Security clearance

Most Federal IA positions require an SFS student to have some level of security clearance. In order to obtain security clearance, you will be required to submit personal information to the agency interested in hiring you. Begin compiling this information as early as possible.

Students can view the SF 86 form from the Office of Personnel Management in order to understand the criteria employers will review for national security positions.

Places to work

SFS students may serve their internship and job commitments at any federal agency, independent agency, government corporation, commission, or quasi-official agency. A list of these organizations is provided at USA.gov and USAJobs.

Students may also serve at a Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC). An FFRDC meets some special long-term research or development need that cannot be met as effectively by existing in-house or contractor resources. Examples include Sandia National Laboratories and the Software Engineering Institute. See the list of FFRDC.

Additional resources on working for the Federal government:

Internship/job FAQs

Get answers below to frequently asked questions about job and internship requirements for the SFS program.

Are students required to serve internships, and how long must the internship last?

Yes. Students funded more than one year are required to serve an internship at a Federal agency. This internship must be at least 10 weeks in length and will normally occur during the intervening summer. The internship is intended to enhance the student's information assurance knowledge by exposing them to worthwhile IA-related work experiences.

Where can I serve my internship and post-graduation service commitment?

At any Federal Agency, Independent Agency, Government Corporation, Commission, or Quasi-Official Agency. See https://www.usa.gov/federal-agencies/a for a list of organizations. Students may also serve at a National Laboratory or Federally funded Research Development Center (FFRDC). See http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/ffrdclist/

Where and how can students search for Federal internship and agency employment vacancies?

Federal agencies are not required to post their student opportunities in one central place, so finding specific internships can get a little tricky.

Students are encouraged to visit and register at USAJOBS–the Federal government's official jobs site and the Studentjobs.gov website for information regarding Federal internship and employment opportunities. On these websites, students can access current job vacancies, employment information fact sheets, applications and forms, and in some instances, apply for jobs online. Students will also be able to search internship and employment vacancies by category, state, and by Federal agency name.

To narrow the search enter: Information Technology or occupational code 2210 under Job Category, and 5-9 under Pay Grade Range.

Additionally, individual agencies also have websites that offer internship and permanent placement opportunities. (e.g. FBI)

Note: It is important to remember that not all Federal agencies are required to post their student internship or employment opportunities at the USAJOBS website. Therefore, it is highly recommended that students directly visit the websites of each Federal agency in which they are interested to obtain updated information regarding their specific internship or employment opportunities.

If students are unable to find the information they are seeking online, they may call the agency they are interested in and ask to speak with someone in charge of the internship program. This person should be able to provide them with information about available positions and descriptions of intern duties.

What is the process for "matching" students with Federal agencies?

A match occurs when a student receives an offer from an agency. To facilitate the matching process, students are required to register on the SFS program website and complete a resume online. Through the SFS website they are able to search for, and contact, participating agencies to explore internship and long-term placement opportunities. Federal agencies gain full access to the SFS website where they may view, download, and/or print resumes of participating students available for internships and post-graduation placement.

Students are encouraged to build their resumes in alignment with the framework provided by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) in order to match the search criteria used by government employers.

What happens if a student receives more than one offer for either the internship or their post-graduation commitment?

If a student receives more than one offer for an internship or post-graduation employment, it is up to the student which offer to accept, provided that offer is from an approved employer and the duties of the position are in Information Assurance. However, if the student receives an offer and fails to accept it because he or she is expecting better offers to come at a later date and the offer(s) expected does not materialize, it will constitute a breach of the service agreement. In these situations, the SFS Program Office will seek the remedial action that best serves the objectives of the SFS program and the interests of the government.

What is the typical starting salary for someone graduating from this program?

The grade level at which you will be appointed depends on your qualifications at the time of appointment. In general, Master's degree recipients may be appointed at the GS-9 level. It is important to note that the pay rates for information technology professionals are higher than for other jobs and pay rates may also differ based on geographic location.

What happens if the student leaves their Federal position before he or she serves the required period?

The student must repay a prorated amount equivalent to the length of the period not served. For example, if the student received funds for two years and serves for one-and-a-half years, he or she must repay 25% of the funds received.