16 Pros and Cons Working at the VA Hospital

The Veterans Health Administration is the largest healthcare system in the United States, and it can be a rewarding path for many.

Those looking to help aid American veterans after serving can help by working in a VA hospital.

These hospitals are often understaffed and offer plenty of room for growth.

That being said, the job isn’t for everyone, and if you’re thinking of applying, you might want to consider these pros and cons.

Pros of Working for the VA Hospital

Working alongside veterans can be endearing and help show your support for the country.

However, there are plenty of reasons to apply.

VA hospitals often provide excellent benefits and pay, and have a wide variety of positions.

Before you apply, you might want to consider some of these benefits.

#1: Reasonable Time Off

Many career paths often lead to working long hours with a lack of work-life balance.

When working at a VA hospital, staff are encouraged to have reasonable time off.

This includes 13-26 days of annual paid leave, 13 sick days, 11 paid federal holidays, 12 weeks of paid parental leave, and 15 days of leave for reservists and National Guard members.

#2: Extremely Flexible

Working for a VA hospital doesn’t mean that you’ll be subjected to one schedule.

There are many positions to fill, and careers can range from in-person, regular 9 to 5, and work-from-home options.

Not only that, but many locations only require one license and can transfer you to anywhere else in the United States or an associated medical facility.

This leaves a lot of room for exploration and growth.

#3: Competitive Pay

VA medical employees often average a salary of $74,748 a year.

Of course, this is highly dependent upon which role you apply for.

However, all positions offer competitive pay and excellent incentives.

This can include sign-on bonuses or high starting salaries that lead to steady growth.

There are also relocation assistance and retention allowances.

Employees will also get regular performance-based pay increases, which is always a bonus. 

#4: Good Insurance Plans

VA hospitals provide workers with VA insurance.

This provides comprehensive federal health insurance that can cover a big premium.

Employees will also be provided with different health plans to choose from, which include vision and dental plans.

Workers will also gain access to medical malpractice insurance if applicable.

#5: Education Assistance

The VA provides employees with educational advancement opportunities.

Those who qualify can use scholarships, and apply to tuition reimbursement programs, and some loan forgiveness programs.

This can be very beneficial for those wanting to further their education without dealing with extra loans.

Plus, the advancements in careers can lead to better-paying positions within the company. 

#6: Sense of Purpose

Those working at the VA hospital will be working alongside others who are passionate about assisting veterans.

It’s not always about the benefits or what you do at the job.

Workers have stated that they feel a sense of purpose, support, and compassion meeting and supporting our country’s veterans.

#7: Career Advancement

Those looking to further their career can also look forward to career advancement opportunities.

The VA offers a wide variety of career advancement opportunities, especially for medical personnel.

Nurses and medical assistants can apply for financial programs and even get accepted into a good training program.

Those working at the VA hospital will also get excellent referrals.

#8: Consistent Work

No matter where you are in the country, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for work.

Since the work week is often consistent, those employed will not need to worry about scheduling or making full-time hours.

There is also overtime pay and bonuses given for good performance.

Those who need to move can also rest assured, as they can still transfer to a different facility and keep their hours.

Cons of Working for the VA Hospital

Now that we’ve covered the pros of working for the VA hospital, we’ll now get into the cons.

The VA hospital isn’t for everyone, and we always urge those to carefully consider the cons.

Below, we’ll give a quick rundown of things to keep in mind before applying.

#1: Stressful

While you will get to work alongside some of the most amazing veterans, the job can be very stressful and heartbreaking.

Many of the people you serve will have health issues or even troubles during their time in the forces.

If you’re able to be empathetic and patient, then you will likely excel in this role.

However, if you can’t handle stress, fast-paced work environments, and long hours, then it may not be for you.

#2: Troubled Patients

Aside from physical health, some patients who come in will not be mentally well.

This can be alarming for those who haven’t worked with this population before.

As a VA employee, you will have to deal with all veterans without bias.

This may not work for some, as some veterans have gone through a lot and will need employees who can handle tense situations.

#3: Tough Leadership

Many of the higher-ups in the organization have been there for years and have earned their position by moving up the ranks.

It’s difficult if you’re not good at taking orders from management.

Of course, this can range from location to location and even the people you work for.

However, staff should focus on working with tough management that may require lots of work.

The VA hospital prides itself on giving the best care to veterans in the United States.

Employees will need to adhere to everything their management says without fail.

#4: Culture

The work culture is very different from that of a general hospital.

In fact, many of the people working there will have loved ones who have served in the military or armed forces.

There are also many people who transition from the military into these roles.

If you’re not used to being around military people, then it can be a slight culture shock.

Many of these people are very good at what they do but can come off as tense or stern.

#5: Limited Promotions

Since many people have stayed with the VA hospital for years, there isn’t much room for advancement.

Of course, you’ll still be able to further your education.

However, there hasn’t been much growth in these facilities.

Depending on your career, you might have room to get a promotion from time to time.

However, some people can work for the VA hospital and never be given a promotion to a higher position.

#6: Boring

Some have noted that the work is very repetitive and isn’t always fun to do.

While you will get to meet many different people, most of the time, you will just be doing a checklist.

This can be very boring if you want more going on in your job.

However, many people do enjoy the fact that they can work with a wide variety of people.

#7: Politics

Sometimes politics can get iffy because this is a government-run establishment.

If you’re not big into politics or stray away from them, then this might not be the best place for you.

Those who have worked here have said that politics often play a big role in their day-to-day life, especially with higher-ups.

This can be very irritating, especially if you prefer to be neutral or have very strong political views.

#8: Long Interview Process

Getting into the position is great, but the process can take a long time.

Unlike other facilities, you will be faced with having to wait for approvals and multiple interviews.

The interviews may also take time because there are many candidates applying for the job, as it is a competitive place.

That being said, once you get through the interview process, you will get a number of benefits that you wouldn’t see anywhere else.

14 Pros and Cons of Working for a VA Hospital – Summary Table

Pros of Working for the VA HospitalCons of Working for the VA Hospital
Reasonable Time OffStressful
Extremely FlexibleTroubled Patients
Competitive PayTough Leadership
Good Insurance PlansCulture
Education AssistanceLimited Promotions
Sense of PurposeBoring
Career AdvancementPolitics
Consistent WorkLong Interview Process

Should You Work for the VA Hospital?

That leaves us with the question, should you work for the VA hospital?

The truth is, it’s not for everyone.

While it can be a very rewarding feeling to work alongside veterans, it’s a difficult job.

Often, patients require intensive care that can range from physical to mental health issues.

If you’re not familiar with military backgrounds or families, then connecting with patients can be difficult.

That being said, it’s truly rewarding, and there are many ways to advance.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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