Page updated 2/10/2015
This group includes all classes of positions, the duties of which are to advise on, administer, supervise, or perform research or other professional and scientific work, subordinate technical work, or related clerical work in the several branches of medicine, surgery, and dentistry or in related patient care services such as dietetics, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, pharmacy, and others.
There were 273,531 federal workers employed in this group in 2014 within all Executive Branch department with the exception of the Department of Education. The EPA, NASA, the Agency for International Development and the Peach Corp also employ health care workers. Over 4,000 are employed overseas by HHS and most of the military organizations.
The 0610 nurse series employs 77,456 with the largest group employed by the VA. The VA employs 194,156 from the 0600 job series in all disciplines while Health and Human Services (HHS) employs 33,549.
Don't overlook any agency in your job search as there are many employed in this group spread throughout many Executive Departments and independent agencies.
Click on the job title for current job listings and click on (job series definition) to review duties and qualifications.
These position descriptions are excerpted from the qualification standards for each job title in this group. In the General Schedule position classification system is established under chapter 51 of title 5, United States Code. The term “General Schedule” or “GS” denotes the major position classification system and pay structure for white collar work in the Federal government. Agencies that are no longer subject to chapter 51 have replaced the GS pay plan indicator with agency-unique pay plan indicators. For example, the Bureau of Prisons uses GL instead of the GS designation. For this reason, reference to General Schedule or GS is often omitted from the individual qualification standard sheets.
There are 32,468 medical doctors in all specialties employed throughout the federal government with positions available in many agencies. The VA and HHS employ the largest numbers in this group however smaller number are employed by the Department of Justice which employs 277 doctors for their prison systems and the Department of Transportation employs 47 while the Department of State employs 27.
This series includes all classes of positions the duties of which are to advise on, administer, supervise, or perform professional and scientific work in one or more fields of medicine. Positions are classifiable to this series when the nature of duties and responsibilities is such that the degree of Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy is a fundamental requirement. Most positions in this series require a current license to practice medicine and surgery in a State or territory of the United States or in the District of Columbia.
Although there is overlapping in the subject-matter content of certain specializations, the criterion for the establishment of these specializations is based on the differences in the requirements for filling the positions. In the main, the specializations represent those of approved American specialty boards. An approved American specialty board is one which has been approved for the particular specialty by the Council on Medical Education and Hospitals of the American Medical Association or by the Bureau of Professional Education, Advisory Board for Osteopathic Specialists of the American Osteopathic Association.
Special pay rates are utilized for this profession. Physicians typically earn 6 figure salaries including supplemental income.
Of the 77,456 nurses employed by the federal government most work for the VA, HHS, and the various military departments. This series includes positions that require a professional knowledge of nursing. Positions involve providing care to patients in hospitals, clinics, occupational health units, homes, schools and communities; administering anesthetic agents and supportive treatments to patients undergoing surgery or other medical procedures; promoting better health practices; teaching; performing research in one or more phases of the field of nursing; or consulting and advising nurses who provide direct care to patients.
This series includes all positions for which a professional knowledge of nursing and registration to practice as a professional nurse are the basic requirements. These positions were formerly included in the Nurse Anesthetist Series, GS-0605; the Nurse Series, GS-0610; and the Public Health Nurse Series, GS-0615. All positions above the training levels require the application of specialized knowledge gained through advanced education or experience or both. For example, the nurse anesthetist, the community health nurse, and the nurse specialist each must learn and apply specialized knowledge, skills, and abilities. But all professional nurse positions require the same basic qualifications as a foundation upon which specialized knowledge are built. Thus, since all those classes of positions share the same basic requirement, all are included in this series.
Nursing is primarily assisting the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or to a peaceful death) that would be performed unaided if the patient had the necessary strength, will, or knowledge. It is likewise the unique contribution of nursing to help the individual to be independent of such assistance as soon as possible.
The nurse deliberately assesses the client's health problems, determines his or her role in coping with these problems, sets a plan of action which the nurse is responsible for implementing, and then determines whether the prescribed methods did indeed affect a satisfactory resolution.
The development of a scientific nursing practice necessitates the use of the scientific method. The nurse identifies actual and potential health problems; diagnoses and treats human response to physical and emotional health problems through such services as case finding, management of health problems, health counseling and teaching; provides care supportive to, or restorative of life and well-being; and assists the patient to comply with a medical regimen prescribed by a licensed physician or dentist.
As members of an independent health profession, nurses collaborate with physicians and others of the health professions to provide health care and improve the quality of life, to prevent disease, and promote physical and mental health.
