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OSHA Graduate Nurse Internship

Program Outline

The following information explains the goals and objectives, eligibility requirements, selection process and performance criteria for the Occupational Safety and Health Graduate Nurse Internship Program.


The OSHA Graduate Nurse Internship is a designed experience for registered professional nurses pursuing a graduate degree in occupational health nursing or public health with an occupational health focus. The internship facilitates a professional relationship between the graduate nurse student and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The intern will be provided research opportunities and educational experiences in worker safety and health. The internship integrates occupational health theory with professional practice.

Program Objective

To develop a cadre of occupational health nurses with experience in occupational health and safety policy and regulatory affairs at the national level. This group is prepared to enter the occupational health community as worker advocates with direct, hands-on knowledge of OSHA‘s mission.

Internship Learning Objectives

At the completion of the internship the intern should be able to:

  • Identify the major components of OSHA’s organizational structure and function.
  • Describe the role of the occupational health nurse and other health and safety professionals in carrying out OSHA’s mission.
  • Analyze a specific occupational health or safety issue and develop a related project of use to the agency.
Internship Activities

During the Internship, the graduate nurse student will participate in learning experiences such as:

  • Receive a general orientation to OSHA, including an overview of the various Directorates and their missions.
  • Research a topic of interest to OSHA and create a product for the public or OSHA field staff. Prepare a presentation for OSHA staff describing the product and, if appropriate, offering ideas for further agency action.
  • Observe compliance activities through worksite visits with an experienced OSHA compliance safety and health officer (an inspector).
  • Participate in current regulatory process activities relating to occupational safety and health.
  • Attend congressional and/or public hearings related to current agency activities.
  • Participate in informational visits to external stakeholder groups, e.g., American Nurses Association, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, industry representatives, etc.
Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to participate in the OSHA Graduate Nurse Internship Program, individuals must be enrolled in a graduate program affiliated with an accredited university.

  • Eligible Student. An eligible graduate student is any registered professional nurse pursuing an advanced degree in occupational health nursing or public health with an occupational health focus at an accredited university.
  • Eligible University. An eligible university is any accredited university providing graduate education in occupational health nursing, public health or other disciplines with an occupational health focus.

Intern candidates will be recruited from eligible universities. The Office of Occupational Health Nursing (OOHN) Director will notify eligible universities about program recruitment by various means such as electronic and/or paper communication.


A graduate student meeting the eligibility criteria described above may apply for consideration for an intern appointment.

  • Application instructions are located on the OOHN home page of the OSHA website.
  • Required Application Documents include: a resume, a faculty letter of support, a personal narrative describing the expertise and experience the candidate brings to the internship relative to OSHA activities, a technical writing sample and a Letter of Intent signed by an appropriate university agent.
  • Applications will be submitted to the Director of OOHN for consideration.

Selection is solely based on the qualifications of the applicant without regard to race, color, ethnic or national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, lawful political affiliation, marital status, age or disability.

  • OOHN, using criterion-referenced assessment measures, will evaluate each candidate. The domains to be evaluated include academic performance, professional presentation, qualifications and experience, and demonstrated technical writing skills. In addition, candidates may be asked to participate in a telephone interview.
  • The Director of DTSEM will make the final determination of the number of interns to be selected for intern positions. The number will be based upon available funding and the current needs of the agency.
  • OOHN will notify each candidate and their faculty advisor of the candidate’s selection or non-selection as soon as possible.
  • Selected candidates must accept or decline the intern appointment in writing within 30 days of the selection notification. This confirmation can be in the form of a letter, facsimile, or email addressed to the OOHN Director.
  • An offer of an internship does not constitute an offer by the Department of Labor (DOL) or its subsidiaries for a permanent position within the Federal service.
Performance Criteria

Ethical and professional behavior is expected throughout the internship. The intern must abide by all the rules and regulations that have been established for the United States Department of Labor (DOL) employees as described below.

The graduate nurse intern is expected to complete specific program objectives, produce a product by the end of the internship, and assist in the evaluation of the program. This requires the intern to:

  • Complete DOL online training requirements, e.g., computer security awareness training, document encryption, workplace violence and harassment prevention, ethical behavior.
  • Complete a statement of personal and professional objectives for the internship.
  • Complete a selected project(s) of significance to OSHA and the student’s needs.
  • Participate in the evaluation of the internship. At a minimum, this will include a written mid-point, and final conference with their preceptor and internship coordinator.
  • The University will be compensated for services rendered by the intern, their agent, at a maximum amount equal to the current GS-9, step 1 hourly pay rate established by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. The final amount provided the intern is at the sole discretion of the academic institution to which the OSHA contract was issued. Please note that in light of the current budget situation in the Federal government, there is no guarantee that there will be any money available to fund interns. If funding is not available at the stated level, a reduced funding level may be possible.

  • Funds received by the contracting academic institutions are:

    • Intended to defray the intern’s expenses while performing as an OSHA intern.
    • The only source of compensation the interns shall receive for the internship with the exception explained in paragraph XIII. D. Authorized Travel above.
  • Interns are not Federal employees and are not eligible for the accrual of federal benefits. However, interns will be credited holiday time for any federal holiday falling within their rotation period and any other authorized administrative leave. Their time and attendance sheet will be annotated with the appropriate leave category and hours authorized.
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