Page updated 9/13/2016
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, pharmacy, physical therapy, 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.
The following information is compiled from numerous federal documents including qualification standards, job announcements, career articles, occupation flysheets, FEDSCOPE, OPM, Agency websites, interviews with federal employees, The United States Government Manual, and from the Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Click the job title for job listings, the number employed, hiring agencies, and job series definitions.
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 Veterans Administration 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.
Dr. Deborah Bennett, is a GS-15 physician at Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center specializing in Family Medicine. Dr. Bennett was interviewed for an article on our federal jobs blog titled Family and Internal Medicine Physician Careers. When asked if she would recommend others enter the field she stated, "I believe that this is a personal and serious consideration. With this said, anyone choosing to practice in medicine should be able to be flexible, be able to place other’s needs before your own, be able to do without sleep while keeping a good sense of humor and deliver high quality health care. It is an honor bestowed on you by your patients and their families. This combination of requirements is not easily maintained. Often a physician is reflective of their family support. Over the years, my patients became familiar with my family, knew my children and often interviewed me about my personal life. Fair trade off, isn’t it. I knew most of their personal information. After all trust goes both ways."
Special pay rates are utilized for this profession. Physicians typically earn 6 figure salaries including supplemental income.
Job Series Titles: (Click on the job title to view job vacancies for government and private sector jobs.) The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.
This series includes positions that advise on, administer, supervise, or perform work in human nutrition requiring the application of professional knowledge of dietetics or nutrition directed toward the maintenance and improvement of human health.
Dietetics is an essential component of the health sciences, usually with emphasis on providing patient care services in hospitals or other treatment facilities. The work of the dietitian includes food service management, assessing nutritional needs of individuals or community groups, developing therapeutic diet plans, teaching the effects of nutrition on health, conducting research regarding the use of diet in the treatment of disease, or consulting on or administering a dietetic program.
The federal government employs 2,719 dietitians and nutritionists. The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with 2,315 followed by the Department of the Army, Air Force, and Navy with 165 civilians. The Department of Agriculture employs 125 and Health and Human Services employs 103.
Nutrition is the science of food and nutrients, their uses, processes, and balance in relation to health and disease. The work of nutritionists emphasizes the social, economic, cultural, and psychological implications of food usually associated with public health care services or with food assistance and research activities. The work includes directing, promoting, and evaluating nutritional components of programs and projects; developing standards, guides, educational and informational material for use in Federally funded or operated nutrition programs; participating in research activities involving applied or basic research; or providing training and consultation in nutrition.
Job Series Titles: (Click on the job title to view job vacancies for government and private sector jobs.) The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.
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 Veterans Administration 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.
Job Series Titles: (Click on the job title to view job vacancies for government and private sector jobs.) The USAJOBS selection lists all federal job vacancies for this job series.
This series includes positions which involve treating, instructing or working with patients in carrying out therapeutic activities prescribed for their physical or mental rehabilitation. Rehabilitation therapy assistants work in such fields of therapy as occupational, physical, kinesiotherapy, manual arts, and educational. The work requires the ability to apply a practical knowledge of therapeutic methods and techniques but does not require a full professional knowledge of the concepts, principles, and practices of the specialized field of therapy.
The federal government employs 1,221 rehab therapy assistants. The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with 801 followed by the Department of the Army with 330, the Department of the Interior with 44, Health and Human Services with 23, and the DOD with 13.
Therapy assistants perform a variety of duties in carrying out activities which have been prescribed for the physical or mental rehabilitation of patients. Patients are referred for treatment on the basis of a medical prescription. The prescription usually includes the treatment objective, diagnosis, length of treatment and necessary precautions to be observed during the therapy. In some situations, the patient is referred to the therapist without a specific prescription for treatment.
Therapy assistants work with patients on an individual basis, in small groups, or in large groups, depending on the patient's physical and mental status and individual needs for treatment. Patients may receive treatment in the ward, in clinics, or in any other places where the patient is to receive treatment.
Therapy assistants are responsible for the comfort and well being of patients in their charge. They must assure that patients are appropriately dressed for prescribed outdoor activities; observe safety precautions in the use of tools and equipment; prevent unauthorized absence; record attendance and participation of patients in projects or activities; and report the reactions and responses of patients.
