baronzb

5+ Year Member
Oct 10, 2014
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I've gotten a job for both companies. One is a staffing company with many IHS outpatient placements, with several three month contracts (renewals possible) on remote reservations.

The other is Omnicare as a dispenser. On paper the job seems nice, but there are many bad reviews online and I had a friend that rotated through one of the larger facilities and he said it was an unfriendly, high turnover environment.

I am not too familiar with either company or work conditions. I do have intetest in working as a federal RPH at some point, which I heard (correctly?) the contracting with IHS gig could help with the resume.

Can anyone elaborate on these positions? I have to make a decision quickly. Feel free to PM me if necessary.
 

Lnsean

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May 26, 2009
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easy choice...if you're young and fresh out of school...do the IHS...build your resume and career path from there. You can always go back to omnicare...i'm sure....it's usually where careers go to die. If you're already in your 40s...i'd just do omnicare.
 
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baronzb

5+ Year Member
Oct 10, 2014
211
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Hmm...What's your rationale? I'm not too hip beyond the basics with either of these two gigs.
Which has more clinical learning? Would Omnicare be that much less of a resume builder? Utlimately, I'd like to get out of IHS and do DoD.
 

giga

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I don't know about Omnicare, but IHS can be very clinical. IHS pharmacists have been doing some version or another of MTM for decades, and also have what they call Advanced Practice Pharmacists positions in which the pharmacist pretty much works as a mid-level provider. Also, if you are considering DoD, you might also want to consider USPHS. They aren't DoD, but they are a uniformed service with many of the same benefits as military. A lot of IHS pharmacists are active duty PHS officers. Going the PHS route also gives you more mobility potential within certain parts of the federal government - you can start your career off at IHS, and then down the road more easily transfer to another HHS agency as a PHS officer than you could as a civil servant. Some PHS officers are detailed to DoD (specifically DHA), so PHS could also be a potential, but slim, path into DoD. I'm not exactly sure what you want to do for DoD, so all of this might not sound appealing to you. Although, if you are willing to deal with the downsides of working in a remote area, pick the IHS contract job and apply to PHS as soon as you can (the PHS application for pharmacists isn't open right now, you actually just missed an open period - it will probably open up again in a few months, but it's hard to tell exactly when). (This is all assuming that you do not have any medical conditions and are young enough to qualify for a commission with the PHS Commissioned Corps.)
 
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baronzb

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Oct 10, 2014
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Would IHS or BoP be worthwhile if one did not follow the PHS route?

Also, how much (I know it's tough to quantify) would working a few cycles of a few months a piece on the reservation would increase hiring potential for DoD pharmacy jobs?
 

ldiot

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Oct 7, 2015
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With the Indian contract don't you have to live on the reservation or something? I remember watching some youtube video about it. I would hate it.
 

brianuseruser

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Jan 22, 2009
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Would IHS or BoP be worthwhile if one did not follow the PHS route?

Also, how much (I know it's tough to quantify) would working a few cycles of a few months a piece on the reservation would increase hiring potential for DoD pharmacy jobs?
I'd say BOP no. Look at usajobs at the salaries. They are very low compared to outside jobs.

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
 
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baronzb

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Oct 10, 2014
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With the Indian contract don't you have to live on the reservation or something? I remember watching some youtube video about it. I would hate it.
That's correct. There are some suburban locations. I wonder how one would get those. Else, would it not be a good resume builder to DoD pharm work, like on a base?
 

rph3664

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Jul 5, 2010
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Avoid Omnicare unless you have no other alternatives.

If you are single, take the IHS contract. Yeah, you'll probably be living on the rez but if you're in a rural area, that will be the ONLY place to live anyway, and they will probably provide housing as well.

I did rotations on a reservation, and while I could never live in a place like the one where I did this, it was a terrific experience.
 
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giga

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Would IHS or BoP be worthwhile if one did not follow the PHS route?

