Veteran employment

Veterans talk in museum at USPTO

We are strongly committed to hiring our nation’s veterans and aim to be the employer of choice for veterans.


Our veteran employees have a proven track record of success after transitioning from the military into federal service. Veterans contribute to our mission in the areas of science and engineering, information technology, contracts, procurement, finance, administration, project and program management and customer support.

Most positions within the USPTO are in the competitive service, and may be applied for under currently open vacancy announcements that are listed on the USAJOBS website. However, depending on dates of service and other factors, veterans may be eligible to apply for positions listed as being open to status candidates or current federal employees, and eligible individuals under the Veteran Opportunity Employment Act (VEOA) , in addition to those open to the public or all U. S. citizens.

Questions along the way? Email us.

Documentation for veteran preference or appointment eligibility

When applying for jobs, you must provide a DD-214, Member-4 copy reflecting that you have been discharged or released from active duty in the Armed Forces under honorable conditions (5-point veteran preference). Additionally, applicants requesting 10-point veteran preference (veterans with service-connected disability rating) must submit an SF-15 and a copy of your Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) letter certifying the percentage of the service-connected disability.

Special hiring authorities for veterans

We use special hiring authorities to appoint veterans when the following conditions are met:

VEOA - Veterans Employment Opportunity Act of 1998, as amended (VEOA) is an appointing authority that can be used when filling permanent positions. It allows veterans to apply to announcements that are open to individuals outside of USPTO only if they are "status" candidates, which normally means "current or former permanent federal employees."

To be eligible for a VEOA appointment:

  1. Your latest discharge must be issued under honorable conditions (this means an honorable or general discharge), and
  2. You must be either:
    1. A preference eligible; or
    2. A veteran who substantially completed 3 or more years of active service.

VRA - Veterans' Recruitment Appointment (VRA) is an authority that allows agencies to appoint eligible veterans without competition.

You are VRA eligible if you are:

  • In receipt of a campaign badge for service during a war or in a campaign or expedition; or
  • A disabled veteran, or
  • In receipt of an Armed forces Service Medal for participation in a military operation, or
  • A recently separated veteran (within the last 3 years), and separated under honorable conditions (this means an honorable or general discharge).

You can be appointed under this authority on a temporary, term, or permanent basis at any grade level up to and including a GS-11, and the position may have further promotion potential.

  • In receipt of a campaign badge for service during a war or in a campaign or expedition;
    or
  • A disabled veteran, or
  • In receipt of an Armed forces Service Medal for participation in a military operation, or
  • A recently separated veteran (within the last 3 years), and separated under honorable conditions (this means an honorable or general discharge).

30% or more disabled veteran - This authority allows agencies to appoint eligible veterans on a temporary or term basis and to convert them to a permanent appointment without competition.

You are eligible if you:

  • Retired from active military service with a service-connected disability rating of 30% or more; or
  • You have a rating by the Department of Veterans Affairs showing a compensable service-connected disability of 30% or more.

Military spouse - The military spouse authority allows agencies to appoint a military spouse without competition. We do not require a vacancy announcement when using this authority. Agencies can choose to use this authority when filling positions on a temporary (not to exceed 1 year), term (more than 1 year but not more than 4 years), or permanent basis.

As a military spouse you are eligible under this authority if your active duty military spouse:

  • Receives a mandatory Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move within the last two years; or
  • Has a 100% disability rating; or
  • Died while on active duty.

Schedule A Appointing Authority

Though not specifically for veterans, the Schedule A authority for people with disabilities, 5 CFR 213.3102(u), is an excepted authority that agencies can use to appoint eligible veterans who have a severe physical, psychological, or intellectual disability.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Show proof of your disability. Documentation may be from any licensed medical professional (e.g., a physician or other medical professional certified by a State, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. Territory to practice medicine), a licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist (i.e., State or private), or any Federal or State agency, or agency of the District of Columbia or a U.S. territory that issues or provides disability benefits.
  • This authority may be used at the discretion of the agency.  Candidates can be appointed at any grade level and for any job (time-limited or permanent) for which they qualify.  After 2 years of satisfactory service, the agency may convert you, without competition, to the competitive service.
  • There is no limit to the number of times you can apply under this authority.

More information can be found on the Feds Hire Vets special hiring authorities for veterans page or OPM’s Veterans Services VET GUIDE.

USPTO veteran programs

The USPTO has a Veteran Hiring Program (VHP) managed by Veteran Employment Program Coordinators.  The VHP is designed to utilize veteran hiring authorities in order to efficiently hire qualified veterans non-competitively:

  • Veterans' Recruitment Appointment (VRA)
  • 30% or More Disabled Veteran
  • Military spouse
  • Schedule A

In addition to the Veteran Hiring Program the USPTO offers the following opportunity:

Operation Warfighter Program (OWF)

The USPTO proudly takes part in the Operation Warfighter (OWF) program. OWF is a federal internship program developed by the Department of Defense for active duty service members who are recovering at military treatment facilities and seeking to transition back to the military or civilian workplace. The program is open to the Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserve components and designed to provide training that will help the recovering service personnel find employment after discharge. OWF is a great opportunity for service members on medical hold to build their resumes, explore employment interests, develop job skills, and gain valuable federal government work experience that will help prepare them for their adjustment to the workplace.

Program Eligibility

  • U. S. citizen on active duty in the military placed on medical hold
  • Approval from medical authority and command to participate

Program Elements

  • 3 –12 month initial appointments
  • You will be placed in a business area based on your skills, expertise and interest
  • Part time 20 hours per week, average. Your daily schedule will be planned around your treatment schedule
  • USPTO manager interviews and makes selection
  • You may receive training to improve your existing skills or learn new skills
  • You are paid by your respective military branch of the service

While there is no guarantee of employment following the completion of an OWF assignment, service members released from medical hold status are considered potential candidates for full time employment with USPTO, pending separation from the military.

For more information on our veteran programs, please email us.

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