Student Programs

Student Programs

The Department of Agriculture offers different pathway opportunities—including tuition assistance—for students and recent graduates to work in the agricultural, science, technology, math, environmental, management, business and many other fields.  The Pathway programs provides meaningful training and developmental opportunities to those who are beginning their Federal Careers. It consists of the Internship, Recent Graduate and Presidential Management Fellows Programs. Several opportunities with APHIS are available through this program.  Pathways for Students FAQs

Internship Program
Provides students enrolled in a wide variety of educational institutions from high school to graduate level the opportunity to work for agencies and explore federal careers while getting paid for the work performed.   Students who successfully complete this program may be eligible for conversion to a term or permanent position in the competitive service. Appointments may be at the highest grade level for which the Intern is qualified. 

Recent Graduate Program
Targets individuals who have recently graduated from a qualifying educational institution or program. Appointments may be made at the GS-5, GS-7  (undergraduate degree) or GS-09 (master’s degree) or equivalent.  Agencies may appoint Recent Graduates with degrees in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering or math) at the GS-11 (or equivalent) level if they possess a Ph.D. or equivalent degree from a qualifying institution directly related to the position being filled.

Presidential Management Fellows Program
Is administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and is a premier leadership development program for advance degree candidates. Each year, candidates apply to the program in efforts to be selected as Finalists. Finalists are then eligible for appointment as Presidential Management Fellows (PMF). Fellows may be appointed at the GS-9, GS-11, or GS-12 level or equivalent, depending on his or her qualifications. 

Daniel E. Salmon Internship Program
The Salmon internship program is a comprehensive mentorship and career development program designed to provide students opportunities to work in agriculture, science technology, math, and many other fields.  The internship provides students with 1) Up to $7,500 per year for undergraduate studies and up to $15,000 for graduate studies for tuition and fees. 2) Paid employment during summer and school breaks as a Student Trainee 3) The possibility of conversion without further coopetition, to a permanent appointment upon successful completion of the Pathways program, with required degree, training, and other work requirements. 

Factsheet  |  Brochure

Saul T. Wilson, Jr. Internship Program—provides a wide range of learning opportunities in the public veterinary field. The internship provides students with 1) Up to $7,500 per year for undergraduate studies and up to $15,000 for graduate studies for tuition, books, tutors and laboratory fees. 2) Paid employment during summer and school breaks as a Veterinary Student Trainee 3) The possibility of conversion without further coopetition, to a permanent appointment upon successful completion of the a D.V.M degree, training, and other work requirements. 

Factsheet | Brochure

William F. Helms Internship Program: Interested in a career in agriculture, botany, plant pathology, entomology, or other biological sciences?  We are currently accepting applications for the William F. Helms Internship program. This program provides university and college-level students with the opportunity to plan and coordinate pest surveys, participate in Federal regulatory functions, and assist with PPQ’s domestic programs and activities. Learn more

Volunteer Service Program
Provides individuals with an unpaid opportunity to develop valuable work place skills, connect and network with professionals in their specialized area(s) of interest, explore the federal work environment and learn about the mission and responsibilities of Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP) and the Department of Agriculture.  By providing structured, meaningful work assignments, volunteers can be an important component of marketing MRP as an employer of choice.

Higher Education Institution - Student Volunteer Program (HEISIP)
Human Resources Desk Guide Subchapter 4230

APHIS Native American Serving Institutions Internship Program (Non-Federal)
In 2015, APHIS began a partnership with several Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) and other Native American Serving Institutions (NASI), to create a unique Internship Program. The partnership would identifying students interested in APHIS’ programs and careers. The partnership offers college students an opportunity to participate in an 8-week summer internship with any of the APHIS programs. The students are given firsthand experience in what APHIS does on a daily basis and many of the students receive college credit for conducting the internship with APHIS.

Our current college partners include:

  • Navajo Technical University (NTU), NM
  • Diné College, AZ
  • Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI), NM
  • University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP), NC 

APHIS/ Navajo Technology University - Veterinary Technology Program (Non-Federal)  
Also, in 2015, APHIS began partnering with Navajo Technical University (NTU), the only Tribal College/University that has a Veterinary Technology Program. The original purpose of the partnership was to assist NTU in reaching full accreditation of their Veterinary Technology Program. Other activities include, but are not limited to assisting NTU in enhancing its course curriculum, expanding opportunities for students to gain more hands-on experience in the field working with large animals, offering guest lectures from APHIS and creating internships within APHIS for the students to work along with agency veterinarians, animal health technicians and wildlife biologists. Students will be placed in Veterinary Services and Wildlife Services.

