Opportunities for Students and Recent Graduate

“My experience in working with SSA through the Hardy-Apfel program has been very fulfilling. The Hardy-Apfel program provided me the opportunities to work on projects across many areas of the agency that provide a broad set of experiences and skill sets. For example, one of the highly visible projects I had the opportunity to work on was the mySocialSecurity service. I believe that the executive mentorship, networking opportunities and targeted skillset development through highly visible projects greatly contributed to my success here at the Office of the Chief Strategic Officer.” - George Chen

The Social Security Administration student and recent graduate programs offer clear paths that can lead to Federal internships or employment for qualified students from high school through post-graduate school. Internship or employment for recent graduates can provide meaningful training, career development and experience for individuals who are at the beginning of their Federal service. As a student or recent graduate, you can begin your career in the Federal government by choosing the path that best suits you in accomplishing your professional and educational goals.

Available Programs:

Student Opportunities and Internships

Student Opportunities and Internships

Volunteer Internship Program (VIP)

Is a nationwide program that provides non-paid internships for students seeking meaningful work experience related to their academic studies. The work assignment may be in exchange for academic credit(s) based on the educational institution's requirements. Normally, volunteer internships do not exceed one semester or quarter, however, extensions may be approved based on academic requirements. 

This program provides the following: exposure to the work environment as a means of developing the student's work ethic; early career exploration; and enhances the student's knowledge in new or developing occupations and professions. To apply, send your cover letter, resume, and unofficial transcript to dchr.seep@ssa.gov.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Be enrolled at an accredited educational institution
  • Personnel Security and Suitability Requirement
  • Complete a service agreement, between the student, the educational institution and SSA
  • Prior to the start of the assignment, the student is required to be willing to undergo any personnel security and suitability screenings and comply with the same confidentiality requirements and disclosure restrictions as regular employees

Pathways Internship Program

This program is designed to provide students enrolled in a wide variety of educational institutions, from high school to graduate level, with paid work opportunities to explore Federal careers. Students who successfully complete the program may be eligible for conversion to a permanent job in the civil service. Additional information about the Internship Program can be found at USAJOBS.


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.

Vocational Rehabilitation Internship Program (VRIP)

The Social Security Administration’s VRIP is a nationwide host-enrollee program that provides non-paid internships to individuals with disabilities. The VRIP is a three-way agreement between the State vocational rehabilitation agency (the sponsor), SSA (the host) and the intern (the enrollee). The VRIP:

  • Provides exposure to the work environment and develops an individual’s work ethic;
  • Provides an opportunity to become involved in an early career exploration; and
  • Enhances the skills of individuals with disabilities as they gain knowledge in new or developing occupations and professions.

Individuals interested in applying for this opportunity should inquire with their State Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors.

Recent Graduates

Recent Graduates

This program is for individuals who have recently graduated from qualifying educational institutions or programs and seek a dynamic career development program with training and mentorship. 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 will have up to six years to apply).

Participants receive customized training and development opportunities throughout the program. Each participant receives mentorship, formal and interactive training, and individual development plans. Positions within this program offer opportunity for career advancement.

After completion of the program, recent graduates may be converted to a permanent position. For more information, reference the Pathways Recent Graduate Program Fact Sheet.

View available recent graduate opportunities: USAJOBS for Students and Recent Grads.

Presidential Management Fellows Program

Presidential Management Fellows Program

The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program is a flagship development program for advanced degree candidates. The program attracts and selects from among the best candidates and is designed to develop a cadre of potential Federal Government leaders. This program is for individuals who have received a qualifying graduate, law, or doctoral-level degree within the preceding two years.

The Social Security Administration is known for its outstanding program that allows Fellows to explore several areas of career interest during rotational assignments over two years. Participants receive training and participate in a wide array of career enhancing activities. Successful program completion can lead to permanent placement within SSA.  

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the official sponsoring agency for the Federal PMF Program. As the program sponsor, OPM is solely responsible for processing, screening, and selecting finalists for the PMF Program each year. Every year, Social Security reviews the list of PMF finalists to find promising individuals to join our agency. Over the past several years, Social Security has hired fellows to work in field operations throughout the country and in Headquarters’ offices such as the Office of Disability, the Office of Budget, the Office of Systems, and the Office of Policy.

Hardy Apfel IT + Innovation Fellows Program

Hardy-Apfel IT + Innovation Fellows Program

Visit our Hardy-Apfel IT + Innovation Fellows Program webpage for program information.