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Careers and Internships

Job Opportunities through Student Services Contracting

EPA's Office of Research and Development offers a unique and exciting career opportunity for students and recent grads seeking scientific or administrative experience in any of our laboratories, research centers and offices located across the country.

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What do student contractors do?

Student contractors partake in an intensive hands-on employment experience for up to five years, working side by side with EPA mentors and/or scientists, who will provide day-to-day direction and oversight. They engage in specialized research/activities within their field of study/work, form contacts with fellow scientists/co-workers in various technical fields, gain professional training, explore potential career opportunities and receive academic credit where applicable.

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Who is eligible?

Generally, you must be:

  • at least 18 years old, and
  • currently enrolled in a degree program at a recognized educational institution, or
  • a recent graduate (within two years of graduation).

Each announcement will specify more precisely who is eligible for that contract. For example, an announcement might say that an ORD office "is seeking individuals at least 18 years of age who have received their Masters degree in geography, ecology, environmental science, engineering, geosciences, or a related field."

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Where can I work?

Contract availability is determined by the needs of the respective research and development laboratories and offices within the Office of Research and Development. Past positions have been offered in Cincinnati, Ohio; Gulf Breeze, Florida; Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; Las Vegas, Nevada; Duluth, Minnesota; Athens, Georgia; and Washington, D.C. Review the current announcements to see where positions are now available.

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What are the benefits?

Student Services Contracts offer the flexibility (full/part-time) students require, while providing comprehensive benefits (i.e. competitive salary based on training/experience, travel expenses, training, workers' compensation and equipment/supplies). Note that since student contractors are not considered federal employees, they do not receive federal benefits. Each announcement should specify the benefits for that specific contract; if you have a particular question, contact the contracts specialist managing that contract. In addition:

Academic Incentives

  • Specialized research within your field of work/study
  • Professional mentors complementing student’s academic studies
  • Contacts with fellow scientists in various technical fields
  • Professional training and potential career opportunities in numerous fields
  • Flexible scheduling with emphasis on your academic degree
  • Academic credit (where applicable)

Scientific / Professional Benefits

  • "Real-world" laboratory experience
  • Access to cutting-edge equipment and supplies to complete experimentation or studies
  • Scientific mentors and teams providing technical advice
  • Ability to explore and gain greater access to scientific careers in various fields
  • Competitive salary based on training and experience
  • Travel in support of the EPA’s scientific initiatives

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How much would I get paid?

Students are compensated via a pre-determined hourly wage rate based upon academic coursework, training and region. Each announcement will specify the hourly rate for that specific contract.

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What is the length of employment under a typical contract?

The duration varies from contract to contract. Contracts can be written for a base period of up to two years of service, with one or more option periods after the base period expires. There is no requirement to exercise an option. A contract announcement might say, for example, "The initial contract will be for 12 months, not to exceed 1700 hours, with an option to extend the contract for up to two additional 12-month option periods, not to exceed 1700 hours in each period." The total length of time, including the base period and any option periods, cannot be longer than five years.

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How do I apply?

You should follow the directions shown in each specific announcement.

Note that you will also need to:

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Where can I find information about specific announcements?

EPA has four offices that handle the announcements for student contracting. The links below will take you to a list of opportunities offered through each of those four offices. Note that the contracting jobs offered by each office are not necessarily in the city where the office is located; they may be in that city or in other locations around the nation. Also note that these pages are updated infrequently; as a result, many of the positions listed may already be closed, so please pay attention to the dates.

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