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HR Specialist Training and Accelerated Readiness (HR-STAR)

HR STAR is a one-year training program for recent graduates, including those in human resources. Get started on a path to a VA career by applying to one of 2 career tracks:

  • Recruitment, Placement, and Compensation (RPC)
  • Employee labor relations and performance management (ELP)

You’ll receive a paid salary, benefits, and a training/travel stipend as you apply your new skills to supporting our team.

How to find jobs and apply

Recruitment for HR STAR starts in July and continues through June. Individuals are selected on an ongoing basis throughout the year and start the program approximately 2 months after selection.

HR STAR opportunities are posted at various times for each career track. Search by keywords HR STAR or Pathways Recent Graduate, and review specific job postings and instructions on how to apply online for individual positions.

Selection of trainees follows the federal government’s OPM hiring standards. Applicants will be hired at the GS-7 level; salary tables are available on the OPM website. Beginning grades vary across the country and are typically dependent on education level and experience within the field of interest. Each Trainee position requires employment for one year at the hiring grade level before being promoted, even if the individual meets qualifications/Time in Grade (TIG) requirements for a higher grade prior to reaching one year.

Trainees may be placed non-competitively up to the appropriate target level position once the training is successfully completed, and job qualifications at the higher-grade level are fully achieved. Promotions and permanent placement are not entitlements and are dependent on trainee conduct and performance. A final placement grade depends on the hiring grade, TIG restrictions, and trainee performance.

Email for more information.

Program details

As part of this virtual program, you’ll receive training to prepare you to work at VA as an HR specialist. You’ll be paired with a preceptor who is dedicated to monitoring, mentoring, and supporting your success as you navigate through the program.

You’ll progress from foundational to intermediate training, applying your new skills first in a scenario-based training environment and then, with your preceptor’s oversight and supervision, to live assignments.

Career fields tracks begin at 4-week intervals throughout the year.


After completing HR-STAR, HR specialists should be competent in the following areas:

RPC track:

  • Applies HR concepts, principles, and practices related to identifying, altering, and selecting individuals and placing them into positions to address changing organizational needs
  • Applies pay administration concepts, principles, and practices relating to pay setting, pay schedules, pay determinations, and other pay administration regulations
  • Articulates and explains job classification guidance during consultative discussions with their leadership team and customers
  • Identifies and researches potential staffing, pay, or classification oversights and proactively researches resolutions

ELP track:

  • Applies HR concepts, principles, and practices related to advising supervisors and management officials on taking appropriate actions to correct employee misconduct and performance deficiencies
  • Applies HR concepts, principles, and practices to effectuate a successful labor-management relations program
  • Applies HR concepts, principles, and practices to effectuate a successful leave program

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