SAMHSA Volunteer Program

SAMHSA's Student Volunteer Program provides experience in government and public health and is available to students from a broad range of educational backgrounds.


The purpose of SAMHSA's Student Volunteer Program is to offer volunteer opportunities to students from a broad array of educational backgrounds. These opportunities provide students with valuable experience in government and public health while supporting SAMHSA's operations.

Participant Eligibility

Student volunteers should be:

  • Current or recent students having graduated less than a year prior to application from an accredited college (including four-year colleges/universities, community colleges, and junior colleges); a professional, vocational, or trade school; an advanced degree program (e.g., graduate school); or other qualifying educational institution pursuing a qualifying degree or certificate
  • Age 16 or above (with consent of parent/guardian if under 18 years old)
  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents

Supervisor Requirements

Volunteer students must officially report to a SAMHSA staff member who is an official supervisor. However, students can be assigned to work with other non-supervisory SAMHSA staff during the duration of the volunteer opportunity.

Duration and Schedule

  • Students typically participate in volunteer opportunities for 120-day increments (extensions of opportunities are possible up to 12 months).
  • Students must volunteer for at least 30 consecutive business days.
  • Students generally volunteer 5 to 20 hours a week, but full-time work opportunities (i.e., 40 hours per week) may also be arranged.

Application and Selection Process

This section outlines the three primary steps of the application and selection process for the Student Volunteer Program. This process can begin one of two ways: student-initiated (Step 1-A) or supervisor-initiated (Step 1-B).

Step 1-A: Student-Initiated Application

Students may submit resumes and transcripts directly to SAMHSA's student programs coordinator at Supervisors can review the volunteer application SharePoint site, as well as receive periodic updates from the student programs coordinator regarding pending applications.

Step 1-B: Supervisor-Initiated Application

Supervisors at SAMHSA are sometimes in a position to identify students for volunteer opportunities. Whether it is at an academic conference or through an exchange in their larger community, supervisors should feel free to encourage students to apply for a student volunteer position at SAMHSA by submitting their resumes and transcripts directly to SAMHSA's student programs coordinator at Supervisors may also collect prospective student volunteers' resumes and transcripts. Those should be provided to the student programs coordinator before proceeding to Step 2: Interviews and Preliminary Selection.

Step 2: Interviews and Preliminary Selection

Supervisors are strongly encouraged to interview prospective student volunteers before submitting their selections for approval by the Director of the Division of Management Services (DMS). Interviews are an important tool in determining an office and volunteer's fit with one another, and more clearly articulating the responsibilities and expectations for the term of service.

After considering prospective volunteers' applications and interviews, supervisors submit their preliminary selections to the Director of DMS for approval.

Step 3: Division Director Approval and Offer Letter

After receiving preliminary selections, the Director of DMS grants final approval of a student volunteer placement and DMS will send the formal offer letter to the applicant.

Developing Work Assignments

Work responsibilities for student volunteers can vary greatly and may not be directly tied to students' academic studies or career goals. In general, SAMHSA supervisors have wide discretion in determining the content of the work assigned. While student volunteers do not have specific work content requirements, supervisors are encouraged to develop and assign engaging tasks wherever possible.

Contact Information

If you have questions about SAMHSA's student programs, please contact the Student Programs Coordinator, at

Last Updated: 07/16/2013