Therapy assistants are expected to maintain equipment used in treatment in proper working condition to the extent of cleaning, testing, making adjustments, and minor repair. They report need for major repairs. Therapy assistants may also participate in demonstrating treatment activities or procedures for the benefit of other therapy assistants, student therapists and nursing and medical personnel.
Therapists perform professional work in the physical or mental rehabilitation of patients in Government hospitals, domiciliaries and in other institutions. Of the 4,577 employed in this occupation 112 work overseas and most work for the Veterans Administration however there are small numbers employed by HHS and other agencies.
The common ground of therapist occupations is in the application of professional medical rehabilitation and therapeutic principles and point of view, the administration of treatment which is based on a medical prescription or a medical referral, and the integration of the specialized therapy with the total medical rehabilitation plan for the patient. The distinctions among the therapist occupations are in the different techniques, activities, and procedures used to achieve the treatment objectives, and the different specialized knowledge, skills, and abilities required for the performance of work.
All therapists combine a professional knowledge of the particular subject fields of work with the fundamental theory, concepts, and objectives of medical rehabilitation in carrying out the goals of their particular therapy programs. They exercise professional judgment in developing plans to accomplish the treatment objectives; must be sensitive to the effectiveness of the plans on the patients and their progress; and must recognize the need for and take necessary steps to revise treatment plans when the patients' responses indicate such need.
Some therapists participate in clinical training of student therapists. The therapists give lectures on various treatment techniques, give on-the-job demonstrations of treatment techniques, discuss and plan individual patient treatment with students, and describe treatment results with particular patients.
Therapists are expected to continue to further their professional growth and development through in-service lectures, university course work, and attendance at seminars and workshops of professional organizations.
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 involving nonprofessional work of a 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, Hospital, Dental, and Public Health Group, GS-0600, where 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.
The federal government employs 13,912 health aids and technicians of which 107 work overseas. The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with 7,731 followed by the Department of the Army, Air Force, Navy and the DOD with 3,124 civilians. Health and Human Services employs 2,290, the DOJ has 227, and the Interior Department employed 19 in this occupation.
This series is designed as a "catchall" for nonprofessional positions in health and medical work for which no other adequate series coverage exists. Thus, it covers "mixed" positions, those which involve a combination of two or more technical functions characteristic of other technician series in the Medical, Hospital, Dental, and Public Health Group, or positions involving work which is sufficiently new, unique, or miscellaneous that the positions are not more appropriately classified in any other technician series in the Medical, Hospital, Dental, and Public Health Group, GS-600.
The medical technologist 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 5,967 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.
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 which 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.
The federal government employs 3,045 health aids and technicians. The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with 1,647 followed by the Department of the Army, Air Force, Navy and the DOD with 1,214 civilians and Health and Human Services with 182.
Medical laboratory technicians frequently use microscopes, centrifuges, incubators, balances, spectrophotometers, and similar instruments in laboratory tests to analyze body fluids and other substances to aid pathologists and other physicians in determining the presence of disease or other abnormal conditions. Technicians prepare samples, take blood samples, and prepare slides and smears for microscopic study. Most technicians work in clinical laboratories where the work is in support of patient treatment. Some work in research projects. In addition to performing laboratory tests, technicians also store and label plasma; clean and sterilize equipment, glassware, and instruments; prepare solutions following standard formulas and procedures; keep records of tests; identify specimens; and write reports on test results.
This series includes positions which 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 amounting. 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.
The federal government employs 485 pathology technicians. The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with 313 followed by the Department of the Army, Air Force, Navy and the DOD with 152 civilians and Health and Human Services with 20.
Technician positions performing work in cytology or in histopathology require markedly different knowledge's and skills from those of other technician positions in the pathology service. Both cytology technicians and histopathology technicians are identified with anatomical pathology and are usually located within a separate "section" of the pathology service. They perform technical support work subordinate to a pathologist. Both require knowledge's and skills in staining procedures which are closely allied and similar. However, at grades GS-4 and above each of these areas of work requires distinct and specialized knowledge's.
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. Of the 4,756 employed in this occupation most work for the VA, HHS, and the Department of the Army. Small numbers with the Department of Justice and other agencies. Small numbers are employed by other agencies.
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 supervision or performance of technical work which is subordinate to the work of radiotherapists or other professional or scientific personnel, and which involves the operation of ionizing radiation equipment and sealed radiation sources as part of a therapeutic treatment plan for patients.
