Hiring Programs and Initiatives

Connecting You to Your Best Career

Recruiting and developing the best talent is fundamental to delivering on our promise to care for America’s Veterans. That’s why we’re proud to offer a range of professional, internship and leadership opportunities that match Veterans, students, and new and experienced medical professionals with positions that maximize their capabilities.


Veterans Employment Service Office (VESO) aims to attract, recruit and hire Veterans into VA, while offering career preparation and transition services. VA also implements a number of government initiatives that prioritize the employment of Veterans, including the following:

  • The Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA)
  • The Veterans Recruitment Appointment (VRA)
  • The Disabled Veterans Enrolled in VA Training Program
  • The Vocational Readiness and Employment (VR&E)
  • The Veterans’ Preference

Visit the Office of Personnel Management to learn more about these programs; for details on the VR&E program, visit the Veterans Benefits Administration.

Students and College Graduates

High school, college and trade school students can get a glimpse into a possible future with VA through our Pathways Internship Program. Participants gain hands-on work experience—and pay—while completing their education.

VA offers special opportunities for college graduates from a variety of disciplines—particularly those seeking careers in the analysis and management of public policies and programs—including the Outstanding Scholar Program and the Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF).

Federal Employees

For former employees granted Federal status (i.e., those who’ve held a permanent Federal position for more than three years), VA offers reinstatement eligibility within three years of separation. There is no time limit for those who have Veterans’ preference or have acquired career tenure. Transfer eligibility allows current career and career-conditional employees to be appointed to VA jobs, but transfer candidates may be required to compete under the merit promotion program.

Health Care Professionals

Hiring Incentives

To ensure VA attracts the best health care professionals available, VA promotes several incentive programs:

  • Education Debt Reduction Program (EDRP) authorizes VA to provide student loan reduction payments to employees with qualifying loans who are in positions providing direct patient care and that are considered hard to recruit or retain.
  • Employee Incentive Scholarship Program (EISP) authorizes VA to award scholarships to permanent full- and part-time employees pursuing degrees or training in health care disciplines for which recruitment and retention is difficult.
  • National Nursing Education Initiative (NNEI) is a scholarship awarded to permanent full- and part-time VA registered nurses seeking bachelor’s and advanced nursing degrees from an authorized, accredited program.
  • VA Learning Opportunities Residency (VALOR) allows nursing, pharmacy and medical technology students (who have completed their junior year in an accredited clinical program) to gain experience at a local VA facility.

For more information about these programs, please call the VHA Workforce Recruitment and Retention Service (WRRS) at 1-844-456-5208.

People with Disabilities

At VA, we fully support the employment and advancement of persons with disabilities, and we encourage candidates with a certification letter from VA or a state Vocational Readiness office to apply for non-competitive appointment.

The Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) provides assistive technologies and other solutions to eliminate barriers to employment for people with visual, hearing, cognitive, communication and dexterity disabilities. In addition to CAP, VA supports the following Executive Orders (EOs) designed to benefit those with disabilities:

  • EO 13078, Increasing Employment of Adults with Disabilities
  • EO 13145, To Prohibit Discrimination in Federal Employment Based on Genetic Information
  • EO 13163, Increasing the Opportunity for Individuals with Disabilities to be Employed in the Federal Government
  • EO 13164, Requiring Federal Agencies to Establish Procedures to Facilitate the Provision of Reasonable Accommodation
  • EO 13217, Community-Based Alternatives for Individuals with Disabilities

HR Specialist Training and Accelerated Readiness (HR STAR)

HR Specialist Training and Accelerated Readiness (HR STAR) is a one-year training program for recent graduates, including those in human resources. Get started on a path to a VA career by applying to one of 2 career tracks:

  • Recruitment, Placement, and Compensation (RPC)
  • Employee labor relations and performance management (ELP)

You’ll receive a paid salary, benefits, and a training/travel stipend as you apply your new skills to supporting our team.

How to find jobs and apply

Recruitment for HR STAR starts in July and continues through June. Individuals are selected on an ongoing basis throughout the year and start the program approximately 2 months after selection.

HR STAR opportunities are posted at various times for each career track. Search by keywords HR STAR or Pathways Recent Graduate, and review specific job postings and instructions on how to apply online for individual positions.

Selection of trainees follows the federal government’s OPM hiring standards. Applicants will be hired at the GS-9 level; salary tables are available on the OPM website. Beginning grades vary across the country and are typically dependent on education level and experience within the field of interest. Each Trainee position requires employment for one year at the hiring grade level before being promoted, even if the individual meets qualifications/Time in Grade (TIG) requirements for a higher grade prior to reaching one year.

Trainees may 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 achieved. Promotions and permanent placement are not entitlements and are dependent on trainee conduct and performance. A final placement grade depends on the hiring grade, TIG restrictions, and trainee performance.

Email VHANationalRecruitmentCenter@va.gov for more information.

Program details

As part of this virtual program, you’ll receive training to prepare you to work at VA as an HR specialist. You’ll be paired with a preceptor who is dedicated to monitoring, mentoring, and supporting your success as you navigate through the program.

You’ll progress from foundational to intermediate training, applying your new skills first in a scenario-based training environment and then, with your preceptor’s oversight and supervision, to live assignments.

Career fields tracks begin at 4-week intervals throughout the year.


After completing HR-STAR, HR specialists should be competent in the following areas:

RPC track:

  • Applies HR concepts, principles, and practices related to identifying, altering, and selecting individuals and placing them into positions to address changing organizational needs
  • Applies pay administration concepts, principles, and practices relating to pay setting, pay schedules, pay determinations, and other pay administration regulations
  • Articulates and explains job classification guidance during consultative discussions with their leadership team and customers
  • Identifies and researches potential staffing, pay, or classification oversights and proactively researches resolutions

ELP track:

  • Applies HR concepts, principles, and practices related to advising supervisors and management officials on taking appropriate actions to correct employee misconduct and performance deficiencies
  • Applies HR concepts, principles, and practices to effectuate a successful labor-management relations program
  • Applies HR concepts, principles, and practices to effectuate a successful leave program