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Q. What are the minimum qualifications that a physician must meet in order to be considered for employment in the IHS?

A: In order to be considered for employment in the IHS, interested applicants must meet all three of the following minimum qualifications: 1) U.S. Citizenship, 2) A current, active and unrestricted medical license from any state in the U.S. or its territories, and 3) a board certification/ board eligibility in your medical specialty.

Q. Does the IHS employ physicians who are in the U.S on J-1 or Hb-1 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 HB-1 student visa holders.

Q: Does the IHS utilize Locums Tenens physicians?

A: The IHS consists of 12 different regional Areas, with each Area utilizing their own contracted locum tenens staffing agencies. In order to find out which agencies they are, so that you may be selected for opportunities; please contact the Area recruiter in the area you wish to work.

Q. I did not complete a medical residency. Are there opportunities for me as a General Practitioner (GP)?

A: Several of our facilities in our highest need areas will consider a non-residency trained physician for employment. Visit the physicians page and link to Job Opportunities to review current vacancies.

Q. Are opportunities for medical school students available through IHS?

A: Yes. There are numerous opportunities for medical students to gain clinical practice while experiencing what a career at IHS has to offer. Please visit the Residencies & Rotations page for more information.

Q: Does the IHS accept healthcare volunteers?

A: Yes, limited areas do accept volunteers. The IHS determines the credentialing process for each volunteer by location, but typically requires all volunteers to have up-to-date immunization records, fingerprinting and background check, and a hospital orientation. Because the credentialing process can be time consuming, most IHS sites prefer individuals who are interested in recurrent or extended volunteer assignments. Contact an IHS Recruiter for more information.

Q. Do I have to be an American Indian or Alaska Native to work for the Indian Health Service (IHS)?

A: No, not at all! However, IHS is required by law to provide job preference to American Indians and Alaska Natives. To learn more about Indian preference, click here.

Q. Does the IHS have a Loan Repayment Program?

A: Yes. The maximum repayment dollar amount for qualifying loans is $20,000 per year. To learn more about this program, visit the IHS Loan Repayment Program web site.

Q. Is there an IHS Scholarship Program for medical school 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 details on how to apply.

Q. If I were to become a Commissioned Corps officer within IHS, would my prior military service count toward retirement?

A: Yes, your military service counts toward retirement when you join IHS through the US Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps. Your retirement date will be calculated prior to commissioning you as an officer.

Q. I’m interested in learning more about a particular IHS Area and want to speak to the primary contact person for more information. What is the best way to contact that person?

A: The best way to learn about an IHS Area is to visit our Locations link. You can read about the area’s facilities, tribes they serve, geographic information and much more. From the Area’s landing page, select the “Area Office Staff” for administration contact information.