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Pathways Programs
Pathways for students and recent graduates to federal careers

The Pathways Program offers federal internship and employment opportunities for current students, recent graduates and those with an advanced degree. There are three different paths available:

Internship Program


This program is designed to provide students enrolled in a wide variety of educational institutions, from high school to graduate level, with opportunities to work in agencies and explore Federal careers while still in school and while getting paid for the work performed. Students who successfully complete the program may be eligible for conversion to a permanent job in the civil service. Here are some key provisions of the Internship Program.

Eligibility (READ MORE)
  • Current students in an accredited high school, college (including 4-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.


Program Administration (READ MORE)
  • The Internship 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.
  • Interns may work either part- or full-time.
  • Each agency must sign a Participant Agreement with the Intern that sets forth the expectations for the internship.
  • 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.GOV about how to apply for specific positions.


Program Completion and Conversion (READ MORE)
  • 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:
    • 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 towards required work experience hours.

Recent Graduates Program


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, developmental program with the potential to lead to a civil service career in the Federal Government. The program lasts for 1 year (unless the training requirements of the position warrant a longer and more structured training program). Here are some key provisions of the Recent Graduates Program.

Eligibility (READ MORE)
  • Recent graduates who have completed, within the previous two years, a qualifying associates, bachelors, masters, 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.


Program Administration (READ MORE)
  • 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.GOV about how to apply for specific positions.


Training and Development (READ MORE)
  • Orientation program for Recent Graduates hired for the program.
  • Mentorship throughout the program.
  • 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.
  • Positions offer opportunity for career advancement.


After Program Completion (READ MORE)
  • Recent Graduates may be converted to a permanent position (or, in some limited circumstances, a term appointment lasting 1-4 years).
  • To be eligible for conversion, Recent Graduates must have:
    • Successfully completed at least 1-year of continuous service in addition to all requirements of the Program.
    • Demonstrated successful job performance.
    • Met the qualifications for the position to which the Recent Graduate will be converted.

Presidential Management Fellows Program


The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program is a flagship leadership development program at the entry-level for advanced degree candidates. Created more than three decades ago, the program attracts and selects from among the best candidates and is designed to develop a cadre of potential Federal Government leaders. Here are some key provisions of the PMF Program.

Eligibility (READ MORE)
  • Individuals who have completed within the past two years, a qualifying advanced degree (e.g., masters or professional degree) or who will meet advanced degree requirements by August 31 of the year following the annual application announcement.
  • An individual may apply for the PMF Program more than once as long as he or she meets the eligibility criteria. However, if an individual becomes a Finalist and subsequently applies for the PMF Program during the next open announcement, the individual will forfeit his or her status as a Finalist.


Program Administration (READ MORE)
  • The PMF Program is centrally administered by the PMF Program Office within OPM.
  • OPM announces the opportunity to apply for the PMF Program (usually in the late summer or early fall) on the PMF.GOV and USAJOBS.GOV websites.
  • Applicants go through a rigorous assessment process to determine Finalists.
  • OPM selects Finalists based on an evaluation of each candidate's experience and accomplishments according to his or her application and results of the assessments.
  • OPM publishes and provides agencies with the list of Finalists.
  • Agencies provide OPM with information about their PMF opportunities and can post PMF appointment opportunities for those who are Finalists on the PMF website year-round. In addition, a job fair is typically held for Finalists each year.
  • Finalists who obtain an appointment as a PMF serve in a two-year excepted service position.


Training and Development (READ MORE)
  • The PMF Program Office provides newly hired PMFs an opportunity to participate in its Orientation and Training Program.
  • Senior-level mentorship throughout the program.
  • Individual Development Plan to create and track a PMF's career planning, professional development, and training activities.
  • Developmental opportunities in the occupation or functional discipline the PMF would most likely be placed.
  • At least 80 hours of formal, interactive training each year of the program, for a total of 160 hours.
  • PMFs are placed on a performance plan and must obtain a successful rating each year.


After Program Completion (READ MORE)
  • After successful Program completion and job performance, the PMF may be converted to a permanent position (or, in some limited circumstances, a term appointment lasting 1-4 years) in the competitive service.