How to apply to HHS as a student

Exploring Careers at HHS Webinar

Interested in starting a career with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2024? Join our Exploring Careers at HHS Webinar on Wednesday, March 20, from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. ET for best practices on navigating the federal application process.

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.

The Internship Program is for high school, vocational, technical, undergraduate and graduate students in search of an internship or other opportunity to gain work experience while in school.

Come to work at HHS and be #PartOfSomethingBigger. View open positions

Eligibility

Our Internship program is designed to give current students the opportunity to join HHS and gain a valuable experience while preparing for a career with us.

  • Must be a U.S. citizen, national or legal permanent resident. Non-citizens may apply. (Must be U.S. citizen prior to conversion to competitive appointment)
  • Must be at least 16 years of age by the closing date of the announcement
  • An individual who has been accepted for enrollment; or who is enrolled and seeking a degree (diploma, certificate, etc.) in a qualifying educational institution on a full or half-time basis (as defined by the educational institution in which the student is enrolled), including awardees of the Harry S. Truman Foundation Scholarship Program under Public Law 93- 842. Students do not need to be in actual physical attendance in school (i.e., virtual learning), as long as all other requirements are met. A student who needs to complete less than the equivalent of half an academic, vocational, or technical course-load immediately prior to graduating is still considered a student for purposes of the Internship Program.
Qualification Requirements
GRADE LEVEL OF EDUCATION
GS-1 Enrollment in a high school diploma or General Education Diploma (GED) program.
GS-2 Completion of high school or GED diploma.
GS-3 Completion of 1 full academic year of post-high school study.
GS-4 Completion of 2 full academic years of post-high school study or an associate's degree.
GS-5 Completion of 4 academic years of post-high school leading to a bachelor's degree or equivalent degree.
GS-7 Completion of 1 full academic year of graduate level education; or Eligibility under the Superior Academic Achievement Provision and completion of a bachelor's degree.
GS-9 Completion of 2 academic years of graduate level education, or a master's degree or equivalent graduate degree.
GS-11 For research positions, completion of all requirements for a master's or equivalent graduate degree. For non-research positions, completion of all requirements for a PhD or equivalent degree.

One full academic year of undergraduate; graduate; vocational; trades; technical or high school education is the number of credit hours determined by the college, university or school to represent 1 year of full-time study. The high school curriculum must be approved by a State or local governing body. All education beyond high school must be accredited by an accrediting body or organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Training and Development

  • Pathways Programs Orientation
  • Mentorship throughout the program
  • Individual Development Plan to create and track career planning, professional development, and training activities
  • Up to 40 hours of formal, interactive training available each year
  • Possible rotational assignments (1-6 months)

    Interns in this program are appointed to non-temporary, excepted service appointments, expected to last the length of the academic program for which the intern is enrolled. IIP participants, while in the program, are eligible for noncompetitive promotions if they meet the developed qualification standards for the position. IIP interns are also eligible for federal employee benefits (e.g. life, health, and retirement). IIP participants are eligible for noncompetitive conversions to the competitive service within 120 days of program completion.

    The temporary nature of the ITP allows for interns to work during seasonal and holiday breaks in academic programs as well as year-round. Interns in this program are appointed to temporary appointments, not to exceed one year or their projected graduation date (whichever is shorter) and extensions may be made in one year increments. The positions to which the interns are appointed have no promotion potential, therefore, students must apply through USAJOBS to be considered for higher-graded positions. ITP participants who are expected to work 130 hours per month or more for at least 90 days will be eligible to enroll in a health benefits plan. ITP participants are not eligible for any other benefits until after conversion into the competitive service. ITP participants are eligible for noncompetitive conversions to the competitive service within 120 days of completion of the Pathways Program.

