Recording an Extravehicular Activity, photo by NASA
With the knowledge to use usajobs.gov as a job search engine and build a resume, you may wonder what US Government opportunities are available for college students? Agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, NASA, Department Of Commerce, and many more offer positions called a “Pathways Internship“. A Pathways Internship is one of the US Government’s pipelines to hire full-time civil servants (employees). Despite having the word “Internship” in the name a Pathways Internship is like a Cooperative Opportunity (Co-Op). A Co-Op is a long-term commitment to a student over many semesters whereas an Internship is a work agreement for only a semester and would have to be renewed. Often students use Pathways Internship and Co-Op interchangeably. Students who successfully complete a Pathways Internship have a chance of a full-time position with the agency. Many Pathways Interns think of their opportunity as a multiple semester-long interview learning as much as they can about the agency, their major, and working as hard as they can. I am currently a Pathways Intern at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. I will flip flop between semesters studying at UMD and Pathways Interning at NASA.
Who Offers Pathways Internships?
Once you are accepted into a Pathways Internship you would be sworn in as a civil servant with the US Government. A Pathways Intern receives retirement, travel time, relocation reimbursement, and insurance benefits similar to a full-time employee. Your pay is determined by the number of college credits you have completed and explained in the position posting. As a Pathways Intern you complete meaningful work that advances the mission of the agency and advances you in your major’s studies. This past fall I developed astronaut training that was used on board the International Space Station and sat in Mission Control. You will NOT be fetching coffee at a Pathways Internship!
- Go Government
- Pathways FAQs
- Score a Career with the US Government, Part 1
- Score a Career with the US Government, Part 2
- A-Z List of Government Agencies
- Federal Occupations by College Major