Expanding Roles for FSIS Veterinarians
Your education and experience allow you to serve in a variety of positions throughout FSIS--not limited to the 701 Public Health Veterinarian (PHV) classification. You may start as a 701 PHV, be promoted to an Enforcement and Investigations Analysis Officer, or an Interdisciplinary Staff Officer, then apply for various supervisory positions in many parts of the agency. It depends on your interests and mobility.
FSIS Veterinary Public Health Officer Life Cycle Model
Since there are so many different career opportunities at FSIS, a Life Cycle Model (PDF Only) was developed to highlight some positions, approximate years of experience that might be needed to move up to the next level of responsibility, and then correlate these to professional development needed for growth in leadership, science and management.
FSIS Veterinary positions fit within three main career pathways:
- Opportunities in the Field
- International Public Health Assessment & Policy
- Scientific Public Health Assessment & Policy
Expanding the Roles of Field Veterinarians
Upon graduation from an accredited College of Veterinary Medicine, the entry-level position in the federal government for the Public Health Veterinarian (PHV) is the GS 701 series GS-9 level that has 10 steps of pay grades. If you graduate in the top 25% of your veterinary class or have one year of professional experience, you may qualify for the GS-11 grade. Due to the critical shortage of veterinarians in FSIS, the Agency has asked for an exemption to hire at the GS-11 as the entry level. In addition, FSIS offers significant signing bonuses and covers moving expenses in certain locations. There are additional benefits for having a State License or Board Certification and advanced degrees that are all considered when determining salary and grade. After one year in a grade, you may be promoted. An exciting strategy the FSIS is currently implementing is to re-classify all GS-11 PHV's to GS-12's. This plan includes sending all field veterinarians to EIAO (Enforcement and Investigations Analysis Officer) training - and then arranging their work assignments to include at least 25% of their time conducting expanded public health assurance duties. The Agency will soon have a larger cadre of trained PHV's who will conduct expanded critical public health assurance duties.
What are "expanded public health assurance duties?"
These are the duties that the Blue Ribbon Task Force on The Future of FSIS Veterinarian: Public Health Professionals For the 21st Century envisioned and reported in the August 2000 document.
- Verifies that HACCP system and intervention processes/procedures are technically and scientifically sound by conducting food safety assessments. These food safety assessments ensure slaughter and processing establishments meet regulatory and public health protection regulations.
- Identifies and evaluates conditions affecting the growth of microorganisms, assesses the statistical validity of industry's microbiological sampling plans and their monitoring procedures and assessing and performing a complete verification of the design of an establishment's control systems, including HACCP, SSOP, Generic E. coli procedures and Salmonella data.
- Develops residue violation cases to be provided to Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine for enforcement action.
- Analyzes program and industry data to determine indicators of pathogen reduction before, at or after critical control point implementation. Assessments include the nature and source of all items coming into the establishment; and the products, processes and environment within the establishment.
- Participates in recalls of adulterated products.
- Directs ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection of livestock and/or poultry to detect, identify, and diagnose conditions that may render the food products unfit for human consumption.
- Oversees the humane handling and slaughter of livestock and enforces all pertinent regulations.
- Serves as Agency spokesperson to raise awareness of (1) food safety through farm-to-table continuum being a shared responsibility, (2) Good Food Animal Production Practices, and (3) food security practices from farmer to consumer.