5 Paths to an Internship with the Federal Government

Career Advice

If you’re interested in applying for a federal government internship, chances are you’re feeling overwhelmed. With so many resources available online, it’s hard to know where you should begin your search. To help ease your stress, we’ve compiled a list of internship opportunities that will help embark you on a journey towards fulfilling your dream of working for the federal government.

1. Legislative Opportunities

If you’re interested in serving on Capitol Hill, internships are often available in Washington, D.C., and state offices are in every season and for extended periods of time. Positions are also available with congressional committee offices. Application information can be found at each individual Member’s or committee’s website. The best opportunity for learning about these opportunities is contacting each office directly.

It’s not just congress offering legislative opportunities, however. Other options include the Library of Congress and The Government Accountability Office.

2. Executive Branch Opportunities

If you’ve ever wanted to serve under the commander-in-chief, a White House internship is the perfect opportunity to achieve your dream. The White House Internship Program provides unpaid opportunities to learn more about the daily processes of the White House. The competitive program selects approximately 100 interns every spring, summer, and fall. More importantly, selected participants will have hands-on experiences that are designed to bolster young leaders’ understanding of the Executive Office.

Additional executive opportunities include Department of Education, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs. Visit the websites of just about every executive branch agency and you’ll find details about their internship programs, as well as how to apply.

3. Judicial Agencies

Interested in learning about the inner workings of the Supreme Court of the United States? The Supreme Court Internship Program offers undergraduate students the chance to immerse themselves in the judicial process through the Judicial Internship Program. Participants take on large research projects and writing, all inside The Supreme Court Building. The internship program is unpaid, but you’ll gain invaluable exposure to the court.

4. Other Government Agencies

Beyond the federal agencies that directly coincide within the three pillars of government, there are 14 additional agencies that also directly impact our nation ranging from the CIA to NASA to the FCC. These agencies offer a variety of internship opportunities that will help you get real world experiences and are offered in offices across the country. To view these internship opportunities, visit USAJobs.

5. OPM’s Pathway Program

One of the unique federal government internship opportunities you can apply for is the Office of Personnel Management’s Pathway Program. Established in 2012, this program focuses on providing college students a more streamlined application process to apply for both internships and full-time positions with participating federal agencies. In addition, the program also offers “meaningful training, mentoring and career-development opportunities”. To apply for a position and to see which federal agencies are taking part in the program, visit USAJOBS.gov.

One thing is clear – there is no single path to an internship with the federal government. Whether your interests are legislation and policy or science and math, there is a federal government internship opportunity. The best way to begin is by researching and visiting the careers site of the federal agency that most piques your interest.

Brandon Osgood is a strategic communications and digital marketing professional based out of Washington, DC. His background includes public policy, human-rights advocacy, and marketing consumer-based products. Beyond being a passionate storyteller, Brandon is an avid classical musician with dreams of one day playing at Carnegie Hall. Interested in connecting? Email him at brosgood@outlook.com.

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