Also, how much (I know it's tough to quantify) would working a few cycles of a few months a piece on the reservation would increase hiring potential for DoD pharmacy jobs?
BOP would probably not be worthwhile as a civil servant, I know very few civilian BOP pharmacists... most are PHS officers, because the civil service wages are really lowr, in addition to the fact that you're working in a prison. I mean, some people like working in a prison, you never have no shows to your Coumadin clinic and you know exactly what OTCs your patients are on based on their commissary purchase records... but yeah, the wages are really rough.

What exactly do you mean by DOD pharmacy? Civilian or active duty?
 
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baronzb

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Oct 10, 2014
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BOP would probably not be worthwhile as a civil servant, I know very few civilian BOP pharmacists... most are PHS officers, because the civil service wages are really lowr, in addition to the fact that you're working in a prison. I mean, some people like working in a prison, you never have no shows to your Coumadin clinic and you know exactly what OTCs your patients are on based on their commissary purchase records... but yeah, the wages are really rough.

What exactly do you mean by DOD pharmacy? Civilian or active duty?
I'm referring to civilian, yes. I always wanted a piece of that, particularly an overseas base.
 

PumpkinSmasher

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Omnicare dispensing sounds mind numbing.....
 
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rph3664

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BOP would probably not be worthwhile as a civil servant, I know very few civilian BOP pharmacists... most are PHS officers, because the civil service wages are really lowr, in addition to the fact that you're working in a prison. I mean, some people like working in a prison, you never have no shows to your Coumadin clinic and you know exactly what OTCs your patients are on based on their commissary purchase records... but yeah, the wages are really rough.

What exactly do you mean by DOD pharmacy? Civilian or active duty?
Don't PHS officers also get military benefits, which includes PX privileges and a housing and meal allowance? The officers I worked with in 1994 said that the housing and meal allowance started at about $1,500 a month for a single employee, with about $500 extra for each additional person - tax-free, no less. They also did some student loan forgiveness, which at that time was capped at $30,000 per year of service for the first 3 years. My roommate, an optometry student, considered going with IHS just for the loan repayments, and then decided not to for personal reasons.
 

rph3664

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Omnicare dispensing sounds mind numbing.....
Most of it is, but my BFF did a surprising amount of IV work while he was there - mostly antibiotics but there were a few facilities that had people on TPNs, something he had not worked with before.
 

giga

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Don't PHS officers also get military benefits, which includes PX privileges and a housing and meal allowance? The officers I worked with in 1994 said that the housing and meal allowance started at about $1,500 a month for a single employee, with about $500 extra for each additional person - tax-free, no less. They also did some student loan forgiveness, which at that time was capped at $30,000 per year of service for the first 3 years. My roommate, an optometry student, considered going with IHS just for the loan repayments, and then decided not to for personal reasons.
Yes, PHS officers get many of the same benefits that active duty military get, including PX privileges, free health benefits, including dental (Tricare), and VA benefits (including VA home loan and the 9/11 GI bill). And yes, PHS get military pay, which includes a housing allowance and a subsistence allowance that is tax free. The housing allowance depends on where your duty station is, as well as rank, and whether or not you have dependents (there is only two rates in regards to dependents, either you have dependents or you don't, you don't get more pay per each dependent). For a better understanding of why USPHS is structured like the military and is one of the seven uniformed services of the federal government, see this nice concise essay about the militarization of PHS: https://lhncbc.nlm.nih.gov/files/archive/pub2001060.pdf

Additional benefits for PHS pharmacists specifically is a $30,000 accession bonus (taxed) if you sign a 4-year contract (and since most people go in to PHS with the plan of doing a 20-year career, it rarely makes sense to not sign the 4-year contract and not get the bonus), an additional $1,250/month specialty pay (taxed), and if you are board certified, you get an additional $2000/year (taxed). Also after 20 years you can retire with 50% of your base salary (average of last 3 years of service) as your pension for life (this will change for anyone called to active duty after Jan 1, 2018). There are a bunch of other fringe benefits, like moving expenses are covered when you are first called to active duty if your new duty station is greater than a certain distance from your current residence, or whenever you relocate for a job (permanent change of station), 30 days of annual leave per year, space A travel on military aircraft, low-cost life insurance for you and your spouse, low-cost health insurance for your dependents, don't need to spend time planning what to wear to work everyday, opportunities to go on deployments and have a really unique and nontraditional pharmacy career, the sense of fulfillment and satisfaction you get from serving the greater good and protecting, promoting, and advancing the health and safety of the nation, etc.

