Physician

Physicians are a critical component to meet the mission of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

This page provides answers to frequently asked questions in the following areas: Physician position descriptions, position requirements, compensation, and application requirements.

What is the role of a Physician at NIH?

At NIH, the Physician position announcement encompasses a wide variety of activities. The announcement covers the following positions:

  • Intramural Clinical Physician. Responsible to conduct research on the NIH campus to treat medical conditions that are exceptionally difficult to diagnose and includes patient care components.
  • Extramural Clinical Physician. Responsible for research conducted by other organizations and funded in part by NIH grant money. Portfolio will include clinical human trials or clinical days. Uses medical expertise to administer extramural research grants or contracts, evaluate activities of funded investigators, and make recommendations on the contribution of research to the program’s goals and objectives.
  • Extramural Research Physician. Responsible for research conducted by other organizations and funded in part by NIH grant money. Does not involve patient care. Uses medical expertise to administer extramural research grants or contracts, evaluate activities of funded investigators, and make recommendations on the contribution of research to the program’s goals and objectives.
Position Title Patient Care Pay Plan* Medical License
Intramural Clinical Physician Direct patient care GP 14-15 Required
Extramural Clinical Physician Indirect patient care GP 14-15 Required
Extramural Research Physician No patient care GS 14-15 Not Required

What are the position requirements?

Basic Requirements

To be a Physician at NIH you must have either a M.D. or D.O. degree from a school in the United States or Canada approved by a recognized accrediting body in the year of the applicant’s graduation.

If you have a foreign degree, you must provide education and medical knowledge equivalent to accredited schools in the United States which is demonstrated by permanent certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. See OPM.GS 602 Qualifications for more information.

Additionally, all Physicians must complete the graduate training requirement. Subsequent to obtaining a Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree, a candidate must have had at least 1 year of supervised experience providing direct service in a clinical setting, i.e., a 1-year internship or the first year of a residency program in a hospital or an institution accredited for such training.  For purposes of this standard, graduate training programs include only those internship, residency, and fellowship programs that are approved by accrediting bodies recognized within the United States or Canada.  Visit OPM’s Qualification Standard for a description qualifying graduate training.

Individuals submitting an application for the Physician GS-602 position series must be US citizens.

Other Requirements

A current license to practice medicine in the U.S. is not required to apply to a Research Physician announcement where the position does not have patient care responsibilities. Read the announcement carefully to determine the requirements for the vacancy.

Additional Requirements for Grades GS-12 and Above

For GS-12 – 2 years of graduate training in the specialty of the position to be filled or equivalent experience and training.

For GS-13 – 3 years of graduate training in the specialty of the position to be filled or equivalent experience and training.

For GS-14 – 4 years of graduate training in the specialty of the position to be filled or equivalent experience and training.

For GS-15 —5 years of graduate training in the specialty of the position to be filled or equivalent experience and training.

Physician Applicant FAQ

What is the application process?

How do I apply?

You must apply using the website USAJobs.gov. Complete the application by uploading all required documents and answering any questions before the close of the announcement period. USAJobs is the U.S. government's official one-stop source for federal jobs and employment information.

What should I do if my application status in USAJobs is “incomplete”?

The USAJobs system requires all uploaded documents to pass through security scans to protect against computer virus. Your application status may be recorded as “Incomplete” pending the completion of the scan which can take up to 24 hours. If, after 24 hours, your application is still showing as “Incomplete,” you may contact the responsible HR Specialist listed at the bottom of the USAJOBS announcement.

May I specify the area I am interested in working in?

Yes. The application process will allow you to identify your area of medical expertise as well as specific areas of interest. If you wish to note interest in a particular NIH institute or research area, you may submit a cover letter alongside your resume/CV.

How can I tailor my resume/CV for this application?

The Human Resource (HR) Specialist will identify your skills and experience as stated in your resume/CV to match with the qualification standards listed for the position and align your knowledge and experience to the requirements for the position.

For optimal results, provide your clinical research experience, grants received, publications, and presentations. Showcase your national and/or international work related to your field and provide residency and educational information with complete dates. It is important to detail the duties, tasks, and assignments you performed in each position held.

Your resume/CV is the application, so provide enough information for the HR Specialist to determine your qualifications.