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Frequently Asked Questions

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Click on the following questions to reveal their answers:

How do students find out about opportunities?

Students can go to the USAJOBS website: http://www.usajobs.gov/StudentsAndGrads

What is the status of my application?

If you applied for a Pathways position at HHS via the www.usajobs.gov website, you can check the status of the position you applied for under the My Account/Application Status tab in your USAJOBS profile.

What are the eligibility requirements for the Recent Graduates Program?

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 U.S. 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 4 years,  service time is subtracted for the purposes of the 2-year calculation.

What are the eligibility requirements for the Internship Program?

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 U.S. citizen or permanent resident; and meet qualification standards for the position.

Must students be U.S. citizens at the time they are appointed?

Not all positions require the applicant to be U.S. citizens, but all must be legally authorized to be employed.

How long does it take to get an Internship with HHS?

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.

Can I receive transcript notation?

Yes, you can 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.

Can a student remain in the Internship Program once they have completed their educational requirements?

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.

Can students be promoted?

Yes. Students in both programs are eligible for promotion, which will be processed as a new appointment. The increase in pay will vary based on whether the employee is under the GS or WG system. An Intern NTE is similar to a temporary employee and is not eligible for a promotion.

Are Interns/Recent Graduates and PMFs eligible for annual and sick leave?

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.

Are Pathways employees eligible for retirement benefits?

Students hired without a Not-to-Exceed (NTE) date under the Internship Program are 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 1 year.

Does the Pathways internship count towards the 640 hours required for noncompetitive conversion to career-conditional employment?

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.

Does the time spent on a temporary NTE Intern appointment count towards career tenure? Time-in-grade?

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.

When applying for positions at HHS via the USAJOBS website, I see that some positions specify Status Candidates or US Citizens in the Who May Apply section- what is the difference between the two?

Status Candidates are typically individuals who are currently employed by the Federal Government who have time-in-grade at their current GS-level within their occupation. Status Candidates can also be individuals who were formerly employed by the Federal Government and obtained career status (3 years of continuous employment with no breaks in service).

What is the Commissioned Corps and what kinds of jobs do they have?

The Commissioned Corps (offically referred to as the United States Public Health Service or USPHS Commissioned Corps) is a diverse team of more than 6,500 highly qualified, public health professionals. Driven by a passion to serve the underserved, these men and women fill essential public health leadership and clinical service roles within the  Federal Government and especially at HHS. 

What is Schedule A, and how is it used to hire people?

One of the authorities under Schedule A hiring is often used for the appointment of individuals with intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities, or psychiatric disabilities [Schedule A, 5 CFR 213.3102(u)]. As there are two types of hiring processes in the Federal Government (non-competitive and competitive), in the non-competitive hiring process, an agency can use this Schedule A authority to hire persons with disabilities without requiring them to compete for the job.

What is Veteran's Preference, and how is it used to hire people?

Veterans' preference applies, to virtually all new appointments in both the competitive and excepted service. Veterans' preference does not guarantee veterans a job and it does not apply to internal agency actions such as promotions, transfers, etc. In accordance with title 5, United States Code, Section 2108 ( 5 USC 2108) , Veterans' preference eligibility is based on dates of active duty service, receipt of a campaign badge, Purple Heart, or a service-connected disability. 

Are military spouses eligible to receive Veteran's Preference?

Military Spouse Appointing Authority (Executive Order 13473) allows agencies to appoint a military spouse without competition. As a military spouse you are eligible under this authority if your active duty military spouse: 1) receives a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move; 2) has a 100% disability rating; or 3) died while on active duty. Each of these categories has different eligibility criteria that must be met.


Are Pathways participants eligible for transportation subsidy benefits?

Yes. Pathways participants (Internship, Recent Graduates and PMFs) are eligible for transportation subsidy with the exception of appointments less than 90 days (i.e. summer hires).

Is U.S. citizenship required for non-competitive conversion to a permanent position upon completion of educational and internship program requirements? 

Yes. A Pathways Intern, Recent Graduate, or Fellow must possess full U.S. citizenship by the end of the Program to be eligible for consideration for permanent Federal employment in the competitive service.

What GPA should we use to retain students in the Internship Program?

Interns are required to hold a minimum 2.0 GPA to maintain in the Pathways Programs; however, it is to the discretion of the hiring agency to establish higher GPAs based on occupational fields.

Must applicants have already completed their educational degree requirements to be eligible to apply to the Recent Graduates Program?

No. Students who have not completed their educational degree requirements may apply and be considered for a Recent Graduates job in the weeks/months prior to the job being filled. These individuals must, however, meet the definition of a Recent Graduate in 5 CFR part 362.302 in order to be appointed as a Recent Graduate under the Pathways Program.

What constitutes a valid certificate program for purposes of eligibility under the Pathways Programs?

The Pathways Programs regulation (see 5 CFR 362.103) defines certificate program as “post-secondary education, in a qualifying educational institution, equivalent to at least one academic year of full-time study that is part of an accredited college-level, technical, trade, vocational, or business school curriculum.”

Content created by Office of Human Resources (OHR)
Content last reviewed on July 29, 2015