This PDF provides a good run-down of the benefits and pay, although it is a couple of years old and so some of the numbers are outdated: http://www.usphs.gov/docs/pdfs/bks/PBKS 2014 12-2-14.pdf
You can get updated numbers for base pay, housing and subsistence allowance, and more using this military pay calculator: http://militarypay.defense.gov/Calculators/RMC-Calculator/
(use O-3 and less than two years of service to figure out the beginning salary of a pharmacist without any prior service, keep in mind that the total does not include pharmacist specialty pay or board certification pay)

You still have to put in a few years of service before your salary becomes comparable to the private sector, even with all the tax advantages. Although, keep in mind that the military pension cannot be beat by the private sector, unless you are maxing out your 401k plus build up other IRAs and are getting more than 10% returns , or you die really young so you don't get a chance to capitalize on the value of the pension... So PHS only really makes sense if you are dedicated to the long haul (and plan on living to an old age). Also, PHS only makes sense if you don't mind that you are limited to working in the agencies PHS pharmacists work in (IHS, BOP, and FDA being the top three, but we also have PHS pharmacists in CMS, NIH, CDC, SAMHSA, HRSA, USCG, ICE, DHA(DOD), and probably some more I'm forgetting). You don't really get moved around like in the military (unless you are detailed to the Coast Guard, they typically move you around every 4-5 years). For the most part, you have a choice about what jobs/locations you move to and when, but you are expected to move around and take on jobs with greater responsibilities and/or supervisory roles throughout your career, or you wont be able to move up in rank. You can sometimes work this out so you change jobs but stay in the same geographical area, although doing so severely limits your options unless you are in the DC area to begin with. If all you want to do is be a clinical pharmacist and you never want to do anything else, you can still do PHS, but don't expect to make it to captain (O-6). You also don't have to worry about being deployed unless you specifically and willingly decide to put yourself in a situation where you have a higher chance of being deployed, and most deployments are 30 days or less.

Regarding loan repayment, that is an agency specific program and not a PHS-wide program. PHS does not have any loan repayment programs for PHS pharmacy officers. The only PHS agency that still provides loan repayments to pharmacists is IHS. In order to qualify for loan repayments you have to work at specific, high need, IHS sites. You don't have to be a PHS officer to qualify for the loan repayment, civil servants qualify as well. IHS will pay up to $40,000 in loan repayment per 2 years of service commitment. More info here: https://www.ihs.gov/loanrepayment/lrpbasics/
 
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brianuseruser

10+ Year Member
Jan 22, 2009
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Yes, PHS officers get many of the same benefits that active duty military get, including PX privileges, free health benefits, including dental (Tricare), and VA benefits (including VA home loan and the 9/11 GI bill). And yes, PHS get military pay, which includes a housing allowance and a subsistence allowance that is tax free. The housing allowance depends on where your duty station is, as well as rank, and whether or not you have dependents (there is only two rates in regards to dependents, either you have dependents or you don't, you don't get more pay per each dependent). For a better understanding of why USPHS is structured like the military and is one of the seven uniformed services of the federal government, see this nice concise essay about the militarization of PHS: https://lhncbc.nlm.nih.gov/files/archive/pub2001060.pdf

Additional benefits for PHS pharmacists specifically is a $30,000 accession bonus (taxed) if you sign a 4-year contract (and since most people go in to PHS with the plan of doing a 20-year career, it rarely makes sense to not sign the 4-year contract and not get the bonus), an additional $1,250/month specialty pay (taxed), and if you are board certified, you get an additional $2000/year (taxed). Also after 20 years you can retire with 50% of your base salary (average of last 3 years of service) as your pension for life (this will change for anyone called to active duty after Jan 1, 2018). There are a bunch of other fringe benefits, like moving expenses are covered when you are first called to active duty if your new duty station is greater than a certain distance from your current residence, or whenever you relocate for a job (permanent change of station), 30 days of annual leave per year, space A travel on military aircraft, low-cost life insurance for you and your spouse, low-cost health insurance for your dependents, don't need to spend time planning what to wear to work everyday, opportunities to go on deployments and have a really unique and nontraditional pharmacy career, the sense of fulfillment and satisfaction you get from serving the greater good and protecting, promoting, and advancing the health and safety of the nation, etc.