The federal government employs 285 radiologic technologists. The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with265 followed by the Department of the Army with 12.
Some Therapeutic Radiologic Technologists also operate diagnostic X-ray equipment. The operation of this equipment usually is a stage in the planning of therapeutic treatment. As such, the duties occupy a minor portion of time and usually do not affect the grade or series of the position.
This series includes positions that perform diagnostic examinations or medical treatment procedures as part of the diagnostic or treatment plan for patients. The work involves operating or monitoring diagnostic and therapeutic medical instruments and equipment associated with cardiac catheterization, pulmonary examinations and evaluations, heart bypass surgery, electrocardiography, electroencephalography, hemodialysis, and ultrasonography. Positions in this series require a 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 also require a practical knowledge of chemistry, pharmacology, physics, and mathematics.
The federal government employs 3,7595 instrument technicians. The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with 3,181 followed by the Department of the Army, Air Force, Navy and the DOD with 524 civilians and Health and Human Services with 45.
Medical instrument technicians perform procedures and examinations on patients as a clinical or research service to physicians. The service relates to the treatment of particular patients or it involves providing the physician with technical information used in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in patients. In the Federal service technicians work in various departments of hospitals, in operating rooms, at patient's bed, in clinics, or in research organizations using both stationary and mobile equipment. Physicians exercise control over medical instrument technician work.
Technician work follows this basic pattern: receive request for procedure or treatment; interpret physician's requests or instructions; secure confidence and cooperation of patient; position the patient; connect patient to the equipment; and set controls and operate the equipment to get test or treatment results. Physicians directly supervise some procedures (such as cardiac catheterization, exercise treadmill tests, and bronchoscopy). They clean and sterilize instruments and conduct routine maintenance and adjustment checks. Medical instrument technician assignments also include some responsibility for instructing other technicians, physicians, nurses and others in the use of the equipment. Technicians usually provide instruction on the job but they may conduct classroom instruction.
This series includes positions which involve the supervision or performance of technical work concerned with administering therapeutic and diagnostic respiratory care and life support to patients with cardiopulmonary deficiencies and abnormalities. The work involves: operating and monitoring respiratory equipment such as continuous and intermittent ventilators, medical gas delivery apparatus, incentive breathing/hyperinflation devices, environmental control systems, and aerosol devices; administering medical gases, humidification, aerosols, and respiratory medications; maintaining clearance of patient's natural and artificial airways; obtaining blood samples and interpreting blood gas data; and providing primary assistance in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Positions in this series require a knowledge of the operating characteristics and daily maintenance of respiratory equipment and devices and a practical knowledge of human anatomy, physiology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics.
The federal government employs 548 respiratory therapists. The Department of Health and Human Series is the largest employer with 266 followed by the Department of the Army, Navy and the DOD with 247 civilians and the Veterans Administration with 28.
Respiratory therapy is an allied medical specialty concerned with the treatment of patients who have deficiencies and abnormalities in respiratory function. Respiratory therapists perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in hospital nursing units, emergency rooms and intensive care units, under the direction of physicians.
Most respiratory therapist assignments include some responsibility for instructing other therapists, physicians, nurses, and others in the use of respiratory equipment and techniques. Such instruction is typically provided at the worksite but may involve formal classroom instruction as well. As an inherent part of their work, therapists clean, sterilize, calibrate, and make minor repairs to the equipment; but are not responsible for troubleshooting electronic components, electrical circuits and other major repairs to the equipment. They also are responsible for recording treatment and medical information pertinent to patient care.
This series includes all positions which involve professional and scientific work in the field of pharmacy. The work typically involves the compounding of prescriptions of physicians, dentists, and other licensed practitioners; the formulation, preparation, bulk compounding, selection, dispensing and preservation of drugs, medicines, and chemicals; research and investigation in developing special vehicles or variations of standard formulas to meet the needs of individual patients and in developing original techniques of compounding and making available for use new investigational drugs; advising on drug therapy and usage; or performing administrative, consultive, or staff advisory work concerning the administration of a pharmacy program for hospital, clinic, or other medical care facility. Some positions involve the evaluation of drug proposals submitted by private industry and the surveillance of marketed drugs for safety and efficacy.
