VA Health Care Careers
Audiologists apply advanced clinical skills such as hearing conservation, advanced audiologic and electrophysiologic assessment and interpretation, comprehensive tinnitus evaluation, treatment, and retraining therapies, advanced central auditory function assessment and treatment, assessment and treatment of patients with surgically-implanted bio-electric or cochlear implants, intraoperative (surgical) monitoring, advanced vestibular assessment and rehabilitation, and analysis and fitting of advanced amplification technology involving acoustic signal processing algorithms.
Audiologists/Speech Pathologists perform, supervise, and administer professional scientific work in communicative disorders including research, consultation, and training. Their prime responsibility is to help individuals achieve better communication. Audiologists/Speech Pathologists work to resolve communicative disorders which are reflected in impaired hearing, voice, language, or speech. They help patients make effective adjustments to these disorders.
Types of VA Jobs
VA Career Categories:
0404 - Biological Science Technician
This series covers all positions that primarily require a practical knowledge of the methods and techniques of one or more of the biological or agricultural sciences when the work is not more appropriately included in another technician series of the Biological Sciences Group, GS-0400. Biological science technicians provide practical technical support to production, research, operations, or program administration efforts in laboratories.
0401 – Biologist
This series covers positions that involve professional work in biology, agriculture, or related natural resource management when there is no other more appropriate series. Thus included in this series are positions that involve: (1) a combination of several professional fields with none predominant; or (2) a specialized professional field not readily identified with other existing series.
The work requires the application of engineering concepts and methodology to investigate problems and phenomena of living systems to advance the understanding of these systems and improve medical practices; to develop materials, instruments, diagnostic and therapeutic devices, and other equipment applicable in the study of life systems and the practice of medicine; and to improve health service delivery systems for communities and within individual VA facilities (medical centers, outpatient clinics, domiciliaries). Biomedical engineering work requires, in addition to knowledge and skill in engineering disciplines, a background in physiology and anatomy, and a practical facility in specialized subject matter areas such as computer applications, electronics, or mathematics.
Certified Registered Respiratory Therapist
Chiropractors are responsible for providing the full range of clinical diagnoses and chiropractic treatment for neuromusculoskeletal conditions. They collaborate with a diverse group of clinicians and administrative personnel within the facility. VA chiropractors support established clinical practice guidelines, including those relating to immunization programs.
As valued members of an interdisciplinary health care team, VA health care system, dentists work in an environment committed to providing high quality health care to our Nation's veterans. Because many veteran patients can be medically, physically, and/or emotionally compromised, unique treatment challenges typically are present for VA dentists and the support staff that works closely with them. These include dental hygienists, expanded-function dental auxiliaries, dental assistants, and dental laboratory technicians. The advantages of such a comprehensive approach offer unique freedom for the practice of dentistry and contribute towards providing the highest level of quality patient care.
Dental Technologists perform various clinical techniques. As a vital part of the VA team, they plan, coordinate, and conduct preventive oral health programs for various patient groups; develop and modify instructional methods; and develop methods for evaluating the effectiveness of the preventive dentistry program. Employees work closely with, and under the general direction of, a dentist or periodontist.
Diagnostic Radiologic Technologists are engaged in the performance or supervision of technical work that requires knowledge and competence in the field of diagnostic radiologic examinations. Most diagnostic radiologic technologists work in a hospital or clinic environment, performing examinations and procedures under the direction of a physician. They produce radiologic studies that are used in medical diagnosis and interpreted by physicians to locate injuries, foreign bodies, pathologic conditions, or lesions within the body.
Expanded-function Dental Auxiliary
0640 - Health Aid / Technician
This series covers positions involving nonprofessional work of technical, specialized, or support nature in the field of health or medicine when the work is of such generalized, specialized or miscellaneous nature that there is no other more appropriate series. Such work is either: (1) characteristic of two or more specialized nonprofessional series in the Medical, Dental, and Public Health Group, GS-0600, when no one type of work controls the qualification requirements, or (2) sufficiently new, unique, or miscellaneous that it is not specifically included in a specialized nonprofessional series in the Group.