This series includes positions requiring professional knowledge of the concepts, principles, and practices of occupational therapy to provide clinical services, supervise or train students and therapists, or perform research with people who have impaired capacities for performing activities appropriate to their age group. Of the 1,369 employed in this occupation most work for the VA however there are small numbers employed by HHS and other agencies. The work requires knowledge of the structure and function of the human body, environmental influences, human development, physical and psychosocial dysfunctions, and skill in developing treatment plans to teach new skills, restore performance, or learn compensating skills.
Occupational therapists help people of all ages to acquire or regain the skills to live independent productive lives. In the Federal service, they work in hospitals, research facilities, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, schools, day-care treatment centers, and home-based care projects. They serve in various functional capacities such as staff therapist, specialist, program manager, instructor, and supervisor.
Occupational therapy is based on the theory that ability to do functional activities expected at a particular stage of development or in a particular life role is significant to a person's state of health and sense of well-being, e.g., ability to take care of personal needs, to manage money, to use transportation and communication equipment, to develop good work habits, to demonstrate skills as a student, homemaker, employee or retiree; and to develop interest and capability for leisure and social activities.
The following occupations are covered by this standard: Physical Therapist Series, GS-0633 Kinesiotherapy Series, GS-06351 Manual Arts Therapist Series, GS-0637 Recreation/Creative Arts Therapist Series, GS-0638 Educational Therapist Series, GS-0639.
Review the multidiscipline standard for this group.
This series includes positions which require professional knowledge and competence in the field of medical technology. Medical technology involves performing, advising on, or supervising clinical laboratory testing of human blood, urine, and other body fluids or tissues, using manual or automated techniques; confirming test results and developing data which may be used by physicians in determining the presence and extent of disease or in support of medical research; modifying or designing laboratory procedures; establishing and monitoring quality control systems and measures; and providing instruction in the basic theory, technical skills, and application of laboratory test procedures. Of the 5,885 employed in this occupation most work for the VA, 533 work for HHS, 31 work with the DOJ and small numbers with the Department of State and other agencies. Small numbers are employed by other agencies.
Medical technology includes work in such areas as hematology, bacteriology, mycology, virology, parasitology, immunology, serology, immunohematology (blood banking), clinical chemistry (including endocrinology and toxicology), and urinalysis as they relate to clinical laboratory practice.
Medical technologist positions are found in Federal hospital and outpatient-clinic laboratories; regional and reference laboratories which serve other hospitals, clinics, ships at sea, or foreign stations; research and development organizations; and regulatory and control agencies. Most medical technologists produce test results for use by physicians in the diagnosis and management of disease. Some do research, develop laboratory techniques, teach, or perform administrative or management duties. A few provide consultative and advisory services to State and local health departments, develop standards and regulations controlling laboratories engaged in interstate commerce and/or receiving reimbursement under Medicare, or perform other similar activities.
Although positions classified in this series generally involve testing body fluids or tissues from humans, other duties may sometimes apply. In hospitals where the infection control/environmental surveillance program is supported by the clinical laboratory, medical technologists may test environmental as well as biologic specimens. Where there is no organized nuclear medicine service, they may perform limited nuclear medicine procedures (e.g., in vitro radioimmunoassay tests) in addition to other procedures. In unique situations they may test samples from animals rather than humans (as in setting up and performing quality-controlled hematologic, biochemical, and immunologic laboratory procedures/tests to support pharmacologic studies in laboratory animals).
This series includes positions requiring the performance or supervision of technical work in the field of diagnostic radiologic examinations, performed under the direction of a physician. The work involves the operation of radiologic equipment in a hospital or clinic environment as part of the diagnostic plan for patients.
Some positions, usually in small hospitals or clinics, may include the performance of other medical auxiliary services, such as operation of electrocardiographic equipment. These duties usually occupy a minor portion of time and usually do not affect the grade or series of the position. If significant, such duties should be evaluated in accordance with the standards for the occupation of which they are characteristic.
Diagnostic radiologic technologists and technicians perform procedures and examinations in hospitals or clinics under the direction of radiologists and other medical officers. The objective of the examinations and procedures is to produce radiographic studies which are used in medical diagnosis and interpreted by medical officers to locate injuries, foreign bodies, pathological conditions or lesions within the body.
Technicians and technologists also may assist radiologists during fluoroscopic examinations. They mix contrast media, prepare syringes for radiologists or other medical officers to administer, and adjust controls on equipment such as image intensifiers, magnetic tape recorders, cineradiography cameras, kinescopic equipment, and television monitors to sharpen the images. They remove and insert spot film cassettes exposed for permanent record during the fluoroscopic examination.
This series includes positions which involve technical support work in a pharmacy under the supervision of a registered pharmacist. The work requires application of a practical knowledge of: pharmaceutical nomenclature; characteristics, strengths, and dosage forms of pharmaceuticals; pharmaceutical systems of weights and measures; operation and care of pharmacy equipment; and pharmaceutical procedures and techniques.
