U.S. Customs and Border Protection Internship Program

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The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is tasked with the responsibility of keeping America safe from terrorists and their weapons while ensuring that lawful trade and those with legal papers can enter and exit the country smoothly. They do their job at the more than 300 ports of entry all over the nation; in the long international land borders that we share with Mexico and Canada; and in the air and bodies of water as well. The CBP is successful in doing its job as an agency because of its Border Patrol Agents, Air and Marine Interdiction Agents, Agriculture Specialists, and other Research and Mission Support employees who work silently out of the limelight to provide data, intelligence, and other resources to the frontliners. 

If this kind of environment seems like the kind you want to work for in the future then you can get a feel of what it’s like even when you’re still in school by participating in the CBP Internship Program. All students currently enrolled in an accredited high school; colleges, including four-year colleges or universities, community colleges, and junior colleges; and professional, technical, vocational, and trade schools are eligible to become interns. Those who are pursuing advanced degree programs or studying in other qualifying educational institutions pursuing a qualifying degree or certificate are also eligible to apply for the program.

The CBP Internship Program replaces the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP). In essence, the idea is for all interns to explore Federal careers while still in school and get paid for the job they do. But if you successfully complete the Internship Program, you may get a permanent job in the civil service.

To intern with the CBP, you have to relate it to your academic and career goals. If you are currently pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice, for example, and really see yourself in a law enforcement career, then participating in the Internship Program of the CBP will give you the hands-on experience you need to get to know the career more intimately. Depending on your agreement with the CBP, you can work part-time or fulltime for a certain time period so that you can complete the educational requirement.

Now here’s what makes the CBP Internship Program so highly coveted among students: After 120 days of successful completion of the program, you could be converted to a permanent position or to a term position not exceeding four years. Of course, it’s not enough that you finish 120 days of internship. You should comply with the following requirements as well: 1) Completed 640 hours of work experience in the Program (although 320 hours can be waived if you demonstrate high potential); 2) Completed your degree or certificate requirements; 3) Meet the qualification standards for the position to which the Intern will be converted; 4) Meet agency-specific requirements as specified in the Participant’s Agreement; and 5) Performed the job successfully.

To learn more about the CBP Internship Program, you can visit their website (http://cbp.gov) or talk to the guidance or career counselor in your school.