Where The Federal Jobs Are – Health and Human Services




Website: http://www.hhs.gov/


Secretary: Sylvia Mathews Burwell (2014 – present)


Headquarters: Washington, D.C. HHS programs are implemented and managed in Washington, D.C. and in the Agency’s 10 Regional Offices. A number of HHS subcomponents are located outside of Washington, D.C.’s borders. For example:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s headquarters are in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • The National Institutes of Health’s campus is in Bethesda, Maryland.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • The Food and Drug Administration recently moved into its new headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland.


Mission: To enhance and protect the health and well being of all Americans by providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services.


Strategic Goals: For the period of Fiscal Year 2014-2018, HHS adopted a Strategic Plan based on four (4) strategic goals:

  • strengthen health care
  • advance scientific knowledge and innovation
  • advance the health, safety, and well-being of the American people
  • ensure efficiency, transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of HHS programs


Number of Civilian Employees: Over 62,000 civilian employees (and several thousand members of the commissioned U.S. Public Health Service Corps).


Health & Human Service Organization Structure: HHS has 11 Operating Divisions, including 3 Human Services agencies and 8 U.S. Public Health Service agencies. It also has numerous administrative and policy Offices.


U.S. PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE. As noted, many of the components of HHS are part of the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service. The mission of the Corps is to protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of our Nation. Headed by the U.S. Surgeon General, the Pubic Health Service is a non-military uniformed service of approximately 6,500 health professionals. The Corps has duty stations in over 20 federal departments and agencies, with the majority working in a variety of positions throughout HHS (e.g., the Indian Health Service, the CDC, the NIH). Other officers work at the Department for Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense. Careers include: physicians, dentists, clinical and rehabilitation therapists, dieticians, engineers, environmental health, health services, nurses, pharmacists, science and research health professions, and veterinary medicine.

TIP 1: If you are interested in a career with the Public Health Service, go to the USPHS.GOV website at http://www.usphs.gov/profession/. The Service has careers for: physicians; dentists; therapists; dietician; engineers; environmental health specialists; health providers;, managers and educators; nurses; pharmacists; scientists and researchers; and veterinarians. The Service also runs a Junior Commissioned Office Student Training and Extern Program for students during school breaks, as well as a Senior Commissioned program for students about to begin their final academic year. Go to http://usphs.gov/student/jrcostep.aspx and http://usphs.gov/student/srcostep.aspx for further information.




  • Administration for Children and Families. Promotes the economic and social well being of families, children, individuals and communities with partnerships, funding, guidance, training and technical assistance.
  • Administration for Community Living. Mission of this relatively new organization is to maximize the independence, well-being, and health of older adults and people with disabilities, their families and caregivers. It promotes strategies to enable people to live in their communities.
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Produces evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable. Work within HHS and with other partners to make sure that the evidence is understood and used.
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. A component of the U.S. Public Health Service, performs functions concerning the effect of hazardous substances in the environment on public health (including site assessments, health consultations and surveillance, response to emergency releases, applied research, health information, education and training). Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia with a D.C. Office and 10 Regional Offices aligned with the Environmental Protection Agency’s regional offices.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is a component of the U.S. Public Health Service. It serves as the Nation’s health protection agency – protecting the Nation from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. The CDC detects and responds to new and emerging health threats, utilizing science and advanced technology. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, it is organized into a number of Centers (e.g., Center for Global Health; National Center for Environmental Health); Institutes (e.g., National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health); Offices (e.g., Office of Infectious Diseases); Staff Offices and Business Services Offices. Over 8,500 employees, including public health advisors, public health analysts, health scientists, research scientists, medical officers, epidemiologists, IT specialists, program specialists, engineers, grants managers, administrative positions, and numerous fellowship programs.
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). A component of the U.S. Public Health Service, CMS covers 100 million people through Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Health Insurance Marketplace. the Centers employ over 6,000 employees the majority of whom are located at its headquarters in Baltimore MD. Staff are also located in Washington, D.C, 10 regional offices (N.Y., Kansas City, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Denver, San Francisco, and Seattle), and numerous field offices. The Center has over 5,500 staff members, including health insurance specialists, social science research analysts, management analysts, economists, statisticians, accountants and actuaries, survey specialists, medical officers, nurse consultants, medical technologists, managed care specialists, and IT specialists.
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A component of the U.S. Public Health Service. The FDA’s mission is to protecting the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, quality, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products, and medical devices. It is also responsible for the safety and security of most of our nation’s food supply, all cosmetics, dietary supplements and products that give off radiation; and for regulating tobacco products. The Administration consists of the Office of the Commissioner and four directorates overseeing the core functions of the agency: Medical Products and Tobacco; Foods and Veterinary Medicine; Global Regulatory Operations and Policy; and Operations. Located in its new headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, the Administration has approximately 13,000 full time civilian employees and 1,000 U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps) employees. There are many career opportunities for employees including: biologists, microbiologists, chemists, pharmacists/pharmacologists, medical officers, statisticians, consumer safety officers, engineers, and IT specialists.
  • Health Resources and Services Administration. A component of the U.S. Public Health Service, the Administration is the he primary Federal agency for improving health and achieving health equity through access to quality services. It oversees more than 90 programs and 3,000 grantees. One of the programs it administers is the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program; another is the Maternal and Child Health Care Block Grant to states. It operates 10 Regional Offices.
  • Indian Health Service. A component of the U.S. Public Health Service, the Service provides federal health services to American Indians and Alaskan Natives. It is the principal federal health care provider and health advocate for Indian People, providing service for approximately 1.9 million people who belong to 566 federally recognized tribes in 35 states. The Service has 12 Regional Offices and approximately 15,000 employees (federal civilian and Public Health Service).


