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Opportunities for Students and Recent Graduates

Career entry and student employment programs enable students to obtain job experience in their field of interest and engage in public service. Most of our student interns have the opportunity to work on one of our construction job sites located across the country, while some work in one of the Federal Lands Highway Division offices located in Ashburn, Virginia; Lakewood, Colorado; and Vancouver, Washington.

Interns on a construction field trip
Arlington Memorial Bridge Reconstruction Field Trip, Washington DC

Through the Pathways Program, the Division offices hire college students majoring in Civil Engineering, Construction Engineering Management, Geomatics (Surveying) Engineering, Environmental Engineering, etc. to fill short-term staffing needs. This program is a mechanism for recruitment into entry-level positions within FLH. The program provides an excellent opportunity for on-the-job experience, preparing the student for potential future consideration for employment with the Federal Highway Administration and the transportation industry.

    Eligibility Requirements

    Current students must be U.S. Citizens in an accredited college (including 4-year colleges/universities, community colleges, and junior colleges); advanced degree programs; or other qualifying educational institution pursuing a qualifying degree or certificate.

    Features of the Program

    • You may be employed year-round and appointments may be made at any time during the year, including summer.
    • You may work full-time or part-time schedules. You can adjust your work hours to fit your schedule, without exceeding 40 hours per week. Your work schedule should not interfere with your academic schedule.
    • Students in the program may be non-competitively converted to a career or career-conditional appointment when they have:
    • Completed at least 640 hours of career-related work
    • Completed the educational requirements for graduation
    • Received a positive performance evaluation and recommendation from the office in which they worked as an Intern.

    Interns are assigned under many different disciplines based on their focus area and the needs of the division office. Assignments may include travel throughout the U.S. These Disciplines include: 

    Bridge Inspection

    The Bridge Inspection Program handles the inspection and structural rating of approximately 2,200 structures owned by the National Park Service and other Federal agencies. The structures are inspected on a biennial basis in accordance with the National Bridge Inspection Standards and Specifications for National Tunnel Inventory. The collected data is incorporated into a bridge management system to define, support, and program improvement projects. With the assistance of engineers, the intern will operate bridge inspection equipment, take and record data, develop sketches and prepares required reports. Occasional travel within the U.S. is expected.

    Bridge Management

    The Bridge Management section provides programming and long-term planning assistance and support to Federal Land Highway (FLH) partner agencies bridge programs. With the assistance of engineers, the intern will develop Regional or National bridge prioritization lists based on structural condition data combined with risk and vulnerability factors, such as risk of damage or failure due to a seismic or scour event; provide future funding scenarios based on structure deterioration rates, design standards, life cycle costs and other factors; and develop refined cost estimates for bridge reconstruction, repair and/or maintenance to be used for programming purposes.


    This assignment will introduce the intern to the administration of construction contracts to ensure a construction contractor’s conformance to the technical, environmental, and aesthetic requirements of the contract plans and specifications. With the assistance of engineers, the intern will inspect and document the contractor’s work for payment, become familiar with contract requirements and processes, and sampling and testing of materials. Interns will be assigned to projects located throughout the U.S.

    Environmental Compliance

    The Environmental section supports the engineering staff by satisfying National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other Federal and State environmental laws and regulations. The intern will be preparing environmental documents and managing environmental contracts. The primary functions of this assignment include: evaluating social, economic, and environmental impacts of transportation projects; writing environmental documents (including categorical exclusions, environmental assessments, and 4(f) evaluations); acquire environmental permits; performing public involvement and agency coordination; acting as environmental lead on cross-functional project teams from scoping through post-construction mitigation; and oversight of contractors performing FLH environmental work. There may be occasional travel within the U.S.


    This assignment will introduce the intern to the design and analysis of bridge foundations, retaining walls, cut and fill slopes, land and rock slide repairs, and other transportation structures. The intern will assist the field crews perform subsurface investigations by using power drill rigs, subsurface sampling equipment, on-site geophysical testing equipment, and rock coring equipment. There may be occasional travel within the U.S.

    Highway Design

    This assignment will introduce the intern to roadway design from the preliminary stage to the completion of Plans, Specifications, and Estimates (PS&E). The intern will prepare various portions of the contract PS&E which will include mapping, highway horizontal and vertical alignments, earthwork, drainage, highway safety features, erosion control, and traffic control using an integrated CADD and civil software system. There may be occasional travel within the U.S.


    The Hydraulics staff provide hydraulics engineering recommendations to highway and bridge designers on a wide variety of drainage-related situations commonly encountered in highway planning, design, and construction. With the assistance of staff engineers, the intern will perform hydrologic and hydraulic studies for large culverts, drainage channels, storm sewer systems, bridges, stormwater management and erosion control. There may be occasional travel within the U.S.


