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Pay Systems and Tables

IHS provides competitive salaries to its valued workforce under pay systems and pay tables authorized under Title 5 and Title 38 of the United States Code. Within legal and regulatory limits, IHS reviews pay tables and staff compensation to ensure that staff are appropriately and fairly recognized for their responsibilities and contributions. Detailed information regarding the IHS civilian pay systems and pay tables is provided below.

The word Salary spelled out on blocks with a measuring tape under it.


The Senior Executive Service (SES) is the employment system that applies to any positions that are classified above GS-15 and involve executive management and high policy-making responsibilities. The Senior Executive Service (ES) pay plan is used.

Pay Tables

Title 38 of the United States Code provides special pay authorities used to recruit and retain employees in certain health care occupations. It allows IHS to be competitive with other health care facilities in the area. There are two ways that IHS uses the Title 38 pay authorities – Title 38 special salary rates and Title 38 Physician, Dentist and Podiatrist Pay.

IHS has authorized higher rates of basic pay than regular GS locality rates for certain health care occupations based on documented recruitment and retention issues and in compliance with the Title 38 statutory criteria. The GS pay plan is used for employees paid from Title 38 special salary rates.

  • Title 38 and Title 5 Special Salary Rates Used at IHS – 2022 [PDF - 127 KB]
  • Title 38 Physician, Dentist and Podiatrist Pay (PDP) provides higher annual pay to physicians, dentists and podiatrists who provide direct patient care or services incident to patient care. The system consists of two components: General Schedule pay without locality (Title 5) and Market Pay (Title 38). The GP pay plan is used for clinicians paid under the Title 38 PDP system.

    Title 38 Physician, Dentist, and Podiatrist SOP [PDF - 1 MB] (IHS network access required)

    IHS Case Checklist for Title 38 PDP Cases Reviewed at IHS Headquarters [PDF - 501 KB] Note: The checklist is mandatory IHS wide

    IHS Case Checklist for Title 38 PDP Cases Reviewed in IHS Areas [PDF - 121 KB]

    Title 38 Physician and Dentist Pay Approval Authority [PDF - 522 KB]

    HHS-691, Request for Title 38 Physician and Dentist Pay (PDP) [PDF]

    Title 38 PDP Pay Range Tables [PDF - 150 KB]

    HHS Instruction 590-1 Title 38 PDP [PDF]

    Comparative salary survey data can be used to determine and defend an appropriate compensation level for federal employees based on statutory and regulatory criteria. One common method of obtaining comparative salary data is to consult the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov  which provides free salary data on over 800 occupations. The BLS data may be searched on a nationwide basis, by region, by state and even by metropolitan area. It is particularly helpful if salary data pertains to at least the general region of the IHS position being evaluated. Physician salary data is also publicly available from Merritt Hawkins Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov , a physician recruiting firm.

    (IHS network access required) - Additionally, IHS purchases salary data to use in benchmarking pay levels and in evaluating compensation cases. IHS staff who work on pay cases and need access to this data to create and defend cases may obtain this IHS-only salary data on the IHS Office of Human Resources Intranet Page. IHS purchases the comparative salary survey information under a licensed agreement and should not be shared outside of IHS.