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12 Government Internships for High School Students

Engaging with the Public Service Sector can offer a unique preview into how layered and expansive the Government’s work can be. If you’ve ever been interested in learning more about it – a Government internship might be useful for you! We’ve compiled a list of 12 Government internships for high school students.

Note that all the internships in the list are offered by government bodies and entities.

Why Should You Do A Government Internship?

  • Government internships offer you the opportunity to gain practical experience in the field of public service. They can learn about the inner workings of government, understand how policies are developed and implemented, and observe the day-to-day operations of various departments and agencies.

  • Working in a government internship allows you to network with professionals in their field of interest. They can build connections with government officials, policymakers, and fellow interns, which can be beneficial for future career prospects and obtaining references.

  • Government Internships can add an edge to your profile, especially while applying to college. College admissions officers are looking for students who actively pursue skill-building and independent opportunities outside of their school curriculum. Government Internships can demonstrate motivation and dedication towards public service and the aforementioned qualities.

With that, here’s a list of Government Internships for high school students.

The House of Representatives House Page Internship is conducted in and with the House of Representatives. Some states conduct a house page program for the House of Representatives, and this includes Washington State. This internship program is a unique work-learn opportunity! Pages participate for one work week, assisting the House of Representatives with duties including serving on the chamber floor, making deliveries throughout campus, supporting member offices, and attending Page School. Page School supplements the hands-on learning experience with a classroom component geared toward understanding the legislative process. As a bonus the internship credits 20 hours of community service!

Location: Capitol Campus, Olympia

Application Deadline: TBA, Applications open November 1st

Program Dates: One week (40 hours) between January and April (intern can choose the week)

Eligibility: High School Student (between 14 and 16 years old)

The Air Force Research Laboratory conducts the AFRL program, which is a paid internship opportunity for upper-level high school students who are interested in aerospace engineering. Post-selection, you will receive guidance from full-time AFRL scientists and engineers, touring AFRL laboratories and working on cutting-edge research and technology. Each mentor in the program is highly knowledgeable and you can find a list of mentors here. The topics in the AFRL program are centered around aerospace/ mechanical design, complex electromagnetic structures, and more. The research projects for Summer 2023 include the Clean-up of PFAs contamination, research on Cold Atom sources and their use in navigation and technology, and the development of a personalized chatbox with natural communication (to name a few). This could be a very unique way to engage with the Government!

Location: Varies based on the program

Application Deadline: Varies from internship to internship

Program Dates:

  • Fall - from late August/early September to mid-December (16 weeks)

  • Spring - from mid-January to early May (16 weeks)

  • Summer - from late May/early June to August (10 weeks)

Eligibility: High School student that is at least 16 years old, available to work full-time in person (40 hours/week)

The NYC Office of the Mayor offers internships to high school students who are interested in the functioning of city government and policy. Interns apply to the department that interests them most and, if selected, will work within that department for the duration of their internship. In their positions, interns will have the chance to collaborate with staff and work on a range of projects including conducting research, attending meetings, managing incoming inquiries, analyzing data, drafting briefings, staffing events, and more. Through the bi-weekly Speaker Series, interns also get to learn more about the inner workings of the City government. Guest speakers include Deputy Mayors, Commissioners, Program Directors, and other senior staff. Interns will also come together to develop a service project. The goal is to design and execute a project that will impact the most deserving communities and uplift New Yorkers in need.

Cost: No cost, paid hourly ($15/hour)

Location: New York City

Application Deadline:

  • TBA for Summer term – likely to be mid-March based on previous years

  • TBA for Fall/Spring Terms

Program Dates:

  • Summer term – June through August (dates TBA for 2024)

  • Fall/Spring terms – September through April (dates TBA for 2024)

Eligibility: High School Students aged between 16 and 18 years old, residents of NYC

Another unique way to engage with the Government is through NASA. NASA’s Office of STEM Engagements provides internship opportunities at all their locations around America. If you’re located near a NASA facility, you can opt for an internship in a research facility near you. However, if you live away from one, NASA now conducts virtual internships as well! You can access their database on internships here (you will have to filter through the database to find opportunities open for high school students specifically). Through this internship, you will gain the opportunity to experience real-world applications of aerospace engineering. Students interested in engineering or astrophysics can consider this program as it’s a great value-add for college applications, owing to the reputation and prestige of this program as well as NASA.

