I haven't worked in CA, but there are mostly prisons where you would be working.
1. Once you get into your facility/agency, you could technically stay there until retirement but the goal of a USPHS officer is to move up and around. You have to apply to a job in order to move they will not automatically move you.
2. Yes you can be deployed to disasters throughout the US and overseas (i.e. haiti, japan) but you have to have supervisor approval.
3. The lowest degree required is a Bachelor's.
4. Rank, pay, uniform
, customs, benefits (medical, dental, leave, gi bill etc) exactly the same as the military, the difference is your job is not necessarily on base and you work along side a lot of civil service some who may be your supervisors.
5. Basic training is 2 weeks held in Maryland where you learn about military customs and courtesy and diaster response. it is not bad at all but a lot of work.
6. I have been an RN since May 2012 and my sister in law has been a nurse for about 6 years and there is a $300 difference between our salaries. But with promotion and cost of living increases I will surpass her in the next year or two.
7. Time and experience plus you have to make certain benchmarks to go up in rank which equals increase in pay.
8. We are the 7th Uniformed Service therefore I wear my uniform everyday (ODU's which is what the coast guard wears) but if you work in the prison, no khaki. Otherwise, particular uniforms for certain occiasions.
9. You have a rank/grade which denotes what you are pay but for example an O-2 (LTJG) = about GS/L-9.
Hope this helps! Let me know if you have more questions!