United States Department of Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service
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Note: Similar information is available in a 2-page, full-color PDF flyer.

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, unadulterated, 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)

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.

Student Educational Employment Program (SEEP)
For paid internships, students will be hired under one of the following programs:

Student Career Experience Program (SCEP): The program provides experience that is directly related to the student's educational program and career goals. We have developed this program to provide students with a valuable career-related work experience in our public health agency.

Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP): The program provides students with work experience in our public health agency. However, the nature of the duties does not have to be related to the student's academic career goals.

SCEP and STEP opportunities are typically during the summer only and are a full-time paid job. For more information about these programs, visit: http://www.usajobs.gov/StudentJobs.

Basic Qualifications for the SEEP
U.S. citizenship is required.

Student must be currently enrolled in college, taking at least a half-time course load. Graduating high school seniors must be accepted for enrollment in college. Specific courses or minimum amount of semester hours of course credit completed varies depending on the position. Students must be enrolled or plan to enroll in courses, continuing their education in the fall.

Externships (Unpaid):

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.

Basic Qualifications for Volunteer 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

Internship (Paid):
Send a copy of your resume and college transcript to fsisstudentjobs@fsis.usda.gov.

Be sure to indicate in the email message the location where you would like to work and the type of job or occupational area you are seeking. Transcripts may be unofficial, but, if selected, you must submit an official transcript.

In addition, look for our student employment opportunity announcements at your campus career center.

Externship (Unpaid):
Please email Laura.Sepulveda@fsis.usda.gov the following information:
  • Name
  • 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.)
  • Resume
  • Transcripts (unofficial are fine)

If you can not email transcripts, please send them to:
Laura Sepulveda
1400 Independence Avenue, SW.
Mail Stop 3150- SB Washington, DC 20250-3700
...or fax to 202-205-2515.

If you have any questions about the program please email Laura.Sepulveda@fsis.usda.gov.

Note: For internships and externships, a reliable mode of transportation may be required for any duty station outside of Washington, DC. To learn more about FSIS, visit www.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.


Equal Opportunity
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, 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:
USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights Room 326-W, Whitten Building 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250- 9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD).

USDA is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer.

Last Modified: February 9, 2012



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