Editor’s Note: This blog post was updated on April 14 to reflect changes to the initial hiring position and to terminology used by the VA Career program.
The VA Technical Career Field (TCF) trainee program is a national workforce development program designed to replenish technical staff in positions where we face a critical need.
For you, though, it can be the first step to securing an engaging, one-of-a-kind career with VA.
TCF positions function more like apprenticeships. They’re intensive, two-year training programs that are required for certain, specialized career paths — fields where VA-specific knowledge and experience is desirable for success.
What you’ll do
If you are selected to work as a TCF trainee, you’ll work full-time at a VA facility and follow a formal training plan for two years. During that time, you will be trained, coached and supervised by one of our staff members who serves as what we call a preceptor, a mentor to help guide you while you work at VA.
Through this combination of coaching and on-the-job experience, you will perform assignments to broaden your skills and provide the practical experience you’ll need to graduate to progressively more complex assignments.
As you take on these greater responsibilities, you’ll work under progressively less and less supervision, though your preceptor will always be available to answer any questions and support your efforts.
When you begin your training, you’ll work at VA in a GS-05 position, though over the course of your two-year development, you can acquire the skills and training necessary to qualify for a GS-11 position, (depending on satisfactory performance, availability of higher-level work and availability of funds).
Still, we view TCF training as an investment, and when your appointment is up, we hope to place you in the facility where you interned or in another VA facility that needs your skills.
Fields of focus
Engineering fields, both clinical and nonclinical, are popular choices for TCF trainees. Whether your focus is biomedical engineering, general engineering, or safety and protection specialization, you can find a path to a long-term career with VA through these positions.
However, it’s not just engineering fields that can offer TCF training programs. In fact, you can work in a variety of fields that will provide you an opportunity to work with our nation’s finest heroes, including (but not limited to):
- Environmental management
- Health information management
- Human resources management
- Information technology
- Public affairs
- Supply chain management
- Volunteer management
Start your search
VA offers a designated number of TCF trainee positions every year, and positions are posted at various times for various locations from March through August. You may start working as early as the last pay period in May, and no later than the last pay period in September.
There is not one set date for job announcements at all locations, and open positions change each year (and may not be offered at the VA facility of your choice) so it is important to search the available job postings.
You can review our website for instructions on how to apply online for individual positions and how to search by keyword, occupation or location.
Work at VA
As a TCF trainee, you can get critical, on-the-job experience in your career field and begin a meaningful career at VA at the same time.
- LEARN more about the TCF trainee program.
- EXPLORE the career fields that offer TCF trainee programs.
- READ about the benefits of a VA career.
- SEARCH for available TCF opportunities.
NOTE: Positions listed in this post were open at the time of publication. All current available positions are listed at USAJobs.gov.
This article originally appeared on the VA blog.