Frequently Asked Questions About the Co-Op Education Program

We hire college or university students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in science, engineering, and other disciplines related to the NRC Mission. The student participants integrate alternating periods of academic study and work experience, or parallel periods of academic study and work experience. For additional information about the Co-Op Program, see Contact Us About Employment, and select "Co-Op Program" from the dropdown list.

On this page:

Index to All Frequently Asked Questions Pages

What is the Co-Op Education Program

The Student Co-Op Program is a formally structured program requiring a written agreement between the NRC and the student. The intent of the program is to recruit students, while still in school, to fill permanent positions upon graduation.

What is the work schedule of this position?

The student will be on either an alternate work schedule (i.e., work a semester/quarter and attend school the following semester/quarter) or a parallel work schedule (i.e., attend school while working part-time).

Where is the duty location?

Most of the job opportunities are at NRC Headquarters in Rockville, MD. Limited opportunities exist in NRC regional offices: King of Prussia, PA; Atlanta, GA; Lisle, IL; and Arlington, TX.

How is the salary and grade determined?

The salary is determined by locality, academic discipline, grade point average (GPA), and amount of semester hours completed.

For more information, please see our Pay and Benefits page.

What are the duties of the position?

Serves as a Student Trainee with the NRC. The incumbent will be assigned to a supervisor within the organization. This supervisor will assign a journey level employee to provide technical direction and mentoring.

Under the guidance of the journey level employee, the trainee shall:

  • Provide support for assigned projects as required.
  • Prepare a technical report at the end of each session to document the work effort. Presentations to management may be required.
  • Be responsible for carrying out assigned duties and responsibilities in a manner consistent with the safety policies set forth by the supervisor.
  • Complete special projects, and other duties as assigned, relating to the mission/function of the office.

Additional duties for IT Positions

The student will serve as a trainee in development of software systems using knowledge of techniques, procedures, and processes such as operating system theory, data structures, computer system architecture, software engineering, and computer communications. The student will be trained to research, analyze, plan, implement, integrate, maintain, enhance, and support one or more of the following: business systems; office automation; local and wide area networks and telecommunications products and services, including voice, data, video and wireless technologies.


The student will serve as a trainee in E-learning research, Web application and tracking, database reporting, creation, analysis, planning, implementation, integration, maintenance, enhancement, customer support, or project management in one or more of the following areas: agency wide internal and external Web sites; publishing, reproduction, and distribution, document and records management (storage, retrieval, protection, and preservation of the NRC information in paper and electronic media); information services for internal and external customers (Library, Public Document Room, Freedom of Information Requests, etc.).

Typical NRC Trainee positions include, but are not limited to the following disciplines:

ADMINISTRATIVE – Accounting, Auditing, Business Administration, Communications, Criminal Justice, English, Finance, Human Resources Management, International Relations, Law Enforcement, Security

ENGINEERING – Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Electronics, Environmental, Fire Protection, Geotechnical, Industrial (Human Factors), Materials, Mechanical, Metallurgical, Nuclear, Structural

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY – Information Technology, Information Management, Computer Engineer, Computer Science

PHYSICAL SCIENCE – Chemistry, Environmental, Fire Safety Technology, Geology, Geophysics, Health Physics, Health Physics, Hydrology, Materials, Metallurgy, Nuclear Chemistry, Nuclear Physics, Physics, Radiochemistry, Radiological Science

Is this a permanent position?


How do I qualify for this position?

Minimum requirements for this position include the following:

  • United States Citizenship
  • Attendance at an accredited college or university pursuing a Bachelors, Masters, or Ph.D degree
  • 2.85 or better grade point average based on a 4.0 scale
  • Ability to complete a total of 640 work hours prior to graduating

How do I apply for this position?

Appointments to the Student Co-Op program are made to students who participated in the NRC's Temporary Student Program, based on the needs of the agency. Qualifying hours worked during the student's participation in the Temporary Student Program may be counted toward the 640 hours required to qualify for a non-competitive appointment to a permanent position upon graduation. Applications for the Temporary Student Program are accepted between September and November. The vacancy will be available on during that time. For additional information, see our Frequently Asked Questions About the Temporary Student Program.

What is the basis of the evaluation of my application?

Applications will be evaluated against the following criteria: grade point average (GPA), academic honors (i.e., Dean List), awards (i.e., scholarships), extracurricular activities (i.e., student associations), and interview.

Will the NRC pay for me to relocate?


How much travel is required?


Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, November 10, 2020