Internships with the Federal government are a fantastic way to gain work experience and explore different career paths. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Pathways Program is specifically designed to help Native students join the workforce after finishing school.

The BIA offers fully paid internships with no prior work experience required. Whether you’re pursuing an Associate’s or a Doctorate, we are eager to help you develop your talent and prepare you for a rewarding career serving Indian Country.

Salary and Benefits

Student Trainee salaries are based on the federal general pay schedule, which sets the pay grades and steps for most federal employees. Specific salary details for each internship are provides on the job announcement.

For the 2023 general pay schedule, Student Trainee positions start with a base pay between general schedule grade 2 and 4 (GS-02 to GS-04), or between $11.31 and $18.01 an hour, plus cost of living adjustments depending on the location of the position.

In addition to their salary, Pathways Student Trainees accrue the same time off, sick leave, and overtime benefits as permanent federal employees do. The Pathways Program also offers tuition assistance and scholarships, temporary internship housing, paid training opportunities, and ample travel opportunities to BIA and Tribal locations across the United States.

Diverse Careers Serving Tribal Communities

The BIA provides a much wider variety of services than most federal agencies. Our work is incredibly diverse and constantly evolves to meet the unique needs of the Tribal communities we serve. BIA hiring spans many degree programs and fields, including:

  • Natural Resources Management
  • Environmental Science
  • Forestry
  • Wildland Fire Management
  • Rangeland Management
  • Realty
  • Accounting
  • Social Services
  • Water Resource Management
  • Engineering
  • Animal Sciences
  • Soil Conservation
  • Fisheries and Wildlife Biology
  • Tribal Policy
  • and much more!

Pathways Student Trainees can intern with BIA offices, but they can also choose to intern directly with federally recognized Tribes or Tribal organizations. Our interns play an important role in strengthening the Tribal workforce and often perform critically important work that benefits Native communities across the country.

Conversion to a Permanent Job

Successful Pathways Student Trainees can qualify for permanent job placements with the BIA or Tribal Nations after graduation. If all Pathways Program requirements are fulfilled, the candidate does not have to compete against other applicants and will automatically be transferred to the permanent position. This process accelerates students' entry into the federal workforce and is often accompanied by unique career progression ladders and special training opportunities.

To qualify for non-competitive job placement, participants must be able to complete 640 hours of Pathways work experience before their degree or educational program is completed. Up to 320 hours of previous internship or research experience may be counted toward this total.

For most students, one summer of full-time work (40 hours per week for 3 months) equates to roughly 480 hours of internship experience. Students may also have the chance to supplement their hour accruals via part-time internships during the school year.

Additional Information

Contact Us

Branch of Pathways
301 NW 6th Ste 311
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. CST, Monday–Friday.