Cost: No cost, stipend provided

Location: Varies, different for each internship offered

Application Deadline: Varies from internship to internship

Program Dates:

  • Fall - from late August/early September to mid-December (16 weeks)

  • Spring - from mid-January to early May (16 weeks)

  • Summer - from late May/early June to August (10 weeks)

Eligibility: High School Students

Internships at Treasury give students the opportunity to collect, analyze and present policy data, as well as conduct research and summarize academic literature and news important for priority missions. This is a great program to build a solid foundation for a future career in government. Through these internships, you get the chance to gain research and analytical skills, and management and organizational skills through interactions with Treasury colleagues and other U.S. government agencies. You can choose to work in any one of the several offices that make up the Treasury Departmental Offices (headquarters).

Cost: Fully-funded, no stipend provided

Location: Washington, D.C.

Application deadline: Varies for all three Internship periods -

  • Spring Internship Period - Apply in October.

  • Summer Internship Period - Apply in December.

  • Fall Internship Period - Apply in June.

Program dates: Treasury typically offers internship opportunities in the spring, summer, and fall:

  • Spring Internship Period (January-May): Apply in October

  • Summer Internship Period (May-August): Apply in December

  • Fall Internship Period (September-December): Apply in June

Eligibility: Students must be U.S. citizens and must be enrolled or accepted at an accredited institution

The Department of Education (ED) offers internships for students interested in gaining work experience in government and federal education, policy, and administration. Generally, the department tries to tailor the internship to the student’s interest – so they have opportunities available in Education Policies, Data Analytics, Grants Management, and more. Interns usually work 20 to 40 hours per week during the spring and fall terms and full-time during the summer session. That being said, all scheduling, including start/end dates and hours per week, is flexible and can be negotiated. This is a great way to network and potentially build a foundation for a government career.

Cost: No cost, unpaid

Location: Washington D.C.

Application Deadline: Rolling, dependent on program dates

Program Dates:

  • Fall – September through December (dates TBA)

  • Winter/Spring – January through May (dates TBA)

  • Summer – May/June through July/August (dates TBA)

Eligibility: At least 16 years old, in high school

This program is offered by the American Bar Association (ABA) and it aims to  promote diversity and inclusivity in the legal profession by encouraging students from all backgrounds to explore careers in law. In this program, you will have the opportunity to intern with federal or state judges across the country!

As an intern, you will gain hands-on experience in a court environment, observe trials, and conduct legal research. During the program, you'll have the privilege of working directly with judges and their chambers, experiencing the judicial system from the inside. You'll have the chance to engage in legal research, writing, and observe court proceedings, helping you develop a comprehensive understanding of the legal process and invaluable practical skills.

The JIOP is ideal for those who are genuinely committed to pursuing a career in law and government, particularly if you're interested in working within the judicial branch of government.

Cost: $2000

Location: Various cities across the country.

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in April.

Program dates: 6 weeks typically in the summer.

Eligibility: All high school students are eligible to apply.

If you’re interested in both interning with the government and working in the field of bio-medicine, this internship opportunity could be for you. With the HS-SIP program, conducted at NIH facilities, you can carry out cutting-edge research under the guidance and mentorship of world-renowned researchers. HS-SIP is extremely competitive, with only around 15% of candidates being accepted. The program length is 8 weeks and offers a stipend of $2080 per month. As part of the internship, you are required to complete an orientation program before starting your research.

Cost: fully funded, stipend provided

Location: NIH campus, as well as Labs in Baltimore and Frederick, Maryland; Research Triangle Park, NC,

Application Deadline: February 1st

Program Dates: May 18th to August 4th

Eligibility: All high school juniors and seniors living within 40 miles of the NIH Campus on which they will intern

While the Page Program may not strictly be a traditional internship, it follows a work-learn-mentorship model that provides you with real-world experience and is also quite prestigious. The Senate Page program is one of the longest-running opportunities for high school students interested in political internships. Pages are sponsored by their senators and will reside in Washington D.C. (living expenses, rent, and laundry will be covered). Pages are responsible for delivering correspondence and legislative material within the Capitol and Senate office buildings, preparing the chamber for Senate sessions, and more. Pages will also have some amount of coursework they are expected to complete. Note that there are only 30 positions available, so not all senators will be sponsoring/selecting a page. Reach out to your local senator if you are interested in applying to this / check if they are sponsoring a page.