The federal government employs10,856 pharmacists of which 53 work overseas The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with 8,864 followed by the Department of the Army, Air Force, Navy and the DOD with 1.053 civilians, Health and Human Services with 979, and the Justice Department with 18.
The kinds of positions covered by this series include those which involve professional pharmacy work relating to: (a) The operations or administration of the pharmacy services provided through Government medical care facilities; and (b) the review of manufacturers' drug proposals and surveillance of marketed drugs for safety and efficacy.
The major functional areas which comprise the total range of pharmacy work in positions covered by this standard are: clinical; consultive; teaching; research; and administrative. The clinical and consultive functions characterize the basic professional mission of a pharmacy service in a hospital, clinic, or other medical care facility. Teaching and/or research are special functions which may be included in some pharmacy positions. Administrative functions are involved in the operation and management of the pharmacy service.
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.
The federal government employs6,310 pharmacist technicians of which 26 work overseas The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with 4,307 followed by the Departments of the Army, Air Force, Navy and the DOD with 1,342 civilians, Health and Human Services with 395, and the Justice Department with 22.
Work assignments range in difficulty from simple repetitive tasks requiring no special knowledges or skills to assignments requiring the application of an intensive knowledge of: (1) pharmaceutical nomenclature; (2) formulas, strengths, and dosage forms of drugs; (3) pharmaceutical systems of weights and measures; (4) operation and care of a variety of pharmaceutical equipment; (5) receipt, storage, and order of pharmaceuticals; and (6) a wide variety of procedures and techniques required in repackaging pharmaceuticals, bulk compounding, preparation of sterile solutions, and setting up prescriptions for a final check by a pharmacist.
For example, aids at the lower levels compound simple solutions, which typically involve only 2 or 3 ingredients which mix readily and are used primarily for external application of patients, e.g., soaps, rubbing alcohol, mouth wash, lotions, or for housekeeping and sterilizing procedures, e.g., detergents, disinfecting solutions. Higher level technicians compound complex solutions which typically involve 3 or more ingredients which require considerable skill in mixing ingredients which may not be compatible, e.g., oils and water, or may react chemically. Suspensions, emulsions, pastes, and powders also require considerable skill in measuring and mixing ingredients. Many of the complex solutions and products are taken internally by patients, e.g., cough syrups, laxatives.
This series covers positions that require the application of professional optometric knowledges and skills in examining and analyzing the eye for diseases and defects and prescribing correctional lenses or exercises. Except for positions not involving patient care responsibility (e.g., research optometrist), positions in this series require a current license to practice optometry in a State or territory of the United States or in the District of Columbia.
The federal government employs 1302 optometrists. The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with 1,218 followed by the Department of the Army, Air Force, Navy and the DOD with 99 civilians, Health and Human Services with 57.
Optometry provides visual care in the physical sense through the measurement of the refractive powers of the eye. Special instruments and techniques are utilized to find and determine defects in vision. If deficiencies are found, eye glasses, contact lenses, other types of optical aids, and corrective eye exercises are prescribed to preserve or restore maximum efficiency of vision. When evidence of pathology is present, patients are referred for medical or other treatment. The physiological and psychological processes call for a systematic survey of the patients' environment, classification of the visual tasks to be performed, and definition of standards for each such task. These standards must be integrated into a general formula suited to occupational and visual needs.
The optometrist must have a knowledge and understanding of the physiological causes of visual aberrations, ocular physiology and anatomy, geometric and physiological optics as they relate to refraction and binocular vision, neural anatomy and psychology of vision, and the recognition of ocular pathology with reference to both ocular and systemic disease.
This series includes positions which involve 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. The work requires (1) knowledge of anatomy, physiology, body mechanics, the application and function of orthoses (braces and orthopedic shoes) and prostheses (artificial limbs), and of the materials available for the fabrication of such devices; (2) skill in the use of tools and specialized equipment; and (3) the ability to deal effectively with patients and their problems, and to work with other members of the medical team.
The federal government employs 369 opthotists and prosthetists. The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with 328 followed by the Department of the Army with 22 civilians.
