U.S. Government Accountability Office

Why GAO?

GAO employees make a difference every day by providing Congress and federal agencies with objective, nonpartisan, fact-based information to help the government save money and work more efficiently on a wide range of issues and topics. Our work has national and international impact. We talk directly to the decision makers who can improve government and implement change.

You may have heard of us, but do you know what we do?

At GAO, we strive for a workplace that values, respects, and treats all employees fairly.  Our commitment to collaboration, accountability and a sense of community make GAO a great place to work— many of the reasons why GAO was last year named the best place to work among mid-size agencies in the Partnership for Public Service’s annual list of Best Places to Work in the Federal Government.

Student Volunteers and Paid Internships

Paid Internships

GAO offers paid and unpaid internships year-round in all of our mission teams and operations and staff offices. Paid internships can lead to career opportunities upon graduation.

Who can apply? Internships are open to graduate and undergraduate students. Interns must be seeking a degree in any major from an accredited educational institution on a full- or half-time basis.

We put interns to work! As valued members of our teams, interns get hands-on professional experience analyzing data, conducting research, writing reports, presenting information, and working collaboratively with subject-matter experts.

Participate in agency-wide programming: Our internship experience offers the ability to participate in our various communities of practice, employee groups, and many other agency-wide projects, events, and training.

How to Apply:

  1. All applicants must apply for available positions through www.usajobs.gov.
  2. Interested applicants should:
    1. Be sure to review GAO.gov to familiarize yourself with our mission and latest products.
    2. Sign up to receive daily USAJOBS notification emails about new GAO vacancies
    3. Build or upload a resumé in USAJOBS. Describe your knowledge, skills, and abilities with specific and detailed examples.
    4. Provide well-written and thoughtful responses to assessment questions.
    5. Upload all required documents (e.g., transcripts, proof of enrollment). *Important note on your proof of enrollment: please be sure that your GRADUATION DATE is accurate. If not, contact the O’Neill Records Office at oneillrc@indiana.edu to request a letter that states your correct anticipated graduation date. Once materials are submitted on USAJOBS they cannot be resubmitted.
    6. Apply early to ensure your application reaches us before the maximum number of applications are received or to account for possible technical challenges.
    7. Remember the Career Hub can help you with your federal resume and responses to assessment questions.
GAO Interns

Student Volunteers (Unpaid)

Student volunteer positions are available throughout the year in all GAO mission teams, operational units, and offices. To be eligible, students must be at least 16 years old, a U.S. citizen, enrolled in and/or attending an accredited academic institution such as a high school or college, at least half-time, and in good academic standing. Student volunteers may volunteer during the school year and/or during summer or school vacation periods. The nature of the volunteer assignment, as well as the work schedule, will be established once on-board. Any questions about the Student Employment program should be sent to studentprogram@gao.gov.

Professional Development Program (PDP)

During the first two years with GAO, entry-level employees are members of our Professional Development Program (PDP). This experience includes a combination of on-the-job and classroom training, regular feedback and coaching, and exposure to different projects and management styles. All members of the PDP regularly meet with advisors to identify professional goals, discuss developmental opportunities, and reinforce performance feedback. Entry-level employees are hired to participate in our PDP in one of three ways. They are hired either as:

  1.  Specialist analysts or auditors assigned to one team to work on different projects within that team’s area or specialization such as Information Technology or Financial Management,
  1.  Analysts assigned to rotate among several teams to work on studies of different subject areas–these staff are permanently placed after the 2-years into one of the rotation teams), or
  1.  Management analysts or other operations professional staff assigned to one of our internal  operational units such as our Learning Center or Human Capital Office.

Please send your questions about the PDP to pdpprogram@gao.gov.


Upon the completion or less than two years in the PDP program at the entry-level, opportunities for advancement and promotion may become available within or among mission teams or staff offices. In general, GAO conducts an annual promotion process each year during which employees may apply for analyst and specialist promotion opportunities. Additionally, promotion opportunities in our operations departments (i.e. Human Capital Office, Learning Center, etc.), Senior Executive Service (SES), and attorney positions are advertised on an ad-hoc basis. Aside from annual promotions, annual pay increases at GAO are based on job performance. All jobs are posted on USAJobs.gov.

Company Culture

GAO strives to be a world class organization by fostering a work environment where all employees are valued, respected, and treated fairly. Organizational policies and practices support a healthy work/life balance through flexible schedules, robust telework opportunities, and many workplace amenities. We work in teams and value collaboration.

We are proud that our employees are major drivers of agency diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility efforts with active involvement and leadership from senior management. Each of our mission teams has a diversity, equity, and inclusion committee, and we have well over a dozen agency-wide employee groups, such as:

  • Advisory Council for People with Disabilities
  • Asian American Liaison Group
  • Blacks in Government
  • Diversity Advisory Council
  • GAO LGBTQA Employee Association
  • Hispanic Liaison Group
  • Reaching Out to Help Others Community Service Group
  • Veterans of the Armed Forces

Most analysts, specialists, and operations staff at GAO have union representation. They are represented by the GAO Employees Organization, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 1921.


Our Mission Teams

We have 15 mission teams of analysts, financial auditors, and specialists who work on reports and other products that examine various aspects of federal programs and services.
• Applied Research and Methods
• Contracting and National Security Acquisitions
• Defense Capabilities and Management
• Education, Workforce, and Income Security
• Financial Management and Assurance
• Financial Markets and Community Investment
• Forensic Audits and Investigative Service
• Health Care
• Homeland Security and Justice
• Information Technology and Cybersecurity
• International Affairs and Trade
• Natural Resources and Environment
• Physical Infrastructure
• Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics
• Strategic Issues

Our Operations and Staff Offices

We have 17 operations and staff offices that support the mission and maximize GAO’s value by enabling quality, timely service to Congress.
• Audit Policy and Quality Assurance
• Chief Administrative Office
• Congressional Relations
• Continuous Process Improvement
• Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility
• Field Operations
• Financial Management and Business Operations
• General Counsel
• Human Capital
• Information Systems and Technology Services
• Infrastructure Operations
• Inspector General
• Learning Center
• Opportunity & Inclusiveness
• Professional Development Program
• Public Affairs
• Strategic Planning and External Liaison

Where is GAO?

In addition to GAO headquarters in Washington, DC, interns can work in field offices across the country.


Reasonable Accommodations for Applicants

GAO is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to its employees and applicants for employment to ensure that qualified individuals with disabilities have equal access to all employment opportunities and have the opportunity to perform to their fullest potential.

To request a reasonable accommodation for the application or interview process, please contact the Reasonable Accommodations Coordinator at 202-512-7360, or send an email to ReasonableAccommodations@gao.gov.