    1. Once an announcement is posted on www.usajobs.gov, complete applications (to include all required documents) must be submitted electronically.
    2. Candidates have until 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time on the closing date of the announcement to complete the application process. This includes submitting the online application as well as any required documents as defined in the Required Documents section in the listed announcement. Candidates are encouraged to complete their applications the day the announcement opens to ensure they receive consideration. Should candidates be missing any of the required documents or submit their application late, they will be disqualified for consideration of employment.
    3. Due to the volume of applications for the HHS’s Pathways programs, there is typically a maximum number of applications for each vacancy announcement. The vacancy will close on the closing date listed in the announcement or on midnight the day that the maximum number of applications are received. The vacancy will close when the first of these conditions are met. If the application limit is reached on the same day the announcement opened, the open and close date will be the same.

    Required Documents

    All required documents listed below, that are applicable to you, must be submitted on USA Jobs by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of the announcement. The following documents must be submitted for your application package to be considered complete. It is your responsibility to ensure all required documents are received within the required time frames. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, illegible fax transmissions, delays in the mail service, system failure or downtime, etc. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration.

    1. Resume that includes the following information:
      • contact information;
      • completed course work (unit/credit hours);
      • academic standing/GPA;
      • work/volunteer experience including the work schedule and hours worked per week as well as dates of employment; and title, series, and grade, if applicable;
      • supervisor’s name, phone number and email address for each work period listed and whether or not we may contact them for reference checks; and references.
    2. Current Unofficial Transcripts: an unofficial copy is sufficient with the application; however if selected, an official college transcript will be required. Transcripts MUST include the student’s name, name of the school, current GPA/academic standing, past and current coursework, and degree program. If your school’s transcripts or documentation do not provide all the necessary information listed above, you should include additional official academic documentation that meets the requirements.
    3. Proof of Enrollment or Class Registration and Documentation that States Projected Graduation Date: Proof of Enrollment may include a screen shot of the semester class schedule, an official letter of enrollment, or listed on official transcripts. The document should show the academic institution where the student is actively enrolled in courses, the degree or certificate program, and enrollment in at least a half-time status (as defined by the academic institution).
    4. (If applicable) Veterans Preference Documentation: If you are claiming veterans’ preference, you must submit proof of veterans’ preference with your application.
      • For 5-point veteran’s preference, you must provide a copy of your DD-214 Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (Member Copy 4 is preferable) which must show the type of discharge and dates of active duty. If you are currently on active duty, you must provide a certification on letterhead from your military branch which contains your military service date, expected date of discharge or release, and the character of service to show that your military service was performed under honorable conditions. The expected date of discharge or release must be within 120 days of the date the certification is submitted for consideration for this vacancy announcement.
      • For 10-point veteran’s preference, you must submit a current version of the SF-15 (Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference), dated October 2013, and any documentation required by this form to support your claim. Previous editions of the SF-15 will not be accepted. If we cannot verify your 10-point preference status, you will receive 5-point preference if veterans’ preference requirements have been met.
      • For Sole Survivorship preference, you must provide a copy of your DD-214 (Member Copy 4 is preferable) or another form of official documentation which shows your discharge or release from active duty occurred on or after August 29, 2008 and was based on a sole survivorship discharge.
      • For further information regarding Veterans.

    Interns may be converted to a permanent position (or, in some limited circumstances, to a term position lasting 1-4 years) within 120 days of successful completion of the program. To be eligible for conversion, Interns must:
    Be a U.S. Citizen

    1. Successfully complete an academic course of study as evidence by a qualifying degree or certificate requirements
    2. Complete at least 640 hours of work experience acquired through the Internship Program while enrolled as a half- or full-time degree- or certificate-seeking student; or meets the requirements for a waiver described below in this section;
    3. Receives a favorable recommendation for conversion in writing from their first-level supervisor 
    4. Meet the OPM qualification standards for the position to which the intern may be converted
    5. Maintain successful performance under the Agency’s approved Performance management system.

    *You may be granted a waiver and credited for a maximum of 320 hours based on stipulations in 5 CFR 362.204 paragraphs (d) and Pathways MOU.


Content last reviewed on