This PDF provides a good run-down of the benefits and pay, although it is a couple of years old and so some of the numbers are outdated: http://www.usphs.gov/docs/pdfs/bks/PBKS 2014 12-2-14.pdf
You can get updated numbers for base pay, housing and subsistence allowance, and more using this military pay calculator: http://militarypay.defense.gov/Calculators/RMC-Calculator/
(use O-3 and less than two years of service to figure out the beginning salary of a pharmacist without any prior service, keep in mind that the total does not include pharmacist specialty pay or board certification pay)

You still have to put in a few years of service before your salary becomes comparable to the private sector, even with all the tax advantages. Although, keep in mind that the military pension cannot be beat by the private sector, unless you are maxing out your 401k plus build up other IRAs and are getting more than 10% returns , or you die really young so you don't get a chance to capitalize on the value of the pension... So PHS only really makes sense if you are dedicated to the long haul (and plan on living to an old age). Also, PHS only makes sense if you don't mind that you are limited to working in the agencies PHS pharmacists work in (IHS, BOP, and FDA being the top three, but we also have PHS pharmacists in CMS, NIH, CDC, SAMHSA, HRSA, USCG, ICE, DHA(DOD), and probably some more I'm forgetting). You don't really get moved around like in the military (unless you are detailed to the Coast Guard, they typically move you around every 4-5 years). For the most part, you have a choice about what jobs/locations you move to and when, but you are expected to move around and take on jobs with greater responsibilities and/or supervisory roles throughout your career, or you wont be able to move up in rank. You can sometimes work this out so you change jobs but stay in the same geographical area, although doing so severely limits your options unless you are in the DC area to begin with. If all you want to do is be a clinical pharmacist and you never want to do anything else, you can still do PHS, but don't expect to make it to captain (O-6). You also don't have to worry about being deployed unless you specifically and willingly decide to put yourself in a situation where you have a higher chance of being deployed, and most deployments are 30 days or less.

Regarding loan repayment, that is an agency specific program and not a PHS-wide program. PHS does not have any loan repayment programs for PHS pharmacy officers. The only PHS agency that still provides loan repayments to pharmacists is IHS. In order to qualify for loan repayments you have to work at specific, high need, IHS sites. You don't have to be a PHS officer to qualify for the loan repayment, civil servants qualify as well. IHS will pay up to $40,000 in loan repayment per 2 years of service commitment. More info here: https://www.ihs.gov/loanrepayment/lrpbasics/
I know BOP offers 10k a year for loan repayment if you sign a contract as a civilian. I didn't take it, so not 100% sure it applies to pharmacists. I talked to a PA that got it.

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
 
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giga

U.S. Public Health Service
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I know BOP offers 10k a year for loan repayment if you sign a contract as a civilian. I didn't take it, so not 100% sure it applies to pharmacists. I talked to a PA that got it.

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

Good to know. I've never heard of pharmacists getting loan repayment via BOP, and if they do offer loan repayment, they don't do a good job of promoting that benefit publicly...

ETA: it looks like the loan repayment is some arrangement between BOP and the NHSC loan repayment program, which pharmacists do not qualify for (only healthcare professions classified as "providers" qualify). See https://www.bop.gov/jobs/health_services.jsp, towards the bottom where it says "Want to take a magic eraser to your student loans?"
 

rph3664

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I should add that the pharmacists' salaries were in the mid 30s, which at the time was about 2/3 that of the private sector, but the housing allowance and (and the time) free medical care made up for a lot of that. My preceptor's wife was an IHS nurse who worked part-time, and her salary and housing allowance were pro-rated accordingly. Living expenses there were relatively low; because they lived on "the rez", they were not allowed to purchase property, and rents were inexpensive. There were no big, fancy houses there, either; the doctors lived in 3- or 4-bedroom ranch houses. Students and locums were housed in mobile homes at no cost to us.

