Recent grads: Look no further than a VA career

VA helps new graduates by offering tuition reimbursement, loan forgiveness and other education support.


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Graduating with a degree or certification is an important milestone and a huge accomplishment. Right now, though, you may be facing some economic challenges as you look for a job during a time of fierce competition and high unemployment rates.

Good news: VA is still hiring. New, open positions are posted daily on our career site, www.vacareers.va.gov.

“VA is always looking for motivated, highly qualified candidates in direct patient care and support positions to help us achieve our mission of providing the very best health care to our nation’s Veterans,” said Darren Sherrard, associate director of recruitment marketing at VA.

At VA, we support new graduates through tuition reimbursement and loan forgiveness programs, and provide pathways to continue your education if you choose.

Pay off your loans faster

At VA, you don’t have to let student loan debt hold you back. We provide many programs to help you pay off your debt faster, from several types of tuition reimbursement to federal loan forgiveness for those working in the public sector.

Through the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP), some employees may be eligible for up to $60,000 in debt repayment assistance. Be sure to ask about eligibility for SLRP when submitting your application.

Medical professionals in hard-to-fill direct patient care positions might be able to receive up to $200,000 in student loan repayment through the Education Debt Repayment Program. Check job descriptions to see if positions are eligible.

Federal jobs, like those at VA, are also eligible for loan forgiveness. After making 120 payments on your loans while employed full time in public service, you could have your remaining debt balance waived.

Continue your education

Gain marketable skills, valuable training and hands-on work experience through the Pathways Recent Graduates Program. You’ll receive a mentor and a supervisor for dedicated guidance and support, and once you successfully complete the program, you may be eligible to convert to a full-time position.

We also provide scholarships to some full- and part-time employees who pursue degrees in health care. As a VA employee, you can sign up for general or specialized courses from nearby colleges and universities or broaden your work experience through temporary assignments to other agencies.

Enjoy other generous benefits

In addition to education support, you’ll receive competitive pay and performance-based salary increases.

Want to explore another part of the country? We have facilities across the United States and its territories.

Other perks include:

  • Up to 49 days of paid time off each year.
  • Paid vacation that accrues right away, unlimited accumulated paid sick leave and 10 paid federal holidays.
  • Premium group health insurance effective on the first full pay period after start date.
  • A robust federal retirement package.

Work at VA

Consider making a VA career your first career. Help care for those who have bravely served their nation.

Author

VA Careers

Comments

  1. Kary Reves    

    You have got to be kidding me. The VA would rather help students pay off their loan after paying so many months but makes it so hard for Veterans to get hired? This is exactly why our country is so backwards. You completely reward those who have never served or fought for their country with hiring them because they 1. have a college degree and 2. get to get their loans forgiven ‘After making 120 payments on your loans while employed full time in public service, you could have your remaining debt balance waived.’ I am beyond disgusted after recently applying for the SAME job with the VA that I do for a local hospital- I somehow am able to work there as a Veteran but can’t get my resume through HR. The VA is a joke.

    EXECUTIVE ORDERS

    Executive Order on Modernizing and Reforming the Assessment and Hiring of Federal Job Candidates
    ECONOMY & JOBS

    Issued on: June 26, 2020
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    By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 301 of title 3, United States Code, and sections 1104(a)(1), 3301, and 7301 of title 5, United States Code, it is hereby ordered as follows:

    Section 1. Purpose. The foundation of our professional merit-based civil service is the principle that employment and advancement rest on the ability of individuals to fulfill their responsibilities in service to the American public. Accordingly, Federal Government employment opportunities should be filled based on merit. Policies or practices that undermine public confidence in the hiring process undermine confidence in both the civil service and the Government.

    America’s private employers have modernized their recruitment practices to better identify and secure talent through skills- and competency-based hiring. As the modern workforce evolves, the Federal Government requires a more efficient approach to hiring. Employers adopting skills- and competency-based hiring recognize that an overreliance on college degrees excludes capable candidates and undermines labor-market efficiencies. Degree-based hiring is especially likely to exclude qualified candidates for jobs related to emerging technologies and those with weak connections between educational attainment and the skills or competencies required to perform them. Moreover, unnecessary obstacles to opportunity disproportionately burden low-income Americans and decrease economic mobility.

