The FDA is hiring hundreds of individuals with science and medical backgrounds to help meet the its responsibilities to assure the safety and/or efficacy of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, food, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.

Biologists, chemists, medical officers, mathematical statisticians, and investigators are among the experts in demand as the agency begins its multi-year hiring initiative.

"It takes a large pool of talented people for the FDA to protect and promote the public health," said John Dyer, deputy commissioner for operations and COO for the agency. "Each month there is a delay in bringing critical staff on board impairs the agency’s ability to fulfill this mission."

The agency plans to fill more than 600 new positions in fiscal 2008 and to backfill more than 700 others to implement the FDA Amendments Act of 2007, the Food Protection Plan, and the Import Safety Action Plan—which almost triples the number of people hired from 2005 to 2007.

The Office of Personnel Management has granted direct-hire authority to the FDA, an operating division of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Direct-hire authority is an appointing authority OPM can give to federal agencies for filling vacancies when a critical hiring need or severe shortage of candidates exists. It expedites hiring of qualified candidates by eliminating certain rating and ranking preferences. Qualified candidates could be on the job in as little as three weeks.

The critical-need occupations are medical officers, consumer safety officers, chemists, nurse consultants, biologists, microbiologists, health/regulatory/general health scientists, mathematical statisticians, epidemiologists, pharmacologists, pharmacists, and veterinary medical officers. Many of the positions are located in the Washington metropolitan area, specifically Rockville, Silver Spring, and College Park, Md, and nationwide in the FDA’s five regions, 20 districts, more than 179 resident posts, and the newly created FDA offices overseas.

Positions will be available throughout the agency, including in the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, the Center for Food Safety and Nutrition, the Center for Veterinary Medicine, the National Center for Toxicological Research, the Office of the Commissioner, and the Office of Regulatory Affairs.

The FDA will be participating in and holding job fairs throughout the country. To find a job fair near you, visit the agency’s Web site. For general information and to apply for one of the positions listed above, submit questions and electronic curriculum vitae with a cover letter via e-mail to the agency.