Orthotists and prosthetists work directly with physicians and representatives of allied health fields in the rehabilitation of the disabled, by providing suitable orthotic and prosthetic devices (braces, special shoes, and artificial limbs). Orthotists and prosthetists perform as members of clinic teams or as individual workers. They treat each patient as unique, and consider the "whole man." The patients not only vary by height, weight, age, sex, and in the exact nature of their physical deformities, but also in their personality traits, vocation, and lifestyle. Their psychological problems must be considered along with their anatomical and physiological needs
These positions involve professional work in the study and/or treatment of human communications disorders, as reflected in impaired hearing, voice, language, or speech. The work requires professional knowledge of the nature of these disorders, their causes, and methods of therapeutic treatment. The work involves any one or a combination of the following functions: (1) providing direct clinical services in the evaluation and resolution of communications disorders; (2) providing graduate level training in communications disorders; (3) planning and administering a comprehensive program for evaluating and treating communications disorders; and (4) planning, administering, and performing laboratory and clinical research in communications disorders.
Speech pathologists and audiologists perform in a number of settings including hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, and educational institutions. Regardless of the work environment, the essential element is continuing involvement in the study, evaluation and/or treatment of disorders and impairments to communicative organs or processes that constitute significant physical and social handicaps. Speech pathologists and audiologists study communications abnormalities that present serious problems to social contacts, educational development, and employment opportunities. In providing direct services, they utilize diagnostic and therapeutic techniques to identify and resolve or minimize these problems. Thus, the training and role of the speech or hearing specialist differentiate him from specialists in other areas of speech or hearing improvement which are not concerned with the same scope or depth of problems.
Speech pathologists are chiefly involved in the study, evaluation and/or treatment of individuals with disorders in the comprehension and production of speech and language. Speech and language impairments may result from organic causes such as birth defects, illness, or accident, or may be functional in nature and related to mental or emotional problems, learning deficits or social deprivation. Impairments of the speaking process include disorders in (1) fluency (stuttering), (2) articulation (distortion of speech sounds), or (3) phonation (defects in pitch, intensity, and timbre). In addition to these, there are disorders in symbolization (aphasia), the process of associating thoughts with language and linguistic symbols.
Some individuals manifest only one type of disorder. Others have multiple speech and language impairments. Still others have other physical or mental handicaps as well as speech and language impairments. Speech pathologists identify the communications difficulties confronting a patient, and they provide therapy designed to precipitate and enhance the recovery process. Since speech pathologists often have the most direct rapport with these individuals, they communicate the patient's needs, feelings, and progress to other members of the rehabilitation team. They also foster attitudes to support the patient and his family until his optimum recovery level is achieved.
Audiologists are chiefly involved in identifying, evaluating, and/or treating individuals with disorders in the reception and perception of speech, language, and other acoustic signals.
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.
Positions in this series have full line responsibility for the administrative management of a health care delivery system which may range from a nationwide network including many hospitals to a major sub-division 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.
Health system administration is distinguished from general administration by the need to decide and take action on such matters as allocation of space for the various medical or laboratory services, priorities for the purchase of new medical equipment, need for additional professional or technical personnel, or need for changes in housekeeping procedures to maintain aseptic conditions. Though these are basically administrative decisions which might have a counterpart in any setting, in a health care delivery system they require the administrator to have knowledge of health care and medical needs and procedures in order to provide the best possible solution to specific problems.
The fundamental challenge of any health system administrator is to provide the best possible health care. To do this, the health system administrator must adapt the principles, practices, processes and techniques common to any general administrative situation to the specialized requirements of the health care delivery system. In addition to a solid grounding in basic administrative management principles and practices, this requires considerable practical knowledge of general clinical systems, programs, and practices, and of how these general clinical principles and practices relate to the unique characteristics and needs of the particular health care delivery system served.
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.
The federal government employs 5,309 health system specialists of which 143 work overseas The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with 2,224 followed by the Departments of the Army, Air Force, Navy and the DOD with 2,771 civilians, Health and Human Services with 217, and Homeland Security employs 12 in this group.
It is the health system administrator has the ultimate responsibility for managing the health care delivery system. Often, however, the complexity of the system makes it necessary to establish support positions to advise on and/or coordinate administrative policies, programs and operations. The duties and responsibilities of these support positions vary widely. Some are predominantly analytical and others are much more directly oriented toward operations. In any case, they require specialized knowledge of the basic principles and practices related to the management of a health care delivery system and the ability to apply this knowledge to solve the unique problems arising in the particular health care delivery system in which they serve.