One reason I enjoyed those rotations so much was because all of the people I encountered at that facility loved their jobs, and you can't put a price on that.
 
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SexiestPharmacist

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Jun 7, 2014
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Yes, PHS officers get many of the same benefits that active duty military get, including PX privileges, free health benefits, including dental (Tricare), and VA benefits (including VA home loan and the 9/11 GI bill). And yes, PHS get military pay, which includes a housing allowance and a subsistence allowance that is tax free. The housing allowance depends on where your duty station is, as well as rank, and whether or not you have dependents (there is only two rates in regards to dependents, either you have dependents or you don't, you don't get more pay per each dependent). For a better understanding of why USPHS is structured like the military and is one of the seven uniformed services of the federal government, see this nice concise essay about the militarization of PHS: https://lhncbc.nlm.nih.gov/files/archive/pub2001060.pdf

Additional benefits for PHS pharmacists specifically is a $30,000 accession bonus (taxed) if you sign a 4-year contract (and since most people go in to PHS with the plan of doing a 20-year career, it rarely makes sense to not sign the 4-year contract and not get the bonus), an additional $1,250/month specialty pay (taxed), and if you are board certified, you get an additional $2000/year (taxed). Also after 20 years you can retire with 50% of your base salary (average of last 3 years of service) as your pension for life (this will change for anyone called to active duty after Jan 1, 2018). There are a bunch of other fringe benefits, like moving expenses are covered when you are first called to active duty if your new duty station is greater than a certain distance from your current residence, or whenever you relocate for a job (permanent change of station), 30 days of annual leave per year, space A travel on military aircraft, low-cost life insurance for you and your spouse, low-cost health insurance for your dependents, don't need to spend time planning what to wear to work everyday, opportunities to go on deployments and have a really unique and nontraditional pharmacy career, the sense of fulfillment and satisfaction you get from serving the greater good and protecting, promoting, and advancing the health and safety of the nation, etc.

This PDF provides a good run-down of the benefits and pay, although it is a couple of years old and so some of the numbers are outdated: http://www.usphs.gov/docs/pdfs/bks/PBKS 2014 12-2-14.pdf
You can get updated numbers for base pay, housing and subsistence allowance, and more using this military pay calculator: http://militarypay.defense.gov/Calculators/RMC-Calculator/
(use O-3 and less than two years of service to figure out the beginning salary of a pharmacist without any prior service, keep in mind that the total does not include pharmacist specialty pay or board certification pay)

You still have to put in a few years of service before your salary becomes comparable to the private sector, even with all the tax advantages. Although, keep in mind that the military pension cannot be beat by the private sector, unless you are maxing out your 401k plus build up other IRAs and are getting more than 10% returns , or you die really young so you don't get a chance to capitalize on the value of the pension... So PHS only really makes sense if you are dedicated to the long haul (and plan on living to an old age). Also, PHS only makes sense if you don't mind that you are limited to working in the agencies PHS pharmacists work in (IHS, BOP, and FDA being the top three, but we also have PHS pharmacists in CMS, NIH, CDC, SAMHSA, HRSA, USCG, ICE, DHA(DOD), and probably some more I'm forgetting). You don't really get moved around like in the military (unless you are detailed to the Coast Guard, they typically move you around every 4-5 years). For the most part, you have a choice about what jobs/locations you move to and when, but you are expected to move around and take on jobs with greater responsibilities and/or supervisory roles throughout your career, or you wont be able to move up in rank. You can sometimes work this out so you change jobs but stay in the same geographical area, although doing so severely limits your options unless you are in the DC area to begin with. If all you want to do is be a clinical pharmacist and you never want to do anything else, you can still do PHS, but don't expect to make it to captain (O-6). You also don't have to worry about being deployed unless you specifically and willingly decide to put yourself in a situation where you have a higher chance of being deployed, and most deployments are 30 days or less.

