Peace Corps Response Frequently Asked Questions
The Application Process
Who do we look for?
Peace Corps Response recruits (1) seasoned professionals who have at least 10 years of proven work experience, and (2) returned Peace Corps Volunteers who have successfully completed their Peace Corps service.
Peace Corps Response Volunteers are U.S. citizens and come from a variety of backgrounds—some are retired, others take leave from their jobs or go on sabbatical, some are graduate school students fulfilling practicum requirements, and some transfer directly from Peace Corps service.
Peace Corps Response is different from the traditional 27-month Peace Corps program in that assignments are highly technical, and are shorter term placements—three months to one year—in specific countries. Strong applicants will have the necessary language, technical, and cross-cultural skills needed for the position, and will also be available for the required start date and duration of the assignment. All candidates must demonstrate evidence of cross-cultural sensitivity and a willingness to accept the Core Expectations (PDF) for all Peace Corps Volunteers. At the same time, all Peace Corps Response Volunteers must follow the same policies and procedures that are applicable to two-year Volunteers.
Because Response Volunteers are expected to accomplish concrete deliverables in a condensed period of time (assignments average six months in duration), applicants are expected to already possess the technical and language skills needed to perform the job. No formal training is provided, although Volunteers do receive a short orientation upon arrival to their country of service.
How do I apply?
Applicants to Peace Corps Response may apply to specific positions in a country of their choice. The online application generally takes 15-30 minutes to complete.
To start the applications process, visit www.peacecorps.gov/response/apply . Applicants can create a profile and upload their resume, enter personal contact information, and set up jobseeker tools that alert them when positions become available that match their interests.
Applicants may also search open assignments that match specific interests, qualifications, and availability. When browsing for open positions, please pay close attention to the mandatory and desired qualifications, as well as the start date and duration.
When you are ready to apply, be prepared to describe how your skills and experience will lead to the overall success of a project. Once you submit your application, you will receive an email confirmation. You may update your profile at any time after submitting an application.
How can I learn about new positions?
New Peace Corps Response positions are posted on a weekly basis, so we recommend you regularly monitor our website for the latest opportunities. You will have the option to sort assignments by posting date, allowing you to quickly view the newest vacancies.
If you create an online profile, you will also have the option of setting up the search agent tool. This tool allows you to specify your preferences (e.g., "TEFL positions beginning in September" or "Agriculture assignments for French speakers"). This will allow you to receive email notifications alerting you to new assignments that match your interests.
Assignments with Peace Corps Response are featured prominently on the main page of our online application section and are also highlighted in the Hotline and Impact newsletters. Featured assignments are updated regularly, so be sure to check these links on a regular basis.
How are applicants selected?
All applications and resumes will be carefully reviewed by a Peace Corps Response recruiter. The recruiter will determine if you have the skills and experience required for the position for which you have applied.
If you are a competitive candidate, you will be contacted via email to schedule a telephone interview. You will also be asked to provide professional and/or Peace Corps staff references. If you are not selected for an interview, you will still receive an email informing you of your status.
If you are not selected for a particular assignment, we encourage you to continue to monitor our open positions, as new opportunities are posted on a regular basis. If you see another assignment that matches your skills and qualifications, you may indicate your interest by updating your profile.
How do I check the status of my application?
You may check the status of your application at any time by logging into your account , and clicking on "Job Submission Status." Your application status is viewable under the column "HR Status."
Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP)
What is the Global Health Service Partnership?
GHSP is a collaboration among the Peace Corps, PEPFAR, and Seed Global Health (formerly Global Health Service Corps). Launched as a public-private partnership in March 2012, GHSP aims to increase training capacity for health professionals in developing countries. Volunteers function as physician or nursing educators and also participate in direct clinical care as appropriate to their teaching roles. The GHSP is housed in Peace Corps Response, a program that recruits returned Peace Corps Volunteers and U.S. citizens with professional experience for short-term, high-impact Volunteer assignments. Applications for the July 2014 cohort will be accepted starting May 15, 2013.
Learn more about the Global Health Service Partnership
What is the application process for GHSP?
Applications for the July 2014 class will be accepted from May 15, 2013 through November 1, 2013. Invitations will be extended beginning in January 2014 and may continue until late April. Candidates can also apply for Early Decision if they submit their application by Oct. 1, 2013 and indicate interest in Early Decision in their application, offering them advance notice of the decision on their application; Early Decision candidates can expect to hear back on December 1, 2013.
Peace Corps Response recruiters conduct phone interviews with qualified candidates as applications are received. Applicants who are considered further must submit references and complete electronic health history and legal forms to determine their medical and legal eligibility. Candidates selected from the initial interview with Peace Corps Response participate in an additional interview with clinical leadership from Seed Global Health (formerly Global Health Service Corps). Following invitation, applicants complete a medical clearance, background check, and additional administrative paperwork before being placed as a Volunteer.
