Scholarship Connections
The Next Step —
Post-Graduate Clinical Training

You’ve reached your final year of academic training. The Indian Health Service (IHS) congratulates you and looks forward to adding your talent and professional skills in support of the IHS mission: To raise the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level.

Before beginning your health career, many of you will enter into required or optional post-graduate clinical training in pursuit of board certification or licensure in your chosen health profession. As you prepare to choose your career path, you will need to familiarize yourself with IHS Scholarship Program policies regarding the deferment of your service commitment.

Reporting Requirements
Where to Send Materials

Whether your chosen health profession requires post-graduate clinical training or you elect to pursue optional training, you must submit the proper forms to the IHS Scholarship Program to request approval for deferment of your service commitment.

IHS Scholarship Program
Attn: Program Analyst
801 Thompson Ave., TMP-450
Rockville, MD 20852

student photo

New Training Opportunities The IHS Scholarship Program has approved the addition of three health professions to our optional post-graduate clinical training program list. Recipients in the following degree programs can request a one-year deferment of their service commitment to pursue training opportunities:

  • Dentistry
  • Nursing

Visit the IHS Scholarship Program website or contact your Program Analyst for information on deferment policies and procedures regarding these degree programs.

Required Documentation

In order to defer your service commitment, you must follow the procedures below or risk being found in breach of contract and placed in default:


Submit a Request for Approval of Deferment (IHS-856-11) [PDF - 92KB] form to identify the post-graduation clinical training programs you intend to pursue. Scholarship program staff will review the document and notify you when approved.


Submit a Notification of Deferment Program (IHS-856-14) [PDF - 89KB] form by May 31 of your final year of school to notify your scholarship analyst of the approved post-graduate clinical training program you will enter. The specialty you identify must be from the list of programs provided on your Request for Prior Approval of Deferment (IHS-856-11) [PDF - 92KB] form.

Post-Graduate Training Options

The following list outlines the health professions approved for deferment and the post-graduate clinical training programs associated with those health professions. IHS must approve all post-graduate training; the program officially recognizes only those training programs approved by the appropriate American specialty board. If you enter a program that was not approved by the IHS Scholarship Program, you will be in breach of your contract and placed in default.

Required Training Programs


Residency/Post-Graduate Clinical
Training Program

Total Years of Approved Deferment


Emergency Medicine
Family Practice
General Internal Medicine
Family Practice/Psychiatry

3 years
3 years
3 years
3 years

General Psychiatry
Internal Medicine/Family Practice
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics
Internal Medicine/Psychiatry

4 years
4 years
4 years
4 years
4 years

General Surgery

5 years
5 years

Clinical Psychology

Practice under the supervision of a licensed clinical psychologist

2 year

Social Work

Practice under the supervision of a licensed clinical social worker

2 year


ADA-approved internship; if not included as part of your degree program

1 year

Optional Training Programs


Residency/Post-Graduate Clinical
Training Program

Total Years of Approved Deferment


Advanced Education Program in General Dentistry (AEGD) or General Practice Residency (GPR) accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)

1 year


Training programs emphasizing clinical out-patient (OPD), in-patient (IPD) and/or emergency (ERD) nursing skills

1 year


Ocular Disease/Pathology
Primary Care Optometry

1 year


American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) or American Pharmacists Association (APhA) accredited Post-Graduate Year One (PGY1) Pharmacy Residency Program (Hospital, Community or Managed Care only)

1 year

Annual Updates

Submit the following documents annually until you have completed your post-graduate clinical training:

  • Notification of Deferment Program (IHS-856-14) [PDF - 89KB] to your
    Program Analyst.
  • A letter of good standing and residency continuation from your program Director or Coordinator.

Once you begin an IHS-approved post-graduate clinical training program, you cannot transfer to another program without prior approval from the IHS Scholarship Program Branch Chief.

If you fail to return these documents, IHS will find you in breach of contract and place you in default.

Completion of Post-Graduate Training

You must begin fulfilling your service commitment immediately upon completion of post-graduate clinical training. IHS Scholarship Program policy requires that you work in full-time clinical practice in the health profession for which you were awarded a scholarship.

Consult your IHS Scholarship Program Student Handbook [PDF - 12.5MB], visit the IHS Scholarship Program website or contact your Program Analyst for more information about program policies regarding the fulfillment of your service commitment.

Learn More about Career Opportunities

The IHS has resources and personnel available to help you review your options. To get more information about available career paths, contact your IHS Discipline Chief or visit our Careers page.

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