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Recent Graduates Program

Recent Graduates Program

Pave the Way for a Career in Civil Service

The Recent Graduates Program affords developmental experiences in the federal government intended to promote possible careers in the civil service to individuals who have recently graduated from qualifying educational institutions or programs. To be eligible, applicants must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion (except for veterans precluded from doing so due to their military service obligation, who have up to six years after degree completion to apply).

Successful applicants are placed in a dynamic, development program with the potential to lead to a civil service career in the federal government. The program lasts for one year (unless the training requirements of the position warrants a longer and more structured training program).

Listed below are several key provisions outlined in the Recent Graduates Program.

Secret Service ceremony

  • Recent graduates who have completed, within the previous two years, a qualifying associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, professional, doctorate, vocational or technical degree or certificate from a qualifying educational institution.
  • Veterans unable to apply within two years of receiving their degree, due to military service obligation, have as much as six years after degree completion to apply.

The Recent Graduates Program is administered primarily by each hiring agency.

  • Each agency must sign a participant agreement with the recent graduate that sets forth the expectations for the program.
  • Agencies provide OPM with information regarding their opportunities and post information publicly on USAJOBS about how to apply for specific positions.

If selected, participants must:

  • Provide proof of U.S. citizenship;
  • Obtain and maintain a Tier 5 Top Secret clearance; (For more information, visit the OPM Mythbuster Page.)
  • Maintain a 2.5 GPA (Undergraduate) or 3.0 GPA (Graduate) on a 4.0 scale;
  • Be at least 16 years old or older;
  • Submit to a drug test prior to the appointment and random drug testing while occupying the position;
  • Certify having registered with the Selective Service System or are exempt from having to do so (if you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959 or a female); and
  • Upon onboarding, sign a Pathways Participant Agreement.

Participants in the Pathways Recent Graduates Program receive training and support during their tenure, including:

  • An orientation program for recent graduates hired for the program;
  • Mentorship throughout the program;
  • An Individual Development Plan to create and track recent graduates' career planning, professional development, and training activities;
  • At least 40 hours of formal, interactive training each year of the program; and
  • Opportunity for career advancement.

Recent graduates may convert to a permanent position (or, in some limited circumstances, a term appointment lasting one to four years). To be eligible for conversion, recent graduates must have:

  • Successfully completed at least one year of continuous service in addition to all requirements of the program;
  • Demonstrated successful job performance; and
  • Met the qualifications for the position to which the recent graduate will be converted.