Location: Washington D.C.

Application Deadline: Rolling

Program Dates:

  • Fall and Spring Sessions are approximately 5 months (Dates TBA)

  • Summer Session is around 3 to 4 weeks (Dates TBA)

Eligibility: Rising Junior or Senior in high school, U.S. Citizen

The New York City High School Law Internship Program aims to connect interested high school students in the city with legal employers and governmental organizations. Since its inception in 1993, it has accepted more than 2000 interns and linked them with prestigious employers. The employers include law firms, corporations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. Internship duties may include assisting paralegals, filing paperwork, maintaining records, and organizing documents.

In addition to the on-the-job experience, you will also receive exposure to the legal profession through development programs offered by your legal employers as part of the internship program. While this internship is more centered around law, you can opt for working alongside a governmental organization to understand the practical aspects of a career in law and government!

Cost: No cost; you will receive a stipend of $15-20 per hour

Location: New York City

Application Deadline: Applications for 2023 have closed. Based on this year, deadlines close in the last week of January.

Program Dates: May – August

Eligibility: NYC public high school students are eligible to apply

The US Department of the Interior offers two kinds of internships to High School Students. The first is an indefinite intern – who will work for at least a year and may potentially work beyond a year. The second is an Intern not-to-extend, who is expected to work short-term. Regardless of which type of internship you take with them, the role will entail an individual development plan which centers on developing various skills for the intern as well as helping set career goals. This internship offers a preview of land conservation, management, and protection policy.

Location: Internships available in these states

Application Deadline: Rolling

Program Dates: Flexible, depending on internship type you will have to either complete 640 hours of work experience or work for 12 weeks.

Eligibility: High School Student who is at least 16 years old

The U.S. Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) is a summer youth employment program conducted by several departments within the United States Government for high school students interested in having work experiences in national forests and parks, wildlife refuges, and fish hatcheries across the United States. If selected, interns will be involved in activities including building and repairing trails, preserving and repairing historic buildings, removing invasive species, helping with wildlife and land research, and leading environmental education.

The internship has an expectation of interns working 40 hours/week.

Cost: No cost, stipend provided

Location: Local to your location, opportunities near you can be found here

Application Deadline: Rolling

Program Dates: Flexible, 3 to 10 weeks in duration

Eligibility: High schoolers who are at least 15 years old

If you're looking for a real-world internship that can help boost your resume while applying to college, we also recommend Ladder Internships!

Ladder Internships is a selective program equipping students with virtual internship experiences at startups and nonprofits around the world! 

The startups range across a variety of industries, and each student can select which field they would most love to deep dive into. This is also a great opportunity for students to explore areas they think they might be interested in, and better understand professional career opportunities in those areas. The startups are based all across the world, with the majority being in the United States, Asia and then Europe and the UK. 

The fields include technology, machine learning and AI, finance, environmental science and sustainability, business and marketing, healthcare and medicine, media and journalism and more.

You can explore all the options here on their application form. As part of their internship, each student will work on a real-world project that is of genuine need to the startup they are working with, and present their work at the end of their internship. In addition to working closely with their manager from the startup, each intern will also work with a Ladder Coach throughout their internship - the Ladder Coach serves as a second mentor and a sounding board, guiding you through the internship and helping you navigate the startup environment. 

Cost: $1490 (Financial Aid Available)

Location:  Remote! You can work from anywhere in the world.

Application deadline: April 16 and May 14

Program dates: 8 weeks, June to August

Eligibility: Students who can work for 10-20 hours/week, for 8-12 weeks. Open to high school students, undergraduates and gap year students!

Another option - Lumiere

If you are interested in doing university-level research in law and policy-making, then you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students that I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 2100 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a Ph.D. student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.

Image Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury logo



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