Where can I find a job at the Department of Veterans Affairs? That is a common question for some interested in working with veterans to help them use their VA benefits, get rated for service-connected medical issues, and receive the most out of their qualifying benefits.
There are many different types of jobs with the VA from Public Affairs to claim processing. Where can you find VA jobs listed? There are several resources to choose from, but the big three websites are the VA Careers official site, USAJobs, and FedsHireVets.
Not everyone will benefit from all three resources. FedsHireVets, for example, is an online resource strictly for veterans and their family members who seek federal employment.
However, USAJobs and VA Careers opportunities are not limited to veterans and their families (see below). Those who do not have military backgrounds and are not previous federal employees may do well to start by exploring USAJobs first.
Job hunting with the Department of Veterans Affairs can be a bit confusing for first-time applicants. In some cases, the VA official site will describe a program it offers, but refers job seekers to USAJobs.gov to apply for each individual position.
In other cases, the applicant may be instructed to download a PDF and follow instructions for applying for that specific job.
Most student opportunities found on the VA official site will direct the applicant to search USAjobs in the Student Jobs section.
#3: Get Advice about Applying for Department of Veterans Affairs Jobs at FedsHireVets
FedsHireVets.org is the official U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s employment website specifically for veterans and their families who seek federal jobs at facilities including the Department of Veterans Affairs.
FedsHireVets is not open to the public and is intended as a clearinghouse-type resource for information about getting a federal job. It is especially for military members and family members in transition from a military career to civilian life.
According to the official site, FedsHireVets services are intended for “veterans, transitioning service members, and their families” to be used as a “one-stop resource to assist in finding a Federal career.”
There are also guides for Guard and Reserve members, publications explaining how federal retirement plans are administered, and advice for those new to federal hiring.
FedsHireVets explains the federal hiring process, how preference points are calculated and applied, how jobs for military family members work, and much more. The website information is available without the need for a login or password.
The website does not store job seeker profiles with resume, nor have a platform to apply for federal jobs or work at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
FedsHireVets directs job seekers who want to apply for specific jobs to USAJobs.gov (see below).
#2: Find a Department of Veterans Affairs Job Opportunity at VA Careers
VA Careers, the official job site for the Department of Veterans Affairs, offers a variety of ways to find VA jobs near you. There is an interactive USA map showing openings nationwide. Additionally, the menu bar offers job information for specific career fields such as Mental Health, Dental, and support professionals.
There are three basic categories of job seekers addressed by the VACareers site:
- Transitioning Military
- Experienced Professionals
Each of these categories has unique programs and opportunities. According to the VA official site, more 90,000 graduate and undergraduate students have completed medical training at VA facilities. Student programs that can lead to VA employment include:
VA Pathways includes an Internship Program for current students, the Recent Graduates Program, and the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program for those who have earned a graduate or professional degree in the last two years.
Administrative and Technical Support Training is for those who are pursuing careers in the medical field such as logistics, technical support, human resources, contracting, etc. There are three programs for students in this area including:
- VA Technical Career Field Program
- VA Graduate Healthcare Administration Training Program: Interns and Recent Graduates
- VA Graduate Healthcare Administration Training Program: Health Systems Management Trainees
Application requirements for all the programs listed above vary depending on the program, the student’s status, available openings, and more. It’s best to explore the VA Careers site description for each individual program to learn deadlines, documentation needs, and other details. These items may be subject to change from year to year depending on funding, availability, mission demands, etc.
VA Jobs for Transitioning Military and Experienced Professionals via VA Careers
The section for transitioning military members and experience professionals who seek VA Careers is more dedicated to helping these job seekers find relevant positions in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Veterans’ page, for example, has a VA job search tool that allows VA job seekers to find openings based on job keywords, location, and more. Job announcements listed here include instructions (found at the end of the job posting) that may require either online applications or a paper application submitted directly to a VA facility.
The VA job seeker page for Experienced Professionals includes a list of possible career paths and options for exploring each. Those career paths include:
- Allied Health
- Mental Health
A helpful section of the VA Careers official site shows how to understand VA job opening posts. It is recommended that those new to the VA hiring system review this guide in order to fully understand each position advertised and how to properly apply for the opportunity. There is also an email address for the VA Virtual Recruiting Center for additional information.
#1: Find a Department of Veterans Affairs Job at USAJobs
USAJobs is a job board open to the public advertising jobs with the federal government. Veterans who apply to these jobs may be able to use veteran hiring preference points. Military spouses are also eligible to apply for jobs, but must meet certain requirements including a minimum time of availability prior to a new PCS move or reassignment.
Some of the government jobs advertised on USAJobs are open to the public, while others may be restricted to veterans, those with a disability, military spouses, current federal employees, etc.
How to Apply For A VA Job at USAJobs
Applying for a federal job at the Department of Veterans Affairs via USAJobs requires the applicant to create a login and personal profile. In order to claim veteran hiring preference with the VA or apply for military spouse jobs, supporting documentation must be provided in the form of digital copies of marriage certificates, DD Form 214 discharge paperwork, current PCS orders and other documents as specified by USAJobs or the job opening.
When creating a profile on USAJobs, new applicants must also set up an account at LogIn.Gov since logging into USAJobs is not possible without doing so.
Using LogIn.Gov to Create A USAJobs Profile
Newcomers to USAJobs must first set up a separate profile with LogIn.Gov. This is a centralized government service offering “secure and private online access to government programs…” allowing the applicant to log in to multiple government official sites with a single username and password.
It is crucial to use the same email address for LogIn.Gov that you register to apply for jobs on the USAJobs site.
Applying for A Department of Veterans Affairs Job at USAJobs Step-By-Step
The basic steps to finding VA jobs at USAJobs includes:
- Creating a profile which includes uploading all documentation and paperwork needed. It’s best not to search and apply for jobs until your full profile is complete.
- Searching for job opening is possible to without loggin, but it’s highly advised to log-in first. The USAJobs search tool includes filters so you can specifically target Department of Veterans Affairs jobs, specific career fields, etc.
- Once you find jobs you wish to apply for, you will need to apply to each one individually. For best results, you can tailor your cover letter to the specific job. There may be special instructions for certain jobs that do not apply to other applications. Be sure to read all the requirements before submitting an application online.
- Once you have officially submitted your application, your information is delivered to the agency seeking new hires. For the Department of Veterans Affairs, that may be the specific office, regional office, headquarters, hospital, or other facility depending on the nature of the position. For others, centralized interviewing or resume reviews may be conducted depending on the type of job.
- The agency will select who it wishes to interview or further screen. Personal replies to job applications may not be possible. It is most likely you will be contacted if an interview or further screening is necessary.
Military Spouse Jobs via USAJobs
Military spouses must meet certain conditions in order to be considered for a job application submitted through USAJobs. Those conditions include, but are not limited to the following:
- The spouse must relocate under Permanent Change of Station orders OR
- Being the spouse of a service member who is 100% disabled due to a service-connected injury OR
- Applying as the spouse of a service member killed on active duty
- Military spouses are eligible for two years from the date on PCS orders
- Spouses may be “permanently eligible” from the date of disability or death of the service member
- Military spouses are no longer eligible upon remarriage
Tips on Searching for Department of Veterans Affairs Jobs on USAJobs
Be as specific as needed when using the search tool. It’s possible to search for “Department of Veterans Affairs Jobs Public Affairs” or “VA jobs admin” and get results based on those search terms. You can also narrow down your search by region, zip code, state, etc.
There are also search tools that can help refine a more general search such as “dental assistant jobs” by agency. This can be quite helpful for those specifically interested in VA jobs.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News