Regarding loan repayment, that is an agency specific program and not a PHS-wide program. PHS does not have any loan repayment programs for PHS pharmacy officers. The only PHS agency that still provides loan repayments to pharmacists is IHS. In order to qualify for loan repayments you have to work at specific, high need, IHS sites. You don't have to be a PHS officer to qualify for the loan repayment, civil servants qualify as well. IHS will pay up to $40,000 in loan repayment per 2 years of service commitment. More info here: https://www.ihs.gov/loanrepayment/lrpbasics/
I always wondered if that 40k/2 yr assistance is on top of the base pay plus all the benefits like you mentioned in your posting
 
Aug 24, 2016
5
4
I have been working for the IHS and I like it a lot. The job is much less stress compared to other retail jobs out there. I recommend doing contract with IHS to gain credentials. There are plenty of outpatient positions across the nation during the year and so you have job security right there.
 
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no_future

2020? SERIOUSLY?
Aug 25, 2016
7
5
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Pharmacist
Update on IHS Loan Repayment for pharmacists: They're full for the next ~2 fiscal years. Gotta play the long con - no more carrot.
 

no_future

2020? SERIOUSLY?
Aug 25, 2016
7
5
Status
Pharmacist
Yes, PHS officers get many of the same benefits that active duty military get, including PX privileges, free health benefits, including dental (Tricare), and VA benefits (including VA home loan and the 9/11 GI bill). And yes, PHS get military pay, which includes a housing allowance and a subsistence allowance that is tax free. The housing allowance depends on where your duty station is, as well as rank, and whether or not you have dependents (there is only two rates in regards to dependents, either you have dependents or you don't, you don't get more pay per each dependent). For a better understanding of why USPHS is structured like the military and is one of the seven uniformed services of the federal government, see this nice concise essay about the militarization of PHS: https://lhncbc.nlm.nih.gov/files/archive/pub2001060.pdf

Additional benefits for PHS pharmacists specifically is a $30,000 accession bonus (taxed) if you sign a 4-year contract (and since most people go in to PHS with the plan of doing a 20-year career, it rarely makes sense to not sign the 4-year contract and not get the bonus), an additional $1,250/month specialty pay (taxed), and if you are board certified, you get an additional $2000/year (taxed). Also after 20 years you can retire with 50% of your base salary (average of last 3 years of service) as your pension for life (this will change for anyone called to active duty after Jan 1, 2018). There are a bunch of other fringe benefits, like moving expenses are covered when you are first called to active duty if your new duty station is greater than a certain distance from your current residence, or whenever you relocate for a job (permanent change of station), 30 days of annual leave per year, space A travel on military aircraft, low-cost life insurance for you and your spouse, low-cost health insurance for your dependents, don't need to spend time planning what to wear to work everyday, opportunities to go on deployments and have a really unique and nontraditional pharmacy career, the sense of fulfillment and satisfaction you get from serving the greater good and protecting, promoting, and advancing the health and safety of the nation, etc.

This PDF provides a good run-down of the benefits and pay, although it is a couple of years old and so some of the numbers are outdated: http://www.usphs.gov/docs/pdfs/bks/PBKS 2014 12-2-14.pdf
You can get updated numbers for base pay, housing and subsistence allowance, and more using this military pay calculator: http://militarypay.defense.gov/Calculators/RMC-Calculator/
(use O-3 and less than two years of service to figure out the beginning salary of a pharmacist without any prior service, keep in mind that the total does not include pharmacist specialty pay or board certification pay)

