Serving Veterans and their families is just one of the many rewards of working at VA.
Ask almost any employee about their VA career and favorite on-the-job perk and you’ll likely hear about the reward of serving and caring for the nation’s Veterans. And that’s definitely a noble mission!
But there are other amazing benefits that come with a VA healthcare career: 36 to 49 days of paid time off per year, access to a range of premium-paid health insurance plans, and enrollment in a robust three-tier federal retirement plan.
And while those offerings are some of the better-known aspects of our benefits package, there are plenty of under-the-radar advantages, too. Here are five things you might not have known about working at VA:
- Play a role in groundbreaking research.
From pioneering tuberculosis research in the 1940s to exploring advanced robotic prosthetics today, VA gives you the chance to join an organization with a history of leading in health research.
Get involved in research initiatives that help set the standard of care for not only Veterans, but Americans from all walks of life — whether you’re a mental health professional, nurse, pharmacist, physician or any one of our other valued team members.
“It is surprising to learn that VHA researches and develops so many new standards of care that are ultimately adopted by the (healthcare) community,” says Dr. Glennon Park, Section Chief of the Emergency Department at Minneapolis VA Health Care System. “If people knew what and how much we do to impact the lives of Veterans and non-Veterans, they’d be skeptical and stunned at the same time.”
- Lower your student loan debt.
Going to school and getting your degree often comes with a hefty price tag and a pile of student loans. At VA, we value that dedication, expertise and time.
That’s why we offer the Education Debt Reduction Program (EDRP). Through EDRP, we offer student loan reduction payments to employees with qualifying loans who are in positions of providing direct patient care and working in areas that are difficult to recruit for.
But that’s not the only educational support we offer. Along with EDRP, we have the National Nursing Education Initiative, the Employee Incentive Scholarship Program and the VA Learning Opportunities Residency program. These scholarships help you stay at the top of your game while keeping you free from education debt.
- Teach at an affiliate university or take training courses online — for free.
As a VA physician, you’re encouraged to expand your knowledge and take your talent to new heights. You have access to diverse online courses and training options, advanced fellowships and platforms where you can share your expertise with others.
“People are often surprised by the sheer number of extra-clinical opportunities available to VA clinicians,” says Dr. Neil Patel, Chief of Emergency Medicine at VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. “One can teach courses at the university affiliate, take advantage of the Health Care Leadership Development Program, become trained in lean process methodology and engage in systems-level engineering of clinical programs. The list goes on and on!”
- Use assistive technologies and other solutions to thrive in your careers.
If you’re an employee with a service-connected or other disability, VA careers provide tools so you can manage your work and advance in your profession. Through the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP), we eliminate barriers to achievement for employees with visual, hearing, cognitive, communication and dexterity disabilities. That might mean installing audio output devices, speech recognition software or captioning software.
In addition to CAP, we support several Executive Orders designed to provide you with the assistance you need to deliver excellent service to Veterans.
- Explore working from home and VA’s child care services.
Although not every VA job comes with flex time and telework options, many careers offer schedules that shift from the traditional 9-to-5, 40-hour workweek. You may have the option to vary arrival and departure times, work longer but fewer days or even telework on a regular or ad-hoc basis with a formal agreement.
For busy parents, check to see if your preferred VA facility has an on-site child care center and/or if you qualify for the child care subsidy program.
“I have two small children and use the child care subsides,” says Dr. Puja Van Epps, Director of the Infectious Diseases Outpatient Clinic at VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System. “It is nice to have these key benefits.”