1306 - Health Physicist
This series covers positions that require primarily application of professional knowledge and competence in health physics that is concerned with the protection of persons and their environment from unwarranted exposure to ionizing radiation.
0601 - Health Scientist
This series covers positions that involve research or other professional and scientific work that is specifically healthoriented in character, when the work is of such generalized or miscellaneous specialized nature that the positions are not more appropriately classifiable in any of the existing series in this or any other Group. The work requires a background of knowledge, skills and techniques gained from professional training in a health science or allied scientific field, but has no paramount, rigid or continuing requirement for the knowledge, skills and techniques characterizing any of the established series that reflect one or more of the academic disciplines or recognized professions. Such work may cut across and require understanding of scientific methods and techniques common to several recognized professional fields in the health, medical or allied sciences (e.g., work in the field of health research administration requiring knowledge of research methodology common to a number of different scientific fields); and/or the work may represent a new, emerging or miscellaneous professional occupational area of a health science not readily identifiable with established series. This series is not intended for use for interdisciplinary professional positions (and the paramount qualification needed to perform the work) that are readily identifiable with existing series.
0670 - Health System Administrator
Positions in this series have full line responsibility for the administrative management of a health care delivery system that may range from a nationwide network including many hospitals to a major subdivision of an individual hospital. The fundamental responsibility of health system administrators is to effectively use all available resources to provide the best possible patient care. This requires an understanding of the critical balance between the administrative and clinical functions in the health care delivery system, and ability to coordinate and control programs and resources to achieve this balance. These positions require the ability to apply the specialized principles and practices of health care management in directing a health care delivery system. They do not require the services of a qualified physician.
0671 - Health System Specialist
Positions in this series provide support to health care management officials by analyzing, evaluating, advising on and/or coordinating health care delivery systems and operations. Such positions may be located within an operating health care facility or at a higher organizational echelon. In addition to a high degree of analytical ability, positions in this series require specialized knowledge of the basic principles and practices related to the management of health care delivery systems. These positions do not have line authority.
0673 - Hospital Housekeeping Officer
This series covers all positions requiring application of administrative ability and technical knowledge in
supervising or performing work in the development, coordination, direction, and management of hospital
housekeeping programs. The major concern of such programs is the maintenance of environmental sanitation within acceptable levels of bacteriological, as well as visual cleanliness.
Kinesiotherapists use corrective exercises to maintain or improve the general state of health of patients by preventing muscular deterioration; conserving and increasing strength; maintaining function; and retaining mobility. They evaluate the history of patients by interviews, tests and measurements, and use such findings and the therapy orders of physicians to develop and implement corrective therapy programs for individual patients. These programs involve instructing patients in ambulation and educating patients to develop skill and understanding in activities of daily living. In VA, the work of a Kinesiotherapist inspires the self-confidence and motivation of patients to carry out therapy treatments.
Medical Instrument Technician
Medical Instrument Technicians perform diagnostic examinations or medical treatment procedures as part of the diagnosis and treatment of patients. Their work involves operating or monitoring diagnostic and therapeutic medical instruments and equipment associated with cardiac catheterization, pulmonary examinations and evaluations, heart bypass surgery/heart-lung transplant surgery (perfusion), electrocardiography, electroencephalography, polysomnography, hemodialysis, ultrasonography, and vascular sonography. Positions in this series require knowledge of the capabilities and operating characteristics of one or more kinds of instruments and a practical knowledge of human anatomy and physiology. Positions also require a practical understanding of medical data generated by patient/equipment connections. Some positions may also require a practical knowledge of chemistry, pharmacology, physics, and mathematics.
Medical Records Administrator/ Specialist
Medical Record Administrators manage, preserve, analyze, and supervise the use of diagnostic and therapeutic medical records/health information management. They develop policies and procedures, and provide advice on the use of medical records and health information management. Also included are positions assigned responsibility for a section of a medical record department as well as those assigned quality assurance, risk management, compliance, privacy, decision support, financial, or technology focused health information management responsibilities.
