How to apply to HHS as a student

Whether you are on a career path or in the process of determining which career you would like to pursue, HHS has numerous opportunities for students of all academic disciplines and levels. Many of these opportunities provide invaluable experiences and potentially offers three “paths” to student employment.

  • If you are a student or a recent college graduate, and are looking for rewarding work experience to supplement your education, then the Pathways Program is just for you. 

    The program affords developmental experiences in the federal government intended to promote possible careers in the civil service. To be eligible, you must apply within two years of completing your degree or certificate. Veterans who, due to military service, were unable to apply for positions, will have up to two years from their release or discharge from active duty, not to exceed six years after degree and/or certificate completion. Successful applicants will be placed in a one-year career development program.

    If you have an Associate's degree or equivalent, you will generally be considered at the GS-4 level, with a Bachelor's degree at the Grade 5 (GS-7 with superior academic achievement), with a Master's degree at the GS-9, and a PhD at the GS-11. See the Qualifying Education or Training table for details.

    You can qualify for a large number of administrative jobs with a degree in any academic major. To help you choose the right career field, the Office of Personnel Management has prepared a table that groups Federal jobs that are often filled by college graduates with appropriate academic majors. See Federal Jobs by College Major table for details.

    Internship Program

    The Internship Program is for high school and college students in search of an internship or other opportunity to gain work experience while in school. The program is designed to provide students who are enrolled in a wide variety of educational institutions, from high school to graduate level, with paid opportunities to work in agencies and explore federal careers while still in school. Students who successfully complete the program may be eligible for conversion to a permanent job in the civil service. Explore available internship opportunities. 

    Student Summer Employment – Pathways Interns

    The Student Summer Employment provides training and work experience for individuals during summer months. The work ranges from office support trades to positions in professional fields.


    Students must meet the following eligibility requirements to participate in the Student Summer Employment:

    Enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a diploma, certificate, or degree-seeking student. Verification showing enrollment status is required from the school.

    Meet the minimum age required by federal, state, or local laws and standards governing the employment of minors.

    Taking or scheduled to take a course load at least half-time in an accredited high school, technical, or vocational school, 2-year or 4-year college or university, graduate, or professional school.

    Pay and Benefits

    Students in the Pathways receive a competitive salary but are not eligible for federal benefits.

    How to Apply

    Student summer employment opportunities are announced January through March of each year. Explore the opportunities on the job search page. 

    Required Documentation

    You must include the following documentation with your application, otherwise you may be disqualified during the application process:

    Recent Graduate Program

    If you recently graduated from a qualifying educational institution or program, then explore the many opportunities available under the Pathways Recent Graduates Program (RGP). Qualifying educational institutions include accredited high school, college (including 4-year colleges/universities, community colleges, and junior colleges); professional, technical, vocational, and trade school; advanced degree programs; or other qualifying educational institution pursuing a qualifying degree or certificate.

    The RGP offers developmental experiences in the federal government in an effort to promote possible careers in civil service. To be eligible, applicants must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion. However, veterans precluded from doing so due to their military service obligation have up to six years after degree completion to apply. Additional information about the Recent Graduates Program can be found at USA Jobs

    Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF)

    If you complete your Master’s, law, or doctoral-level degree during this academic year, we invite you to explore a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity through the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program. The PMF Program is a two-year, paid program designed to develop future leaders committed to excellence in the leadership and management of public policies and programs. The program is highly competitive and candidates must be nominated by their graduate program’s dean, director, or chair. Upon successful completion of the program, fellows may be eligible for permanent placement within a federal agency. Find more information on the PMF Program.

  • The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program offers students work experience in various occupations during the academic year and/or summer months. The program exposes students to a wide range of opportunities, including public health careers. Students may also be allowed to earn academic credit for their work assignments (at the school’s discretion).


    To be eligible for the work study program, students must be enrolled in an accredited college and must have received the federally-sponsored college work-study award through their academic institution. The academic institution determines the students’ eligibility and the conditions of their employment.

    Applicants may need to pass a background investigation by the agency’s security office.  Applicants NOT born U.S. Citizens, or who later became citizens, must provide proof of U.S. citizenship. Applicants must provide a copy of their Naturalization Certificate, passport, visa, or green card/permanent resident card. Applicants born abroad as U.S. Citizens (military-related) must provide a copy of their birth certificate. International students attending accredited schools in the U.S. are eligible to participate with valid proof of Lawful Permanent Residency (LPR) status, or a student visa approved by the school.

    Pay and Benefits 

    Students receive an hourly wage paid by their academic institution, and HHS reimburses the academic institution for our portion of the students’ earnings. The academic institution determines the students’ pay rate, and students are not eligible for federal benefits.

    How to Apply

    Students should contact their respective FWS Coordinator to determine if your academic institution is an educational partner with agencies within HHS. If your academic institution is a partner, your FWS Coordinator will provide information on available work-study opportunities.

    If your academic institution is not currently a partner, please ask your FWS Coordinator to contact the FWS Program Manager and provide their name and contact information (school name, title, email address, and phone number) to the HR Customer Service Center.

  • The Student Volunteer Program provides for a supervised, structured educational program that integrates classroom learning with productive work experience in a field related to the student’s academic majors or career goals. This non-paid internship program allows students to gain first-hand knowledge and experience of theories taught in the classroom.


    The student must meet the following requirements:

    • Be a U.S. citizen;

    • Be at least 16 years of age;

    • Be enrolled at least half-time in a high school, vocational technical school, an accredited educational institution of higher learning (college/university), or a certificate program.

    How to Apply

    If you are a student who is interested in becoming a student volunteer with HHS, please contact the individual agencies or departments you want to volunteer with. You should also visit your school’s guidance office, career counseling, placement, or internship office for further information.

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