From extensive qualification lists to technical terms about education and training, VHA vacancy announcements often contain a wealth of important information that you need to know before you apply. But if you, like many health care professionals, are not familiar with federal government job listings, the details can be overwhelming and the process can seem daunting. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the more technical parts of a standard vacancy announcement, and how to navigate them:

Series & Grade

All similar positions are grouped according to their occupational series. For example, all physician positions are in the 0602 occupational series, and all nurse positions are in the 0610 occupational series. As you search for a job, pay close attention to the position title and occupational series of positions you are interested in, as this can help you find similar positions for which you may be qualified.

Salary Range

VA employees are compensated based on government-regulated pay scales. Most VA positions follow the GS (General Services) pay scale. This section of the vacancy announcement will have information on the range of salaries for the specific grade. For example, if the position is announced as GS-11/12, you will see the salary range for both the GS-11 and GS-12 grade level.

Announcement Number

Each position has a unique announcement number, and you should always indicate the announcement number on the application you are submitting. If you are submitting documents separately from your application, be sure to write the announcement number on them so that they can be matched to the correct case file.

Opening and Closing Dates

The vacancy announcement will indicate whether the application must be with the contact person by the closing date, or if postmarked or other received date applications will be accepted. You should pay close attention to the closing date, as a late application may exclude you from consideration.


In this section you’ll find information about education and experience requirements. You will see KSAs (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities) expressed in this section in terms of “Specialized Experience” and in some instances as “Selective Factors.” This section will help you know if your experience and background are a good fit for the job, or if you should explore different positions.

If you have questions about a particular vacancy announcement, we urge you to reach out to the individual recruiter or hiring manager listed, or reach out to the individual facility.

If you are ready to begin your VA job search, visit today!

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Published on Mar. 9, 2015

Estimated reading time is 2.1 min.

Views to date: 93


  1. George shaw March 12, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Thank you.

  2. Richard Mahoney March 10, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Glad to hear from you. I feel like I have been forgotten.

  3. Christopher Adam Phillips March 10, 2015 at 11:14 am

    I am a VHA veteran, I am a 20% disabled veteran.

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