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  1. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research | CDER

Jobs at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research

You want to make a difference. FDA wants to hire you.

At FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER, pronounced SEE-der), 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, health policy, and information technology.

CDER's Public Health Mission

CDER's mission 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.

Current Job Openings at CDER

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.

Programs for Students and Recent Graduates

Pathways Program for Students and Recent Graduates

The Pathways Program offers federal internship and employment opportunities for current students, recent graduates, and those with an advanced degree. There are three different paths available:

  • Internship Program
  • Recent Graduates Program
  • Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program

For more information and to search for Pathways opportunities, visit USAJOBS.

Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE)

The ORISE Research Participation Programs at FDA accept applications year-round for participation in non-employment training opportunities with various levels of stipend support. Current students, recent graduates, and faculty researchers are eligible for this program.

For more information and opportunities, visit: ORISE Research Participation Programs at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

OCE Summer Scholars Program

The Oncology Center of Excellence Summer Scholars Program is designed to expose high school students and recent high school graduates to the entire spectrum of oncology drug development and provide an introduction to career opportunities in government, regulatory medicine, and cancer advocacy.

For more information and opportunities, visit OCE Summer Scholars Program

Pharmacy Student Experiential Program

The Pharmacy Student Experiential Program (PSEP) provides an opportunity for Pharmacy Students to learn about FDA’s multidisciplinary processes for addressing public health issues involving drugs, biologics, and medical devices.

For more information and opportunities, visit Pharmacy Student Experiential Program

Scientific Fellowships and Training Programs

Commissioner’s Fellowship Program

The Commissioner’s Fellowship Program  affords health care professionals, scientists, and engineers an opportunity to receive regulatory science training and conduct cutting-edge research on targeted scientific policy or regulatory issues under the mentorship of FDA senior scientists.

For more information and opportunities, visit: Commissioner's Fellowship Program

Oncology Center of Excellence (OCE) Fellows Program

The purpose of the Oncology Center of Excellence (OCE) Fellows Program is to familiarize fellows training in hematology and/or oncology or radiation oncology residents with the role of the FDA throughout all phases of oncology drug or biological product development and research. Fellows/residents will gain professional experience under the mentorship of Medical Officers in the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products within the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

For more information and opportunities, visit OCE Fellows Program

Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE)

The ORISE Research Participation Programs at FDA accept applications year-round for participation in non-employment training opportunities with various levels of stipend support. Current students, recent graduates, and faculty researchers are eligible for this program.

For more information and opportunities, visit: ORISE Research Participation Programs at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Regulatory Pharmaceutical Program

The Regulatory Pharmaceutical Program is a two-year program with concentration on one of three tracks focused on the medical and regulatory aspect of drug information dissemination, drug advertising and promotion, or medication safety.

For more information and opportunities, visit: Regulatory Pharmaceutical Program

Visiting Pediatric Pharmacology Fellows Rotation Program

The Visiting Pediatric Pharmacology Fellows Rotation Program  promotes regulatory opportunities for individuals engaged in clinical pediatric pharmacology training and establish form outreach links to academic training programs.

For more information and opportunities, visit: Visiting Pediatric Pharmacology Fellows Rotation Program

Learn More about Working at CDER and How to Apply for Jobs

Except for the Staff Fellow and the Commissioner's Fellowship, the positions below may be filled as civil service or U.S. Commissioned Corps positions. The list below is not comprehensive.

