If you’re a volunteer returning from the Peace Corps, continue your commitment to service by helping VA care for America’s heroes. As someone who’s dedicated their time to helping others in need, you’re seeking a meaningful job that makes a difference — and we have an abundance of those at VA.

“Just like the Veterans that VA serves, Peace Corps volunteers are selfless,” said Tracey Therit, chief human capital officer in VA’s Office of Human Resources and Administration/Operations, Security and Preparedness. “To take an assignment in an unknown place and leave your family and comforts of home to serve for an extended time is something familiar to Peace Corps volunteers and makes them uniquely able to connect with the population VA serves.”

Whether directly caring for patients or working behind the scenes, every position at VA is vital to our primary mission of providing the very best care for Veterans. We need capable and dedicated people like you in health care and other mission critical positions.

In the Peace Corps, you cultivated skills that will serve you well at VA, such as working under pressure and independently, providing customer service and forming relationships, adaptability, and committing to a mission. Serving with the Peace Corps in Botswana, former VA program management analyst Richard Rain also learned how to work with all types of organizations and developed a solid background in government reporting.

“I had a different lens that people coming from the military or government don’t have,” said Rain, who stumbled across the opening on USAJobs after he returned from Botswana.

Enjoy extra federal benefits

Did you know that you have an edge landing a federal job, including one at VA?

After your return from the Peace Corps, you’ll enjoy what’s called noncompetitive eligibility (NCE) for up to a year, meaning you can apply for jobs that are open only to federal employees and be hired outside of the formal competitive job announcement process.

“I don’t think Peace Corps people realize how much that status matters,” Rain said. “If the hiring manager wants you and you have skills they want, you’re all set.”

But NCE status isn’t the only benefit you’ll enjoy. Your years of Peace Corps service count toward your federal service, meaning you’ll earn vacation time more quickly.

You also have the option to “buy back” your volunteer service time to credit toward your retirement. This means you become vested in the generous federal retirement plan more quickly.

Paying off student loans? Federal employment, as well as Peace Corps service, count toward the public service loan forgiveness program.

Other excellent VA benefits

Outside of the benefits available to returning Peace Corps volunteers, all our employees receive a generous package of benefits. These benefits often exceed those offered in the private sector. They include:

  • Paid vacation time that accrues right away, paid sick leave and 10 paid federal holidays.
  • Health insurance, including dental and vision, which may become effective on the first full pay period after the job starts.
  • Access to the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS), a three-tier retirement plan composed of Social Security, FERS basic benefits and the Thrift Savings Plan.
  • Educational support like scholarships and training programs.

You’ll have an option to work at any VA facility across the United States and its territories. Transferring between locations is easy and you’ll take all your benefits with you, including accumulated paid time off.

Work at VA today

See if a VA career serving Veterans is for you.

In the photo at top, a Peace Corps worker measures a boy in El Salvador. (Photo courtesy of Peace Corps.) 

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Published on Apr. 28, 2020

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