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Student Trainee (Engineer) Pathways Internship Program

Located in Boulder, Colorado, the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) is the research and engineering laboratory of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). ITS supports NTIA by performing the research and engineering that enables the U.S. Government, national and international standards organizations, and many aspects of private industry to manage the radio spectrum and ensure that innovative, new technologies are recognized and effective.


  • The Institute for Telecommunication Sciences is seeking bright, innovative, results-oriented individuals to join our Pathways Internship Program (IP). Internships can be seasonal (spring, summer, fall) or year-round. Interns may work full-time while on academic breaks or part-time (up to 20 hours per week) while attending school. The Internship Program under the Pathways Program is designed to provide students enrolled in a wide variety of educational institutions, from high school to graduate level, with opportunities to work in Federal agencies and explore Federal careers while still in school and getting paid for work performed. At the successful conclusion of this program, you may be eligible for non-competitive conversion to a Federal career or career-conditional position. For more information on our work, please visit our website:
  • The selectee will serve as a Student Trainee in the electrical or computer engineering field assisting senior computer and electronics engineers. This position entails a variety of opportunities including:

For electrical engineering interns: Duties will include assisting technical staff in measurements of radio wave propagation, research and development of spectrum monitoring tools, radio wave propagation research, development of electromagnetic compatibility tools, assessment of over-the-air radio frequency transmissions, or evaluation of systems’ susceptibility to interference. Student trainees will work with senior engineers to configure measurement system hardware, configure systems for instrument control, conduct measurements in both field and lab environments, and post-process and analyze data. Students will apply established methods, tests, procedures, and techniques, and recording actions and results. Applicants will be working in a team-based environment, where they will meet regularly to provide status updates. Students will contribute to technical reports, refereed journals, and technical presentations. Prior course work in electromagnetic fields and waves, physics, mathematics, experimental science and experience with Matlab®, python or software defined radios is desired and it is expected that applicants will be able to adapt their knowledge to additional tasks.

For computer engineering interns: Duties will include implementing complex mathematical algorithms; developing, validating, and verifying of software implementations; improving and validating radio wave propagation models; and implementing novel RF measurement methods. Interns will be responsible for computer software programming development, testing, and documentation and applying engineering methods and techniques on communication systems. Applicants will be working in a team-based environment, where they will meet regularly to provide status updates through project management and source control tools. Proficiency in modern programming concepts is preferred and it is expected that applicants will be able to adapt their knowledge to additional tasks.


Conditions of Employment

  • U.S. citizenship required.
  • You must be suitable for Federal employment.
  • You must be registered for Selective Service (, if applicable.
  • Must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a degree-seeking student.
  • Relocation expenses will not be paid.
  • Applicants must meet ALL application requirements, to include a complete online resume, by 11:59 p.m. EASTERN TIME ZONE (ETZ) on the closing date of this announcement. Applicants must meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of this announcement. The duration of this Pathways appointment will serve as a trial period.
  • Any required investigations and clearances must be completed before the selectee can be placed in the position.


To qualify for either band, the candidate must be:

U.S. Citizen or U.S. National.

Must be at least 16 years of age at the time of appointment.

Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a student on at least a half-time schedule at a qualifying educational institution in a certificate, degree, or diploma program. Qualifying Educational Institutions are any of the following: 1) A public high school whose curriculum has been approved by a State or local governing body; 2) A private school that provides secondary education as determined under State law; 3) A home school that is allowed to operate in a State; 4) Any of the following educational institutions or curricula that have been accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education: A technical or vocational school; a 2-year or 4-year college or university; a graduate or professional school (e.g. law school, medical school); or a post-secondary home school curriculum.

Be in good academic standing (at least a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) or better in the defined scientific curriculum above).

If selected, must sign Student Pathways Program Agreement and provide official transcript at the time of appointment and at the end of each academic term to ensure eligibility. Your college transcript is used to verify successful completion of degree, or college course work. Official transcripts will be required before you can report to duty.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employments. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Qualification requirements in the vacancy announcement are based on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Qualification Standards Handbook, which contains federal qualification standards. This handbook is available on the Office of Personnel Management website located at


To qualify for the ZP-I Student Trainee (Engineering) position you must possess the following:

Completion of high school or GED diploma (equivalent to GS-2); completion of I full academic year of post-high school study (equivalent to GS-3); completion of 2 full academic years of post-high school study or an associate's degree (equivalent to GS-4); or completion of 4 academic years of post-high school leading to a bachelor's degree or equivalent degree (equivalent to GS-5).

To qualify for the ZP-II Student Trainee (Engineering) position you must possess the following:

Completion of 1 full academic year of graduate level education; or Eligibility under the Superior Academic Achievement Provision and completion of a bachelor's degree (equivalent to GS-7); or completion of 2 academic years of graduate level education, or a master's degree or equivalent graduate degree (equivalent to GS-9).


One year of specialized experience at the next lower grade level (GS-5 or equivalent pay band) in the Federal service. Specialized experience is defined as experience with computer or electrical engineering concepts. Developing, validating, and verifying software implementations (computer engineering) or configuring measurement systems, and processing and analyzing research data (electrical engineering).


A combination of experience and education.