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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.

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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 depending on how students are brought onboard.  In general, students brought onboard via direct contracting (see the “How Do I Apply?" section below) may work up to three years, while students brought onboard via Oak Ridge Associated Universities can work up to five years.  Individual positions may be part-time or full-time. 

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How do I apply?

You can apply through either of these two ways: 

1.  FedConnect: Look for announcements on the official government acquisition and grants portal, FedConnect. Students brought onboard via this direct contracting method are essentially self-employed contractors; they submit applications and successful applicants are awarded a contract in the form of a purchase order. 

 Once you are on the FedConnect site,

  • click on “Search Public Opportunities Only”, then
  • search using “student services” as your search term.

2. EPA National Student Services Contract (NSSC) managed by ORAU. Look for announcements on the ORAU/EPA website. Students are recruited and hired by ORAU to work as contractors at EPA under the direction of an EPA mentor.  

Please note that the announcements posted on each website are different, so it is important to search both sites in order to get a true picture of which openings are available. Announcements posted on each site will have specific application instructions.

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