The Peace Corps provides each Volunteer with housing and a living stipend that enables them to live and work alongside the people in their community of service. Unlike other international volunteer programs, there is no charge to participate in the Peace Corps. There is no application fee, although costs for required medical examinations during the application process may only be partially covered.
Upon completion of two years of service, the Peace Corps provides each Volunteer with more than $10,000 (pre-tax) to help with the transition to life back home. This money is yours to use as you wish.
Student loan benefits
Student loans are your responsibility while you are in service, but certain public student loans may be eligible for deferment or for Public Service Loan Forgiveness by your lender.
Perkins loans may be eligible for partial cancellation by your lender.
The Peace Corps covers the cost of transportation to and from the country of service. Each Volunteer receives two paid vacation days per month of service, and many use this time to travel to nearby countries. Some invite family or friends to visit so they can share their experience of the host country. And, of course, Volunteers can use this time for a visit home (at their own expense). Paid leave is available in the event of family emergencies.
See the Global Policy Handbook [PDF] for restrictions on taking leave during service.
Medical and dental benefits
The Peace Corps provides medical and dental care that covers all related expenses during service, including preventative care, and issues incurred during your training period, service, or on vacation. In the case of a health problem that cannot be treated in your host country, you will be sent to a nearby country or the U.S at no cost to you.
Returned Volunteers may be eligible for workers’ compensation for injuries incurred during their service, although this program is managed by the Department of Labor and not by the Peace Corps.
The Peace Corps provides rigorous technical training at the start of service, which includes in-depth intercultural and language instruction, usually from a native speaker.
Throughout service, Volunteers have regular opportunities to gain new skills related to work, language, culture, and safety. This training makes returned Peace Corps Volunteers highly in demand by corporate, nonprofit, and government employers seeking candidates with the skills required in today’s global economy.
The Peace Corps offers career support specifically tailored to Volunteers when they return home to help them prepare for their next step:
- Help translating their field experience to prospective employers
- Advantages in federal employment and hiring benefits related to noncompetitive eligibility and possible credit toward retirement should they meet qualifications
- Access to job announcements, résumé services, and career fairs
- Other special eligibility for hiring preferences by organizations designated as Employers of National Service
Returned Peace Corps Volunteers have gone on to successful careers in all kinds of fields, from international development to business to the arts.
State and territorial teacher certification benefits
Some states and territories allow Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) to use Peace Corps service to meet teaching certification requirements. In select cases, RPCVs may be eligible to receive fellowships to teach in communities or receive expedited processing and placement into interim teaching position while full licensing is pending.
Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate program
Volunteers also have the opportunity to earn a recognized teaching credential during Peace Corps service, a unique opportunity to meet global professional English standards.
Graduate school benefits
Graduate schools recognize the valuable service experience returned Peace Corps Volunteers bring to communities at home. The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program partners offer Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) reduced tuition, assistantships, and stipends at participating universities and colleges.
Some states also have legislation that provides an additional in-state tuition benefit for out of state RPCVs:
Become part of a vibrant network
Hundreds of thousands of Americans have served as Peace Corps Volunteers, making for a highly active and diverse alumni network. To connect with these returned Volunteers, visit the National Peace Corps Association.