Pathways to Public Service Program (PTPS)

In partnership with other HHS agencies, in 2019, ONC initiated the Pathways to Public Service (PTPS) program to equip students of minority-serving institutions (MSIs) with the knowledge and skills needed to be viable candidates in their pursuit of careers in public service through internships and entry-level positions.

Through virtual fairs and professional development workshops, students are educated on the mission of HHS, the Federal Government’s Pathways Programs, and the federal hiring process.

Mission and Goals

In partnership with other HHS agencies, the Pathways to Public Service (PTPS) program’s mission is to develop a pipeline of diverse, qualified, highly motivated students to become the next generation of public servants providing effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services through internship and entry-level positions.

To deliver on the PTPS mission, the program is focused on the following goals:

  1. Inform students of the various career paths within HHS
  2. Communicate information on the Federal Government’s Pathways Program
  3. Educate students on the federal hiring process
  4. Increase the applicant pool of students attending Minority Serving Institutions


The federal government uses a system for categorizing and defining jobs. A ‘grade’ refers to the General Schedule (GS) pay scale. It indicates the pay level for the job/position. If you haven’t worked for the federal government yet, you may not be sure what grade you fall into. The table below will provide some guidance.

Goal Level of Education Required
GS-03 1 academic year above high school
GS-04 2 academic years above high school OR an Associate’s degree
GS-05 4 academic years of post high school education leading to a bachelorʼs degree or
equivalent degree
GS-07 1 full academic year of graduate level education OR eligibility under the Superior
Academic Achievement Provision of bachelorʼs degree
GS-09 2 full academic years of graduate level education, OR a masterʼs degree or equivalent
graduate degree
GS-11 PhD or equivalent degree


For specific salaries by grade and locality, please visit OPM’s website and view their GS Pay Tables for the applicable year.

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