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Hiring a Postdoctoral Fellow



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In 2003, CHOP adopted a formal definition for a postdoctoral fellow:

A Postdoctoral Fellow is an individual with a terminal degree seeking a formal, supervised research training experience and, generally, with less than 5 years of relevant training after the receipt of the terminal degree.

Please take note:

  • Except in rare circumstances, PhD researchers with more than 5 years of postdoctoral experience should NOT be hired as a postdoctoral fellow
  • Postdocs must be transitioned to new roles (e.g., promoted to Research Associate) or terminated after 5 years of fellowship training, unless approved for a limited fellowship extension
  • A postdoc is a limited period of advanced research training; that research training experience includes active participation in career and professional development activities
  • The postdoctoral fellow job title is reserved for doctoral researchers undertaking advanced research training with guidance from a faculty mentor leading to research independence. This job title should not be used for other time-limited, post-graduate research positions (e.g., early-stage clinicians performing research prior to transitioning into residency programs).

For questions on best hiring practices for postdoctoral fellows, please contact the Office of Academic Training and Outreach Programs. ATOP is actively working to expand our support for mentors in this area. We welcome suggestions and feedback.

While our office does NOT handle the postdoc hiring or onboarding processes, there are resources available to support you.

  • To create a job requisition, log into the HR Service Portal on @CHOP and select "Talent Acquisition/Recruiting" from the Service Catalog ; once your requisition is finalized, Human Resources will post your position to CHOP Careers, and other job search engines.
  • Contact the Office of Immigration and Visa Services for immigration - and visa-related questions for international fellows.
  • Mentors can post their position on the Penn Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs website. Click on the Post A Postdoc Position link in the Open Positions section of the webpage. Please note: Mentors must post their position directly as only faculty are granted access to this feature.
  • Send a request to the Academic Training Team to distribute your complete, formatted job ad to local postdoc and grad offices for distribution via relevant E-mail lists.
  • Join our annual Gateway to Pediatric Research Program. All participating faculty are invited to participate in pre-scheduled 1:1 chats with program participants who are or will soon be looking for a postdoctoral fellowship.

For additional guidance related to creating an open requisition, visit the CHOP HR Service Portal (Log in Required).

Academic Training staff is available to meet with postdoc candidates during their interview to discuss:

  • The perks of performing a fellowship at Children's Hospital
  • Postdoc-led community groups, including the CHOP Postdoc Alliance (CPA) and Postdocs for Diversity in Science (PDS), among others
  • Professional development resources, including short courses and tuition support
  • Career exploration and secondary mentorship programs designed specifically for our postdocs
  • The postdoc annual review process
  • How the CHOP-Penn relationship benefits postdocs
  • Other questions related to fellowships, employee benefits, and the Philadelphia area

To request this support, email Olivia Chesniak at or

All postdoctoral fellow candidates (including T or F-32 training grant supported) must meet the criteria described on this page

  • Initial postdoctoral appointments at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia are for 1 to 3 years as determined by the faculty mentor. The maximum total term for a postdoctoral fellow is five years.
  • Postdoctoral fellows who will be hired as new CHOP employees (i.e., non-training grant supported) are processed through Research Human Resources. For additional guidance, contact the Lead Talent Strategist.
  • Training Grant (T or F-32 supported) postdoctoral fellow appointments are processed through Research Business Management. For additional guidance, contact your Research Business Manager
  • International postdoctoral fellows who need assistance with any immigration questions should contact the Office of Immigration and Visa Services.

Salaries for new postdoctoral fellow hires are to be in alignment with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) pay scale for the current year. Use relevant and applicable professional experience as a guide to determine starting salary level.

All existing postdoctoral fellows advance to the next NIH stipend/salary level upon completion of their annual evaluation (e.g., NIH level 0 to NIH level 1) and if their faculty mentor recommends the postdoc for promotion to the next fellowship level.  A response of "yes" to the question, "Do you agree to increase your postdoctoral fellow's salary/stipend to the next NRSA stipend level according to his or her years of experience (as dictated by CHOP's Postdoctoral Fellows Policy)?" means automatic renewal of the appointment and step up to the next NIH stipend level. 

NIH Postdoctoral Stipend Levels - UPDATED May 13, 2022

Please Note:

The NIH pay scale serves as the minimum salary required for fellows; postdocs may be hired at higher salaries to ensure the offer is competitive with other institutions
It is strongly recommended that fellows are paid according to their total years of postdoc experience, including fellowships at other institutions.

Please contact us if you need assistance evaluating the appropriate salary level for your incoming fellow (e.g., if the fellow applicable professional experience that is not typical of most postdocs).