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.

Advantages of Government Jobs for People with Disabilities

The federal government:

You can also apply for jobs through the competitive hiring process. Many jobs open to people with disabilities use only that process.

Finding and Applying for Federal Jobs

You can search for most jobs on the government’s job site, USAJOBS.gov.

To apply for jobs under Schedule A, you can:

  • Apply online at USAJOBS or

  • Apply directly to the agency offering the job

Either way, you'll need to:

  • Prepare your resume and 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 options. Learn how special hiring authorities let agencies appoint vets to jobs non-competitively. You may also be able to get a 10 point veterans’ preference to use with competitive positions.

College Students and Recent Graduates with Disabilities

If you’re a college student or a recent graduate, you can find summer jobs, internships, and permanent positions through the:

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 jobs require you to have a security clearance. Almost all demand that you go through at least a basic background check to make sure you're suitable for the job.

Suitability Determinations for Federal Jobs

Background checks for suitability look for character traits like loyalty, trustworthiness, and reliability. They also look at your past job conduct. Determinations of unsuitability are based on specific criteria such as:

  • Financial irresponsibility

  • Poor credit history

  • Drug/alcohol abuse

  • Arrest history

  • Misconduct on a prior job

Security Clearances for Federal Jobs

A security clearance grants a person access to classified information, systems, and facilities. Access is on a “need to know” basis. This background investigation is more in-depth than what's done for a suitability determination.

Background Questionnaires for Federal Jobs

All background checks start with the applicant completing an electronic questionnaire. The system will ask you to complete the correct form for the job you're seeking.

Get More Information About Security Clearances

For more information about security clearances and background checks, visit OPM Suitability. If you have questions about your specific security clearance, either:

  • 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.

OPM Investigations Bureau is Moving

OPM's investigations bureau is scheduled to move to the Defense Department by fall 2019. It will merge with the Defense Security Service to form the new Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA).

Security Clearance for Private Companies and Federal Contracting Positions

You may need a security clearance to access government facilities and information if:

  • You work for a company doing business with a government agency or

  • You are a federal contractor

Your employer and the agency you’re working for will help you get your clearance. Ask your employer if you have questions.

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. 

  • If you are applying for a specific job, the vacancy announcement on USAJOBS.gov will indicate if a specific written test is necessary and whom you may contact for more information. This information is always free.

  • Scammers will try to guarantee that a course or test that they provide will get you a federal job. There is no way that you can be guaranteed a federal job by completing a class, course, workshop, training, certificate, or test. Find out more about spotting these scams.  

  • There are no application or testing fees for federal jobs, nor are there "hidden" federal jobs. Learn more about federal job scams, including bogus testing and application fee scams. 

  • Postal service jobs may require an exam. But it's a scam if a company guarantees that any training or tips they provide including booklets, online materials, or classes will help you get a postal service job. Learn more about postal exams

  • To locate contact information for the personnel department of a federal agency, visit USA.gov's A-Z index of U.S. government departments and agencies.

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Last Updated: June 19, 2019