The requirement for specialized knowledge of the basic principles and practices related to the management of health care delivery systems is the characteristic which distinguishes health system specialists from general analytical and administrative positions. While specific qualification requirements vary from position to position, according to the duties and responsibilities prescribed, all positions in the series require certain basic knowledges, skills and abilities.
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 covers one-grade interval technical support positions that supervise, lead, or perform support work in connection with processing and maintaining medical records for compliance with regulatory requirements. It also covers positions that review, analyze, code, abstract, and compile or extract medical records data. The work requires a practical knowledge of medical record procedures and references and the organization and consistency of medical records. Positions also require a basic knowledge of human anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology.
The federal government employs 5,166 medical records technicians of which 44 work overseas. The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with 2,523 followed by the Department of the Army, Air Force, Navy and the DOD with 1,685 civilians. Health and Human Services employs 723 and the DOJ has 175 employed in this occupation.
Medical records technicians assemble, analyze, code, abstract, report, maintain, and extract medical records information. They organize and check medical records for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with regulatory requirements. In most Federal medical centers today, the medical staffs, including medical records technicians, use automated records systems.
Federal health care facilities maintain permanent medical records that contain health care information to support and justify the diagnosis and treatment rendered on each patient. These records include the patient’s:
Specific duties of medical records technicians vary with the complexity and characteristics of the facility. Use of the latest treatment methods by health care professionals results in comprehensive medical records, in some cases with many diagnoses and treatments. The time and knowledge needed to analyze and code a record increases in proportion to the patient’s length of stay and the complexity of the patient’s diagnosis and treatment. The scope of the work performed by the medical records technician is increased when there are many health care providers involved in the care of a single patient. Several physicians may provide care to one patient, all of whom write progress notes and determine diagnoses and treatments. Medical records technicians in facilities offering a greater number of specialties, health care providers, and diagnostic and therapeutic services must have increased knowledge and understanding of many health care processes. They must stay abreast of new procedures and therapies so they can analyze and code the records.
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.
The federal government employs 25,770 medical support assistants of which 206 work overseas. The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with 20,421 followed by the Department of the Army, Air Force, Navy and the DOD with 4,085 civilians. Health and Human Services employes1,084 in this occupation.
Medical support assistants perform a variety of support duties that facilitate the work of physicians, physician assistants, nurses, nursing assistants, and other members of the medical facility who provide patient care. They frequently occupy the single support position located in one or more units and link the nursing service with the medical administrative services and outpatient departments. Medical support assistants are considered chief sources of information and play an important role in accomplishing the work of the unit by performing such duties as:
This series includes positions which involve advising on, administering, supervising, or performing professional and scientific work in the field of dentistry. Dentistry is concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, injuries and deformities of the teeth, the jaws, organs of the mouth, and other structures and connective tissues associated with the oral cavity and the masticatory system. The work of this series requires the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine.
The federal government employs 2,207 dental officers. The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with 1,407 followed by the Department of the Army with 181 civilians, Health and Human Services employs 399, the Justice Department with 100, the Department of the Navy with 93, and the DOD employs 14.
Dentistry's role as a health service has expanded. Currently, dentistry "is concerned with the comprehensive management of oral, facial and speech defects and with the oral structures and tissues as they relate to the total health of the individual."1 Preventive dentistry is increasingly emphasized, and the relationship of dentistry to emotional stability and social adjustment as a part of total health is widely recognized. Advances in scientific knowledge and technology applicable to dentistry and improvements in dental techniques contributed greatly to these developments. Dental specialties, similar in concept to the specialties in medicine, have emerged.
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 chair side 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 chair side 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.
The principal duties of this position are to supervise or perform dental hygiene work including: oral prophylaxis, oral health education, preliminary periodontal examinations involving diagnostic tests and x-rays, oral health education, preparation of treatment plans for plaque control, and application of topical fluorides and desensitizing agents to the teeth. Included in this series are positions concerned with planning, conducting, and evaluating preventive dental health programs for communities such as military installations and public health program areas. Positions in the 0682 series require a knowledge of the concepts, techniques, and procedures of dental hygiene.
The federal government employs 772 dental hygienists. The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with 372 followed by the Department of the Army, Air Force, and Navy with 328 civilians. The Department of Justice employs 54 and Health and Human Services employs 40 in this occupation.
