Employees at a Veteran Affairs (VA) Hospital are employed by the largest non-profit healthcare entity in the United States. The hospital is run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, a Cabinet-level agency in the US government. The VA is known for its innovative efficiencies, primarily Vista, a remotely entered electronic medical records system that is used by many other healthcare providers. The employees of a VA hospital have a wide range of job descriptions and expertise.
Daily tasks might include:
Performing mental and physical health evaluations
Checking vital signs of patients
Performing routine surgeries
Counseling for veterans
The VA hospital also prides itself on providing comparable salaries to for-profit companies for highly sought after professions such as surgeons or pharmacists.
VA Hospital Job Education Requirements
Educational requirements vary greatly from job to job. Many support or technical jobs require only a high school degree or some vocational school. Such jobs include maintenance, custodial duties, secretaries, cooks, gardeners and laborers. Other jobs, such as psychologists, nurses, IT professionals, nutritionists and dietitians expect potential candidates to hold a bachelor's degree.
Highly specialized medical professionals need an MD to obtain employment at the VA, just as with any other hospital. Doctors of any kinds are highly sought after at the VA due to competitive salaries from other employers and private practices.
VA Hospital Job Market
The VA Hospital job market is directly tied to the overall healthcare sector. In the next 10 years, the Bureau of Labor projects job growth to increase 25 percent compared to 0.5 percent of non-healthcare markets. The Baby Boomer generation also pushes the need for preventative healthcare and dealing with health problem such as diabetes and obesity.
Older and recent battle conflicts abroad also contribute to the need for healthcare professionals at VA Hospitals, specifically in mental health. Mental illnesses that were formerly ignored, such as PTSD, have come to public attention, thus pushing ex-soldiers towards psychiatry and counseling.
VA Hospital Salary Information
Like other job markets, salary is dependent on education and experience. Jobs that do not require college degrees, such as maintenance workers or janitors can expect to earn about $25,000 a year. Positions that require associate's degrees or certifications, such as an Licensed Practical Nurse, typically start at $30,000 to $35,000. Holders of bachelor's degrees make a higher amount, which is anywhere from $40,000 to $70,000, while doctors make well into six figures.