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Physician Careers & Jobs – Working For the VA (Part 6)

There are 32,468 medical doctors in all specialties employed throughout the federal government with positions available in many agencies. Physicians are in the (GS-0602) job series. 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.


VA Medical Facility
VA Medical Facility

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 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.

VA physicians enjoy being part of a team that is recognized and respected for significant contributions to medicine. Ranging from clinical practice to research and academics, VA physicians provide leadership within the medical profession that extends into the communities where they live. To ensure that VA physicians are able to meet their professional and personal goals, a broad range of practice options are available that include general medicine and primary care, along with specialties and subspecialties such as:

  • Anesthesiology
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Long Term Care
  • Cardiology
  • Geriatrics
  • Internal Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Otolaryngology
  • Pathology
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery
  • General Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
  • Physiatry
  • Psychiatry
  • Radiology (Nuclear Medicine, Diagnostic, and Therapeutic)
  • Urology

In addition to the above, the 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.

Physician (GS-0602) Career Path General Requirements

Special pay rates are utilized for this profession and are in a separate pay band. Physicians typically earn 6 figure salaries including supplemental income.

Here are some general requirements of the physician occupation:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • Degree of doctor of medicine or an equivalent degree resulting from a course of education in medicine or osteopathic medicine.
  • Background in ongoing outpatient primary care clinics.
  • Board certification in Internal Medicine/Family Medicine.
  • Current, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine or surgery in a State, Territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or in the District of Columbia.

Physical Requirements:

  • The physical requirements of this position include occasional lifting, prolonged standing and sitting, frequent bending, walking (distance), climbing, reaching (overhead, extensive/repetitive), repetitive motion, and stooping.
  • The mental/sensory requirements include recall, reasoning, problem solving, hearing, speaking clearly, writing legibly, reading, and logical thinking.
  • The environment’s pace can vary from steady to a sometimes fast pace requiring handling of multiple priorities, frequent, sometimes intense customer interactions, and the ability to adapt to frequent changes in a sometimes noisy environment.
  • There may be an occasional need to use personal protective equipment to prevent exposure to disease, illness, and hazardous materials.

In part 7 of this series, we will be interviewing physicians from specific specialties within the physician occupation.


  • Michele Hammonds, Communications Specialist, US Department of Veterans Affairs, VHA Office of Public Communications (10B2B)

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About The Author

A Pennsylvania native, Betty Boyd moved to the Tennessee Valley in 1994. She retired in early 2012 after 30 years of Government service. Boyd was an Acquisition Manager/IT Manager/ Project Manager during her 30-year career. Boyd also served as a supervisor and team leader during her career. In 2012 Boyd founded a consulting firm, Boyd Consulting Services, which offers writing services to clients and companies. For more information about these writing services see the following website: http://www.BettyBoydWriting.com/. Betty attended Athens State University, Athens, AL and received a B.B.A. in Management of Technology in 2000. She received her Masters of Science degree from Syracuse University with a concentration in Information Management in 2007. Boyd is a certified Level III contracting professional and she received a Masters level certificate in Project Management from the National Defense University in 2008.