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Pathways Program

Boundless Opportunities. Generous Compensation.

The Pathways Program replaces the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP). Pathways is designed to provide students, enrolled in a wide variety of educational institutions from high school to graduate level, with opportunities to work in government agencies and explore federal careers while still in school and be paid for the work performed. Students who successfully complete the program may be eligible for conversion to a permanent job in the civil service. Additional information about the Pathways Program can be found at USAJOBS.

Learn more about the key provisions of the Pathways Program below.

Minimum Age Requirements: All participants must be at least 16 years of age by the appointment date to participate in the Pathways Programs

Current students in an accredited high school, college (including four-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 are eligible to apply for an opening within the Pathways Program.

The Pathways Program is primarily administered by each hiring agency.

  • Agencies may hire interns on a temporary basis for up to one year for an initial period, or for an indefinite period, to complete the educational requirement.
  • Each agency must sign a participant agreement with the intern that sets forth expectations for the Internship.
  • Interns may work either part-time or full-time.
  • Each intern's job will be related to the intern's academic career goals or field of study.
  • Agencies provide OPM with information regarding their internship opportunities and post information publicly on USAJOBS with details on how to apply for specific positions.

Interns may convert to a permanent position (or, in some limited circumstances, to a term position lasting one to four years) within 120 days of successful completion of the program.

To be eligible for conversion, interns must:

  • Complete at least 640 hours of work experience acquired through the internship program;
  • Complete their degree or certificate requirements;
  • Meet the qualification standards for the position to which the Intern will be converted;
  • Meet agency-specific requirements as specified in the participant's agreement; and
  • Perform their job successfully.

Agencies may waive up to 320 of the required 640 hours of work for interns who demonstrate high potential as evidenced by outstanding academic achievement and exceptional job performance.

In addition, students working in agencies through third-party intern providers may count up to 320 of the hours they work toward the 640-hour requirement.

Time spent under previous internship program appointments may count toward required work experience hours.