Internships & Externships
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is a regulatory public health agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Our mission is to protect consumers by ensuring that meat, poultry, and processed egg products are safe, wholesome, and properly labeled and packaged.
Each year FSIS funds a number of paid internships throughout the United States. These positions provide students with an opportunity to gain experience working for FSIS in a wide variety of positions. The following descriptions are some, but not all, of the possible available internships.
Possible Internship Positions (Paid)
- VETERINARY INTERNSHIPS: You will spend 6 to 10 weeks during the summer working directly with FSIS Public Health Veterinarians (PHV) to learn what our in-plant PHVs do to ensure that meat and poultry products that reach the consuming public are safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled. As a Veterinary Student Trainee, you will gain an understanding of the variety of roles PHVs have in our public health regulatory agency. Qualifications: This internship opportunity is only open to current veterinary students who will have completed their first year before the summer, second year students, and third year students at a College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). This is not for students who are about to graduate. | Common Questions
- Food Inspector: You will receive on-the-job training in areas such as ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection of meat and/or poultry slaughter by directly observing and assisting a fully qualified Food Inspector. You will also become familiar with sanitation procedures and the general physical layout of a slaughter establishment. Qualifications: You need to have successfully completed at least 12 semester hours in courses such as food science, nutrition, or animal science.
- Program Investigator: You will work under the direct supervision of a Senior Program Investigator, who will be your mentor. Program Investigators investigate violations of the inspection laws, control volatile products through detentions, and ensure the appropriate criminal, administrative, and civil sanctions are carried out. Qualifications: Desired major/course work in Criminal Justice or a related field.
- Enforcement, Investigations, and Analysis Officer: You will work closely with a senior Enforcement, Investigations, and Analysis Officer (EIAO). EIAOs are responsible for the comprehensive assessment of the food safety systems in different types of commercial meat and poultry establishments, including slaughter and processing facilities. EIAOs conduct on-site scientific food safety verification activities, along with plant microbiological verification sampling strategies. Qualifications: You need to be enrolled in a degree program in a science field. Your major needs to require at least 30 semester hours of sciences. Creditable courses include biology, chemistry, statistics, or physics.
- Other positions may be available for degrees in: agriculture, family and consumer health, human resources, information technology, finance, communications, public health, natural sciences, microbiology, chemistry, and biology.
Job Locations and Salary
Positions are located throughout the United States. FSIS may pay travel expenses to get students to their duty station at the beginning of the summer and back to their school location at the end of the summer, as well as housing expenses for the summer. Salaries vary depending on position and location.
- Currently enrolled in an accredited high school or approved home school curriculum; college (including 4-year colleges/universities, community colleges, and junior colleges); professional, technical, vocational, and trade school; advanced degree programs; or other qualifying educational institution if pursuing a qualifying degree or certificate.
- In good academic standing as defined by the educational institution.
- FSIS requires all students appointed under the Internship Program to be U.S. citizens. This is not required under OPM regulations, but is an agency requirement for all of our employees. FSIS may hire interns on a temporary basis for up to one year to complete a specific project or assignment or for an indefinite period while they remain a student and until the educational requirements are met. Interns may work either part- or full-time. FSIS must sign a Participant Agreement with each intern that sets forth the expectations for the internship.
How to Apply for an Internship (Paid):
Applicants may apply to any of FSIS' Internship Program announcements posted via USAJobs (www.usajobs.gov). Applicants are encourage to visit USAJobs and submit applications following the instructions on the "how to apply" section of the vacancy announcement.
The VOLUNTEER STUDENT PROGRAM (VSP) provides experience that is directly related to the student's education and career goals. We have developed the VSP to provide students with valuable career related work experience in our public health agency.
This non-paid educational opportunity usually lasts 2 to 4 weeks and can be completed throughout the calendar year dependent upon the student's schedule and the program availability. There is no reimbursement of expenses or a salary provided. The student will be responsible for housing and transportation during this experience. Students are encouraged to find a location where they can stay with family/friends or near their college.
Eligibility requirements for the Volunteer Student Program
- U.S. citizenship is not required; however, we must have a friendly treaty in place with country of origin.
- Student must be currently enrolled in college.
FSIS is recognized for its excellence in supporting diversity and for strategic management of human capital.
How to Apply for an Externship (Unpaid):
Please email FSISStudentjobs@fsis.usda.gov the following information:
- Current Educational Institution
- Graduation Date
- Available Dates
- Location(s) of Interest (Please keep in mind that this is unpaid, so the ideal situation is somewhere close to family/friends or school.)
- Transcripts (unofficial are fine)
You may also email questions about the program to FSISStudentJobs@fsis.usda.gov.
If you claim veterans' preference, you must provide a copy of your DD 214. If you claim a 10-point veterans' preference, you must also complete a SF 15 in addition to providing a copy of your DD 214.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex (including gender identity and expression), marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice/TDD).
To file a complaint of discrimination, write to:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
Chief, Employment Complaints Division
Room 327-W, Whitten Building
1400 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20250-9410
or call (202) 720-5212.
USDA is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer