Students who choose to attend postgraduate training programs prior to beginning service in the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program must meet a set of requirements.
Below is an overview of your service commitment requirements while in postgraduate training. We expect you to review the complete, detailed information in the 2023-2024 NHSC Postgraduate Training Bulletin (PDF - 440 KB).
How to submit a postgraduate training request
Submit postgraduate training requests via the Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW) Customer Service Portal by May 1.
What should physicians do?
Submit a complete postgraduate training request on time. Otherwise, you may be in breach of your NHSC contract.
What about other health professionals?
Postgraduate training is optional.
However, if you do plan to attend postgraduate training, submit a complete postgraduate training request on time. If it's incomplete or late, we may assign you to service immediately.
When must you start postgraduate training?
If eligible to pursue postgraduate training, we expect you to start after graduation on or around July 1.
How to defer your service commitment
To defer your service commitment, you must:
- Pursue an approved medical or dental specialty;
- Not incur a conflicting service commitment;
- Complete and return the Postgraduate Training Verification (PGTV) form by June 15 each year;
- Notify us of personal (e.g., name, address, phone, or email) or financial changes; and
- Notify us immediately of any changes that affect your training status, i.e.:
- Leave of absence or other delay in completion date.
- Transfer to another postgraduate training program.
- Dropping out or termination from your postgraduate training program.
Do you need NHSC pre-approval?
Yes. During your final year of health professions education, and each year of postgraduate training (if applicable), you must request postgraduate training approval. Do this via the BHW Customer Service Portal.
You may only pursue postgraduate training programs that we officially approve. Additionally, you may not make any changes to the type or length of postgraduate training without our prior approval.
Note: It is your responsibility to research potential postgraduate training programs. Be sure the program provides adequate training that enables you to sit for the appropriate boards, if applicable.
If you enter training, of which we do not approve, you will be in breach of contract.
Who must complete postgraduate training
Must complete an accredited primary care training program in an NHSC-approved specialty. You must begin your NHSC service commitment no later than 6 months after completing your postgraduate training program.
You may request to defer your service to complete advanced training (e.g., chief residency or fellowship) if it is consistent with our needs.
Dentists, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, and Physician Assistants
We do not require you to complete postgraduate training, however, you may do so. If you choose to complete NHSC-approved postgraduate training, you must request to defer your period of service.
If you do choose not to complete postgraduate training: begin your NHSC service commitment no later than six months after graduation from your health professions training program.
Which postgraduate training programs we approve
For allopathic and osteopathic medical scholars entering postgraduate training in 2018-2019, the approved residencies are accredited programs in:
- Family Medicine – 3 years
- General Internal Medicine – 3 years
- General Pediatrics – 3 years
- Obstetrics-Gynecology – 4 years
- General Psychiatry – 4 years
- Internal Medicine/Family Medicine – 4 years
- Internal Medicine/Pediatrics – 4 years
- Family Medicine/Psychiatry – 5 years
- Internal Medicine/Psychiatry – 5 years
- For Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) only: Rotating internship requesting to complete a residency in one of the above specialties. (1 year)
Note: On a case-by-case basis, and consistent with NHSC needs, we may approve additional postgraduate training not listed above.
In your last year of residency training, we may approve your request to complete one of the following fellowships:
- A two-year Child Psychiatry Fellowship that follows the completion of residency training in General Psychiatry.
- A one-year Obstetrics/Gynecology Fellowship that follows the completion of residency training in Family Medicine.
- A one-year Geriatrics Fellowship that follows the completion of residency training in Family Medicine or General Internal Medicine.
For dental scholars entering postgraduate training in 2018-2019, the approved postgraduate training programs are accredited programs in:
- General Practice Dentistry – 1 year
- Advanced Education in General Dentistry – 1 year
- Pediatric Dentistry – 2 years
- Public Health Dentistry – 2 years
Note: Although we encourage you to complete one of the above postgraduate training programs before starting your service, we do not require you to do so.
In your last year of residency training, we may approve your request to complete a one-year Geriatric Dentistry fellowship.
For physician assistant scholars entering postgraduate training in 2018-2019, we approve a one-year residency in a primary care specialty.
For advanced practice registered nurse scholars entering postgraduate training in 2018-2019, we approve a one-year residency in a primary care specialty.
Which postgraduate training programs we consider ineligible
We will not approve the following postgraduate training programs:
- Non-primary health care programs (e.g., emergency medicine, surgery, radiology, neurology, anesthesiology, ophthalmology, pathology, oral surgery, endodontics, sports medicine etc.)
- Postgraduate health professions education conducted by a branch of the Armed Forces of the United States. By participating in such programs, you incur military service commitments that conflict with the NHSC service commitment.
- Transitional residency training (except as we specified above for Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine).
How we address scholarship service and support during postgraduate training
You do not receive financial support while participating in postgraduate training.
Additionally, you will not incur any additional period of service during that time.
Note: Periods of postgraduate training do not count toward your service commitment, even though your training may occur in a facility located in a Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).