Information for Veterinarians Interested in Joining the U.S. Public Health Service

Information for Veterinarians Interested in Joining the U.S. Public Health Service

Licensed veterinarians have the opportunity to apply to become officers in the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service (USPHS), one of the eight U.S. uniformed services. Commissioned Corps veterinary officers serve nationwide in agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and non-HHS agencies in many One Health roles, including laboratory animal medicine, outbreak investigation, food safety assurance, regulatory review, and public health policy development.

Reasons to consider a career in the USPHS Commissioned Corps include:
• Uniformed service benefits featuring comprehensive, low-cost medical, dental, and vision care for officers and dependents, retirement, and the Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefit, which can be transferred to dependents after 10 years of service
• Diverse career opportunities and professional growth
• Potential ability to transfer from civil service or other uniformed services
• Opportunities for involvement in the response to disasters and epidemics
• Supportive community of USPHS veterinary colleagues

Veterinary candidates for the USPHS Commissioned Corps must:
• Meet basic requirements
• Meet height and weight standards, maintain physical fitness, and be medically qualified (if you have specific concerns about medical eligibility, please email
• Be committed to uniform wear on a daily basis

In order to become a USPHS Commissioned Corps officer, an applicant must complete the commissioning process and also secure a position in an agency where USPHS officers serve. You should pursue both processes simultaneously. The commissioning process may take up to a year. New veterinary officers will usually be commissioned at the rank of Lieutenant (O-3).

For more information about the USPHS, please contact Commissioned Corps Recruitment (1-800-279-1605; or Chief USPHS Veterinarian CAPT Tom Thomas (