Student programs

Portrait of externs Lauren Ingram, Trevor Ward, Neha Wasil, and Alex Phillips in front of USPTO headquarters

From real-world experience to real-world application, our student programs have the future in mind.  The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provides talented high school seniors and college students with unique opportunities to leverage their innate skills while honing new ones for the 21st century. If you are looking for variety to meet your academic and professional goals, consider our summer and annual employment programs.

College outreach

We are always excited to meet the next generation of engineers, scientists, and software programmers, as well as administrative, finance, legal, and human resources professionals. Each year, we engage with college students across the country to recruit the best and brightest to join America’s Innovation Agency at our headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, or in one of four regional offices in Dallas, Denver, Detroit, and San Jose.  

We're looking to connect with top talent at your college or university next fall. Stay tuned to this space for information about where we will be recruiting in the Fall of 2022.

Connect with us!

Meet us online via the following social media channels where we share the latest information about job opportunities at the agency, information about recruitment events and how to engage with us about jobs, USPTO's culture of diversity and inclusion through chats and live social media events.


    Extern program

    Our unpaid, volunteer USPTO Extern Program provides talented high school and college students with unique opportunities to gain valuable skills and professional experience. Through this program, externs learn more about various career paths at the USPTO, network with our employees and their peers, and hear first-hand from our leadership about their own career paths.

    Although we generally run the extern program year-round, the summer season is when the majority of student volunteers take advantage of a full-time schedule to gain valuable tools and resources and support ongoing professional development and soft skills training.

    We provide comprehensive, real-world connections to what students are learning in the classroom. The program duration can last a minimum 12 weeks, or up to a maximum of one year. We offer externships in a variety of business disciplines, including but not limited to:

    • STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)
    • Human resources
    • Finance
    • Communications
    • International affairs
    • Intellectual property
    • Legal
    • Information technology
    • Policy
    • Procurement
    • Economics

    Some key program requirements:

    • You must be a U.S. citizen or national.
    • You must be a current high school or college student in good standing.
    • You must be able to successfully pass all background checks and security clearance processes.

    How to apply:

    You may only apply to the extern program when a vacancy announcement is posted on When applying, you will typically need to submit the following documents:

    • Your resume
    • Your official college transcript(s)
    • Proof of current enrollment or letter of admissions

    Make sure you review the vacancy announcement closely because some additional documents may be required. 

    Feel free to contact us at if you have any questions.

    Please note that we do not provide lodging or accommodations for this program. 


    Trademark Law Student Extern Program

    The Trademark Law Student Extern Program is tailored for law students with an interest in trademark law and the U.S. trademark registration process. Some research may also touch upon international trademark law issues and related intellectual property issues. The program gives students an opportunity to experience work at the USPTO, interact with experts, explore opportunities, and develop or enhance their personal and professional skills. Students may work with attorneys in the Trademark Legal Policy and Petitions Office, Trademark Training and Quality Review Office, Office of the Solicitor, and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

    Under the program, students participate in an unpaid externship lasting up to 12 weeks during the summer. Students may arrange to receive academic credit through their law school for their work at the USPTO. Students should look for the announcement of the application period for the summer externship program on toward the beginning of the year. Selections are generally made in the spring, and the program begins in the early summer.

    Additional unpaid externship positions may also become available throughout the year. Announcements for externships during the school year will be submitted to local law schools for posting. For further information, please contact us at and include “Trademark Law Student Extern Program” in the subject line.

    Ready to apply? Search for opportunities on Opportunities may not be available year round.

    Helpful links and information:

    • 6-steps to your Patent Examiner career: This infographic offers some steps you can take right now to position yourself for a future career as a patent examiner.

    • How to Use USAJobs to Apply for a Position: Do you have questions about how to complete the federal job application process? This brochure can help you navigate the federal application system.

    • Patent examiner brochure: Read about the qualifications to become a patent examiner, what the job entails and the benefits and compensation of the position

    • Patent examiner profile: Rebecca is a patent examiner who joined the USPTO right out of college after receiving an electrical engineering degree. Find out what made her choose the USPTO, and why she is still with us today.

    • Extern profiles brochure: Would you like to know what it’s like to work at the USPTO over the summer? Read the stories of four college students who externed in different parts of the agency.

    • Externship onboarding documents: Congratulations on being selected to participate in the USPTO externship program! This link provides all of the required documentation you'll need to get started.

    • Externship resources and information: Do you have questions about the externship program? This link provides helpful tips, resources and information for externs and supervisors.

    At the USPTO, the varied work and roles of our talented employees all play a part in introducing new inventions and discoveries to the world. Search for opportunities on Come join us!