DOD Skillbridge Program: How to Apply for an Internship

The DOD Skillbridge training program is a great opportunity for transitioning service members to score an internship that will smoothly transition them into a civilian career and gain valuable civilian work experience. 


skillbridge internship cover photo

What is the DOD Skillbridge Program?

The DOD Skillbridge program allows active duty military members to work an internship for an authorized company for up to the last 180 days of active duty service while still getting paid by the military. 

There are locations all around the United States. The different career fields include internships in energy, information technology, manufacturing, retail, transportation, and civil service. Additionally, the program is actively looking for medical and truck driving internships. 

It is a win-win-win situation. The military member wins because they get to smoothly transition into a military career and lifestyle. The civilian company wins because they get up to 6 months to train up a highly skilled soon to be veteran without having to pay a salary. The military wins because it is a program to set their members up for a post military career success. 

The approval for the Skillbridge program will be signed off on by at least your unit commander, and it is mission dependent. 

If you know a business owner or there is a company that you know that you want to work for, you can reach out and have the company participate in the Skillbridge program through the training provider industry partners page to attract highly skilled transitioning service members.  

Military spouses can also receive career education and career coaching through Military One Source. This could help from a sudden move for a Skillbridge opportunity.

Who Can Apply to the DOD Skillbridge Program?

To apply for the DOD Skill Bridge Program, you have to meet the following minimum eligibility requirements. 

  • Completed at least 180 days on active duty.
  • Completed the Transition Assistance Program/Transition Readiness Seminar (TRS).
  • Be expected to separate from service with a general discharge (under honorable conditions), or higher.
  • Have (or will have) a medical board determination, if undergoing a medical separation.
  • Be expected to be discharged from service within 180 days of starting a SkillBridge program.
  • Service member’s Unit Commander (First O-4) with NJP authority has authorized participation.

Do your research early! Get in touch with the Skillbridge program manager POC at your local base education center as soon as you are interested in pursuing the program. 

blue collar skillbridge intern welding

When can you apply to the DOD Skillbridge Program? 

Under the program, up to the last 180 days is permitted for an authorized internship. 

Schedule your Transition Assistance Program class early! You can take it up to 365 days before separating. This is a program directed by the federal government that will help you smoothly transition to a civilian life. 

After that, follow the guidance of the Skillbridge program manager at your local base education office. The earlier that you get your commander’s final approval, the better!

If you do your work early, you can get that full 180 days of the internship to springboard you into a civilian career. Make sure that you notify your chain of command about your career goals, and have them help you in the routing process of getting your commander’s approval.

While you are waiting until you can apply for the DOD Skillbridge program, you can make yourself more marketable. For example, you can use the COOL program to get certifications. 

Check out, How to Earn Your A&P License With Military Experience

Where to Get More Information on the DOD Skillbridge Program? 

Contact your local base education office. Each base should have a Skillbridge program manager to be the point of contact to provide guidance. 

If you are deployed or do not have access to a Skillbridge program manager through a base education office, you can contact the DOD Skillbridge program directly here

Why Should I Apply for the DOD Skillbridge Program?

Skillbridge participants are authorized to use up to the last 180 days of service to pursue an internship or on the job training with an authorized training provider while still receiving military compensation. The internship opportunities listed on the Skillbridge website offer real-world job experiences that could lead to a civilian job offer upon the completion of the program.

blue collar skillbridge intern construction

Separating service members can take advantage of skillbridge opportunities to pursue a civilian career field that they are interested in.

Military skills transcribe over to the civilian workforce even if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree. Check out this list of job skills that Skillbridge internship program providers are looking for.

  • Leadership skills
  • Project Management Skills
  • Time Employment or Time Management
  • Attention to Detail
  • Communication Skills
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Teamwork
  • Adaptability
  • Critical Thinking

Employers are looking for veterans to fill their current job openings. Stay Motivated! You ARE qualified, and you CAN make a better life for yourself outside of the United States Military.

How to Apply for the DOD Skillbridge Program 

The application process for the DOD Skillbridge Program can be intimidating. The process is different depending on which branch of the military that you are in. 

The most important thing to remember is to contact your Skillbridge program manager at your base education center, knock out your Transition Assistance Program class, and get your commander’s final approval early. 

Find a program of interest that will land you in the career field of your choice. On that page, find the potential employer POC contact information and the potential employers website. Make sure to stay in touch with potential employer POCs to follow through with whatever training requirements they will have for you.

See the below for more information specific to your military branch. 

Air Force / Space Force


  • Review the Army Careers Skills Program page. Then, contact a Skillbridge Representative through email at for further instructions. 


Marine Corps

Coast Guard

Enlisted Experience

The DOD Skillbridge Program is a great tool to springboard yourself into a civilian career. Use it to your advantage, and promote it to your brothers and sisters in arms that are planning to separate. There are numerous career opportunities to choose from that can help you smoothly transition from your military careers. 

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