Dental hygienists are licensed dental auxiliaries who practice in under the general direction and supervision of a dentist. In the Federal Service, the majority of dental hygienists work in structured care settings, such as hospitals and outpatient clinics, providing clinical and educational services to meet the oral health needs of individuals and groups of patients. A few dental hygienists work in nonclinical settings assisting communities in planning and conducting dental health programs commensurate with the needs and resources of the community. Additionally, they serve as dental health advisors and consultants on public health matters.
Dental laboratory technicians in the Federal service fabricate dental appliances such as complete dentures, removable partial dentures, crowns, fixed partial dentures, or combinations of fixed and removable partial dentures. Some dental laboratory technicians also make special dental appliances such as orthodontic appliances, maxillary and mandibular splints, and obturators, or special prostheses such as metal mandibular implants or intraoral maxillofacial restorations.
The federal government employs 561 dental laboratory technicians. The Veterans Administration is the largest employer with 319 followed by the Department of the Army, Air Force, and Navy with 242 civilians.
At full performance levels this work requires a thorough knowledge of the form, structure, and function of teeth, and the anatomic and functional characteristics of surrounding tissue and supporting muscle and bone. These knowledge's, together with a thorough knowledge of the characteristics of dental laboratory materials, and skill in the use of dental laboratory equipment, are essential to the fabrication of dental appliances that (1) conform to the dentist's prescription, (2) restore mastication, (3) facilitate normal speech, (4) maintain or correct facial dimension and contour, (5) are natural in appearance, and (6) can be worn or used with maximum comfort.
These positions are located in dental clinics, or hospital dental service laboratories, or in central dental laboratories that serve a number of clinics and hospitals.
Public health program specialists supervise, direct, or perform work which involves providing advice and assistance to State and local governments and to various public, nonprofit, and private entities on program and administrative matters relating to the development, implementation, operation, administration, evaluation, and funding of public health activities which may be financed in whole or in part by Federal funds; or, conducting studies and performing other analytical work related to the planning, development, organization, administration, evaluation, and delivery of public health programs; or, other similar public health program work. Positions in this series require specialized knowledge of the principles, practices, methods, and techniques of administering public health programs, but do not require full professional education and training in medical, social, or other disciplines. This classification standard has been developed for positions in the Department of Health and Human Services. Positions in other agencies may riot be placed in this series without the approval of the Office of Personnel Management. The standard may be used, however, for making cross-series comparisons guided by sound position-classification judgment.
The federal government employs 3,837 561 public health program specialists of which 216 work overseas. The Department of Homeland Security is the largest employer with 3,591followed by the Agency for International Development with 271.
Public health advisors, who comprise the majority of the occupation, typically represent one or more Federal public health programs in dealings with the non-Federal public health community. Their work usually involves contacts with people outside the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on such program matters as providing guidance and motivation, technical advice and leadership, and information and assistance on financial support.
Public health analysts may specialize in Federal public health programs, but do not usually represent those programs in dealings with non-Federal agencies and organizations. Their personal contacts are typically with people within HHS and they are primarily concerned with analyzing and evaluating the actual or potential effectiveness of current or projected public health programs in achieving objectives.
Sanitarian are involved with planning, administering, developing, evaluating, and promoting program concerned with the elimination and prevention of environmental health hazards. They also included positions which involve developing and revising health laws, regulations, and rules. Sanitarian positions require a broad knowledge of any one or a combination of the health, agricultural, physical or biological sciences sufficient to understand the basic concepts, principles, methods, and techniques of environmental health; and a practical knowledge of health laws, rules, and regulations
The federal government employs 43 sanitarians. All work for the Department of Health and Human Services. Among the personnel concerned with protecting man from hazards in his physical environment are: sanitarians, environmental health technicians, industrial hygienists, food and drug inspectors and officers, veterinarians, sanitary engineers, health physicists, etc. Sanitarians are primarily concerned with the overall elimination and prevention of environmental health hazards of whatever kind. Other specialists are concerned with a particular aspect of environmental health or the elimination and prevention of certain hazards within a particular environment. Sanitarians may perform work in such fields as industrial hygiene, community air pollution, and radiological health. However, when such work is included in a sanitarian's position, it is but a part of his overall job and not the primary concern.
Industrial hygienists includes all classes of positions the duties of which are to advise on, administer, supervise, manage, or perform professional and scientific work in industrial hygiene, including the identification and evaluation of conditions affecting the health and efficiency of employees, or the citizens of the adjacent community, the formulation and recommendation of measures to eliminate or control occupational health hazards, and the promotion of occupational health programs for instructing and motivating managers and employees in the prevention as well as correction of potential health hazards.