  • Administrative Support Personnel. Perform program support work for various programs of the agency. Provides support work such as administrative document review and analysis, and assisting with quality assurance and regulatory status of submissions. Assist in the implementation, coordination, management, and completion of special projects or individual assignments as directed. Develops budget, financial, travel, and training plans, oversees procurement and property matters, develops space plans and requests, recommends personnel actions based on analysis of situations reflecting the best interests of employees and advancement of programs. Directs execution of financial plan to facilitate necessary supplies, equipment, repairs, support services, travel, and training necessary to optimize utilization of available resources. GS-5 to GS-13. Suggested search terms and filters at USAJOBS include: CDER (keyword), 0301 (series), administration & program staff (occupational series), FDA (agency).
  • Commissioner's Fellowship. The FDA offers a two-year Commissioner's Fellowship Program, which provides an opportunity for health professionals and scientists to receive training and experience at the FDA. Salaries are extremely competitive, and travel funds are available to attend scientific meetings. The Commissioner's Fellowship Program offers Fellows rigorous coursework and the opportunity to develop and pursue a regulatory science research project. Under the guidance of an FDA senior scientist Preceptor committed to mentoring, Fellows will explore specific aspects of FDA regulatory science. Applicants must generally have a Doctoral level degree (M.D., D.O., D.V.M., D.D.S., D.P.M., Pharm.D., or Ph.D.) to be eligible, although applicants with a Bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline will also be considered. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals of the U.S., or have been admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence before the program start date. Current FDA employees or FDA contractors (such as ORISE fellows) may not apply.
  • Computer Specialists.  Provide ADP infrastructure, application and technology services to CDER in support of automated drug review, administrative, data storage/retrieval and training processes. The following education or experience is highly desired for these positions: 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 sciences, 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. GS-9 to GS-13
  • Consumer Safety Officers (Regulatory Health Project Managers).  Perform management and liaison responsibilities throughout the lifecycle of a product. In addition, they serve as the regulatory expert on the review team, advise team members on regulatory requirements, and coordinate information with pharmaceutical industry officials. Qualifications: a degree or combination of courses in the fields of biological science, chemistry, pharmacy, nursing, 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. GS-5 to GS-13. Suggested search terms and filters at USAJOBS include: consumer safety (keyword), 0696 (series), FDA (agency).
  • Leadership Positions. There are various leadership positions available in almost every category described above in CDER. Most, but not all, require at least a Master’s Degree or higher depending on the discipline necessary for the position. An employee in a leadership position is expected to provide direction, oversight and a forward vision for his particular discipline, and may serve as a Team Leader, Supervisor or Director. GS-14 to GS-15.
  • 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. GS-11 to GS-13
  • 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). GS-14, step 10 to GS-15, step 10. Suggested search terms and filters at USAJOBS include: CDER (keyword), 0602 (series), medical officer (occupational series), FDA (agency).
  • Regulatory Counsel. Work with scientific, medical, and legal staff to develop, interpret, and implement statutes, regulations, policies, and procedures pertaining to the regulation of human drugs. Regulatory counsels work in various offices throughout the Center including the Office of Regulatory Policy (doing policy or disclosure work), the Office of Compliance, and the Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising, and Communications. Regulatory counsels typically have legal training and prior legal/regulatory experience. GS-11 to GS-15
  • Reviewers. Reviewers evaluate data submitted by sponsors of an Investigational New Drug Application and New Drug Applications to support the marketing of a drug. A typical pre-market (prior to FDA approval of a drug) review team consists of the following disciplines:
    • Medical Officer/Physician (see description above)
    • Project Manager/Consumer Safety Officer (see description below)
    • Chemist
    • Toxicologist
    • Statistician
    • Clinical Pharmacologist

    A typical post-market review team consists of the following disciplines:

    • Epidemiologist
    • Risk Management specialist
    • Safety evaluator

    These roles can be filled by individuals with varying backgrounds, including but not limited to Biologists, Chemists, Microbiologists, Pharmacologists, Pharmacokineticists, Toxicologists, Epidemiologists, Nurses, and Pharmacists, among others. These reviewers 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 a relevant scientific discipline with at least two years post-doctorate experience is highly desired, but not required for these positions. GS-12 to GS-13.

  • Staff Fellow. 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 opportunities for promising research/regulatory review scientists to advance and enhance their careers through close associations with leading authorities in health-related research. Fellowships also serve to strengthen the research community by facilitating the 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.

OPM General Schedule (GS) Pay Tables

Title 38

OPM has entered into title 38 delegation agreements with the Department of Defense, Health and Human Services, Justice, and Veterans Affairs for employees covered under 5 U.S.C. § 51 (excluding Senior Executive Service) performing direct patient care services or services incident to direct patient care. (See Title 38 Pay Schedules)

Service Fellows

Pay for employees appointed under 42.U.S.C.§ 209 (g) may be set between the rate for a GS  grade 7, step 1 and grade 15, step 10 of the GS based on locality pay. Base salary may not exceed that of Level IV of the Executive Schedule/P.L 102-394. (See Executive Schedule)

Commissioner’s Fellows

Pay for employees appointed and compensated under 42.U.S.C.§ 209 (f) may be set at the rate for a GS grade 11/step 1, grade 12/step 1, or grade 13/step 1 based on locality pay.

Special Government Employees

Pay for employees appointed as Special Government Employees (SGEs) under 42.U.S.C.§ 209 (f)  and compensated in accordance with 42.U.S.C.§ 210 (c) may be set equivalent to hourly rate of the grade 15 step 10. Locality pay is not included.

Committee Members

Pay for employees appointed under 42.U.S.C.§ 217 (a) and compensated in accordance with 42.U.S.C.§ 210 (c) may be set equivalent to hourly rate of the grade 15 step 10. Locality pay is not included.

