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Career Opportunities at CDER:
You Can Make a Difference

FDA Embarks on Major Hiring Initiative for its Public Health Mission

At the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), you can make a difference in protecting the health of the American people. We have an ongoing need for qualified individuals with backgrounds in health-related sciences and information technology. 

Become a part of the Department that touches the lives of every American! At the Department of Health and Human Services you can give back to your community, state, and country by making a difference in the lives of Americans everywhere. Join HHS and help to make our world healthier, safer and better for all Americans.

Apply for your Federal Job Online.  Create your own account at USAJOBS.  This service is designed to assist you with your job search.

  • Post your resume online

  • Apply for Federal Government Jobs

  • Receive automated Job Alerts.

Regular employment in the United States Federal Civil Service or Public Health Service Commissioned Corp is limited to U.S. Citizens. However, permanent resident aliens (Green card holders) and others with visas that legally permit such employments may be hired through the Service Fellowship or Staff Fellow/Visiting Scientist Programs.

Mission and Activities of CDER

The mission of the Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) is to assure that safe and effective drugs are available to the American people. CDER promotes, protects, and enhances the health of the public through the drug development and evaluation process which:

  • Approves drugs for marketing that are effective, have had their adverse effects adequately studied, provide benefits that outweigh their risks, and are of high quality and have directions for use that are complete and honestly communicated.
  • Evaluates marketing applications in a timely fashion, with special priority to drugs for serious illness, especially if there is no adequate therapy. CDER shares with the regulated industry, scientific groups, and the public, the goal of identifying promising new drugs and developing them expeditiously.
  • Facilitates early access to promising drugs being developed for serious illnesses with no adequate therapy.
  • Promotes innovations and provides scientific leadership in the drug development process through collaborative work with the industry, academia and domestic foreign agencies and organizations.
  • Assures that the safety and rights of patients in drug studies are adequately protected.
  • Assures that product quality and safety are maintained after marketing and that new information about drugs is actively sought, evaluated, and communicated in a timely fashion.

To learn more about the FDA, CDER, and new drug development, please use these links.

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Careers at CDER

The positions below may be filled as civil service or U.S. Commissioned Corps, both requiring U.S. citizenship. 

Permanent U.S. residents can apply for Staff Fellowship appointments as physicians, scientists, or mathematical statisticians. Graduates of foreign college or universities must provide proof of U.S. education equivalency certification. Staff Fellowships provide the employment and development of promising research/regulatory review scientists by providing the opportunity to accelerate and enhance scientists’ careers through close associations with leading authorities in health-related research. Fellowships also serve to strengthen the research community by assuring a continuous exchange of talent between the Agency and other research centers. Initial Staff Fellow appointments will be made for up to four years with extensions made on a year-to-year basis or conversion to permanent status, once U.S. citizenship is obtained.

  • Physicians. (Various medical specialties)  Evaluate data involving the animal testing and human clinical trials of new drugs to determine their safety and effectiveness. Basic qualification is a Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy. Graduates of foreign medical schools must be ECFMG certified. Board certification/eligibility in a medical specialty and experience in conducting clinical trials are highly desired for these positions. Physicians may also be paid an additional Physician Comparability Allowance up to $24,000 (depending on years of Federal experience). GS14-10-GS15-10

  • Scientists.  Biology, Chemistry, Microbiology, Pharmacology, Pharmacokinetics, Toxicology, Epidemiology: Scientists evaluate portions of INDs/NDAs that pertain to their particular discipline. They determine the scientific validity of manufacturers’ tests, drug safety and efficacy claims. A doctorate degree in the scientific discipline with at least two years postdoctorate experience is highly desired for these positions. GS12-GS13.

  • Consumer Safety Officers (Project Managers).  Perform management and liaison responsibilities in conducting records maintenance, monitoring the work effort and advising review team members on regulatory requirements, and coordinating information with pharmaceutical industry officials. Qualifications: a degree or combination of courses in the fields of biological science, chemistry, pharmacy, physical science, food technology, nutrition, medical science, epidemiology, engineering, veterinary medical science, or related scientific fields. Project management experience in the health care/pharmaceutical industries is highly desired for these positions. GS5-GS13

  • Mathematical Statisticians. Provide statistical support to the drug review divisions. Employ a broad variety of statistical procedures relevant to the regulatory and scientific preclinical and clinical drug development and approval decision processes. A doctorate degree in mathematics/statistics and experience in the design, performance and evaluation of clinical trials or related biomedical or pharmacokinetics investigations are highly desired for these positions. GS11-GS13

  • Computer Specialists.  Provide ADP infrastructure, application and technology services to CDER in support of automated drug review, administrative, data storage/retrieval and training processes. An undergraduate/graduate degree in computer science, information science, information systems management, mathematics, statistics, operations research, engineering, or course work that required the development and/or adaptation of computer programs and systems and provided knowledge equivalent to a major in the computer field, OR experience that demonstrated accomplishment of computer project assignments that required a wide range of knowledge and techniques pertinent to the position to be filled, such as experience in software development tools (Oracle Developer 2000, Oracle Designer 2000 and Java), server (DEC Alpha, WIN/NT, MS Windows), and web development tools. GS9-GS13

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The Federal General Schedule (GS) grade levels at which these positions most commonly are filled are GS-9 through GS-13. Higher grade levels are available based on peer review of individual accomplishments managerial chain of command. The current GS salaries and wages can be found at www.opm.gov/oca/payrates/index.htm. All of our positions are located in Rockville, Maryland with the exception of our Office of Research located in Laurel, Maryland; therefore, we fall under the locality pay for the Washington Metropolitan Area.



  • Annual Leave.  The Federal Government authorizes absence from work, usually through earned leave for its employees. Annual leave (similar to vacation leave) is earned on the basis of years of Federal service. Full-time employees with less than three years of service earn 13 days of annual leave a year. Full-time employees with at least three but less than fifteen years of service earn 20 days of annual leave a year; and full-time employees with fifteen or more years of service earn 26 days of annual leave a year.

  • Sick Leave.  Employees earn a total of 13 days of sick leave a year, regardless of length of service. There is no limit on the amount of sick leave which may be accumulated and carried over from year-to-year.

  • Other Leave.  Provisions are made to accommodate absences for reasons such as maternity, religious, military obligations, court attendances, etc.

  • Holidays.  Government workers receive paid time off for 10 holidays; in addition to earned annual leave.

  • Health Insurance.  The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program is a voluntary contributory program open to almost all employees depending on the type of appointment. There are over 100 health insurance carriers participating in the program. Through these various plans employees are offered an opportunity to acquire for themselves and their families protection against the cost of health care services, including those involved in prolonged illnesses or serious accidents. The Government contributes to the cost of the plans with employee paying their share through payroll deduction.

  • Life Insurance.  Most Federal civilian employees are eligible to select low-cost life insurance provided through the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Program. Participation is entirely voluntary and the cost of coverage is based on the employee’s salary. The Government contributes to the cost of the plans with employees paying their share through payroll deductions.

  • Retirement.  New employees will be covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). The FERS is a three-tiered retirement system comprised of payments from Social Security, and Basic Annuity Plan, and a tax-deferred thrift savings plan. Under the thrift plan, employees may shelter up to 12% of their salary from taxes and also receives a Government match on these savings of up to 5%. These savings can be invested in up to three different investment funds with interest earned being taxed deferred.

Please visit www.opm.gov for information regarding benefits.

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FDA Financial Disclosure and Conflict of Interest Information 

FDA is an equal opportunity employer with a smoke free environment.

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Last Updated: May 9, 2008

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