The federal government employs 1,434 industrial hygienists of which 42 work overseas. the Department of the Army, Air Force, Navy, and DOD are the largest employers with 664 civilians, followed by the Department of Labor with 406, the Veterans Administration with 215 and a few working at other agencies including 63 with Health and Human Services.
Industrial hygiene is the profession within the broad field of occupational health and safety which is concerned with the recognition, evaluation, and control of those environmental conditions or stresses arising in or from the workplace which may cause sickness, impaired health, significant discomfort, or inefficiency.
As summarized by the American Industrial Hygiene Association in a pamphlet entitled "Industrial Hygiene, the key to occupational health", industrial hygiene "brings together a variety of scientific disciplines to prevent, eliminate or reduce chemical, physical and biological risks to the well-being of all. Generally, these disciplines are physiology, chemistry, physics, engineering, medicine and biochemistry. These specialties, augmented by special applications in the workplace, allow the industrial hygienist to perform many important functions
This series includes professional positions concerned with enforcing the laws and regulations protecting consumers from foods, drugs, cosmetics, fabrics, toys, and household products and equipment that are impure, unwholesome, ineffective, improperly or deceptively labeled or packaged, or in some other way dangerous, or defective. These positions require knowledge of various scientific fields such as chemistry, biology, pharmacology, and food technology. Consumer safety officers identify substances and sources of adulteration, and contamination, and evaluate manufacturing practices, production processes, quality control systems, laboratory analyses, and clinical investigation programs.
The federal government employs 3,455 consumer safety officers of which 12 work overseas. the Department of Health and Human Services is the largest employers with 3,054, followed by the Department of Agriculture with 298 and the Commerce Department with 99.
The primary means of obtaining information about the products is by periodically inspecting establishments that manufacture, process, store, distribute, or sell them. If violations or poor manufacturing practices are encountered, depending or the seriousness of the problem and cooperativeness of the establishment management, a variety of actions may be taken, such as verbal requests for correction, warning letters, recalls, seizures, injunctions, or criminal prosecutions. In addition, consumer safety officers receive information about products that are violative or hazardous from consumers, manufacturers, distributors, retail outlets, physicians, hospitals, and advertisements in medical journals and other media.
Consumer safety officers come from a variety of academic backgrounds, generally with substantial course work in the biological or physical sciences. They may, but do not necessarily, work with commodities closely related to their academic backgrounds -- such as food technology majors with foods, pharmacy majors with drugs. However, employees generally develop a basic ability throughout the full range of commodities before they begin to specialize in a particular area.
Environmental health aids and technicians provide technical support and assistance to the sanitarian or other health specialists (e.g., sanitary engineer, health physicist, health officer). They conduct surveys and implement measures to control the spread of diseases and other health hazards or conditions (e.g., food contamination, air and water pollutants, insect and rodent harborages). They take samples of such materials as water, food, and air, and perform or assist sanitarians in performing tests to determine contamination. They explain how to repair, install, or construct sanitation facilities (e. g., water systems, sewage disposal systems, plumbing) as well as how to maintain and utilize individual facilities. They investigate public and private establishments (e.g., food markets, restaurants, dairy plants, water supplies, medical care facilities) to determine compliance with or violation of public sanitation laws and regulations. However, when the primary purpose of the position is to perform the latter duty, it should be allocated to the appropriate series in the investigation group (e.g., Public Health Inspection Series, GS-1860; Food Inspection Series, GS-1863).
The federal government employs 126 environmental health aids and technicians. the Department of the Air Force is the largest employers with 68 civilians followed by the Department of the Army with 35.
At the higher levels, many of the assignments made to technicians require the same depth of analysis as sanitarian positions. They differ from sanitarian assignments in that the technician is not required to resolve problems that require the application of new methods and techniques or those that require action beyond the specific work assignment. On the other hand, the knowledges and abilities required for sanitarian work may be different in kind and breadth from those required for technician work, but not necessarily different in grade level. For example, technician work may require a high level of technical or administrative qualifications applicable to specific work assignments based on a comprehensive background of practical experience, training, and skill in applying knowledge of precedents, guides, and techniques.