Technical Career Field Program


General Program Information


The Technical Career Field (TCF) program offers two years of training in critically identified positions within specific career fields in accordance with VHA’s Succession Workforce Plan. Program participants receive paid salary/benefits, training/travel stipend, access to a preceptor/mentor and hands-on 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 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 13 different career fields and 210 approved trainee positions for the Class of 2018. 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.

How to Find Job Announcements and Apply


Career fields can start trainee recruitment mid-February 2018, individuals selected for positions can begin working after May 28 but no later than October 1, 2018. 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; 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 2018 there are 210 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. From there you can search by Keyword (i.e., TCF, Pathways Recent Graduate), Occupation or Location.

Selection of trainees follows the federal government’s 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. 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 training agreement and continued service agreement. Once the two-year training program is complete trainees are expected to be placed at their training site. 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 two-year training program.

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.

2018 TCF training locations are now posted here.

For more information about TCF contact VHATCFProgramManager@va.gov.