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Spotlight: Federal Healthcare Careers

Spotlight: Federal Healthcare Careers

Dennis V. Damp /

Healthcare is America’s largest occupational group, with more than 13 million jobs. According to the US Department of Labor’s Career Guide to Industries, healthcare employment is projected to increase 27 percent through 2014 and account for about 3.6 million new jobs between 2004 and 2014.

According to the Office of Personnel Management, many of those new jobs will be within the federal government, which already employs more than 140,000 healthcare workers. Registered nurse positions – at 50,000 strong – and medical officers – holding more than 22,000 jobs – are two of the largest federal healthcare occupations.

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According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans Administration (VA) is the government’s largest healthcare employer with more than 225,000 personnel providing direct medical care and support for the nation’s veterans. The VA employs healthcare workers and support personnel at 163 hospitals, 850 outpatient clinics, 137 nursing homes, 43 domiciliary facilities and 73 home-care programs nationwide. In 2002, the VA spent $25 billion to provide comprehensive medical, surgical and rehabilitative care for 4.5 million people. You can search for VA jobs online either by specific facility or occupational title.

Also, the Department of Health and Human Services employs large numbers of healthcare workers, while the Army, Navy and Air Force hire civilian medical personnel to augment hospital staffs worldwide.

You can apply for federal healthcare jobs online by searching Monster and USAJOBS. To avoid confusion when searching online databases, search by the generic job title so you can find jobs from all relevant groups.

Keep in mind that all federal occupations are identified by a complex numbering system that identifies both the position’s level and qualification standards. General Schedule (GS) white-collar jobs range from GS-0000 to GS-2300, while Wage Grade (WG) blue-collar jobs start at 2500 and go up through 9000. The majority of healthcare service jobs are listed in the GS-0600 series under the Medical, Hospital, Dental and Public Health Group. For example, registered nurse positions are listed in the GS-0610 series, dental hygienist positions in GS-0682 and pharmacists in GS-0660. You will also find healthcare service jobs listed under other occupational groups, including the GS-100 Social Science, Psychology and Welfare Group.

Working for the government can be rewarding. The pay and benefits are excellent, and if you like to travel, you can find employment at thousands of locations nationwide and overseas.

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