Click here to skip navigation
An official website of the United States Government.
Skip Navigation

In This Section

Classification & Qualifications General Schedule Qualification Standards

Medical Officer Series, 0602

Individual Occupational Requirements

Basic Requirements

Degree: Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy from a school in the United States or Canada approved by a recognized accrediting body in the year of the applicant's graduation. [A Doctor of Medicine or equivalent degree from a foreign medical school that provided education and medical knowledge substantially equivalent to accredited schools in the United States may be demonstrated by permanent certification by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) (or a fifth pathway certificate for Americans who completed premedical education in the United States and graduate education in a foreign country).]

Graduate Training: Subsequent to obtaining a Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy degree, a candidate must have had at least 1 year of supervised experience providing direct service in a clinical setting, i.e., a 1-year internship or the first year of a residency program in an institution accredited for such training. (This 1 year of supervised experience may be waived for research or administrative positions not requiring direct patient care.) For purposes of this standard, graduate training programs include only those internship, residency, and fellowship programs that are approved by accrediting bodies recognized within the United States or Canada. Listings of accredited programs are published yearly in the Directory of Residency Training Programs and the Yearbook and Directory of Osteopathic Physicians.

  • An internship program involves broadly based clinical practice in which physicians acquire experience in treating a variety of medical problems under supervision (e.g., internal medicine, surgery, general practice, obstetrics-gynecology, and pediatrics). Such programs are in hospitals or other institutions accredited for internship training by a recognized body of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).
  • A residency program involves training in a specialized field of medicine in an institution accredited for training in the specialty by a recognized body of the American Medical Association (AMA) or AOA.
  • A fellowship program involves advanced training (beyond residency training) in a given medical specialty in either a clinical or research setting in a hospital or other institution accredited in the United States for such training.

Licensure: For positions involving patient care, candidates must have a permanent, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine in a State, District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a territory of the United States. Applications will be accepted from physicians who are not currently licensed; however, if selected for appointment, they must (a) obtain a license before entering on duty, or (b) meet one of the following provisions:

  • Waiver of Licensure Requirement: An agency may waive the licensure requirement for positions not involving direct patient care, e.g., positions performing disability evaluations, positions performing solely research, or administrative program managers. If the agency does not waive the license requirement for these kinds of positions, candidates may be appointed subject to obtaining a license within 1 year.
  • Appointments Pending Meeting Licensure Requirement: Individual circumstances may warrant appointments pending meeting the licensure requirement (e.g., when a candidate has a temporary license to practice until the next regular session of the licensing board). Persons appointed pending licensure may not be retained beyond 1 year of appointment if they do not obtain the license.

Applicants who meet the basic requirements qualify for GS-11 positions.

Additional Requirements for Grades GS-12 and Above: The requirements below are grouped according to types of programs-clinical and training, aviation medical, occupational health, disability evaluation, maternal and child health, and research.

  • Clinical and Training Programs: Within Federal clinical and training programs, a distinction is made between general practice and specialist positions. General practitioners must be skilled in recognizing various medical pathologies that require referral to specialists for diagnostic and treatment procedures. Graduate training and experience must, therefore, be well rounded. Specialist positions require graduate training and experience related to the specialty and subspecialty of the position to be filled. Experience may not be substituted for training essential for performing specialized duties. The length and content of residency programs depends upon the specialization and requirements of recognized accrediting American medical specialty boards. These boards are authorized to conduct examinations to determine the competence of physicians in the specialty, to issue certificates of qualification, to participate in evaluating the quality of residency programs, and to determine the requirements for certification.

    General Practice positions
    For GS-12: 2 years of graduate training or equivalent experience and training.
    For GS-13: 3 years of graduate training or equivalent experience and training.
    For GS-14 and above: In addition to the requirements for GS-13, 1 year of appropriate experience equivalent to at least the next lower grade level.

    Specialist positions
    For GS-13: 3 years of residency training in the specialty of the position to be filled or equivalent experience and training.
    For GS-14: 4 years of residency training in the specialty of the position to be filled or equivalent experience and training.
    For GS-15: 5 years of residency training in the specialty of the position to be filled or equivalent experience and training.

