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Federal agencies and departments offer unpaid training opportunities to students in high school and college. These opportunities can provide work experience related to your academic program, while allowing you to explore career options, as well as develop your personal and professional skills. As a student volunteer, exposure to the Federal work environment allows you to learn about the missions and responsibilities of various Federal agencies and departments.


You are eligible to participate as a Student Volunteer if you are enrolled, at least half-time, in:

  • An accredited high school or trade school;
  • A technical or vocational school;
  • A junior or community college;
  • A four-year college or university; or
  • Any other accredited educational institution.


Student volunteer work may be performed during the school year and/or during summer or school vacation periods. The nature of your volunteer assignment as well as your weekly work schedule should be part of your work agreement. Volunteer work assignments typically have duration of 3 – 4 months.

How To Apply

If you are interested in becoming a student volunteer with the Federal Government:

  • Contact the Personnel/Human Resources Office at the Federal agency or department where you wish to work. Historically, the Departments of Defense (Army, Air Force and Navy), Commerce, Health and Human Services, Interior, Justice, State, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs have utilized the largest number of student volunteers. Telephone numbers for Federal agencies can be found in your telephone directory under "U.S. Government."
  • Visit your school's guidance office, career counseling, placement, or internship office for further information.

Other Volunteer Opportunities

Besides student volunteers, other volunteer opportunities are limited since Federal agencies are not allowed by law (section 1342 of title 31, United States Code) to accept volunteer service. The few exceptions are:

  • Employment in emergencies involving the protection of life or property;
  • Employment of assistants to handicapped employees;
  • Employment of experts and consultants; and
  • Employment of students to further their educational goals.

In addition, some Federal agencies, such as the National Park Service and the Forest Service, have specific authorities to accept unpaid services for specific jobs or functions. Individuals who are interested in volunteering their services to the Federal Government should contact the agency of most interest to inquire about specific opportunities.

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