From Training to Practice
Welcome to the next phase of your NHSC journey! Before you graduate, the NHSC will send you timely information and helpful resources to help you identify an NHSC-approved site where you will complete your service commitment. You are encouraged to download and read the NHSC Students to Service Orientation and Employment Search Guide, which highlights key deadlines, HPSA requirements, and travel and relocation costs that are covered by NHSC. You will also receive information that will enable you to defer your service commitment until you have completed an approved postgraduate training.
NHSC- Approved Sites & HPSA Requirements
You must work at an NHSC-approved site that fulfills the minimum Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) score for your class year. Please refer to the chart below.
HPSA Score Requirements by Class Year*
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*A class year runs October 1 – September 30 and is based on your ‘Available for Service’ date.
Additional information on selecting a site can be found in these helpful resources:
Identifying Job Opportunities
You will have the opportunity to identify open positions located at NHSC-approved sites in high-need areas that are right for you and your family. It is your responsibility to select sites that appeal to you and interview with them. Check out these helpful tools during your site search:
- Health Workforce Connector – includes open positions and information on NHSC-approved sites. You can narrow your search based on location, discipline, specialty, HPSA score, or site name. You should also contact NHSC-approved sites directly to inquire about open positions that might not be listed in the Health Workforce Connector.
- NHSC Virtual Job Fairs – allow you to experience an interactive recruitment event from the comfort of your own home. Learn about the exciting job opportunities that are available at NHSC-approved sites across the country and interact with NHSC site administrators to gain key insights about populations served, employment benefits, advantages of working with interdisciplinary teams, and the unique communities.
Visiting and Interviewing at NHSC Sites
Once you have identified current NHSC-eligible jobs of interest, contact those sites and work your Regional Advisor to verify the HPSA score. If you are selected for an interview, the NHSC will coordinate and cover up to $1,200 in allowable site visit interview travel costs. Before you interview, check out some of these tip sheets to help you determine what site works for you.
- Choosing an NHSC Site (PDF - 471 KB)
- Finding a Site ... a Community ... a Home (PDF - 332 KB)
- Top 10 Interviewing Tips (PDF - 333 KB)
Once you have received a job offer from an NHSC-approved site where you want to fulfill your service commitment, you must upload the following documents to your Customer Service Portal account:
- Results of your Final Professional Exam (e.g. USMLE or COMLEX Step/Level 3, PANCE)
- Unrestricted State License in the State that You will Practice (unless it is a Federal Prison, Indian Health Service Site, or an Immigration and Customs Enforcement Site)
- Copy of Your Job Offer Letter
- Copy of Your Acceptance Letter
If you live within 50 miles of your new job location, you are NOT eligible for NHSC-supported relocation services. Once you have accepted a job and submitted all four NHSC required documents, you are ready to actively plan a move to your new location. The NHSC provides assistance for your initial relocation; it does not provide any relocation support for additional transfers, or moves, beyond your first NHSC-approved site.
Postgraduate Training (including fellowship, chief residency) & Licensure
In the spring of the year of graduation, and each subsequent year of postgraduate training, all physicians pursuing approved postgraduate training must request deferments to postpone their required NHSC service commitment until they have completed their specialized training. Postgraduate training is optional for dental participants. Review the Postgraduate Training Bulletin for additional details.
To request a deferment of service in order to attend a postgraduate training program or fellowship, you must submit a request through the Customer Service Portal each year. Those eligible to defer the service obligation (MD, DO and Dental students) will receive information about deferment during the last year of medical school and will be notified when the deferment request must be submitted. If you do not submit a request each year of your postgraduate training or fellowship, you may be considered to be in default of the NHSC service obligation and subject to penalties.
When to Notify the NHSC
Participants are required to contact the NHSC immediately via the Customer Service Portal if you:
- Do not obtain a position in the postgraduate training program that the NHSC has approved
- Change your address
- Plan to switch postgraduate training programs
- Plan to suspend training for maternity leave or other medical or personal reason