IETA Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible, you must meet all the criteria below:

  • I am a full-time HHS federal employee (Civil Service or U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officer).
  • I am at the GS-11 grade or above (Civil Service) or O-3 rank or above (U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officer).
  • I have been in my current position for 12 or more consecutive months as of September 1.
  • Excluding deployments, I have not worked in a U.S. Embassy as an HHS federal employee*.
  • I will be available to travel for a minimum 12-week international field assignment between January 15 to September 1.
  • I have permission from my first-level and second-level supervisors to apply and fully participate in the program. Your home office must be willing to cover costs associated with all training, including travel to Atlanta, Georgia.
  • I understand and agree to being matched with a country where CDC has a global presence which could be a high-threat country.
  • I have/will have a government credit card before the first workshop. I understand that failure to obtain a government credit card will result in being removed from the program.

* If you have previously worked as an HHS federal employee assigned to an International Organization, you are eligible to apply to the IETA program.

Note: The IETA program, in conjunction with hosting CDC programs and partner organizations, reserves the right to terminate an assignment if it is felt that the participant is not fulfilling their duties, is not working well with partners, or is in any way damaging to the IETA program.

Frequency Asked Questions (FAQs)

Has the IETA Program extended the application deadline for the 2022-2023 cohort?
Yes, the application deadline has been extended. All applications are due by 11:59pm ET on Friday, September 23, 2022. Please submit the three required application components (application with supervisor reference, IETA resume, SF-50/PHS Form-7063) to Because of challenges combining these three documents into a single PDF, we ask that you submit the three PDF documents in one e-mail but do not merge them together.

For the 2022-2023 cohort, will the three training workshops that typically take place in Atlanta, Georgia be offered virtually?
For the 2022-2023 cohort, the two workshops in fall 2022 (one in November, one in December) will take place virtually. There has not yet been a decision made on the closing workshop (September 2023). Applicants should plan for their home programs to pay for them to travel to the September 2023 closing workshop that will take place over 2-3 days in Atlanta, Georgia.

Can Term FTEs apply to the IETA program?
Yes, Term FTEs are eligible to apply to the IETA program. However, the term end date must not end before the end of the IETA program); and they are able to work 100% on their field assignment scope-of-work during the 12 weeks they are in their field assignment.

Can Title 42s (T42s) apply to the IETA program?
As with past cohorts, Title 42s are eligible to apply to the program as long as their supervisors are supportive. To be eligible for the program, a T42 employee must be a U.S. citizen. Non-U.S. citizen Title 42 employees are not currently eligible for the IETA program.

Can I bring my dependents with me on the minimum 12-week international field assignment?
The minimum 12-week field assignment is a professional tour of duty (TDY) for the IETA participant; therefore, family members are not eligible to travel on U.S. Government travel orders. All candidates applying to IETA should have the understanding they will not be accompanied by dependents for the duration of their field assignment. On a case-by-case basis the IETA program will explore specific requests/specific situations once the applicant is accepted into the program. Please understand that some of the potential host programs are located in high threat countries where it is highly discouraged for family members or others to join during the assignment. Dependents can visit during the IETA field assignment, as long as clearance is received and approved in advance by the U.S. Embassy.

Can I split the 12-week field assignment requirement into two six-week field assignment in two country offices?
The ideal IETA applicant will apply to the program with the understanding that they will take part in a minimum 12-week field assignment in a country where CDC has a presence. The IETA program is open to the rare opportunity of an IETA participant fulfilling the minimum 12-week requirement split between two countries (minimum 6 weeks in each country). This opportunity, if made available, will be proposed by the host programs when they submit to the IETA Program their proposal to host an IETA participant.

Is the IETA program an annual program?
The IETA program is an annual program that began in 1997. The application period typically opens every August and closes every September. Please monitor the IETA website for information on upcoming application cycles.

Are contractors eligible to apply to the IETA program?
Contractors are not eligible to apply to the IETA program.

Can U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) officers who are assigned to non-HHS agencies apply to the program?
To be eligible to apply to the IETA program, a USPHS officer must be working within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In other words, the officer must be working within the HHS Office of the Secretary or an HHS Operating Division (click here to see the HHS organizational chart). We are exploring the steps necessary to open IETA to USPHS officers assigned to non-HHS agencies in the future.

I applied once before and didn’t make it. Do repeat applicants succeed?
We welcome applications from previous applicants. The program has updated and expanded its eligibility criteria beginning for the 2022-2023 cohort. In addition, the IETA program is implementing a new screening process beginning with the 2022-2023 cohort, which is described in detail on this website.

Can I apply to the IETA program with a specific country in mind for my IETA field assignment?
The ideal IETA candidate is applying to the IETA program with a willingness to work in any of the countries where CDC has a presence. The program is not able to accommodate specific country requests.

How much flexibility/control do IETA applicants have in scheduling their field assignment?
The ideal IETA candidate is able to participate in the minimum 12-week field assignment anytime between January 15 and September 1 of the IETA program year they are applying to be part of. The timing of the field assignment is driven by host program need(s).

How many IETA participants are in each cohort?
Previous cohorts have ranged from 25-30 participants. The IETA program intends to maintain similar cohort sizes going forward.

What are the benefits to the home office?
IETA participants develop many competencies and soft skills during the IETA program year that they are able to bring back and use in their home office. We encourage potential applicants and supervisors of potential applicants to review the IETA competencies. Skillsets enhanced through the participation in the IETA program such as cross-cultural humility, diplomacy tradecraft, and partner engagement are transferrable to a domestic (i.e., U.S.-focused) position.

How do you measure success of the IETA program?
The IETA program is designed to help HHS FTEs and USPHS officers determine if working internationally is right for them. The program defines any of the following three outcomes to be a “success”: 1) the employee decides to continue working internationally for HHS; 2) the employee decides to support global programs from headquarters; 3) the employee determines that working and living internationally is not right for them.

What are examples of projects undertaken by IETA participants during their field assignments?
The IETA program seeks a wide variety of skillsets and professional backgrounds in applicants because there is great diversity in the technical expertise needs and opportunities in host program offices. We encourage potential applicants to watch the short alumni videos on this website to learn more about the range of projects undertaken. The IETA program continues to develop new alumni videos and will be adding them to this website as they are completed.