    FLH Division Offices have operational highway materials laboratories that offer basic materials training and provide materials analysis for design and quality control for construction. The laboratories provide support for geotechnical and roadway design, materials testing, and quality assurance for construction. They are AASHTO accredited in common highway materials testing. This assignment would enable the intern to assist laboratory staff with all the materials testing and reports.


    This assignment will introduce the intern to analysis and design of asphalt and concrete pavements. The interns will assist the field crew in pavement condition investigations by using power drill rigs, subsurface sampling equipment, pavement coring equipment, and dynamic deflection measurement devices. There may be occasional travel within the U.S.


    The intern will assist the Planning section in reviewing available information regarding infrastructure condition, management plans, and operational and safety needs to develop and recommend long-range plans for various highways, transit, and trails construction programs. The intern will also assist with transportation planning and engineering studies for Federal facilities at the unit, state, and multi-state regional levels to collect infrastructure information to assist the agency in planning future visitor transportation needs. There may be occasional travel within the U.S.


    This assignment will introduce the intern to the various functions of the Programs section from the initial setup of accounts at project conception to closing out of projects, as well as their responsibilities for stewardship and oversight. Interns will become familiar with several Programs groups including the Federal Lands Transportation Programs, the Federal Lands Access Program, and/or State Programs. The Programs staff works closely with Partner Agencies and other offices within the Divisions to ensure funds are available for design, construction advertisement and award, and special studies to keep projects on schedule.

    Project Management

    This assignment may include assisting with the FHWA-EFL stewardship and oversight function relative to the overall management and direction for the planning, coordination, and administration of complex, politically-sensitive projects; performing reviews of project deliverables; assisting with coordinating to ensure certain project requirements, approvals and clearances are secured in a timely manner; performing minor design functions; assisting with project briefings, both written and oral, on the overall management of the project in accordance with the Memorandum of Agreements (MOA); and attending project meetings in accordance with the MOA.

    Road Inventory Program (RIP)

    The intern will assist the roadway inventory team to provide roadway inventory and condition analysis for National Park Service and other Federal Lands Management agencies. With the use of state-of the-art data collection vehicle equipment, this team documents the condition of pavements, geometrics, and drainage of existing park roads and parkways through video logs and roadside inventory reports. The collected data is used by management to define, support, and program improvement projects. This team supports the Federal agencies in developing pavement management systems. Travel within the U.S. is expected.

    Survey and Mapping

    The intern will assist the Survey and Mapping team with the collection of data and preparation of topographic and planimetric mapping for the design and construction of highways. The intern will work with field crews to perform control, planimetric, topographic, cadastral and subsurface utility surveys. The intern will also work with office staff in processing survey data and compiling base map. Survey and mapping uses the latest computer technology for both collection and mapping preparation. Travel within the U.S. is expected.

    Transportation Operations (Safety and Traffic)

    The Transportation Operations section provides expert technical guidance for EFLHD personnel and other partner agencies on a variety of highway safety and traffic issues including highway safety appurtenances, roadside design and traffic operations. The intern will assist engineers in the review of PS&E packages on projects involving safety systems and provide for early safety consideration in the planning, design and construction phases of highway projects. Interns will also assist engineers in performing traffic and safety studies including speed studies, highway operation studies, queue studies, traffic calming studies, work zone safety, pedestrian safety, road safety audits and crash data analysis. Occasional travel within the U.S. is expected.

    Benefits of Program Participation

    • Flexible work schedule
    • Professional work environment
    • Annual leave, Sick leave & Paid holidays
    • Health benefits and Life insurance
    • Salaried position
    • Public Transportation subsidy (where applicable)

    Veteran preference candidates are encouraged to apply.

    Pathways Program for College Students & Recent Graduates

    For more information on the Pathways Program and to start the application process visit USAJOBS Pathways.

    How to Apply

    Vacancies for the Pathways Internship program are posted on USAJOBS. Interested candidates should establish an account on USAJOBS, and may sign up for email notifications on job postings. FHWA vacancies will be posted under the heading "FHWA Pathways Internship".

    Create your USAJOBS Account in advance. Go to USAJOBS and click on "My Account".

    Upload or create a resume: From "My Account", select "Resumes".

    Review the vacancy announcement.

    Keep your account updated.

    If you are in need of help with the USAJOBS website and application process please visit the USAJOBS Help Center.

    Student Summer Internships

    The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides The Summer Transportation Internship Program for Diverse Groups (STIPDG) a unique opportunity to gain valuable professional experience and skills that will complement your academic pursuits. This hands-on program is designed to mentor and cultivate tomorrow's leaders, strengthen their understanding of the transportation industry and prepare them for future public service opportunities.

    The STIPDG is a paid internship program open to all qualified candidates without regard to their race, gender, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic prohibited by state or local law.

    For more information on the STIPDG Program visit the FHWA STIPDG page.

    Updated: Wednesday, February 8, 2023