Applicants for federal jobs must be U.S. citizens. Applicants who are veterans of military service can claim veteran's preference. This gives them preferred status over other candidates with equal qualifications. For jobs requiring access to sensitive or classified materials, applicants have to undergo a background investigation to obtain a security clearance. These investigations look into the applicant's criminal, credit, and employment history.
Requirements for jobs with the federal government are basically the same as those for comparable positions in the private sector. Many jobs in managerial or professional and related occupations require a four-year college degree. Engineers, physicians and surgeons, and biological and physical scientists are required to hold a bachelor's or higher degree in a specific field of study. Registered nurses and many technician occupations may be entered into with two years of training after high school. In general, office and administrative support workers in the government need only a high school diploma.