The federal government runs a ton of internship programs, and there are a number of advantages in pursuing one. First, the government tends to be better at following its own employment regulations, so they won’t stick you with menial work for no pay. And many government interns are compensated with more than just a stipend.
But to snap up some of these opportunities, you’ll have to act sooner than for the typical internships. The earliest deadlines for summer 2011 are coming up fast — in fact, the CIA’s summer internship program is due (e-mailed or postmarked) no later than this Friday.
So what can you do for your country? Plenty. Here are some of the internships we found around the Web. You can find find a few yourself by searching “government,' “federal' or “department' on Internships.com.
Central Intelligence Agency (Application Due: Oct. 15)
The National Clandestine Service internship program is about to close its application process, along with CIA internships in linguistics, analytics and the sciences. The NCS description is pretty vague, stating only that talented students will support the effort of “collecting human intelligence on critical international developments.' Sounds pretty cool — and we’re sure that at the CIA, the vaguer your work description, the better.
The CIA requires students in its programs to complete two internship terms — either two summer internships or a summer internship combined with a semester internship — before graduation.
State Department (Application Due: Nov. 1)
The United States’ diplomatic agency is recruiting interns for a wide variety of offices and bureaus. About half of them are overseas,with the remainder scattered across many major U.S. cities,but principally Washington, D.C. Because all student interns must receive, at minimum, “secret' security clearance, applications are due early and extensive background checks are required.
Justice Department: Criminal Division — Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (Application Due: November)
The Department of Justice has a number of summer internships available, but this is one of the earliest deadlines. Interns here work with attorneys and other U.S. staff to promote strengthening of foreign justice systems on each continent, with an emphasis on enhancing cooperation in cases of transnational criminal activity. It’s an ideal position for pre-law students who are interested in exploring comparative legal structures and are relatively fluent in at least one foreign language.
Spring Program: Application due Nov. 15
Summer Program: Application due Feb. 28
NASA’s talent development program throws students on a range of Earth science research projects that benefit local communities. Along the way, you’ll be guided by scientists and advisors from NASA and its strategic partners. This isn’t just your typical research project — it’s also a good way to build communication skills and network with civic decision makers, and maybe lock up a future job at the nation’s space agency.
By the way, don’t forget that some colleges, like Northern Illinois University, have congressional summer internship program deadlines approaching — another exciting way to take your talents inside Washington’s Beltway.
Do you have experience interning for a government department or agency? Share your experience in the comments below.