Public Health Service (corps) for new grads?


Hi, I am a student nurse in a traditional BSN program in Texas. I am very interested in working in the public health service with IHS. I would prefer to work at a reservation in New Mexico but I wouldn't be too picky if another state was offered.

I am just wondering if there are nurses here who have experience with the public health service either corps or civilian service who know whether the Public health service is willing to hire new grads or if they want you to have x amount of experience in some area first(also which area does it have to be public health)? I would prefer to do the commissioned corps just because of benefits and everything but I'm sure I would be just as happy in civilian service.

I have heard that the public health service has a very long application process(6 to 8months) and I am about 10 months from graduation now and wondering if it is possible to start the application process before I graduate. Any advice or helpful experience would be much appreciated thank you!


746 Posts

Specializes in oncology, MS/tele/stepdown. Has 6 years experience.

I don't have a lot of information for you, but I contacted someone from the Indian Health Service and they advised against entering as a new grad, although new grads may be considered for some positions. Apparently, the determination as to whether they would take a new grad is decided at each individual location/job posting, because they may or may not have the resources to train you. She said there is no true orientation. Seems like some experience would be a benefit, but I know what you mean about those benefits - they are enticing.

I just looked on PHS's website and they do allow new grads to apply. I graduated with a guy who is working in the prison system for PHS right out of school, too.


66 Posts

Specializes in Rehab corrections med-surg.

I worked at a federal prison that used PHS and one was a new grad. I would honestly recommend med surg or rehab first for two years. The jobs you get with PHS really require sound experience before working there.