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FAQs

Q: How do I apply for an IHS residency?
Please visit the How to Apply page.
Q: What is a two-year, non-traditional residency program design?

A: ASHP, the accrediting body of IHS residency programs (when applicable), allows some flexibility in residency program design. Several IHS residency sites have opted to follow a more flexible design and conduct the same residency training over a two-year period rather than a traditional one-year period. The non-traditional residency period allows for more hands-on skills and knowledge application interspersed with residency learning experience blocks. Each residency program site description will identify if they can accommodate a two-year non-traditional program design.

Q: Will I be notified when my application is complete?

A: You can use the application manager feature in USAJobs to track your on-line progress to a complete application package. For the hardcopy documents, you can contact the person to which it was sent (CAPT Rebecca Reyes) for references receipt, or the Residency Program Director at individual sites for emailed documents, etc.) You are responsible for making sure all materials are complete/received by the deadlines. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Q: If I was a Junior COSTEP, do I still need to complete the entire residency application, including the PHS-50?

A: Yes, a new PHS-50 needs to be completed for consideration of acceptance to the Commissioned Corps. This application will be made available to you if selected for residency.

Q: I have a SRCOSTEP obligation after graduating. Can I do a residency before I finish my obligation?

A: SRCOSTEPs must serve their full obligation before starting a residency.

Q: How do I schedule a site visit?

A: Contact the Residency Program Director or Chief Pharmacist at the site you are interested in visiting. The Indian Health Service Residency Programs will also be represented at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting, during the Residency Showcase each December.

Q: Does Indian Preference (IP) apply to the residency training program?

A: The Indian Health Service is required by law to provide absolute preference to American Indians/Alaska Natives who are enrolled in a federally recognized tribe. To be considered "preference" eligible for the residency training program, the applicant must submit a BIA Form 4432 with their application materials.

Q: When will the selection process for IHS residencies occur?

A: IHS residency sites are NOT part of the ASHP Match. The applicant selection will occur in February each year, before the ASHP Match deadline, which is typically in March. This allows non-selected applicants to continue with the ASHP Match if they choose. If an applicant is selected for an IHS residency and accepts the offered position, they are expected to withdraw from the ASHP match.

Q: What are the requirements to be a Commissioned Corps Officer in the US Public Health Service?

A: There are stringent requirements to be a commissioned officer including US citizenship, age, height-weight, suitability, and medical standards. To see a description of requirements for Commissioned Corps pharmacists, please visit the Commissioned Corps website Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov. A list of initial pre-screening criteria [PDF - 23 KB], found in the How to Apply instructions, can help you determine if you may be eligible.

Q: What salary can an IHS resident expect?

A: There are several employment systems to choose from at most IHS sites: direct tribal hire, Federal Civil Service, or USPHS Commissioned Corps. The Chief Pharmacist or the Residency Program Director at each respective site can give you an estimate of the expected salary range. For more information about some of these systems, check out USPHS Commissioned Corps Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov and IHS Pharmacy. IHS pharmacy resident salary is in parity with other residency program salaries.

Q: Are IHS Residents eligible for loan repayment?

A: IHS Residents are not eligible for the IHS Loan Repayment Program (LRP) until they officially complete their residency training. The chance of being accepted into the IHS LRP is dependent on specific site rankings on the Loan Repayment Priority List, the amount of money appropriated by Congress each year, and the number of applicants who apply. IHS LRP information.

Q: What is the resident's obligation after completing an IHS residency?

A: Residents who serve as USPHS Commissioned Corps Officers must be willing to transfer to other IHS practice sites post-residency. The intent of residency training in this system is to produce highly skilled pharmacists who are willing to serve in high-need locations to share their knowledge and skills for the benefit of IHS patients. There is no requirement for Civil Servants to transfer and/or continue service. After completing the residency, the Indian Health Service highly encourages residents to work for at least two years as a pharmacist at an Indian Health Service federal or tribal facility. Residency graduates have found this to be an invaluable experience for enhancing their experiential and cultural knowledge. USPHS Commissioned Corps Officers who are selected for pharmacy residency in IHS may not transfer to another USPHS agency until at least 2 years of service has been completed with IHS, including the residency year. There may be other limitations to agency transfer that apply at the time of transfer, so it is suggested to speak with the IHS National Pharmacy Residency Coordinators for further clarification when post-residency job planning is occurring.

Q: Are Indian Health Service Scholarship recipients ("437 Scholars") eligible for IHS residency consideration?

A: Recipients of the Federal Indian Health Service Scholarship are eligible to apply for the IHS pharmacy residency programs. The scholarship recipient must request a one year deferment from the Scholarship Program Branch by submitting a Notification of Deferment Program Form, and follow all rules/regulations regarding fulfillment of scholarship service obligation post-residency, if the deferment is approved. Residency service time will not count towards the contractual service obligation. Residents may also be subject to directed assignment post-residency, based on the IHS program priorities and needs at that time. More information at the IHS Scholarship website.

Q: Are international students/pharmacists eligible to apply for an IHS residency?

A: Residency applicants must be a US citizen and must have earned a degree from an accredited US college of pharmacy to apply to the IHS residency program.

Q: If accepted for residency, when must I obtain pharmacist licensure?

A: Commissioned Officer pharmacy residents must obtain pharmacist licensure by the deadline established at their residency site (inquire directly with the Residency Program Director). Civil Service pharmacists must obtain pharmacist licensure PRIOR to the final hiring steps. It is highly recommended that all resident selectees test for pharmacist licensure (must pass MPJE and NAPLEX) as early as possible after graduation, to avoid delaying the residency onboarding process.