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The Student Career Experience
Program (SCEP)

This program was established to recruit and train degree-seeking students for professional, administrative and technical Fish and Wildlife Service positions.  Students are given the opportunity to work in field such as fishery or wildlife biology, forestry, wildlife refuge management, law enforcement, and engineering.  Opportunities in administrative positions may also become available.  Student will combine their studies with a variety of practical work experience in our regional office, national fish hatcheries, national wildlife refuges and ecological field stations.  The work experience is related closely to the student’s educational program to provide a career-related on-the-job experience.

To Be Eligible for the SCEP, Students Must Be:

  • At least 16 years of age.
  • A U.S. citizen. Lawfully admitted resident aliens may be considered absent qualified citizens; however, students accepted into the program as trainees must be U.S. citizens if and when they are converted to permanent appointments after graduation.
  • Enrolled or accepted for study leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate, at an accredited high school, technical or vocational school, two, or four year college or university, graduate or professional school.
  • Taking at least a half-time course load as defined by the school.  An exception to this requirement is permitted when a student is in the final period before graduation and needs to be less than a halftime course load.
  • A student is in good standing with the academic institution and maintains the grade point average (GPA) requirements of the school.

Student Trainees in the SCEP Must:

  • Meet qualifications/suitability requirements.
  • Be employed by the Service in a position related to the student’s academic field of study.
  • Be either working for the Service, attending school, or both, at any time during the year.
  • Meet performance and conduct standards during periods of work with the Service.

Other Program Parameters Include:

  • A written agreement must be initiated by the Service and signed by all parties (the student, school, and the Service).
  • The student must complete at least 640 hours (16 weeks) of career- related work with the Service prior to completion of or concurrently with academic course requirements.
  • Appointments may be made at any grade for which a student qualifies, under either the General Schedule (GS) or Wage Grade (WG).  Those under the GS are eligible for locality pay, and if applicable, special pay rates.
  • Students are eligible for health insurance, life insurance, retirement, and leave accrual on the same basis as permanent employees with comparable work schedules.
  • The Service may provide for financial assistance, which always includes salary, and may include tuition assistance; travel and transportation expenses between the school and the duty station; and low or no-cost housing.
  • Work schedules may be part-time, full-time, alternating, or concurrent with the course work. The work schedule should not interfere with the student’s academic schedule or progress.

After graduation, Students:

  • Must meet qualification standards for the target position. 
  • Are eligible for non-competitive to a career or career conditional appointment within 120 days of the degree conferment and satisfactory program requirements.
  • May be converted within the Service or to a position in another Federal agency.

 Recruitment of Candidates:

  • STEP positions are recruited and filled based on the needs of the Service.  A notice will appear on bottom of the page for any open recruitment of candidates.
  • STEP candidates are also recruited at targeted recruitment events (e.g., job fairs, college recruitment activities, and similar events).  Potential applicants will be informed of the recruitment event, the jobs under recruitment and the appointment requirements.  All applications submitted during the event for positions covered by the event will be accepted.
  • Application packages must contain (1) a resume, (2) a current transcript and (3) a school letter of current enrollment and in good standing.  Application packages will only be accepted for a specific position notice.


For More Information Contact:

Danny Louallen at 404-679-4024

SCEP Recruitment Notice


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