Medical Record Technicians organize, process, and maintain medical records and health information. They assemble, review, analyze, code, abstract, maintain, compile, and extract medical record and health data. Medical Record Technicians check medical records for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with requirements of regulatory and accrediting agencies. Some Medical Record Technicians maintain clinical registries and work to meet the standards of regulatory and accrediting agencies. These health professionals usually work under the guidance of the Medical Record Administrator and are known by a number of titles depending on job function in the health care community. Terms may include health information technician, coder, tumor registrar, or registry technician.
0622 - Medical Supply Aid and Technician
This series contains positions the duties of which are to provide wards, clinics, operating rooms, and other hospital facilities with medical supplies, instruments, sets, and equipment. Duties require a knowledge of aseptic techniques and sterilization practices; the care, functioning, and uses of supplies, equipment, sets, and instruments; and methods for the preparation, storage, and issue of sterile and nonsterile medical supplies and the maintenance of adequate stock levels.
0679 - Medical Support Assistant
This series covers one-grade interval administrative support positions that supervise, lead, or perform support work in connection with the care and treatment given to patients in wards, clinics, or other such units of a medical facility. The work includes functions such as serving as a receptionist, performing record keeping duties, and providing miscellaneous support to the medical staff of the unit. This series includes work that requires a practical knowledge of computerized data entry and information processing systems, the medical facility’s organization and services, basic rules and regulations governing visitors and patient treatment, and a practical knowledge of the standard procedures, medical records, and medical terminology of the unit supported.
0650 - Medical Technical Assistant
This series covers all classes of positions the duties of which are to supervise and perform technical work that is subordinate to professional work in medicine and dentistry, in penal and correctional institutions.
0645 - Medical Technician
This series covers positions that involve nonprofessional technical work in clinical (medical) laboratories in
performing tests and examinations in one or more areas of work such as chemistry, blood banking, hematology, or microbiology. The reports of findings of tests and examinations may be used by physicians in diagnosis, care and treatment of patients, or in support of medical research. The work requires a practical knowledge of the techniques of medical laboratory practice in one or more areas of clinical laboratory work (e.g., blood banking, chemistry, hematology, microbiology) and of the chemistry, biology, and anatomy involved.
Medical technologists are engaged in clinical laboratory work that requires professional knowledge and competence in this field. Most medical technologists work in hospitals or outpatient-clinic laboratories performing analyses of human blood, urine, and other body fluids or tissues. They produce test data for use by physicians in detecting, diagnosing, and treating diseases. Some medical technologists, particularly in smaller laboratories, are generalists. Others specialize in one or more of the clinical disciplines or sub-disciplines (bacteriology, chemistry, microbiology) or functional areas (administration, education and research) of medical technology.
Nuclear medicine technologists possess a professional knowledge of the field of nuclear medicine technology and those aspects of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and the biomedical sciences that relate to nuclear medicine. They perform a variety of radioimmunoassay (in vitro) laboratory procedures on biological specimens, in combination with a wide variety of functional studies. These studies of organs and systems involve static and dynamic imaging procedures, the injection of radio nuclides and radio pharmaceuticals, and the use of such specialized equipment as integrated computer imaging systems and single photon emission tomography. VA's nuclear medicine technologists also modify or design nuclear medicine laboratory procedures, establish and monitor quality control systems, and develop and provide formal instruction in the basic theory, skills, and application of laboratory and imaging test procedures.
Nursing - Advanced Practice Nurse
This series covers positions that involve a variety of personal care, nursing care, or related procedures that do not require: (1) the knowledge and skills represented by the licensure of practical and vocational nurses by a State, territory, or the District of Columbia, or (2) fully professional nurse education.
Nursing - Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists
Nursing - Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse
Nursing - Nurse Practitioner
Nurse Practitioners (NPs) practice independently in a variety of settings to include; hospital outpatient clinic, nursing home, domiciliary, and even home care. NPs provide a continuum of high-quality care in a timely, responsive, and caring manner. NPs are responsible for delivering essential and preventive care, providing patient and family education, and coordinating all care services.
