Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I have to be an American Indian or Alaska Native to work for the Indian Health Service (IHS)?
- Does IHS have a Loan Repayment Program?
- Is there an IHS Scholarship Program for Nursing Students?
- Are there student opportunities through IHS?
- Is there an age limit to work at IHS?
- Does IHS accept volunteers?
- Does my prior military service count toward retirement?
- Does the IHS employ health care professionals who are in the U.S on J-1 or H-1B visas?
- What are the minimum qualifications that a nurse must meet in order to be considered for employment in the IHS?
- How does relocation work?
Q. Do I have to be an American Indian or Alaska Native to work for the Indian Health Service?
A: No. To learn more about Indian preference, visit the Jobs web site.
Q. Do you have a Loan Repayment Program?
A: Yes. Nurses are eligible to apply for the IHS Loan Repayment Program (LRP), which repays qualified student loans debts up to $20,000 per year, plus an additional 20% for taxes in exchange for an initial two-year service obligation at an eligible site. To learn more about this program and verify eligibility, visit the IHS Loan Repayment Program web site.
Q. Is there an IHS Scholarship Program for Nursing students?
A: Yes. The IHS Scholarship Program is open to American Indian and Alaska Native students interested in pursuing a health professional or allied health professional career. Visit the IHS Scholarship Program web site for program information and how to apply.
Q. Are opportunities for students available through IHS?
A: Yes. There are numerous opportunities for Nursing students to gain clinical practice while experiencing what a career at IHS has to offer. Nursing externships, JR COSTEP, SR COSTEP for more information
Q. Is there an age limit to work in an Indian health program?
A: There are no age requirements for the Civil Service or Tribal hire career paths at IHS. However, if you choose to pursue employment with us through the US Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps , you must be under the age of 44 at the time of commissioning.
Q. Do the Indian health programs accept volunteers?
A: Yes, we do accept volunteers. The IHS determines the credentialing process for each volunteer by location. Because the credentialing process can be time consuming, most IHS sites prefer individuals who are interested in recurrent volunteering
Q. Does my prior military service count toward retirement?
A: Yes, civil service and USPHS commissioned corps honors all previous service toward retirement.
Q. Does the IHS employ health care professionals who are in the U.S on J-1 or H-1B visas?
A: By Authority of Title 25 United States Code (U.S.C.) §472, §472a,and §479 and Title 42 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 136, Subpart E, the policy of the IHS is to provide absolute preference to qualified Indian applicants and employees who are suitable for federal employment in filling vacancies within the IHS. As a result, the IHS does not act as an Interested Government Agency (IGA) with respect to sponsoring J-1 or H-1B student visa holders.
Q. What are the minimum qualifications that a nurse must meet in order to be considered for employment in the IHS?
A: Minimum qualifications: U.S. Citizenship and have a current, active and unrestricted nursing license from any state in the U.S. or its territories.
Q. How does relocation work?
A: For Civil Service employees: Relocation expenses are dependent on the location. When completing your job search read the job announcement and it should state whether relocation is authorized. For USPHS Commissioned Corps officers, relocation is included in your benefits