  • Disability Evaluation Programs: The knowledge, skills and abilities required for most disability evaluation positions may have been obtained in the primary care field. However, when positions involve evaluating specialized medical cases or developing specialized guides and require training and experience in a specific area of medicine (e.g., general surgery, psychiatry, neurology), the requirements shown above for Specialist positions should be applied.
    For GS-12: 2 years of graduate training or equivalent training and experience that provided knowledge, skills, and abilities for the work of the position to be filled.
    For GS-13 and above: 3 years of graduate training or equivalent training and experience that included at least 1 year of experience in a disability evaluation program in government or industry equivalent to at least the next lower grade level.
  • Aviation Medical Programs: In addition to a residency in aerospace medicine, knowledge, skills, and abilities for work in this program area may have been acquired in fields such as internal medicine, pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, family practice, preventive medicine, occupational health, or public health.
    For GS-12: 2 years of residency training or equivalent training, education, and experience that provided the skills and knowledge required to perform the work of the position to be filled.
    For GS-13: 3 years of residency training in aerospace medicine or equivalent training, education, and/or experience that included at least 1 year of experience in aviation medical programs.
    For GS-14: 1 year of appropriate graduate training or experience in aviation or aerospace medical programs equivalent to at least the GS-13 level.
    For GS-15: 1 year of work experience equivalent to at least the GS-14 level in aviation or aerospace medical programs.
  • Occupational Health Programs -- In addition to a residency program in occupational medicine, knowledge, skills, and abilities for work in this program area may have been acquired in family practice, internal medicine, surgery, pathology, dermatology, radiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, public health, aerospace medicine, and general preventive medicine.
    For GS-12 -- 2 years of residency training or equivalent training, education, and experience that provided the skills and knowledge required to perform the work of the position to be filled.
    For GS-13 -- 3 years of residency training in occupational medicine or equivalent training, education, and experience that included at least 1 year of experience in an occupational health program in an industrial or office-type establishment.
    For GS-14 and above: 1 year of appropriate graduate training or experience in occupational health programs equivalent to at least the next lower grade level.
  • Maternal and Child Health Programs: Medical fields that provide the basic knowledge, skills, and abilities for maternal and child health work include pediatrics, obstetrics-gynecology, family practice, and subspecialties of preventive medicine.
    For GS-12: 2 years of graduate training, education, or appropriate experience that provided the skills and knowledge required to perform the work of the position to be filled.
    For GS-13: 3 years of graduate training, or equivalent training, education, and experience in an appropriate field of medicine.
    For GS-14 and above: 1 year of appropriate experience in maternal and child health programs equivalent to at least the next lower grade level.
  • Research Programs: If medical officers in this program area conduct research and have patient care responsibility, they must meet the licensure requirement and the experience and training requirements described in the applicable program area above.
    For GS-11: In addition to meeting the minimum educational requirement, applicants must show demonstrated interest in and aptitude for medical research work, e.g., activities in medical school, residency, training and fellowships that provided opportunities to demonstrate interest in research.
    For GS-12: 1 year of medical research experience; or 1 year of graduate training in which the applicant demonstrated interest in and aptitude for medical research; or 1 year of graduate study in an accredited college or university in a field of science (e.g., pathology, pharmacology, physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, zoology) closely related to the work of the position to be filled.
    For GS-13: An earned doctorate, e.g., Ph.D. or Sc.D. (in addition to the Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy degree) from an accredited college or university in a field of science directly related to medicine and closely allied to the position to be filled; or, in addition to meeting the requirements for GS-12, 2 years of graduate training or medical research experience that demonstrated ability to do independent major medical research.
    For GS-14 and above: One year of experience equivalent to at least the next lower grade level that demonstrated ability to do significant medical research in a particular medical field.

Evaluation of Candidates

  1. Interviews: Applicants may be interviewed to assure that they possess the degree of skill in interpersonal relationships required for satisfactory performance of the duties of the position to be filled.
  2. Substitution of Experience for Residency Training: Experience may not be substituted for residency training that is essential for the performance of specialized duties. For example, specialists such as psychiatrists and surgeons must complete the number of years of accredited residency training required in their respective specialties. An exception may be made when a peer panel of physicians (subject-matter experts) determines and documents that the knowledge, skills, and abilities acquired in professional medical practice are equivalent to those acquired during the same period of time in a graduate training program.
  3. Teaching Experience: Graduate teaching experience as a member of the faculty in a school of medicine or school of public health may be credited for training positions or as appropriate for specialist positions. (Teaching undertaken as a part of a residency or fellowship training does not satisfy this requirement.)
  4. Grade Credit for Creative Research Contributions: For positions involving substantial clinical investigations or basic or applied research, extra grade credit may be given for positive evidence or personally performed highly creative or outstanding research leading to major advances in a specific area of research, e.g., development of a basic principle, concept, method, approach, technique, or body of basic information that opened the way for major advancements, breakthroughs, or new applications. In such cases, candidates who meet the requirements for GS-13 or GS-14 may be rated eligible for the next higher grade.

Back to Top

Control Panel