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Junior Commissioned Officer Student Training and Externship Program

Overseen by the Surgeon General, the USPHS is comprised of a diverse team of more than 6,500 highly qualified, public health professionals. Driven by a passion to serve the underserved, these men and women fill essential public health leadership and clinical service roles with the Nation’s Federal Government agencies. Every year, certain health disciplines, or “categories”, within the USPHS offer internship opportunities to qualifying students. The Environmental Health Officer (EHO) category currently has positions available through an internship program called the Junior Commissioned Officer Student Training and Externship Program (JRCOSTEP). These positions are available to fulltime students who have completed at least two years of study in a professionally accredited baccalaureate program in specific health disciplines that meet EHO requirements; or students who are enrolled in a master’s or doctoral level program that meets EHO requirements. For more information on JRCOSTEP qualifications go to:

Each year, the EHO Category hires approximately 25-35 students for summer JRCOSTEP positions that last between 31-120 days during official school breaks. All positions are paid and most are with the Indian Health Service (IHS) in many different areas of the United States. Other agencies that typically hire one or two JRCOSTEPs per summer are: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Coast Guard (USCG), and the National Park Service (NPS). The EHO category typically has 70-100 applicants for these positions each year; therefore, all positions are highly competitive. Most are undergraduate level, but there are several graduate students placed each year.

Before applying, USPHS encourages students to first visit our JRCOSTEP student website to learn more information at: For those students who are eligible and are interested in applying, they must contact the USPHS Call Center at 1-800-279-1605; they are open Monday thru Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Eastern.  The Commissioned Corps of the United States will be accepting applications for JRCOSTEP from Thursday, September 1 thru Friday, November 4.

The USPHS JRCOSTEP program offers students exciting opportunities to meet leaders in public health, gain valuable professional experience, all while getting paid to complete their environmental health-related education.