The Application Process
On average, the application to invitation departure process is seven to 12 months, but may take longer in certain cases. This is due to a number of factors, including the number of positions available, turnaround time for reference checks and the medical evaluation, and determination of applicant suitability for assignments.
For details on the application process, click on the steps below.
Step One: Application
The first step toward becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer is to start your application. The application does not need to be completed in a single session. You will use your email address and create a password for your application so you can work on it periodically. You will need to access your application at least once every 30 days in order to keep it active. Most people complete the application within two weeks. During this stage you will submit all of the following items:
- A completed application form, which includes two essays, three references, employment history, resume, a list of community and volunteer activities, educational background, and practical skills information
- A copy of your college transcripts unless, generally, you have 10 years applicable professional experience (an unofficial copy of an official transcript is acceptable)
- Outstanding student loan, mortgage, or other financial obligation information
- Documentation on outstanding legal obligations
- A completed Health History Form
Step Two: Interview
You will be contacted after an initial review of your application—usually within two weeks. For applicants deemed potentially qualified, an interview generally takes place after all application materials, including references, have been submitted. During the interview, you and the recruiter will discuss your skills and interests, job opportunities available, and your personal attributes, such as flexibility, adaptability, social and cultural awareness, motivation, and commitment to Peace Corps service. This is an opportunity to ask questions and explore with the recruiter—who is almost always a returned Volunteer—if the Peace Corps is appropriate for you and how you might best fit our job openings.
Step Three: Nomination
After the interview is complete the recruiter will evaluate your candidacy. If the recruiter determines you are qualified for Peace Corps service and there are open positions, you will be nominated to serve in a general work area with a tentative departure date. Based on your responses on the Health History Form, you may need to provide additional medical information before you can be nominated for a specific program. A nomination is a recommendation for an applicant to move to the next stage of consideration, which includes legal clearance, suitability, technical skills review, and final medical clearance. After you are nominated you will be mailed fingerprint cards and a National Agency Checklist form. These must be completed and returned to the Peace Corps before the next steps of the process can begin.
Step Four: Medical, Legal, Suitability, and Competitive Reviews
After being nominated, your application will also be reviewed for eligibility based on the Peace Corps' legal guidelines. This is a review of documentation you provided related to marital status, financial obligations, previous arrests and convictions, dependents, etc.
Applicants who are medically pre-qualified and legally cleared for Peace Corps service are then evaluated by a Peace Corps placement officer for suitability and compared to other candidates based on skills. A placement officer may contact you for follow-up information. Competitive and suitable candidates will then be matched to openings, taking into account your available departure date and availability of medical support, should you have any special requirements.
Step Five: Invitation
For qualified and competitive candidates, the placement officer will extend an invitation in writing for a specific country and provide a detailed job description. The electronic invitation letter includes the date of departure, the program job assignment, and links to a welcome packet with details about the country where you will serve (the Welcome Book), a Volunteer Handbook, and more.
If you accept the invitation to serve as a Volunteer, the Peace Corps will send you more information about your host country, and provide information on your pre-service orientation training and departure.
Step Six: Final Medical Clearance
After you accept your invitation, and 60 days prior to your departure, you will be required to complete a physical and dental examination. At the minimum, the physical examination includes a trip to your doctor for a medical exam with lab work, some immunizations, and a visit to your dentist for X-rays. The Peace Corps offers some limited cost-sharing reimbursement according to a fee schedule. Depending on whether you have insurance, some costs incurred during this process will be at your expense. All materials requested from the medical staff should be returned no later than 30 days after your physical and dental examinations. The majority of applicants are medically cleared for Peace Corps service; some require placement where additional medical support can be provided; and some cannot be placed.
Step Seven: Preparation for Departure
The Peace Corps travel office will issue an electronic ticket for travel to your pre-service orientation site (also known as staging). Immediately prior to leaving for the country of assignment, Peace Corps "trainees" meet in the U.S. to prepare for their Volunteer service. You will meet others in the training group and, a short time later, fly to your assigned country to begin in-country training.
Last updated May 22 2013
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