How to Find Veterinary Related Jobs with the Federal Government

Veterinarians work for the United States government in many different capacities. Veterinarians can be employed in clinical work such as diagnostics and surgery, but they can also have positions in areas such as the health sciences, chemistry, public health, environmental health, program management, research and support of local, state and tribal governments. Academic training or experience in any of these and other related fields should be included as criteria when searching in government job databases.

When looking for a position within the government, it is important to learn about ways to search for all positions that are suitable, not just ones that are specifically listed as requiring a veterinary degree or clinical experience.

The top database for federal government jobs is USAJOBS (www.usajobs.gov).What follows are hints on how to look for government jobs in this database.

There are several terms that are helpful to know when navigating and conducting searches on the USAJOBS website:

The first is "General Schedule" (GS) level. A GS level is the federal government's way to keep salaries consistent among federal agency jobs and make sure there is equal pay for equal work. There are currently 15 grades and 10 levels. Click HERE for the GS level salaries of 2014. Veterinarians should search for GS level 11 or higher when setting search parameters.

The second term to know is "series," which is the term for certain job classifications within USAJOBS. Using the appropriate series numbers as well as broad term keywords will help to identify job listings that may be suitable for veterinarians. Visit http://www.opm.gov/fedclass/ for a complete explanation of this classification and grading of federal jobs.

The federal government series numbers that may be appropriate for veterinary-related jobs are:

  • 400 series (Wildlife/Conservation/Department of Interior)
  • 600 series (specifically 601-General Health Science)
  • 700 series (specifically 701-Veterinary Medical Science)
  • 1300 series (Physical Science)
  • 1800 series (Inspection, Investigation, Enforcement and Compliance)

Some of the broad word criteria or keyword terms that can help locate jobs are:

  • Animal
  • Biodefense
  • Biologist/Biology
  • Chemist /Chemistry
  • Epidemiologist/Epidemiology
  • General Health Science
  • Health Scientist
  • Medical Officer
  • Microbiologist/Microbiology
  • Public Health Program Specialist/Public Health
  • Veterinary Medical Officer
  • Veterinary
  • Wildlife
  • Zoonotic

To find a job at USAJOBS, you can either enter search criteria each time, or you can set up a "Client Account" through which you can save different searches based on combinations of criteria you select. With the client account, you can even set it up so that you are automatically e-mailed when jobs meeting your criteria are posted on the site, saving you the time of actively searching for them.

The search criteria you use may be as wide or narrow as you like. Performing a search using key words such as "animal," "wildlife" or "epidemiology" will produce a wide variety of potential jobs, some of which veterinarians will be over-qualified. Narrower searches, such as using the series number, job title or other specification, will yield fewer, but more targeted, job postings. Further narrowing the search criteria by GS level, location or other factors will provide an even more precise listing of the desired jobs available.

Additional places to look for veterinary-related government employment include specific agency sites such as www.foodsafetyjobs.gov, www.fs.fed.us/fsjobs/openings.shtml and www.cdc.gov/employment. In addition, companies that contract with the government may list job openings on their sites. Job availability can be monitored on these sites by setting criteria for positions much like on USAJOBS. Government contractor sites that may have veterinary-related jobs can be searched for online by using terms such as "government contractor work." Similar searches may also be performed at the individual state government level.

By taking the time to learn how it operates and experimenting with some of its search terms and parameters, USAJOBS is an excellent place to begin your online search for veterinary-related government employment.

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