Applying for the Commissioned Corps
How do I apply? Should I apply to the Commissioned Corps or to the agency or program where I wish to work?
Applying for a call to active duty as a U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officer involves two processes. You must apply for a Corps commission, and you must apply for jobs at agencies or with programs that accept Corps officers for assignments. You should pursue both processes simultaneously.
The Office of Commissioned Corps Operations, Division of Commissioned Corps Assignments (DCCA), will process your application for a Corps commission. Your actual job offer, however, will come from the agency or program to which you applied for a position.
All general duty Commissioned Corps application forms are available online. Applications for the Student Commissioning Program also are available online. If you have any problems with the online form, you may call the Office of Commissioned Corps Operations at 800–279–1605 for assistance.
Applicants who are on active duty in other uniformed services need to complete the General Duty Commissioned Corps application forms and provide additional information.
Which medical diagnoses or conditions would be disqualifying for active duty commissioning?
Diabetes, types 1 and II (and prediabetes to frank diabetes due to multiple other risk factors, such as overweight, hyperlipidemia, or hypertension).
- HIV, Hepatitis C, or other serious chronic infections and associated diseases.
- Inability to see or hear or potentially-progressive diseases leading to blindness or deafness.
- Current or recent psychotherapy and/or use of medication, for chronic or recurrent psychiatric diagnosis.
- Ulcerative colitis or Crohn's Disease, or any immunosuppression related to disease or treatment (e.g., chronic treatment with oral steroids for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, asthma or spinal inflammation; any immunosuppressive organ treatment for transplanted or autoimmune disease).
- Presence of extensive orthopedic hardware (e.g., spinal fusion devices; artificial joints; any screws, rods or pins which cause pain or other symptoms).
- Any significant alteration of essential internal organs (e.g., gastric bypass surgery, cirrhosis, renal insufficiency, colectomy, tracheotomy).
- Cardiovascular disease, including atherosclerosis or any condition requiring implanted devices or anticoagulation.
- Chronic pain condition (anything which requires frequent medication or therapy; e.g., low back pain; fibromyalgia; severe headaches).
- Any malignancies or pre-malignancies (other than basal cell or squamous cell cancer of skin), unless in remission with no evidence of recurrence for at least 5 years.
- Applicants cannot be called to active duty while pregnant.
Any conditions which may progress to disability in the applicant’s professional duties, attendance and performance at work, or activities of daily living (e.g., severe asthma or allergies; recurrent sinusitis; headaches; chronic back or joint pain; chronic or recurrent mental illness).
*This list is not all inclusive.
Which security-related situations or circumstances could potentially be disqualifying for active duty commissioning?
- Military Discharges: other than Honorable (Includes a character review and further assessment of separation and reenlistment codes).
- Military disciplinary proceedings/court martial.
- Employment: Fired, quit or left under unfavorable circumstances.
- Financial: Delinquent on any debt. (Foreclosures, bankruptcy require court documentation; all other accounts must be up to date).
- Drug Use: Possession or distribution charges/convictions.
- Alcohol Use/Abuse: Alcohol related charges/convictions.
- Violence/Domestic Violence charges/convictions.
- Felony Criminal Charges/convictions.
- Civil court actions.
- Pending criminal charges/convictions.
Who should I contact if I have questions about how to complete the application?
When you begin your application for a commission, you will be assigned a human resources specialist to contact with questions. Also, you may call the Office of Commissioned Corps Operations at 800–279–1605.
How can I check the status of my application?
Once your application is submitted you will be able to log in and check the status of your application. You will be able to see where your application is in the process as well as obtain further instructions about what is needed to complete the process.
How long does the application process take?
The application processing time varies due to a number of factors, such as the time it takes to receive official transcripts from institutions and to complete an initial background investigation. It is the aim of the Commissioned Corps and the selecting agencies to place qualified candidates in specific positions within 10 to 12 weeks.
Does the Commissioned Corps have career counselors who can help me locate vacancies in my profession?
Yes. When you apply for a commission, you will be assigned a human resources specialist who will serve as your primary contact on all matters related to your application.
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