Technical Career Field Program
The TCF training program offers two years of training in critically identified positions within specific career fields in accordance with VHAs Succession Workforce Plan. Benefits associated with being in the program are paid salary/benefits, training/travel stipend, access to a preceptor/mentor, and on-the-job training.
The core curriculum is a career specific training plan developed by subject matter experts and used as the foundation for every trainee's technical program learning requirements. Specific developmental needs are assessed and added to the plan to create an individualized Individual Development Plan (IDP). The IDP is the trainee's two-year roadmap to successful completion of the program. Trainees are coached, mentored, and most times supervised by a local preceptor that has been selected through a rigorous application process and is a subject matter expert currently employed within the specific VHA career field.
There are 15 different career fields for the Class of 2016. Qualifications for the individual positions will be listed on the OPM website or the job announcements at each location. Depending on the hiring authority used to announce TCF positions, Pathways Recent Graduate educational requirements may apply to these positions, including recent qualifying education within the past 2 years/6 years for Veterans with intervening military service. Any moving expenses associated with the initial acceptance of a TCF position are the responsibility of the individual applicant.
Career fields can start recruitment mid-February 2016 with on board dates May 29-September 30. The list of training site locations is posted to VA Careers mid-February. Open positions change each year and may not be offered at the VA facility of your choice, therefore, look for job postings listed on USA Jobs using the VA Careers link below. Each job listed on the VA Careers website will be advertised nationally by the career field for all locations or by the local facility. Therefore, there is not one application process for all locations and announcement dates will vary by location and can be posted requesting internal candidates, external candidates, or both. After determining the job(s) and location(s) you are interested in, you will need to apply to each advertised position separately.
VHA offers a designated number of TCF Program positions each year, for 2016 there are 250 positions approved across the career fields listed above. Job opportunities will be posted at various times in various locations (February -September), there is not one set date for job announcements at all locations. Selected locations are listed on this page. Look on www.vacareers.va.gov for specific job postings and instructions for applying online for individual positions. To find job postings, go directly to the Job Search feature at https://jobs.vacareers.com/. From there you can search by Keyword (i.e., TCF, Pathways Recent Graduate), Occupation or Location.
Individuals selected for positions will begin working after May 29 but no later than September 30, 2016. Selection of trainees follows the federal governments Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hiring standards. Applicants can be hired at the 5 or 7 level (GS-9/11 only for the leadership level trainees), salary tables can be viewed on the OPM website at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages. Beginning grades can vary across the country and are typically dependent on education level and experience in the field of interest. Each TCF position requires employment for one year at the hiring grade level before being promoted, even if the individual meets qualifications/time in grade requirements for a higher grade prior to reaching one year.
All selected trainees are required to sign a mobility agreement, training agreement and continued service agreement. Once the two-year training program is complete and if placement is not available at the training site, trainees will be required to relocate to another VA facility for placement. If relocation is necessary and the location for permanent placement meets all Permanent Change of Station (PCS) requirements, VHA will fund relocation expenses for final placement at approximately the 18-month mark in the two-year training program. In accordance with the Continued Service Agreement (CSA), after completion of the two year training program, the trainee has an obligation of working three additional years for VA. If not, the hosting site will do a bill of collection for the training/travel funds expended during the 2-year training program, not to exceed $10k.
Successful trainees can be placed non-competitively up to the appropriate target level position once the training is successfully completed and job qualifications at the higher grade level are fully met. Promotions and permanent placement are not entitlements but are dependent on trainee conduct and performance. Final placement grade depends on the hiring grade, time in grade restrictions, and trainee performance.
For more information about TCF contact VHATCFProgramManager@va.gov.