You still have to put in a few years of service before your salary becomes comparable to the private sector, even with all the tax advantages. Although, keep in mind that the military pension cannot be beat by the private sector, unless you are maxing out your 401k plus build up other IRAs and are getting more than 10% returns , or you die really young so you don't get a chance to capitalize on the value of the pension... So PHS only really makes sense if you are dedicated to the long haul (and plan on living to an old age). Also, PHS only makes sense if you don't mind that you are limited to working in the agencies PHS pharmacists work in (IHS, BOP, and FDA being the top three, but we also have PHS pharmacists in CMS, NIH, CDC, SAMHSA, HRSA, USCG, ICE, DHA(DOD), and probably some more I'm forgetting). You don't really get moved around like in the military (unless you are detailed to the Coast Guard, they typically move you around every 4-5 years). For the most part, you have a choice about what jobs/locations you move to and when, but you are expected to move around and take on jobs with greater responsibilities and/or supervisory roles throughout your career, or you wont be able to move up in rank. You can sometimes work this out so you change jobs but stay in the same geographical area, although doing so severely limits your options unless you are in the DC area to begin with. If all you want to do is be a clinical pharmacist and you never want to do anything else, you can still do PHS, but don't expect to make it to captain (O-6). You also don't have to worry about being deployed unless you specifically and willingly decide to put yourself in a situation where you have a higher chance of being deployed, and most deployments are 30 days or less.

Regarding loan repayment, that is an agency specific program and not a PHS-wide program. PHS does not have any loan repayment programs for PHS pharmacy officers. The only PHS agency that still provides loan repayments to pharmacists is IHS. In order to qualify for loan repayments you have to work at specific, high need, IHS sites. You don't have to be a PHS officer to qualify for the loan repayment, civil servants qualify as well. IHS will pay up to $40,000 in loan repayment per 2 years of service commitment. More info here: https://www.ihs.gov/loanrepayment/lrpbasics/
This is poetry. You summed up everything 10x better than the 'best kept secrets' document.
 
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Invokanyetnyet

2+ Year Member
Jan 29, 2016
9
1
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Pharmacist
To clarify what giga and 5minites2016 posted... If I'm interested in the PHS, it'd be a good use of time to take a plain IHS contract job, stay there (hopping to different contracts if necessary) until PHS resumes the pharmacist open enrollment period, then apply to PHS for Commissioned Corps? Right?

Would this be do-able for a pharmacist in his early 30's with a stay-at-home wife and (very young) children, if the wife doesn't mind living in a remote location for a few years?

Also, beyond the simple/obvious stuff (like the age requirement, having an active pharmacist license, etc.), what kinds of things would PHS look for in an applicant?

Thanks.
 

giga

U.S. Public Health Service
10+ Year Member
Aug 23, 2005
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On the land and the sea for humanity
Status
Pharmacist
To clarify what giga and 5minites2016 posted... If I'm interested in the PHS, it'd be a good use of time to take a plain IHS contract job, stay there (hopping to different contracts if necessary) until PHS resumes the pharmacist open enrollment period, then apply to PHS for Commissioned Corps? Right?

Would this be do-able for a pharmacist in his early 30's with a stay-at-home wife and (very young) children, if the wife doesn't mind living in a remote location for a few years?

Also, beyond the simple/obvious stuff (like the age requirement, having an active pharmacist license, etc.), what kinds of things would PHS look for in an applicant?

Thanks.
It might be quicker/easier to get a contract job, but if you are actually able to get a civil service job with IHS (i.e. working for IHS as a federal civil service employee rather than as a government contractor employee), that would put you in a better position to then convert over to the PHS Commissioned Corps when the general application opens up for pharmacists.

The age cut-off for the Commissioned Corps is 44 years, and since the application for pharmacists opens up about once a year, and the application process itself takes about a year, you should have plenty of time to make it in before you turn 44.

PHS will look at your GPA, your CV, your references, and will also interview you and ask you some typical job interview type questions, with emphasis on why you want to serve in a uniformed service. They are looking for folks who have a genuine interest in serving their country, and who will take their role as an officer and public health leader seriously. They are also mostly interested in candidates who are flexible with geographical location and who are willing to take on assignments in either IHS, BOP, or ICE (i.e. the focus is on clinical roles rather than regulatory/policy/research). You don't have to commit to these agencies for your entire career, but the expectation is that you start off and at least put in a few years before moving on to other agencies. Keep in mind that you also have to be able to obtain security clearance, be in good health (no chronic diseases, no significant mental health history, etc.), meet height and weight standards, and be able to pass a physical fitness test (e.g. 1.5 mile run, push-ups, and sit-ups).

Feel free to DM if you have more specific questions or if any of this doesn't make sense.