TIP 2: INDIAN EMPLOYMENT PREFERENCES. The Indian Health Service (as well as the Administration for Native Americans, an Office within HHS’s Administration for Children and Families) is required by law to provide absolute employment preference to American Indians and Alaska Natives who are enrolled in a federally recognized tribe as defined by the Secretary of the Interior.


National Institutes of Health (NIH). A component of the U.S. Public Health Service, NIH is the Nation’s medical research agency. With headquarters located in Bethesda, MD in over 75 buildings, NIH employs approximately 18,000 staff. NIH is comprised of 27 various Institutes and Centers each with its own research agenda, often focusing on particular diseases or body systems:

  • National Cancer Institute
  • National Eye Institute
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
  • National Human Genome Research Institute
  • National Institute on Aging
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
  • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
  • National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
  • National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders
  • National Institute on Dental and Craniofacial Research
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
  • National Institute of General Medical Sciences
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
  • National Institute of Nursing Research
  • National Library of Medicine
  • Center for Information Technology
  • Center for Scientific Review
  • Fogarty International Center
  • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
  • National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences
  • NIH Clinical Center


TIP 3 : NIH maintains a website of medical, scientific, administrative, and executive careers including fellowships, research opportunities, and positions for students, recent graduates, Veterans, and jobseekers with disabilities. See https://www.jobs.nih.gov/vacancies/scientific/default.htm.

TIP 4: NIH’s Intramural Research Program is a premier internal biomedical science program that employs 1,200 Principal Investigators and over 4,000 Postdoctoral Fellows. To learn more, link to http://irp.nih.gov/our-research/our-programs.


  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) A component of the U.S. Public Health Service, SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on the Nation’s communities. The Administration supports states, territories, tribes, communities, and local organizations through grants and contract awards in each of its 10 HHS Regional Offices. It employs approximately 550 staff members.


  • Immediate Office of the Secretary. Oversees the Secretary’s operations and coordinates the Secretary’s work. The Secretary is HHS’s chief policy officer. Includes the Office of Health Reform helping to guide and oversee the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Assistant Secretary for Administration. Provides leadership for HHS departmental management, including human resource policy and departmental operations.
  • Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources. Provides advice and guidance to the Secretary on budget, financial management, acquisition policy and support, grants management, and small business programs. Also directs and coordinates these activities throughout the Department.
  • Assistant Secretary for Health. Advises on the nation’s public health and oversees HHS’ U.S. Public Service for the Secretary.
  • Assistant Secretary for Legislation. Provides advice on legislation and facilitates communication between the Department and Congress.
  • Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. Advises on policy development and contributes to policy coordination, legislation development, strategic planning, policy research, evaluation, and economic analysis.
  • Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. A component of the S. Public Health Service. Advises on matters related to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies.
  • Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. Provides centralized leadership and guidance on public affairs for HHS’ staff, operating divisions, and regional offices. Administers the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.
  • Departmental Appeals Board. Provides impartial review of disputed legal decisions involving HHS.
  • Office for Civil Rights. Enforces federal laws that prohibit discrimination by health care and human services providers that receive funds from HHS.
  • Office of General Counsel. Provides quality representation and legal advice on a wide range of highly visible national issues.
  • Office of Global Affairs. A component of the S. Public Health Service. Promotes the health and well being of Americans and the world’s population by advancing HHS’s global strategies and partnerships and working with other U.S. Government agencies to coordinate global health policy.
  • Office of Inspector General. Protects the integrity of HHS programs as well as the health and welfare of the program participants.
  • Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs. The Office hosts 10 Regional Offices that directly serve state and local organizations. Each is lead by a Presidentially-appointed Regional Director. Regional Offices are located in Boston, Manhattan, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Denver, San Francisco, and Seattle.
  • Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals. Administers nationwide hearings for the Medicare program.
  • Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Provides counsel for the development and implementation of a national health information technology framework.


Civilian Career Fields: HHS has vacancies for candidates with education and experience in a number of fields, including:

  • Medical, Dental, and Public Health professionals (Job Series 0600);
  • Biologists and Interdisciplinary Scientists (Job Series 0401, 0403, 1320)
  • Contract Specialists (Job Series 1102)
  • Program Managers (Job Series 0340
  • Program Analysts (Job Series 0343)
  • Program Specialists (Job Series 0101)
  • Information Technology Specialists (Job Series 2210)
  • Social Workers (Job Series 0185)
  • Social Science Research Analysts (Job Series 0101)
  • Health Insurance Specialists (Job Series 0107)


TIP 5: Link to the HHS CAREERS PAGE at http://www.hhs.gov/about/careers/index.html. Specific pages focus on “Where to Work at HHS” (see http://www.hhs.gov/about/careers/where-to-work/index.html ); Job openings at specific HHS entities (see http://www.hhs.gov/about/careers/apply-to-work-at-hhs/index.html); and the Pathways Program (opportunities for Students, Recent Graduates, and Presidential Management Fellows) (see http://www.hhs.gov/about/careers/apply-to-work-at-hhs/index.html).


Current Vacancies:  There are currently approximately 250 Department of Health and Human Services General Schedule (GS) vacancies for civilian positions posted in USAJOBS for “U.S. Citizens.”  Many are between the GS-5 and GS-15 levels.  Occupations with the most current vacancies are:

  • Nurse (Job Series 0610)
  • Medical Officer (Job Series 0602)
  • Public Health Program Specialist (Job Series 0685)
  • Dental Assistant (Job Series 681)
  • Health Science (Job Series 0601)
  • Psychologists (Job Series 0180)
  • Behavioral and Social Scientists (Job Series 0101)
  • Administration, Project Management, Program Specialist (Job Series 0301)


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