If you want to give back to veterans and their families, a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) job may be the perfect fit for you. Working for the VA is a rewarding career, and they are always looking for dedicated and talented people like you. Even though the VA is the nation’s largest health care system, they need a skilled core of professionals in fields other than health care. The VA also hires administrative and technical staff to help keep the VA running.
So if you’re interested in helping the VA fulfill its mission to provide the best healthcare anywhere, then keep reading to see how you can get a job at the VA.
Where Can I Find A Job At The Department of Veterans Affairs?
You will find tons of job openings through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), from public affairs to claim processing to all areas found in the medical profession (nurses, doctors, pharmacists). So, where can you find VA jobs listed? There are several resources to help you in your search, 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.
If you are a first-time applicant, job hunting with the VA can be a bit confusing. In some cases, VA Careers will describe a program it offers but refers you to USAJobs to apply for that individual position. In other cases, you may have to download a form and follow the instructions for applying for that specific job.
If you are a student, the VA Careers site will direct the applicant to search USAjobs in the Student Jobs section.
Let’s take a more detailed look at each of these three resources:
Use FedsHireVets to Learn How Veterans Get a VA Job
FedsHireVets is the official U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) employment website specifically for veterans and their families who seek federal jobs at facilities including the VA. FedsHireVets is not open to the public and is a clearinghouse for information about getting a federal job. It’s primarily for military members and family members transitioning from a military career to civilian life.
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 also explains the federal hiring process, how preference points are calculated and applied, how jobs for military family members work, and much more. To make navigation easier, you don’t have to login to the website to get all of this valuable information on federal jobs. In addition, the website doesn’t store your profile and resume or have a platform to apply for federal jobs or work at the VA. If you want to apply for a specific job, FedsHireVets will direct you to USAJobs (see below).
Find Jobs Near You At VA Careers
VA Careers is the official job site for the Department of Veterans Affairs and offers various ways to find VA jobs near you. There is an interactive USA map on their homepage that shows openings nationwide. Additionally, the menu bar provides 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 Careers site, more than 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) Programs are for those who have earned a graduate or professional degree in the last two years.
The Administrative and Technical Support Training section is for those 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 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 Using VA Careers
The section for transitioning military members and experienced 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
There is also a helpful section on VA Careers that shows you how to understand VA job opening posts. You should really check out this guide if you’re new to the VA hiring system. It will help you 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 if you need additional information.
Find and Apply for VA Jobs at USAJobs
USAJobs is a job board open to the public. They advertise 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 are restricted to veterans, those with a disability, military spouses, or current federal employees.
How to Apply For A VA Job at USAJobs
Applying for a federal job at the VA using USAJobs requires you to create a login and a personal profile through Login.gov (if you have not already done this). To claim veteran hiring preference with the VA or apply for military spouse jobs, you must provide supporting documentation such as copies of marriage certificates, DD Form 214, current PCS orders, or other documents specified by USAJobs or the job opening.
Using Login.gov to Create a USAJobs Profile
Newcomers to USAJobs must first set up a separate profile with login.gov. Login.gov is a secure sign-in service used by the public to sign in to participating government agencies like USAJobs. This service lets you log in to multiple government official sites with a single username and password. Make sure you use the same email address for login.gov 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 and 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 openings is possible without logging in, but you may miss a job because the USAJobs search tool includes filters that you can use to target VA jobs and specific career fields.
- Once you find jobs you wish to apply for, you will need to apply to each one individually. For best results, tailor your cover letter to the specific job. There also 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 VA, that may be the specific office, regional office, headquarters, hospital, or other facilities, 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 screen further. 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
If you’re a military spouse, you must meet certain conditions to be considered for a job submitted through USAJobs. Those conditions include, but are not limited to the following:
- You must relocate under Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders, or
- Be the spouse of a service member who is 100% disabled due to a service-connected injury, or
- Apply 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 For Searching for Department of Veterans Affairs Jobs on USAJobs
Be as specific as needed when using the search tool. For example, 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 the agency. This can be quite helpful if you’re 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