Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Associate FAQs

The 2016 application period for PHAP candidates has closed. Applications for next year will open in January 2017.

What are the prerequisites for becoming a public health associate?
PHAP seeks prospective associates with a demonstrated commitment to public service through volunteer, work, or school experiences and a desire to pursue a career in public health. Applicants must possess a bachelor’s or master's degree from an accredited academic institution, willingness to commit to full-time work for two years, strong interpersonal skills, and effective oral and written communication abilities. To be considered for a position within PHAP, candidates must meet the PHAP eligibility requirements. Applicants are also encouraged to use the best fit candidate characteristics assessment to determine their suitability for the program.

I have an arts, not a science degree. Am I eligible to apply to PHAP?
Yes. Individuals with non-science degrees may apply to the program.

Are non-US citizens who are permanent US residents eligible to apply to PHAP?
Yes, permanent US residents are eligible to apply.

If I am accepted into PHAP, will I be a CDC employee?
Yes. Associates are term-limited CDC employees for the duration of the two-year program.

Is this a paid position?
Yes. During the first year of the program, associates earn a salary equivalent to a GS-5, step 1 federal employee (including geographic adjustments). In the second year of the program, associates are eligible to earn a salary equivalent to a GS-7, step 1 federal employee (including geographic adjustments). See the Office of Personnel Management Salary Table for more information. Salaries are nonnegotiable.

I have prior public health experience. Am I eligible for increased pay if accepted into the program?
No. All associates, regardless of their experience, are hired as entry-level, term-limited employees of CDC.

If accepted into the program, will I receive benefits?
All associates are given the opportunity to choose from and enroll in full health benefit programs that are partially compensated by CDC and available to all federal employees.

Is travel required during the application process or assignment period?
Travel may be requested during the application process. Local travel may be required during associate assignment. Associates are also required to travel to Atlanta for the CDC-hosted PHAP orientation, mid-program training, and end-of-program training. The table below indicates who is responsible for travel costs.

Parties Responsible for Travel Expenses
Required Travels
CDC PHAP Reimbursed
Applicant Responsibility (Not Reimbursed)
Pre-Employment Travel
Relocation to Assignment
Mandatory PHAP Orientations and Trainings
Relocation to Home of Record

Where are associates assigned?
Associates are assigned to state, tribal, local, or territorial health agencies; community-based organizations; public health institutes and associations; academic institutions; and CDC quarantine stations throughout the United States.

Can associates negotiate geographic placements or program assignment areas?
No. Associates cannot negotiate the location of their job assignment nor the program area in which they will work. PHAP continues to refine our matching process to make the best possible placements for associates while meeting the public health needs of local, state, federal, and non-governmental organizations and achieving PHAP goals. Select candidates must be willing to accept a field assignment anywhere in the United States or US Territories and work in any public health program area.