Find a Federal Government Job

Learn how to find a job with the federal government.

Federal Government Employment

There are job openings in federal agencies across the country. If you’re interested in one, visit USAJOBS.gov. It’s the official job site for the federal government. There, you can:

How to Apply for a Federal Job Through USAJOBS

You must create a USAJOBS profile to apply.

  • Review the job announcements to see if you qualify.

  • Prepare your application in USAJOBS.

  • Submit your application to the federal agency with the opening through USAJOBS.

Though most federal agencies post their jobs on USAJOBS, some post jobs on their websites. If you want to work for a specific agency, find its website through the A-Z Index of Government Agencies.

There is never an application fee or a testing fee to apply for a government or U.S. Postal Service job. Find information about government job scams and how to avoid them.

Former Federal Employees

If you are a former federal employee, you may be eligible for reinstatement. Reinstatement lets you apply for federal jobs without competing with the public.

Students and Recent Graduates

Find student job opportunities with the government. You may qualify for an internship or an entry-level position.

Veterans

If you've served in the military and want to find a federal job, check out FedsHireVets.gov. It has information on:

  • Veterans' preference

  • Special hiring authorities

  • Other tips for vets and transitioning service members seeking federal civilian jobs

People with Disabilities

Learn about the advantages of federal jobs for people with disabilities.

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training and related instruction to give you skills to advance in your chosen field.

Apprentice programs vary in length from one to six years. During that time, as an apprentice, you'll work and learn as an employee. When you complete a registered program, you will receive a nationally recognized certificate from the Department of Labor (DOL) as proof of your qualifications.

For more information:

Federal Jobs for People with Disabilities

If you’re looking for a job and you have a disability, you might consider working for the federal government because it:

People with disabilities can also apply for federal jobs through the standard competitive hiring process. This is important because many jobs open to people with disabilities use only the competitive hiring process, not Schedule A.

Finding and Applying for Federal Jobs

You can search for most federal jobs on the U.S. government’s official employment site, USAJOBS.gov.

To apply for jobs under Schedule A, you can apply online at USAJOBS, or you can apply directly to the agency offering the job. Either way, you will need to:

  • Prepare your resume and any other documents listed in the job announcement.

  • Provide proof you have an intellectual disability, severe physical disability, or psychiatric disability.

To apply for a job online:

To apply for a job directly through an agency:

For more details on applying for jobs through Schedule A, read The ABCs of Schedule A.

For an overview of how to use USAJOBS, see Federal Government Employment.

Veterans with Disabilities

If you’re a veteran with a service-connected disability, you have even more routes to a job with the federal government. These special hiring authorities allow agencies to appoint veterans noncompetitively to jobs. You may also be eligible for a 10-point veterans’ preference that gives you an advantage when applying for competitive positions.

College Students and Recent Graduates with Disabilities

If you’re a full-time college student or a recent graduate with a disability, you can connect to a summer or permanent federal job through the Workforce Recruitment Program. You can also apply for internships and permanent positions through the Pathways Program open to all current students or recent graduates.

Government Internships

Government internships create opportunities to learn on the job. The federal government has internship programs for current students and recent graduates of:

  • High school

  • Trade and technical school

  • Undergraduate and graduate programs

  • Law school

Pathways: Opportunities for Students and Recent Graduates

Pathways offers internships and entry-level jobs to:

  • Current students in high school, college, trade school, or other accredited institution

  • Recent graduates of college, university, trade, or technical school degree or certificate programs. Applicants must have graduated no more than two years ago, except for veterans.

Senate Page Program

The Senate Page program is for high school juniors who are at least 16 years old and in school. They are appointed and sponsored by senators. Pages take classes at the U.S. Senate Page School in the early mornings and perform page duties afterward.

White House Internship Program

White House Internship Program applicants must be either:

  • Current students of an undergraduate or graduate degree program

  • Recent graduates of an undergraduate or graduate degree program. They must apply no more than two years after completing their degree.

  • Veterans who did some active duty time in the two years before the internship program starts

Security Clearance

Some federal positions will require a security clearance, a status granted to individuals allowing them access to certain secure information or facilities.

Federal Government Positions

  • Not all federal positions require a security clearance, but they do require the candidate to undergo a suitability adjudication process to determine if the individual is suitable for federal employment.  
  • Background investigations are conducted to assess the loyalty, character, trustworthiness, and reliability of the person requiring the clearance.
  • Job candidates will use the Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) system to electronically enter, update, and transmit their personal investigative data over a secure internet connection to a requesting agency. This reference guide will assist you in the process.
  • Once a security clearance is granted, it allows a person filling a specific position to have access to classified information up to and including the level of clearance that they hold.
  • For more information about security clearances and background checks for U.S. government employment, visit the Federal Investigative Services (OPM-FIS).
  • If you have questions about your specific security clearance, contact the security officer of the federal agency that requested your evaluation or check with OPM's Systems Access Support Team (SAST) at 1-724-794-5612, extension 4600. They can help you find the right contact within a federal agency.

Private Companies or Federal Contracting Positions

  • Sometimes private companies that do business with a local, state, or federal government agency are required to obtain security clearances for their employees to access facilities and information. Your employer or the agency that you work for will help you obtain clearance using that agency's security clearance granting system. If you need help, ask your company or the agency that you work for.
  • Most federal contracting positions will require a security clearance from each worker to gain access to secure facilities, equipment, and information. Your employer and the agency that you will be working for can help you obtain clearance. Ask your employer to help if you have questions.
  • Some private companies also use security clearances to protect such things as intellectual property rights and financial information. Most of these companies use a background check, which usually researches a candidate's work, criminal, and credit history. Your company will provide information about its security rules. 

Civil Service Exam

There is no longer a mandatory single civil service exam to cover all federal jobs. Most jobs with the federal government do not require written tests or exams. Certain agencies may require testing for certain positions, but this is uncommon. Ask the agency that you're applying to for more information about testing and exams. 

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Last Updated: March 19, 2019