Experts and Consultants

Base salary for experts and consultants appointed under 5 U.S.C. § 3109 and compensated in accordance with 5 CFR Part 304 may be set up to the rate for a grade 15, step 10 of the GS. Locality pay is not included. Experts and consultants may be paid on an hourly basis or on a daily basis. Regardless of the pay basis, pay is limited by law to an amount that does not exceed the biweekly rate of pay for GS 15, Step 10.

Volunteer Service

Employees performing volunteer services for health care under 42 U.S.C. § 217 (b) are not entitled to receive compensation for services performed.

  • 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. You can carry over up to 240 hours from one year to the next. Anything over that amount will be lost if it is not used by the end of the calendar 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, a Basic Benefit Plan, and a tax-deferred Thrift Savings Plan. You can invest TSP funds in up to ten different investment funds. There are two types of employee contributions: regular employee contributions and catch-up contributions (for participants age 50 or older). Participants may elect to contribute any dollar amount or percentage of their basic pay up to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Elective Deferral Limit. The Agency will contribute an amount equal to 1% of your basic pay each pay date to your TSP account. Annual catch-up contributions are also limited by the Internal Revenue Code. FERS participants in the TSP receive matching contributions on the first 5% of pay that they contribute each pay period. For details, please visit the Thrift Savings Plan site.
  • The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) site contains detailed information about benefits.

Quality of Worklife

  • Alternative Work Schedules (AWS).  AWS allows employees to work several types of schedules other than the traditional 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week schedule with fixed starting and quitting times. There are two categories of alternative work schedules: flexible work schedules (FWS) and compressed work schedules (CWS). FDA's AWS Master Plan outlines the broadest parameters within which organizations may develop scheduling schemes that best fit that particular organization and the needs of employees. Organizations may set more stringent requirements than allowed in the master plan, i.e., establish local plans, or adopt the FDA AWS Master Plan. Remember, using any of the AWS options is not an entitlement. Supervisors and managers decide when to use the AWS and which scheduling options employees may use.
  • Child Care Tuition Assistance Program.  Tuition assistance is available for employees who meet the total family income criteria and who have a child/children age 13 or under (or, 18 and under, if physically or mentally unable to care for him/herself) in licensed or registered child care.
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP).  The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to assist with concerns that affect the quality of our work and family lives. The FDA has entered into an Inter-Agency Agreement with the Federal Occupational Health EAP Services to provide Employee Assistance services for all FDA employees. The EAP provides valuable assistance, intervention and/or information that can assist you in successfully addressing a job-related or personal problem.
  • Transhare Program. The Transhare incentive program offers transit subsidies to employees who commute to work by public transportation or registered vanpool (vanpools at NCTR or vanpools in FDA Regional/District locations may not be registered with a Transit Authority). Simply complete and submit the application.
  • Flexible Workplace Arrangements Program. The FDA-wide Flexible Workplace Arrangements Program (FWAP) Plan provides the broadest parameters allowed by the Public Health Service. Plans may vary within the various components of FDA. This program applies to work which is performed away from the employee's official duty station on a long-term basis, i.e., more than two consecutive workweeks. It also applies to employees who, due to compelling reasons, need to work at home on special assignment/project on a short-term basis, i.e., two consecutive workweeks or less. Short-term flexible work arrangements may be based on the need to complete special assignments/projects, medical conditions (e.g., illness, injury), etc. Full-time and part-time permanent employees, temporary (appointments at least one year or more) employees,  term employees and PHS Commissioned Corps Officers are covered by this Plan.
  • Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP).  The VLTP gives employees additional flexibility for balancing work and personal needs through greater accessibility to leave. It allows employees who do not have enough leave to cover medical or family emergencies to request donated leave from other Federal employees.

Apply for your Federal Job Online using USAJOBS.

You can search for job openings on USAJOBS using keywords and filters.

If you register with USAJOBS and login, you can also:

  • Save your searches
  • Get customized job alerts
  • Prepare resumes
  • Add a resume to the USAJOBS Resume Mining collection used by federal HR specialists and hiring managers to look for applicants
  • Submit your job applications

Helpful hints about searching for CDER positions on USAJOBS:

  • When searching by keyword, use "CDER" instead of the full name of the Center.
  • If you want a broader search of all FDA openings:
    • On the home page, leave the "Keyword" search blank and click the "Search" button.
    • On the next page, you will see various filters.
    • Use the "Agency" tab and select "Food and Drug Administration."
  • Tips on filtering your results are available on the USAJOBS site.
  • Most CDER employees are stationed at the White Oak campus, which is located in Silver Spring, Maryland, about 13 miles from downtown Washington, D.C.

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