Nursing - Registered Nurse
Occupational Therapists work in an environment committed to providing quality health care to the Nation's veterans. Occupational Therapists offer comprehensive health care services on a continuum from preventive care to extended care. They are challenged daily by the needs of patients with diverse and complex medical conditions that require unique and resourceful treatment interventions.
Occupational Therapy Assistant
Occupational Therapy Assistants provide rehabilitative services to persons with mental, physical, emotional, or developmental impairments. The ultimate goal is to improve clients’ quality of life and ability to perform activities of daily living. The Occupational Therapy Assistant participates with the occupational therapist in planning and implementing complex treatment programs and applies occupational therapy procedures to patients under the general supervision of an occupational therapist.
Orthotists-Prothetists administer, supervise, or perform work involving designing, fabricating, or fitting orthotic or prosthetic devices to preserve or restore function to patients with disabling conditions of the limbs and spine, or with partial or total absence of limbs. Their work requires knowledge of anatomy, physiology, body mechanics, the application and function of orthoses and/or prostheses, and of the materials and technology available for use in, and fabrication of, such devices.
0646 - Pathology Technician
This series covers positions that involve technical work subordinate to the work of pathologists or other physicians (or other professional personnel) who make the final diagnostic examinations of specimens of human tissues and/or cell preparations. Technician work in histopathology involves preparing thin sections of tissue specimens including fixing, clearing, infiltrating, embedding, sectioning, staining, and mounting. Technician work in cytology involves preparing, staining, and examining microscopically specimens of body fluids, secretions, and exudations from any part of the body to determine whether cellular structure is normal, atypical, or abnormal. Positions in this series require a practical knowledge of the techniques of anatomical laboratory practice in one or both of the areas of laboratory work (i.e., histopathology and cytology) and of the chemistry, biology, and anatomy involved.
Pharmacy Technicians perform routine pharmacy functions including receiving prescriptions from patients in writing or electronically from physicians. They prepare prescriptions by counting, pouring, weighing, measuring, and mixing the medication if necessary. Pharmacy Technicians maintain patient profiles; prepare insurance claim forms, stock, and take inventory of medications. They also prepare medications for inpatients in various settings, including sterile product preparation. The work of a Pharmacy Technician is performed under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist.
Physical Therapy Assistants provide services that promote the prevention, remediation, and rehabilitation of acute and chronic physical dysfunction. The PTA participates with the physical therapist in planning and implementing complex treatment programs and applies physical therapy procedures to patients under the general supervision of a Physical Therapist.
In addition to the above, VA offers state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for basic and clinical research to further advance the frontiers of medicine and health care. Time is made available for VA physicians to pursue this critical aspect of their profession within an environment that promotes writing, editing, and publishing.
VA Podiatrists work in an environment committed to providing high quality health care to our Nation's veterans. A career as a VA podiatrist offers diverse and challenging, yet rewarding opportunities to fully utilize your professional skills and knowledge. Clinical, as well as academic and research opportunities are available. These opportunities are further enhanced by VA's many academic affiliations with schools and colleges of podiatry. The practice of podiatry in VA offers opportunities and challenges that are typically not found in other health care environments. VA podiatrists use all of their knowledge and skills in their daily practice and are often challenged by the needs of patients with diverse and complex medical conditions.
Prosthetic Representatives perform, supervise and administer the work of rendering prosthetic and sensory aids services to disabled patients. The work may include: planning, developing, and directing a prosthetic and sensory aids program at local, Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN), or national levels; advising clinicians on selecting, prescribing, and acquiring prosthetic devices; advising on new prosthetics field developments and supply sources; interpreting clinician prescriptions to ensure proper device selection; authorizing their purchase, fabrication, or repair; maintaining liaison with prosthetic supply manufacturers and dealers, inspecting their facilities and services, and participating in awarding prosthetic appliance contracts; participating in investigative/ research studies by selecting pilot wearers of newly developed prosthetic items, and evaluating and compiling data on item usefulness; and providing multiple facilities with prosthetic and sensory aids technical/administrative advice and assistance.