This series includes positions the duties of which are to manage, advise on, preserve, analyze, and supervise the use of diagnostic and therapeutic medical records. Medical records administration personnel develop medical records policies and procedures and provide advice on the use of medical records. The work requires a knowledge of medical records administration and management skills and abilities. Of the 771 employed in this occupation most work for the VA, 80 work for HHS, 30 work with the DOJ and small numbers with the other agencies.
Most positions in this series work directly with the medical records system of a single medical facility such as a hospital, service unit, or outpatient clinic. A smaller group of medical records administration personnel perform at a staff or advisory level. They act as consultants at headquarters level or other echelons above the level of the individual medical or research facility on medical records systems and programs, organize and direct the medical records programs of several medical facilities within a geographical area, or direct the medical records program for all medical facilities within an agency.
Medical records administration is an allied health occupation concerned with the management of medical records administration programs to meet statutory and regulatory requirements. Employees in this occupation carry out medical records administration program goals by performing work requiring specialized knowledge of the concepts, principles, and practices of medical records administration. The work requires the application of analytical methods to medical records system issues, reviews, and studies. In addition, employees must have an understanding and apply basic principles of other sciences such as anatomy and physiology. The administrative aspects of the work require an understanding of statistics, data processing, budgeting, contracting, procurement, personnel, and property management.
In a medical records system, records document the history and progress of a patient's illness or injury. They preserve information of medical, clinical, scientific, legal, financial, and planning value. The medical record is a compilation of observations and findings recorded by the patient's physician and other clinical staff. Entries and reports become part of the patient's medical record. Surgery, pathology, and nursing service reports, diagnostic test results, progress reports, and nutrition orders are examples of data included in the record.
This series includes positions the principal duties of which are to advise on, supervise or perform work involving 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. The series is limited to positions of managers and assistant managers of hospital housekeeping programs, trainees for such positions and program specialists at organizational echelons above the local hospital level. Of the 278 employed in this occupation most work for the VA, 80 work for the Department of the Army, 4 work with the DOJ, and 4 work for HHS.
The need for maintaining bacteriological, as well as visual, cleanliness in hospitals has been recognized for some time. However, in recent years, the need to maintain exceptionally high-levels of environmental sanitation has become even more critical. This increasing awareness of the need to maintain a safe and sanitary environment for hospital patients, staff and visitors, culminated in the issuance by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAH) of new and demanding standards of excellence in hospital sanitation. Additionally, new and more stringent requirements for effective occupational safety and health have created increased demands for controlling the physical facilities and the actions of individuals so as to minimize patient, employee or visitor injury and exposure to infectious disease.
As the concern for the hospital environment has evolved to its present level, so too has the position of Hospital Housekeeping Officer evolved to meet the increased demands. At one time, responsibility for maintaining the hospital environment was diffused, with the nursing department assuming considerable responsibility in this area. Later, hospital housekeeping responsibility was centralized in Hospital Housekeeping Officer positions which focused on directing the day-to-day operations of the housekeeping program. More recently, the new emphasis on hospital sanitation has made it necessary to endow Hospital Housekeeping Officer positions with the full range of managerial responsibilities typical of other administrative managers in hospitals. While the Hospital Housekeeping Officer is still expected to be a technical expert in environmental sanitation and hospital housekeeping, the primary responsibility of these positions has shifted from technical program direction to overall program management and accountability.
This series includes positions the duties of which are to receive and prepare patients for dental treatment; to prepare materials and equipment for use by the dentist; to assist a dentist at chairside or bedside in the treatment of patients; to perform reversible intra-oral procedures under the supervision of the dentist; to perform dental radiography work; and to keep records of appointments, examinations, treatments and supplies. This work requires a practical knowledge of standardized procedures and methods used in dentistry, and skill in the techniques and procedures of dental assistance. Of the 3,941 employed in this occupation most work for the VA or the Department of the Army, 494 work with HHS.
Dental Assistants and Dental Assistants (Expanded Function) perform a variety of supportive duties which facilitate the work of the dentist.
Dental Assistants may work in general dentistry or in a specialty field of dentistry such as periodontics or prosthodontics. They provide chairside assistance during treatment, provide patient services and perform clinic maintenance, recordkeeping and radiographic duties.
Dental Assistants (Expanded Function) also performs these duties, but they are primarily concerned with the execution of reversible intra-oral procedures such as filling teeth prepared by dentist and applying topical agents prescribed by dentist. "Reversible" implies that procedures, in the event that they are performed improperly may be readily undone or corrected by the dentist without harmful effects to the patient. Dental Assistants (Expanded Function) are typically utilized in a general dentistry setting.