Broad Overview

The Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) program was established in 1977 to attract outstanding citizen-scholars to the Federal civil service in a variety of academic areas and disciplines. It is a 2-year program that offers recent and current graduates the opportunity to work for a federal agency in a number of career fields and positions, including J.D. Advantage positions.

Attorney positions are not generally available through the PMF program, but positions such as paralegal specialist, hearing and appeals specialists, estate tax examiner, and labor relations specialists are all examples of positions that have been available through the PMF program previously.

Individuals accepted as a PMF receive full-time salary and benefits at the GS-9 through GS-12 levels, 160 hours of formal training, a 4-to-6-month development assignment or rotation, and the potential to convert to a permanent position upon completion of the 2-year fellowship.


To be eligible to apply, you must either have completed your degree by August 31 of the year following the application (for the current cycle, by August 31, 2022) or have completed your degree within the previous two years from the opening of the application (for the current cycle, between October 2019 and October 2021). There is no age limit to applying. Veterans will receive preference as required under law when they upload their DD-214, “Certificate of Release or Discharge From Active Duty,” during the application process. However, the PMF program does not accept Schedule A letters, as the PMF is a separate hiring program under Schedule D hiring authority. More information about Schedule A hiring can be found here.

Application Process

The call for applicants is put out on each year in the fall. In 2021, the applications for the Class of 2022 opened at Noon Eastern on Tuesday, September 28, 2021, and will close at noon Eastern on Tuesday, October 12, 2021. As part of the U S A Jobs application, individuals need to include their transcript (official or unofficial) for the advanced degree they have completed or are about to complete; undergraduate transcripts are useful in the hiring process but not necessary at this stage.

If the anticipated date of the degree is not on your transcript, you need to obtain an endorsement from your university on official letterhead stating the expected graduation date. More information about this letter will be included in the USAJOBS job announcement. In addition to transcripts and letter, if required, applications must also include their résumé, which can be in any format or of any length but must not include any pictures.

Cover letters, writing samples, and letters of recommendation are not required and will be discarded without review if submitted as part of the application process.

After submitting the application and before the application deadline (October 12, 2022, at noon Eastern), individuals must complete an un-proctored online assessment. It is timed and must be completed in the order presented. The assessment tests three areas: situational judgment, life experience, and writing. It is possible to request and obtain accommodations for the assessment, but the accommodations must be requested prior to starting the assessment and before the announcement closes.

To request accommodations on the assessment, email and The individuals at the Office of Personnel Management will provide more information on the documentation they need to fulfill your request.  The request for accommodations for the assessment is not shared with any of the hiring agencies or managers. If accommodations are needed for interviews, information about requesting them at that point will be included in the job announcement.

Any reasonable accommodations needed for employment would be requested after placement as a Finalist. The application and assessment are 508 compliant as a standard, and it is not necessary to request those accommodations, but you can email O PM at the email addresses above if you have specific questions.

Individuals will be notified approximately six weeks after the application and assessment are completed and closed to new applicants if they are Finalists for PMF. If selected as a PMF Finalist, you will be eligible for the next 12 months to use an exclusive website to apply for positions that are only open to PMFs. In this system, you will be able to update your résumé and other information before sharing it with the agency. You are not guaranteed a position – Finalist status gives you access to apply to these exclusive listings.

What are the odds?

For the Class of 2021, there were 6,820 applications received, and 551 individuals were selected as finalists. The finalists represented 77 different disciplines and 153 academic institutions worldwide. Approximately 9.6% of the finalist class are veterans.

Why apply for the PMF program?

There are several reasons to apply for the PMF program instead of going into legal practice.
You might not be ready to take the bar exam yet but need to make some money to survive while gaining valuable experience. PMFs are hired at the GS-9 to GS-12 rate (nationally $46,083 to $66,829 gross before locality is added, which can be an additional 25% in some areas see for for current locality rates). In addition to salary, you are eligible for benefits including health, dental, and vision insurance for you and your family.

There are PMF opportunities across the U.S. and detailed opportunities that can take you abroad. It is a good opportunity to see where you might like to live and practice or even get a sense of the area of practice you want to do. Gaining experience with the government in contracting or investigations can build your résumé and set you above other applicants with private firms.

The PMF program is considered prestigious and follows you wherever you go in life. Within the Federal government, PMFs are recognized as thought leaders and change-makers. Your future is heavily invested in, with over 160 hours of development training (not just mandatory required training) and a rotation to another agency or organization. The program also boasts of a strong alumni network both inside government and in industry, giving you a wide array of support to find your next job.

Finally, there are also J.D. Advantage positions for which you can use your legal skills and degree, even though they are not attorney positions.

What are J.D. Advantage Positions?

While the PMF program does not hire attorneys for the government, it provides graduates and recent graduates of law schools the opportunity to obtain work within the government in J.D. advantage positions, such as policy writers, compliance officers, and investigators. Generally, if a position is a J.D. Advantage position, it means that someone who has completed law school is at an advantage for hiring over someone who has no legal training or education for the position. Usually, in these cases, the applicant need not have necessarily taken or passed the Bar exam to be at an advantage. More about J.D. advantage positions can be found on at the National Association for Law Placement ( website.

More Information
More information, including a full set of Frequently Asked Questions and the latest information about the program, is available at

If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us at

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