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Frequently Asked Questions

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Click on the following questions to reveal their answers:


Q. How do students find out about opportunities?
A. Students can go to the USAJOBS website:
Q. What is the status of my application?
A. Once you complete and submit your application, it is placed into a database for review and consideration as positions become available. As positions become available, your application will be reviewed to determine if you are eligible and qualified for positions in which you have expressed
Q: What are the eligibility requirements for the Recent Graduates Program?
A: You must be within 2 years* of completion of program requirements for an Associates, Bachelors, Masters, Professional, Doctoral, or technical vocational degree or certificate from an accredited educational institution; be a US citizen or permanent resident; and meet qualification standards for the position.

* Veterans are granted exclusion for their time served. Therefore, if a Veteran graduates and then serves four years, his/her service time is subtracted for the purposes of the two-year calculation.

Q: What are the eligibility requirements for the Internship Program?
A: You must be currently enrolled or accepted for enrollment as at least a half-time student at an accredited educational institution in a certificate, degree, or diploma program; be a US citizen or permanent resident; and meet qualification standards for the position.
Q: Must students be U.S. citizens at the time they are appointed?
A: There is no overarching requirement that applicants applying for positions in the excepted service be U.S. citizens. However, the student must have been lawfully admitted to the United States as a permanent resident or otherwise authorized to be employed. Note: some agencies are precluded from hiring non-citizens by a ban in their appropriations act. Agencies should check with their financial officer or general counsel's office when considering a student who is a non-citizen. Students may not be converted to career-conditional employment in the competitive service unless they are citizens at the time of conversion. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen for positions that require security clearances.

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Q. How long does it take to get an Internship with HHS?
A. The amount of time to obtain an Internship with HHS varies. The length is dependent upon whether or not a position is available. Once positions become available, Human Resources staff works diligently with hiring managers to ensure that the positions are filled as soon as possible.
Q. Can I receive transcript notation?
A. Yes, if your school has a formal process established to provide you with transcript notation. Prior to accepting an Internship position with the Department, provide your school requirements to your supervisor prior to beginning your position so that they are aware of the documents they must complete.
Q. Can a student remain in the Internship Program once they have completed their educational requirements?
A. Students appointed under the Internship Program who have met all requirements of the program and have satisfactorily completed the requirements for their diploma/certificate/degree may no longer remain in the program as they are no longer a student and no longer meet the eligibility for the program.
Q. Can Students Be Promoted?
A. Yes. Students in both programs are eligible for promotion. However, the NOAC (Nature of Action Code) for students in the Student Temporary Employment Program is actually a conversion to a new appointment (at the higher grade level) while keeping the current NTE date. Even though the actual nature of action is a conversion to a new appointment, a GS employee is entitled to an increase in pay of at least two steps (about 6 percent) upon placement in a higher graded position without a break in service. A WG employee is entitled to an increase in pay of at least one step (about 4 per cent).
Q: Are Interns/Recent Graduates and PMFs eligible for annual and sick leave?
A: Yes, employees hired under the Pathways Programs on an appointment for 90 days or more are eligible to earn annual and sick leave. Per 5 USC 6303(b) employees whose appointment is limited to less than 90 days may be eligible for annual leave if they have previously served for a continuous period of 90 days under successive appointments.

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Q: Are Pathways Interns, Recent Graduates and PMFs eligible for health and life insurance benefits?
A: Health and life insurance coverage for Federal employees depends on the type of appointment an employee has and the expectation of substantial employment during the year. Students hired under the Internship Program on a temporary appointment are generally not entitled to these benefits. However, once they have been continuously employed for over a year without a break in service exceeding 5 days, they may enroll in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, but they would have to pay 100 percent of the premium (i.e., both the employee and government share). There is no provision for temporary employees to be eligible for life insurance coverage.

Students hired under an Internship/Recent Graduate or PMF appointment for a period expected to last longer than 1 year are eligible for health and life insurance coverage as long as they are expected to be employed under this appointment authority for over one year and are expected to be in a pay status for at least one-third of the total period of time from the date of their initial appointment to the date of the completion of the program. Cost of premiums is split between the employee and the agency, as for all permanent employees. (See 5 CFR § 870.202 for life insurance and 5 CFR § 890.102 for health benefits.)

Q: Are Pathways employees eligible for retirement benefits?
A: Students hired under the Internship Program are generally ineligible for retirement coverage. See 5 CFR § 831.201, 842.105, 213.3202(a)(13)(i). Recent Graduates and PMFs are eligible for retirement benefits if their appointment is for more than one year.
Q: Does a student's work experience, while on the Internship temporary appointment, count towards the required 640 hours necessary for noncompetitive conversion to career-conditional employment?
A: Yes.
Q: Does the time spent on a temporary NTE Intern appointment count towards career tenure? Time-in-grade?
A: Yes. Time spent serving as a Pathways Program participant counts towards career tenure when the individual is noncompetitively converted to a permanent position in the competitive service upon completion of the Program. In addition, time spent on a student temporary appointment is creditable towards any time in grade calculation.

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