Internship Opportunity: U.S. Department of Education

PLEASE NOTE: This opportunity is listed for reference only. The deadline to apply has passed.

 Position Type: Unpaid Internship

Location: Washington, DC

Sector: Education

Start Date: Varies

Wage or benefits: Unpaid

Time Commitment: ED offers internships in the fall, winter/spring, and summer. Typically, interns are with the Department for eight to ten weeks. Interns usually work 20 to 40 hours per week during the spring and fall terms and full-time during the summer session (flexible)

Desired Class Year: Open to all undergraduate class years

Desired Major or Interest: Open to all majors, some offices require specialized skills

Application Deadline: October 1 (winter), March 15 (summer), July 15 (fall)

Organization website: 

Brief Description of the organization:

The Department of Education (ED) offers internships for students interested in seeking valuable work experience in government and federal education policy and administration. Volunteers have the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to the Department's mission to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. 

Brief Description of the Intern's role or key qualifications: The Department works to tailor each intern's experience to the interests, and skills of the interns against the needs of Department offices. In the past, students have completed projects focusing on:

  • Policy analysis and evaluation.
  • Research.
  • Finance.
  • Public affairs and communications.
  • Community outreach.
  • Intergovernmental relations.
  • Legislative affairs.
  • News media.
  • Legal work.
  • And a host of other projects.

Candidates should indicate which offices most interest them in their application. See a list of ED's offices. Please note that availability of internships within given offices varies throughout the year, and some offices require specialized subject knowledge to qualify.

How to Apply:

Step 1—Students submit intern application
Applicants should apply here: Application Portal specify exactly what term (fall, winter/spring, summer) you are applying for. You may want to have on hand the following:

  • A cover letter, stating which particular offices interest you. Keep in mind that due to the volume of applications received, you may not be assigned to your first-choice office upon acceptance.
  • An up-to-date resume.

Note: For candidates interested in internships with the Office of General Counsel (OGC) please click here. For candidates interested in internships with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) please click here. If you are also interested in internships outside of OGC or OCR, you will need to submit a separate application following the instructions listed above. All interns, including those selected by OGC and OCR will be included in the internship programming.

Step 2—Eligible students will be interviewed by ED staff.
ED will review application packages, determine eligibility and provide recommended placement into program office for review. ED Employees interested in bringing an intern onboard for the respective cohort will interview perspective interns.

Step 3—Provide Internship paperwork for processing. 
If you are tentative selected by an ED staff for an internship you need to be cleared by Office of Management. You will be asked to provide the below paperwork:

  • U.S. Department of Education Student Volunteer Agreement
    PDF (1.1MB) | PDF, printed version (24KB)

  • U.S. Office of Personnel Management Declaration for Federal Employment (OF306)
    Please follow this link to the Office of Personnel Management website to fill out the Declaration for Federal Employment form.

  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security Employment Eligibility Form (I-9)
    A list of acceptable documents to bring your first day of employment can be found here under Instructions for Form I-9 (specifically pages 8-11).

  • U.S. Department of Education Emergency Contact form [PDF, 69KB]

  • U.S. Department of Education Cyber security awareness training [PDF, 1.5MB]

  • U.S. Office of Personnel Management Fair Credit Release form
    Please follow this link to the Drug Enforcement Agencies website to download and complete the Fair Credit Release form here.

  • Transcript
    Please obtain the transcript from your university/high school

  • Letter of good standing from your school (optional)
    Please utilize the online system to request the letter of good standing from your school

Step 4—Initiate background check
Once cleared by Office of Human Resources, we will need to initiate a background check. You will receive an email from ED's personnel security office where you will be asked to submit fingerprints for the background check and complete a background investigation through ED's e-QIP (security system).

Step 5—Finalize start date
Once you have been cleared by Office of Management your supervisor will work with you and Office of Human Resources to finalize a start date. On your first day you will go to the ID office and fill out paperwork for your badge and another round of fingerprints to obtain your badge.