What benefits do you receive as a Global Health Service Partnership Volunteer?
Volunteers receive the same benefits as traditional Peace Corps Volunteers, including a monthly living stipend, transportation to and from their country of service, comprehensive medical care, a readjustment allowance, and paid vacation days. In addition, Seed Global Health (formerly Global Health Service Corps) may assist Volunteers with need-based supplemental financial stipends.
Can I select my own housing arrangements while I am a GHSP Volunteer?
The Peace Corps expects you to live in Peace Corps approved housing. The agency has clear security standards and local housing typically requires some enhancements to meet those standards. Family or friends may not live with you on a permanent basis.
The Placement Process
What happens next?
Upon completion of an interview with a Peace Corps Response Recruiter, you may be requested to complete a Health History Form from our medical office and a legal questionnaire to help determine your eligibility for Peace Corps Response service. It is crucial for applicants to be proactive about completing the necessary steps in a timely manner to ensure further consideration of your application process.
The medical clearance process is initiated by a Health History Form (HHF), which will be sent to you electronically by a member of the Peace Corps medical evaluation team. The HHF is an online tool that will provide the medical department with a snapshot of your health history. It consists of a series of questions to help determine your eligibility for service. After your HHF has been reviewed by the medical department, your application will be reviewed for further consideration for the program for which you interviewed. If you are invited into the program and you accept the invitation, you must go through the full medical clearance process. Your medical kit will be sent through your medical portal which will include a physical exam (if applicable), a dental exam (for applicants serving in assignments longer than six months) and other evaluations as needed per the medical department.
If a medical exam is required, it will include a physical exam by your doctor, lab work, vaccinations, and the completion of medical history forms. All required vaccinations must be completed prior to your departure. Most costs incurred during the medical clearance process are at your expense; however, you will be partially reimbursed for your physical exam/lab work and fully reimbursed for all required vaccinations.
The medical evaluation (including required vaccines) is targeted for your particular country of service, and you must clear the medical evaluation before departing for your assignment. For more information about conditions that may affect your ability to medically qualify, please review Peace Corps Medical Information for Applicants (PDF).
All Peace Corps Response Volunteers must undergo a legal clearance process, which involves being fingerprinted and completing a background check. Your application will be reviewed for eligibility based on the Peace Corps' legal guidelines, such as documentation of marital status, financial obligations, previous arrests and convictions, dependents, etc.
Once you have been medically and legally cleared for service, you will be provided a no-fee passport (including appropriate visas), and your travel arrangements will be made. You will receive detailed information about the post and arrival instructions. Generally, Peace Corps Response Volunteers will be medically and legally cleared within six to eight weeks of invitation.
- Medical Clearance:
Safety and Security
What about Volunteer safety?
The safety and security of all Volunteers continues to be the highest priority for the Peace Corps. All Response Volunteers will receive a comprehensive safety and security briefing during orientation at the Peace Corps post and will be asked to complete a safety and security training online prior to their departure for service. It is critical that Response Volunteers use caution and common sense and follow the security guidelines developed by their post.
Learn more about safety and security.
What type of training is provided for a Peace Corps Response assignment?
Orientation for Peace Corps Response Volunteers can vary both in terms of length and content, depending on the country and project in which the Volunteer is placed. The length of orientation can be as short as a few days or as long as 14 days; some posts may also require the Volunteer to stay with a host family during the orientation.
Occasionally, orientation is conducted simultaneously with pre-service training for Peace Corps Volunteers serving 27 months. Such sessions may be conducted jointly with Peace Corps Trainees. Standard sessions in which Response Volunteers take part may include those with medical staff, a safety and security briefing, administrative policies and procedures, and project-specific information. Response Volunteers may also be required to participate in cultural orientation sessions and limited language training, as well as participate in a short homestay.
Are departure dates flexible?
Departure dates for specific programs are determined by the country of service and the partner organization. Candidates who are able to depart during the requested time frame will be more competitive. In some cases, the partner and post may be willing to accommodate a candidate who has a special request.
Do Response Volunteers work alone or with other Volunteers?
While arrangements vary by assignment, Volunteers should expect to live on their own and work independently.
What are the working hours?
Hours will vary depending on the nature of the assignment; however, all Volunteers are responsible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for their personal conduct and professional performance, as stated in the Core Expectations (PDF).
What is housing like?
Response Volunteer housing can take many forms, depending on the type of housing available in a particular location and the standard practice employed by the Peace Corps post. Whether in a rented apartment with other Response Volunteers or living with a host family, such housing is expected to meet the same standards set for Peace Corps Volunteers.
What are the range of benefits?
Response Volunteers receive the same benefits as Peace Corps Volunteers, including: transportation to and from their country of service; settling-in, living, and leave allowances; two vacation days per month of service; medical care; and for those who complete their service, the option to receive cash-in-lieu of a return plane ticket.
What are the medical benefits?
