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Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP)



Purpose: The Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) was designed to

introduce talented students to the advantages and challenges of working for the Federal
Government; to provide opportunities for students to combine academic study with on-
the-job work experience; and to provide opportunities for students to earn money while
continuing their education.

Eligibility Criteria:
1) Must be U.S. Citizen or a National
2) Must be at least 16 years of age
3) Must be enrolled or accepted as a degree-seeking student
4) Must be taking at least half-time academic/vocational/technical course load
5) Must maintain a good academic standing in school (GPA above 2.00)

Types of Positions: This program includes positions in all occupational groups

(Professional, Administrative, Technical, Clerical, and Wage Grade) within the Service
but particularly biologist and natural resource positions that promote the agency
mission. The position does not have to be relevant to the student’s field of study.

Grade Levels: Students may be appointed at any General Schedule (GS) or Wage
Grade (WG) based on the classification of the position and the student’s qualifications.

Classification: Classification pertains to an evaluation process that determines the

appropriate pay system, occupational series, title, and grade/pay depending on the
student position. Classification should reflect the duties of the position. Positions subject
to the General Schedule are classified as student trainees (XX99 series) for the
appropriate occupational group. Positions covered by the Wage Grade System are
classified as student trainees (XX01 series) of the appropriate occupational group.

Additional information on classification can be found at Federal Classification and Job

Grading Systems also refer to Classification Guidance.
Qualifications Required: Qualifications describe the knowledge, skills, and/or abilities
a person must have to be successful in a particular occupation. Student employees are
evaluated by the OPM Qualification Standards as student trainees.

Please ensure each student meets the qualifications of the position description or the
student WILL NOT be allowed employment for the position being filled.

Appointment Status: Accepted service appointment under Schedule B, 213.3202(a).

Work Schedules: Students may work part time or full time and occasionally
intermittent. During the academic school year there are no limitations on the number of
hours worked. However, the designated work schedule may not interfere with the
student’s academic schedule.

Special Provisions: Students are typically appointed to a position not to exceed (NTE)
one year. However, their appointment may be extended in one year increments as long
as the student remains eligible (see “Eligibility Criteria” above).

Promotions: Students can be converted noncompetitively to another STEP

appointment at a higher grade if the required qualifications are met and the student
continues to meet the definition of a student (see “Eligibility Criteria” above).

Conversion Eligibility: Students are not eligible for non-competitive conversion to a

permanent position. Students may be converted to the Student Career Experience
Program (SCEP) when they meet the requirements and if a position is available; STEP
work experience may be creditable toward SCEP work hour requirements.

Tuition and Travel Assistance: STEP students are not eligible for tuition and travel

Applicable Benefits: Students are not eligible for retirement, life insurance, or TSP
benefits. After one year of continuous employment students are eligible for health
benefits but must pay the government and employee share of premium. Students are
eligible for holidays, annual and sick leave.

Other Comments: Nepotism Rule – Students may work in same agency with a relative
only when there will be no direct reporting relationship and the relative has no influence
or control over the students employment.

How to apply: Interested students should apply DIRECTLY to the specific office or field
station where they are interested in working. Project Leaders MUST be contacted first to
be sure they are actually recruiting. If they are not recruiting, they may be able to let you
know of other Project Leaders who are recruiting.

The following Student Employment Appointment Reference Chart has been created to
assist you while filing appointment paperwork for student employment. In addition,
please use the STEP Appointment Checklist when submitting new student
appointments to Human Resources after the student has been selected.

Additional information on student employment can be found at FWS Manual 130,

Guidelines for Managers and Supervisors or by contacting Human Resources at

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