    The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) oversees most aspects of the civilian Federal workforce, including creating and maintaining the General Schedule classification system and determining the duties, responsibilities, and qualification requirements for Federal jobs. Executive departments and agencies (agencies), however, are responsible for vetting and selecting specific candidates to fill particular job openings consistent with statutory requirements and OPM rules and guidance, including applicable minimum educational requirements. Currently, for most Federal jobs, traditional education — high school, college, or graduate-level — rather than experiential learning is either an absolute requirement or the only path to consideration for candidates without many years of experience. As a result, Federal hiring practices currently lag behind those of private sector leaders in securing talent based on skills and competency.

    My Administration is committed to modernizing and reforming civil service hiring through improved identification of skills requirements and effective assessments of the skills job seekers possess. We encourage these same practices in the private sector. Modernizing our country’s processes for identifying and hiring talent will provide America a more inclusive and demand-driven labor force.

    Through the work of the National Council for the American Worker and the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, my Administration is fulfilling its commitment to expand employment opportunities for workers. The increased adoption of apprenticeship programs by American employers, the creation of Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs, and the implementation of Federal hiring reforms, including those in this order, represent important steps toward providing more Americans with pathways to family-sustaining careers. In addition, the Principles on Workforce Freedom and Mobility announced by my Administration in January 2020 detail reforms that will expand opportunities and eliminate unnecessary education costs for job seekers. This order builds on the broader work of my Administration to expand opportunity and create a more inclusive 21st-century economy.

    This order directs important, merit-based reforms that will replace degree-based hiring with skills- and competency-based hiring and will hold the civil service to a higher standard — ensuring that the individuals most capable of performing the roles and responsibilities required of a specific position are those hired for that position — that is more in line with the principles on which the merit system rests.

    Sec. 2. Revision of Job Classification and Qualification Standards. (a) The Director of OPM, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, and the heads of agencies, shall review and revise all job classification and qualification standards for positions within the competitive service, as necessary and consistent with subsections (a)(i) and (a)(ii) of this section. All changes to job classification and qualification standards shall be made available to the public within 120 days of the date of this order and go into effect within 180 days of the date of this order.

    (i) An agency may prescribe a minimum educational requirement for employment in the Federal competitive service only when a minimum educational qualification is legally required to perform the duties of the position in the State or locality where those duties are to be performed.

    (ii) Unless an agency is determining a candidate’s satisfaction of a legally required minimum educational requirement, an agency may consider education in determining a candidate’s satisfaction of some other minimum qualification only if the candidate’s education directly reflects the competencies necessary to satisfy that qualification and perform the duties of the position.

    (b) Position descriptions and job postings published by agencies for positions within the competitive service should be based on the specific skills and competencies required to perform those jobs.

    Sec. 3. Improving the Use of Assessments in the Federal Hiring Process. (a) In addition to the other requirements of this order, the Director of OPM shall work with the heads of all agencies to ensure that, within 180 days of the date of this order, for positions within the competitive service, agencies assess candidates in a manner that does not rely solely on educational attainment to determine the extent to which candidates possess relevant knowledge, skills, competencies, and abilities. The heads of all agencies shall develop or identify such assessment practices.

    (b) In assessing candidates, agencies shall not rely solely on candidates’ self-evaluations of their stated abilities. Applicants must clear other assessment hurdles in order to be certified for consideration.

    (c) Agencies shall continually evaluate the effectiveness of different assessment strategies to promote and protect the quality and integrity of their hiring processes.

    Sec. 4. Definitions. For purposes of this order:
    (a) the term “assessment” refers to any valid and reliable method of collecting information on an individual for the purposes of making a decision about qualification, hiring, placement, promotion, referral, or entry into programs leading to advancement;

    (b) the term “competitive service” has the meaning specified by section 2102 of title 5, United States Code;

    (c) the term “education” refers to Post High-School Education as that term is defined in the OPM General Schedule Qualification Policies; and

    (d) the term “qualification” means the minimum requirements necessary to perform work of a particular position or occupation successfully and safely.

    Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

    (i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

    (ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

    (b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

    (c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

    DONALD J. TRUMP

    THE WHITE HOUSE,
    June 26, 2020.

  2. Nilda De Jesus    

    I think the new employees should be admonished about working at the area they are assigned. As a veteran I see the doctors are missing in action. They leave interns that do not know what to do with the veteran. The majority of new employees go there for the benefits and continue their studies but don’t care of the veteran.

  3. S W    

    I hope this article is for VETERAN students and not every yob out there. These benefits should go to veterans first.

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