All Volunteers receive comprehensive medical and dental benefits during service, and may potentially be eligible for benefits under the Federal Employees Compensation Act. Volunteers may also choose to purchase affordable health insurance following service.
Learn more about medical benefits .
What are the financial benefits?
Peace Corps Response provides Volunteers with a living allowance that enables them to live in a manner similar to the local people in their community, covering housing, food, and incidentals. It provides complete medical care during service as well as the cost of transportation to and from the country of service. Peace Corps Response Volunteers also receive a readjustment allowance of $375 for each month of service—$100 more than a two-year Volunteer would receive. The net amount of this allowance is sent via electronic funds transfer (EFT) to the Volunteer's U.S. bank account upon completion of his/her assignment.
What about student loans and other financial obligations?
Although the Peace Corps does not defer student loans, nor does it provide loan deferment applications, your recruiter can provide you with a letter for proof of service to give to your loan agency. Always contact your lenders directly to get the specific details of what they require when deferring loans. Additionally, Peace Corps Response Volunteers may be eligible to use a portion of their readjustment allowance to cover interest due on student loans or for other financial obligations, depending on how long they will be serving. To take advantage of this benefit, you will need to bring a copy of your student loans to your country of service as well as an address where the check can be mailed and your account number associated with the loan. Please speak to your recruiter if you would like more information. Learn more about student loans.
What is the visitors and vacation policy?
Due to the short-term nature of assignments, Response Volunteers rarely have family or friends visit during their service. If you do have visitors, the visit must coincide with your vacation time, which is accrued at two days/month. Response Volunteers are not permitted to take vacation, nor have visitors during the first and last month of service.
Are Volunteers allowed to travel during service?
Peace Corps Response Volunteers are allowed to travel during service when using vacation time. Volunteers are required to inform the Peace Corps staff of their travel plans and also to abide by any applicable post or Peace Corps policies.
Are Peace Corps Response Volunteers eligible for Noncompetitive Eligibility (NCE) status for federal employment?
Due to the short-term nature of assignments, most Peace Corps Response Volunteers are not eligible for noncompetitive status. However, if you serve as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer during the one-year noncompetitive eligibility period following two years of Peace Corps service, Peace Corps Response can write a recommendation to an employing agency requesting that the eligibility period be extended beyond the one year for the period of the Peace Corps Response assignment. Peace Corps Response Volunteers that serve at least two consecutive years are eligible for NCE.
What does it take to be eligible?
All Peace Corps Response applicants must be U.S. citizens. They must also be a returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) OR have at least 10 years of professional experience.
Why is the program opening up to individuals who have not previously served with the Peace Corps?
In response to a requirement from Congress, the agency's leadership at the Peace Corps undertook a comprehensive agency assessment in January of 2010. The assessment revealed that additional opportunities were needed to harness the specialized skills of seasoned professionals requested by our overseas posts for Volunteers with higher-level skill sets.
To address the demand for highly technical skills from our host-country partners, the assessment recommended breaking from the current eligibility requirements of Peace Corps Response and opening up assignments to qualified individuals who may not have previously served as Peace Corps Volunteers. By doing so, the Agency is widening the applicant pool of highly skilled professionals in order to better meet the demands for technical assistance from the countries where our Volunteers serve.
May I serve with my spouse/partner?
It may be possible for Peace Corps Response Volunteers to serve together as a married couple, but only if available projects exist for which both applicants can qualify. Peace Corps will work to identify opportunities for service that meet host country needs. Each partner/spouse must apply for a position in the same country—and be selected—in order to serve together.
Can my non-Volunteer spouse accompany me while I am a PC Response Volunteer?
The Peace Corps currently cannot accommodate spouses who are not themselves volunteers. Peace Corps Volunteers have a rigorous schedule, a high level of responsibility, and a duty to integrate into their community. Peace Corps Volunteers also live in approved housing; the agency has clear security standards and local housing typically requires some enhancements to meet those standards. Family or friends may not live with Volunteers on a permanent basis. The Peace Corps is responsible for the health and safety of its Volunteers, but cannot arrange for visas, provide health care, evacuate, provide assistance or support or handle any other issues or problems for non-Volunteers.
May my children accompany me?
Children are not permitted to accompany serving Peace Corps Response Volunteers. In the event that an applicant with dependent children is selected for a Response position, the applicant must ensure that adequate arrangements have been made for the care and support of the dependent children during Peace Corps service; that such service will not adversely affect the relationship between the applicant and the dependent children in such a way as to disrupt his or her service; and that he or she is not using Peace Corps service to escape responsibility for the welfare of any such dependent child under the age of 18.
What if I am a RPCV, but I did not finish my original tour of service?
RPCV applicants are generally required to have successfully completed their two years of Peace Corps service. However, candidates who were unable to finish their full tour for reasons beyond their control, but finished in good standing with the Peace Corps will also be considered.
Last updated Jan 30 2014