Presidential Management Fellowship

  • Are you a United States citizen and a graduate or professional student?
  • Do you have a passion to exercise leadership in the U.S. Government?
  • Are you interested in advancing your career through a variety of challenging assignments in the U.S. Government?

If so, then you should consider applying for the PMF Program.

The Basics

The Presidential Management Fellows Program has been around for more than 30 years and is the best way to start a career in the federal government. PMFs can apply to jobs across the federal government and, in the two years of the program, can advance GS pay grade levels.

Sponsoring Agency: This is the primary agency where you will work for the two years of the Fellowship. PMF finalists have one year after they pass the assessments to get hired by a sponsoring agency.

Rotational Opportunities: All PMFs rotate to at least one other bureau, division, office, program, or agency during the two years. The idea is to give PMFs a broader understanding of the government.

Training Opportunities: PMFs grow their professional skills through 80 hours of annual training, totaling 160 hours over the two years.

If selected as a PMF, you will have advantages in finding a job in federal government but it does not guarantee you a job.

Application Process

It is important that you “attend” one of the online webinars in early fall to learn about the application process for the year ahead. There may be changes from year to year.

The Application
The PMF Program accepts application annually, usually in October. The announcement is posted on USAJOBS and emailed via the Jackson Career Listserv. Students complete the online application and create an online resume.

Note: you are required to submit some documentation from the registrar’s office, specifically about your expected date of graduation. It is important to attend a webinar to learn about the exact requirements. The online assessment portion of the application tests situational judgment, problem solving, adaptability, integrity, motivation, relating to other, and writing. The online assessment is not a knowledge test; it is about your personality and work style.

Some years there is an oral assessment after the written assessment. Join a webinar to see what the process will be during the year you apply.

  • While in the program, you will receive full salary and benefits just like any other Federal employee. In addition, you may be eligible for repayment of your student loans depending on the agency.
  • PMFs are initially hired to Federal agencies at the GS-9, GS-11 or GS-12 level (or equivalents). Actual salaries vary by location.
  • PMFs are eligible for the same benefits as most Federal employees. These include vacation and sick time, health insurance, life insurance, a Thrift Savings Plan (like a 401(k)), flexible spending accounts, and more.
  • 160 hours of formal interactive training (on leadership, management, policy and other topics)
  • Challenging work assignments
  • Feedback on your work
  • At least one 4 to 6-month rotational assignment
  • Potential for promotions and career ladders
  • Upon completion, receive immediate non-competitive conversion to a permanent or term position
Fast Facts
  • The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program was created to draw candidates with leadership potential into the Federal Government.
  • The program is considered prestigious and PMFs enjoy advantages in finding jobs, qualify for faster promotions, and get opportunities to rotate outside of their home assignment.
  • The PMF Program hosts an annual spring Job Fair for finalists in Washington, DC, in addition to an online job site. All federal agencies may hire Fellows year-round
  • While most PMFs work in DC, Fellows are not limited to that area. Federal PMF openings are available across the United States. Please visit their website for lists of agencies and locations. Rotational opportunities may even be open to international offices, multilateral organizations, and NGOs.
Helpful Links

Presidential Management Fellows Program:

Yale Alumni Profile

“Through my work at the Jackson Institute, I was able to develop the skills and experience necessary to succeed as a Presidential Management Fellow with the U.S. Government, and to begin my career in federal service. With access to classes across Yale, I could study everything ranging from corporate risk management to the origins of agricultural societies.

Working at Voice of America and USAID, I’m never sure what issues may crop up on a given day. Fortunately, I’m able to draw on critical lessons provided by Jackson Senior Fellows, who offer students a rare combination of subject-area expertise and real-world skills.”

– Mardy Shualy, Jackson MA ‘16