Indian Health Service

The Indian Health Service (IHS), an agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), provides federal health services to 2.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives through a network of hospitals, clinics and public outreach programs throughout the continental United States and Alaska.


IHS offers nurses and advanced practice nurses (APNs) extraordinary opportunities for providing care as part of high-performing, interdisciplinary teams. There are opportunities for APNs to serve as certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), certified nurse midwives (CNMs) and nurse practitioners.


At IHS, you can choose from three distinct career paths — working in the civil service, for a Tribal or Urban Indian Program or as an officer with the US Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps. Federal civil service employees and Commissioned Corps officers receive generous vacation, sick leave, insurance and retirement packages, as well as possible sign-up bonuses. Another option is to work directly for a Tribal or Urban Indian Program, with pay and benefits comparable to federal employment but negotiated directly with the employer.


Another key benefit is eligibility for the IHS Loan Repayment Program, which repays up to $40,000 in qualified health profession educational loans in exchange for an initial two-year service commitment at an IHS facility. LRP participants are eligible to extend contracts annually until qualified student debt is paid.


IHS Loan Repayment Program (LRP)

• Opportunity to receive up to $40,000 in loan repayment of health profession education loans.

• Participants must fulfill an initial two-year service commitment in full-time clinical practice at an approved Indian health facility.

• Award extensions up to $20,000 annually in exchange for an additional year of service until all qualified loans are paid.

• Awards are based on staffing needs and availability of funds.


IHS Scholarship Program

IHS offers three levels of scholarship support*:

• Preparatory: For students in pre-clinical psychology, pre-nursing, pre-pharmacy and other eligible preparatory degree programs leading to entry into health profession schools.

• Pre-Graduate: For students in bachelor’s degree programs in pre-professional areas such as pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, and pre-podiatry.

• Health Professions: For students in programs leading to degrees in dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and other disciplines.

* Applicants must be US citizens of American Indian or Alaska Native heritage.


The policy of the IHS is to provide absolute preference to qualified Indian applicants and employees who are suitable for federal employment in filling vacancies within the IHS. IHS is an equal opportunity employer.