Associate FAQs

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The 2021 application period for PHAP candidates will be open January 20–27, 2021. Please continue to check back for updates.

What are the pre-requisites for becoming a public health associate?
PHAP seeks candidates who have demonstrated a commitment to public service through volunteer or school experiences, and who have a desire to pursue a career in public health. Applicants must possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited academic institution, the ability to commit to full-time work for two years, and strong interpersonal and communication skills.

To be considered for a position with PHAP, candidates must meet the eligibility requirements and are encouraged to review the BEST FIT characteristics to determine their suitability for PHAP.

I have a degree in arts, not science. Am I eligible to apply to PHAP?
Yes, individuals with non-science degrees can apply to the program.

Are non-US citizens who are permanent US residents eligible to apply to PHAP?
Yes, US permanent residents and US nationals are eligible to apply; however, only US citizens can convert to longer-term CDC employment after completing PHAP.

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 and benefits equivalent to a GS-5, Step 1, federal employee (including geographic cost of living 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 cost of living adjustments). Salaries are non-negotiable.

See the Office of Personnel Management Salary Tableexternal icon for more information.

I have prior public health experience. Am I eligible for increased pay if I’m accepted into the program?
No, all associates, regardless of their experience, are hired as GS-5, Step 1, entry-level, term-limited CDC employees.

If I’m accepted into the program, will I be eligible to receive benefits?
Yes, all associates are eligible 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 while in PHAP?
Yes, associates are required to travel from their host site locations to Atlanta, Georgia, for three CDC-hosted, in-person PHAP training events. Local travel may be required during an associate’s two-year work assignment. The table below indicates who is responsible for what travel expenses.

Who is Responsible for Required Travel Expenses
Required Travel CDC PHAP Reimbursed Associate’s Responsibility
(Not Reimbursed)
Host Site Reimbursed
Relocation to host site location X
Local travel at host site during
the two-year assignment
X
Mandatory, in-person PHAP training events X
Relocation after program ends X

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

Can associates negotiate geographic placements or subject assignment areas?
No, the job assignment locations and the subject assignment areas are non-negotiable. Candidates must be willing to accept a field assignment anywhere in the United States or its territories and work in any public health subject area. PHAP continues to refine the host site and associate matching process to make the best possible placements for associates, while achieving PHAP competencies and goals, and meeting the needs of local, state, federal, and non-governmental organizations.

Page last reviewed: January 22, 2020