carry forward military service toward civil service retirement makes this an attractive choice for military professionals transitioning to civilian life. Plus, as there are no age or physical eligibility requirements for most positions, the civil service is a compelling choice for both experienced professionals and recent graduates alike.

All civil service applications must be submitted through USAJOBS Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving .

The benefits of a civil service career include:

  • Competitive starting salary and benefits.
  • 13 - 26 days paid vacation, depending on experience.
  • 10 paid federal holidays.
  • Up to 13 days sick leave per year.
  • Comprehensive health insurance.
  • No-cost malpractice coverage.
  • Comprehensive retirement program.
  • Thrift savings (contributory) retirement plan with government match.
  • Annual continuing education where available.

Tribal or Urban Indian Program Benefits

Many transitioning military members find working directly for a Tribe or Urban Indian Program rewarding career paths because of the close integration with the community they serve and the opportunities for recreational pursuits nearby. While these positions are not part of federal personnel systems, employment benefits are comparable to them and are negotiated directly with the Tribe or Urban Indian Program facility.

Tribal and Urban Indian Program applicants should reach out to an IHS recruiter to learn more about working within a Tribal or Urban Indian Program facility. The recruiter will direct them to an appropriate contact within the Area where the Tribal or Urban Indian Program the applicant seeks to join is located. You can also search some Tribal and Urban Indian Program position vacancies on IHSJOBS.

USPHS Commissioned Corps Benefits

One of the seven uniformed services of the United States, the Commission Corps offers veterans in certain health professions with less than eight years of active duty service an opportunity to continue their military retirement benefits.

Veterans bring the ability to work with individuals from diverse backgrounds, work cooperatively alongside colleagues, approach challenges head on and thrive in unfamiliar situations. This is a strong skillset to bring to Indian health care teams. As a commissioned officer with the USPHS, you will serve a population that can greatly benefit from your service and, in return, you will receive a meaningful and rewarding career.

Joining the Commissioned Corps entitles you to outstanding federal benefits, including:

  • 30 days paid vacation.
  • 10 paid federal holidays.
  • Sick leave as needed.
  • Comprehensive health care.
  • No-cost malpractice insurance.
  • Tax-free subsistence housing allowance.
  • Non-contributory retirement.
  • Thrift savings (contributory) retirement.
  • Annual continuing education where available.

Applicants must apply for the Commissioned Corps through both the US Public Health Service Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving  and USAJOBS Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving .


In order to apply, follow these simple steps:

  1. Create an account at USAJOBS.
  2. Create up to five searchable resumes under My Account at Uploaded resumes are not searchable; you must create an original resume for USAJOBS.
  3. Understand the job description of each position to which you are applying.
  4. Upload up to 10 required documents (license, transcripts, diploma, etc.).
  5. Search for jobs within your discipline and save your searches.
  6. You will be alerted when new positions are posted.