Explore Our Hiring Paths
If you are a current or former federal employe, there are different hiring options available to you, depending on your eligibility.
Being a federal employee doesn't mean you're eligible for every federal job, so it's important to start with understanding:
- Which service you belong to and
- The appointment type you are serving on.
Understanding this will help you know which jobs you’re eligible for and prevent you from spending time on jobs for which you’re not eligible.
Please click here for more information on how to read your SF-50 to determine your service and appointment type.
Once you understand your status and you’re ready to apply check out the Steps to Apply.
If you need assistance, please contact our office at FSISHR1@usda.gov or 1-877-FSIS-HR1 (1-877-374-7471). Our team is here to assist you.
Military Spouse Preference can be used when filling competitive service positions on a temporary (not to exceed 1 year), term (more than 1 year but not more than 4 years), or permanent basis. The authority does not entitle spouses to an appointment over any other applicant. They must meet the same eligibility requirements as all others.
- You are eligible under the following conditions:
- A spouse of an active-duty member of the armed forces.
- A spouse of a service member who is 100% disabled due to a service-connected injury.
- A spouse of a service member killed while on active duty.
- Required documents: Documentation verifying marriage, copy of your spouse's PCS orders
- Non-competitive Appointment of Military Spouses
- Based on Servicemembers Death:
- As the military spouse, you may be eligible if the military member was killed while on active duty (it does not have to be combat related), and you have not remarried.
- Required documentation: Documentation verifying marriage, DD-1300 - Report of Casualty.
- Based on 100% Disability:
- The military member was retired under Chapter 61 of title 10, United States Code with a 100% disability rating from the military: or
- Was released from active duty and has a disability rating of 100% from the Department of Veterans' Affairs or the military department.
- Required documentation: Documentation verifying marriage, DD-214, VA Statement certifying the service member's service-connected disability rating.
- Based on Servicemembers Death:
Veterans Preference and Eligibility (Hiring Paths): With Veterans' Preference, you may receive preference over non-veteran applicants in the hiring process. Understanding your eligibility will help you know which jobs you should apply to. There are several different eligibilities in the Federal Government; we call them 'hiring paths':
- Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA):
provides preference eligibles and certain eligible veterans the opportunity to compete for certain positions announced under an agency's merit promotion procedures. It applies only when the agency is filling a permanent, competitive service position and has decided to solicit candidates from outside its own workforce.
- Veterans' Recruitment Appointment (VRA)
- 30% or more Disabled Veteran
- Campaign Badge
- Expeditionary Medal
- Armed Forces Service Medal
- Recently separated (within 3 years) under honorable conditions
- 0-Point Preference:
- released or discharged from a period of active duty from the armed forces, after August 29, 2008, by reason of being the only surviving child in a family in which the father or mother or one or more siblings:
- Served in the armed forces, and
- Was killed, died as a result of wounds, accident, or disease, is in a captured or missing in action status, or is permanently 100 percent disabled or hospitalized on a continuing basis (and is not employed gainfully because of the disability or hospitalization), where
- The death, status, or disability did not result from the intentional misconduct or willful neglect of the parent or sibling and was not incurred during a period of unauthorized absence.
- No points are added to the passing score or rating of 0-point preference eligible, but you are entitled to be listed ahead of non-preference eligibles with the same score on an examination, or in the same quality category.
- 5-point Preference:
- if your active-duty service meets any of the following:
- For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred during the period beginning September 11, 2001, and ending on August 31, 2010, the last day of Operation Iraqi Freedom, OR
- During the Gulf War, between August 2, 1990, and January 2, 1992, OR
- For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955, and before October 15, 1976, OR
- Between April 28, 1952, and July 1, 1955, OR
- In a war, campaign, or expedition for which a campaign medal or badge has been authorized.
- 10-point Preference:
- have a service-connected disability, OR
- received a Purple Heart
- 30% or more: allows an agency to non-competitively appoint any veteran with a 30% or more service-connected disability.
The Schedule A authority, 5 CFR 213.3102(u), is an excepted authority used to appoint individuals who have a severe physical, psychological, or intellectual disability. To be eligible the candidate must:
- Show proof of disability in the form of a Schedule A Letter. A template for this letter can be found at the Agency’s website for Professionals with Disabilities under the "Resources to Combat Challenges" tab. Professionals with Disabilities
- Documentation may be from any licensed medical professional (e.g., a physician or other medical professional certified by a State, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. Territory to practice medicine), a licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist (i.e., State or private), or any Federal or State agency, or agency of the District of Columbia or a U.S. territory that issues or provides disability benefits.
If you served with the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps VISTA as a volunteer or volunteer leader, you may qualify for non-competitive eligibility. This means that a federal agency can hire you outside of the usual competitive examining process.
You’re eligible if your service as a volunteer or volunteer leader totals at least 1 year with the Peace Corps or one year of service with AmeriCorps VISTA.
Your non-competitive eligibility lasts for one year after completing your Peace Corps or AmeriCorps service. Federal agencies may extend the period for up to three years if, after your completed service, you are:
- In the military service.
- Studying at a recognized institution of higher learning.
- Involved in another activity, which in the agency’s view, warrants an extension.
Your non-competitive eligibility does not entitle you to a job within the federal government. You must still apply and meet qualification standards and additional requirements, such as a background investigation.
When applying for a job, include your Peace Corps or AmeriCorps VISTA certification of service documents with your application and make sure to mention your non-competitive eligibility status on your resume.
Please click here to request a copy of your Peace Corps Certification of Volunteer Service.
Visit the FSIS Careers page for more information on the many positions FSIS has to offer.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) offers current students and recent graduates several paths to Federal employment through enriching experiences. There is no better time than the present to make the career-related decisions that will create valuable opportunities that support your career path. Take your first step on your new journey and explore the career opportunities with FSIS.
Please note that the minimum age requirement to participate in student programs within FSIS is 18.
Opportunities for Current Students:
The Pathways Internship Program is for current students. If you’re a current student graduating high school, currently enrolled in or have been accepted into a college, trade school or another qualifying educational institution, you may be eligible.
The Student Volunteer Program is for students currently enrolled in college, who are looking for unpaid externships and shadowing opportunities.
Opportunities for Recent Graduates:
The Pathways Recent Graduate Program is for those who have graduated, within the past two years, from a qualifying educational institution or certificate program. The Recent Graduates Program offers career development with training and mentorship.
You must apply within two years of getting your degree or certificate (veterans have up to six years to apply due to their military service obligation).
The Presidential Management Fellows Program is for recent graduates with an advanced degree - either a professional or graduate degree such as a master’s, Ph.D. or J.D. You may be eligible if you:
- have completed an advanced degree from a qualifying educational institution or program within the past two years of the annual application opening date.
- Expect to complete all advanced degree requirements, including the completion or successful defense of any required thesis or dissertation, by August 31 of the next year, from the opening date of the annual application announcement.
The Externships and Volunteer Opportunities provide experience that is directly related to the student's education and career goals. We have developed the Externships and Volunteer Opportunities to provide students with valuable career related work experience in our public health agency.
These unpaid positions provide students with an opportunity to gain experience working for FSIS in a wide variety of positions.
FSIS Professionals Work to Protect Public Health
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