0181 - Psychology Aid / Technician
This series covers classes of positions that involve the performance of nonprofessional technical work in connection with a program of research or direct services in psychology. Positions in this series involve a practical understanding of some of the principles, methods and techniques of psychology but do not require formal education in psychology. While positions in the lower grades of the Psychology Series, GS-0180, may involve performance of tasks similar to work performed by incumbents in this series, work classifiable to the GS-0180 series is distinguished by the fact that it is performed as part of a program of training and development leading to acquisition of broader knowledge, skills and insights into the overall principles and theory of psychology, whereas work in the Psychology Aid and Technician Series is performed for its immediate productive value, is typically very limited in breadth, and does not provide substantial development of broader psychological skills, knowledge, and insights.
Psychologists engage in professional and scientific work that relates to behavior, capacities, traits, interests, and emotions. This work may include any one or a combination of the following: providing professional clinical services; conducting research; carrying out education/training activities; clinical consultation; supervision; and administration. VA psychologists' work is with a wide range of patients using, refining, or developing new techniques in psychodiagnosis, assessment and evaluation; pyschotherapy; behavior modification; vocational evaluation; counseling; and job placement programs.
0189 - Recreation Aid / Assistant
This series covers positions requiring a practical knowledge of one or more recreational activities, such as military or urban community center activities, child care and youth center activities, senior citizens recreation activities, outdoor recreation activities, recreation craft centers and hobby shops, sports centers, music and theater centers, and general recreation activities for special populations such as students in Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding schools and inmates of Federal correctional institutions. This practical knowledge, combined with skill in the maintenance and use of recreation materials and equipment, is used in providing support and assistance to recreation specialists or recreation program managers by performing limited aspects of recreation work, and by working with participants in well-organized and carefully monitored recreation activities.
0638 - Recreation / Creative Arts Therapist
This series covers positions that involve professional work requiring application of either: (1) a knowledge of the concepts, principles, and practices of recreation therapy, and the use of recreational modalities; or (2) a knowledge of the concepts, principles, and practices of a specialized creative arts therapy field (i.e., art, dance, music, and psychodrama) and the use of appropriate specialized activity modalities to maintain the physical and/or mental health or to achieve the physical and or mental rehabilitation of patients. These therapists evaluate the history, interests, aptitudes, and skills of patients by interviews, inventories, tests, and measurements, and use such findings, along with medical records and the therapy orders of physicians or nurses, to develop and implement therapy activities for individual patients. These several therapy approaches are directed toward achieving such therapeutic objectives as diminishing emotional stress of patients, providing a sense of achievement, channeling energies and interests into acceptable forms of behavior, aiding physical and mental rehabilitation, and promoting successful community reentry.
Respiratory Therapy Technician
Social Workers make use of the skills of social casework, social group work, and other major treatment modalities in helping patients and their families handle the social, emotional, and economic pressures influencing continuity of family-community life during periods of illness and stress.
Speech Pathologists develop coherent treatment strategies and incorporate new clinical procedures.
Their expertise is used to provide treatment interventions, conduct assessments and perform functions associated with contemporary speech-language pathology practice. Speech Pathologist perform clinical services independently as they apply principles and techniques used in alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) systems, diagnosis and treatment of dysphagia, and cognitive-communication disorders techniques used in voice disorders including alaryngeal and trach/ventilator-dependent patients.
Therapeutic Radiologic Technologist
Therapeutic Radiologic Technologists apply knowledge of anatomy and physiology, oncologic pathology, radiation oncology techniques, treatment planning procedures and dosimetry in the performance of their duties. They administer a prescribed course of treatment, observe the patient during treatment and maintain patient records of the treatment. Additional duties may include tumor localization, dosimetry, patient follow-up and patient education. They should have a stable, self-assured personality and display attributes of compassion, concern, and competence in meeting the special needs of the oncology patient.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs - 810 Vermont Avenue, NW - Washington, DC 20420
Reviewed/Updated Date: November 9, 2009