What Healthcare Jobs are Available with the Food and Drug Administration?

The healthcare jobs available with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are charged with protecting and promoting the health of the American public. The duties and requirements for these careers differ according to job title as revealed by the following examples.

Medical Officer

Medical officers are responsible for the safety and effectiveness of human drugs, vaccines, blood products, medical devices and specific diagnostic products. They inspect and investigate FDA-approved manufacturers and may recommend penalties and other enforcement actions if they discover problems.

These professionals are typically hired at General Schedule (GS) levels 14 and 15. The primary requirement for either level is a Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy degree from a US or Canadian school approved by recognized accrediting body. A Doctor of Medicine degree from a foreign school may be considered if the education is substantially similar to accredited schools in this country.

A GS-14 position requires at least four years of residency training, or equivalent experience and education. A GS-15 job requires at least five years of training. Jobs are located in suburban Washington, DC or in the field.


Pharmacists prepare prescriptions for medical professionals, research and investigate new drugs, advise on drug therapy and use, and develop new techniques for compounding drugs. They are hired at the GS-9 to GS-12/13 levels.

  • The primary qualification for the GS-9 level is a five-year bachelor's or higher degree from an approved school of pharmacy, or at least a year of professional experience equivalent to a GS-7 level or more.
  • For a GS-11 position, applicants must have completed six years of study culminating in a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, one year of professional experience equal to at least a GS-9 level, or, for research careers, all the requirements for a masters degree or equivalent in related fields.
  • For a GS-12/13 hiring, experience equal to the next lower GS level.

Jobs are located in only suburban Washington, DC.


Pharmacologists who work in non-laboratory settings review pharmacological and toxicological ecological data contained in applications for new drugs, evaluate the results of pharmacological and toxicological studies, prepare data summaries, and submit recommendations and conclusions for the approval process.

In laboratory settings, these professionals research how chemicals are absorbed and metabolized on the skin, investigate xenobiotics in animals, look at the effects of drugs and toxins, and create methodologies for evaluating chemicals, drugs and toxins.

They are typically hired at GS-9 through GS-15 levels. The primary qualifications for all applicants are a degree in medical, veterinary, biological, or physical science, or pharmacy with at least 12 semester hours and pharmacology and 30 semester hours in chemistry and physiology. For higher level positions, related experience and education may also be necessary.

Jobs are located in only suburban Washington, DC.

Related Resource: Jobs in Healthcare Policy

Uncovering Jobs

The best way of uncovering available positions at the FDA is through the Advanced Search feature of the USA Jobs website. Enter "Food and Drug Administration" in the "Department and Agency" field and then enter the job title desired in the "Keyword" field.

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