Safeguarding Natural Heritage
This program is an annual educational outreach program co-sponsored by APHIS and a Tribal college. The 2-week program, open to students 14 to 17 years of age, is designed to enhance youths’ exposure to agriculture, natural resources, and wildlife biology, through activities within the environs of a Tribal community. For more information, please contact APHIS National Tribal Liaison Terry Clark at (301) 440-4388 or; or National Program Manager-Tribal Liaison Carl Etsitty at (970) 494-7573 or

Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP)
USDA has a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Science Foundation (NSF) which allows USDA to recruit highly qualified PhD fellows on a voluntary basis,  for up to 12 months.  USDA scientists and researchers are able to provide professional development to NSF Graduate Research Fellows through internships. Through this initiative, NSF Graduate Fellows will participate in mission-related, collaborative research under the guidance of USDA host research mentors at USDA facilities and national laboratories. The internship experiences will support Fellows with developing expertise in critical STEM areas, enhancing professional skills, developing networks, and preparing for a wide array of career options.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Intern Program (Non-Federal)
In January of each year, in conjunction with the national holiday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, OCRDI-Diversity and Inclusion sponsors and Essay Contest with the local (Riverdale, MD) high school students.  The selected winners are offered a six-week internship with an APHIS program.

The “Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Contest” was established to celebrate one of the nation’s greatest leaders.  APHIS’ Office of Civil Rights, Diversity, and Inclusion conducts the annual MLK Educational Contest thru the African American Employment Program.  The contest, in its 20th year, was designed to inspire middle and high school students to reflect on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and share their thoughts and insights in an essay or pictorial format.  The winning students receive a trophy and/or plaque.  The 1st and 2nd place winning high school students are hired for summer employment with APHIS in Riverdale, MD.

Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP-DC)
Is a locally funded initiative sponsored by the Department of Employment Services (DOES) that provides District youth ages 14 to 24 with enriching and constructive summer work experiences through subsidized placements in the private and government sectors for a period of six weeks.  The purpose of MBSYEP is to expose young people ages 14 – 24 to various career fields and introduce them to the dynamics of working in a professional and positive work environment.

Summer Youth Enrichment Program (SYEP-PG)
The Summer Youth Enrichment Program (SYEP) is a collaborative partnership of business stakeholders to provide an entry-level introduction to public service for youth ages 15-19 who reside in Prince George’s County, Maryland. This initiative will provide enriching and constructive summer work experience placements within the county including Federal and county government agencies.    

Animal Care Externship Program
Provides students with an unpaid work experience for 1 to 4 weeks in the areas of Enforcement, Compliance Inspections, Information technology, Nonclinical veterinary care and Emergency Programs. Students are responsible for housing and transportation costs, as well as other personal expenses.

Veterinary Services Externship Program
Provides veterinary students with hands-on experience in public veterinary practice for 2 to 4 weeks at The Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Students are responsible for housing and transportation costs, as well as other personal expenses.

Provides students between the ages of 12-17 the opportunity to experience agricultural science, and learn about careers in animal and plant disciples, wildlife management, veterinary medicine and other related fields. The program will be held at 22 colleges/universities nationwide.  Tuition, room and board, lab supplies, meals, and activity fees are covered by APHIS. Students selected for the program are responsible for costs associated with traveling to and from the university campus.

USDA National Scholars Intern Program (Federal)
The USDA/1890 National Scholars Program is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and 1890 Historically Black Land-Grant Universities.  The USDA/1890 National Scholars Program is implemented under the USDA Fellows Experience Program (FEP). Scholars accepted into the program will be appointed using the Schedule A(r) Authority (5 CFR 213.3202) and are not eligible for noncompetitive conversion to full-time employment upon graduation.

USDA Hispanic-Serving Institutions National Program(HACU) (Non-Federal)
The USDA/HACU National Internship Program is designed to expose both undergraduate and graduate students to the federal sector to gain valuable professional experience that complements their education.  Students are recruited based on academic performance, leadership and community service.  The program has successfully pipelined qualified and talented students into the Department since 1994.  This program is an excellent opportunity to identify and attract highly qualified candidates for future employment and addresses your agency’s workforce planning needs by aligning education and training to meet future position requirements.

Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL) Internship Program (Non-Federal)
The Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL) seeks to empower Asian American, Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) youth by increasing access to public service opportunities and building a strong AANHPI public service pipeline. CAPAL places a number of students in the U.S> Federal Government each summer. These internships are open to All Majors and are suited for individuals looking to gain a real-world Federal Government experience.

Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) Internship Program (Non-Federal)
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. TMCF member-schools include the publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominately Black Institutions, enrolling nearly 80% of all students attending black colleges and universities. TMCF offers 10-12 week internships with various organizations which include the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Department of Defense.  Interns work in various locations across the United States in state of-the-art facilities conducting research and contributing to the overall business enterprise.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers different opportunities for students and recent graduates to work in the agricultural, science, technology, math, environmental, management, business and many other fields. The Student Employment Opportunities program serves as the umbrella of all the student and recent graduate programs offered at USDA. All USDA student opportunities are open to people with disabilities and veterans. This program was formed to centralize efforts and work collectively as ONE-USDA initiative nationwide. Under the Student Employment Opportunities program, USDA Mission Areas have the opportunity to hire students, or recent graduates to work in their mission areas through the following opportunities:

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