4/20/2014

How to Join The Peace Corps

Join the Peace Corps

Introduction:

The Peace Corps is an army of volunteers organized by the US Federal Government. Due to this fact, you cannot become a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) overnight.  There are several bureaucratic hoops that you must jump through, which can take 7-12 months on average, to navigate, and this is your unofficial guide. Before you get too excited though, please check my post on the Medical Clearance process for health conditions that The Peace Corps can not accommodate, has limited support for, or will delay your departure due to. 

Web Application Portal
Peace Corps Application Portal

Application:

  1. Block out an afternoon in your schedule. The application does not have to been done all in one sitting, but it is thorough and will take several hours to complete.
  2. Create an account at peacecorps.gov/apply, using your email address and a password.
  3. Upload a resume or CV and a cover letter.
  4. Write two essays, one about why you qualify to join The Peace Corps and the other about integrating in a cross-cultural experience, that are 250-500 words.
  5. Provide contact information for three references from a work/volunteer, professional/educational, and personal/volunteer relationship.
  6. List your present and former employment and volunteer/community service history.
  7. Give detailed information about your educational and practical skills background.  
  8. Upload a copy of your college transcript (unofficial is accepted) or you can have 10 years of professional working experience.
  9. Prepare and include any information about student loans or other financial obligations.
  10. Scan and upload notarized documentation for any legal obligations.
  11. Research the work assignments that you both like and qualify for, at peacecorps.gov/lean, and list them. Also, note the regions of the world you would not like to serve in.
You have to log-in and work on your application once every 30 days or else your unfinished application will be deleted.
  1. Submit the application.
  2. Within a few hours, you should receive a confirmation email and another email with a link to the Health History Form.
  3. Click on the link in the Health History Form email and create another account, using your account name (the email that was used for your application) and your candidate number provided in the confirmation email.
  4. Fill out the Health History Form, and be honest. All claims or omissions will be verified before your departure.

Interview:

  1. Make sure to keep up with your references. They will be contacted via email, and they have 10 business days to send in your letters of recommendation. Your interview will not take place until all three have been received by your recruiter.
  2. Wait about two weeks.
  3. Your recruiter will contact you and set up a time that works for the both of you, either in person (they may come to you or you may have to go to their Regional Recruiting Center) or you can do it via video chat on a personal computer.
  4. In either case, dress in business casual clothing and be early to your appointment.
  5. Be prepared to answer questions about yourself and your intentions. Also have a few questions for the recruiter onhand.
  6. Have your interview. If your recruiter feels that you are a valid candidate, they will look for a place for you to service in The Peace Corps.
Peace Corps Assignment
Peace Corps Nomination Email

Nomination & Review:

  1. Wait for an assignment to become available. This could be the day of your interview or as much as a year later, depending on how specific your requirements/preferences are.
  2. Your recruiter will notify you via phone of openings you qualify for. Choose one, and your recruiter will officially nominate you for the position.
  3. You will receive an email containing the name of the country and tentative departure date of your nomination.
  4. Based on your Health History Form you will either be granted Provisional Medical Clearance or they may ask for additional medical information. If needed, provide the additional information/details, you have 30 days to do so.
  5. Within 10 days of that,  you should receive a Legal Kit (containing two fingerprint cards and a National Agency Check (NAC) form, for a background check).
  6. Fill out the fingerprint cards and NAC form, with the instructions provided.
  7. Go to a police station or post office that does fingerprinting and have them finish the cards.

Most police stations require you to have the cards filled out before they will take your fingerprints.

  1. Using an express shipper, mail the two fingerprint cards and the background check form to the return address within 10 business days of receiving them.
  2. Your application will again be reviewed for eligibility, so be on your best behavior (don’t get arrested!). The placement office may email you additional questions, so answer those if they are asked. You can also be legally pre-cleared, and your NAC won’t be run until you accept a formal invitation.
Federal background check
Peace Corps Legal Clearance Paperwork

Invitation:

  1. Wait for your official invitation to arrive. At the very latest, it will come 4 months before your departure.
  2. Accept your official invitation, which comes both digitally and in the mail with an information packet.
  3. Immediately apply for a Peace Corps Passport using either a U.S. Passport or your birth certificate.
  4. Within a year of your departure date and no later than 60 days before, have a dental exam with x-rays and the required immunizations.
  5. Within 6 months of your departure date and no later than 60 days before, have a physical, blood tests, and supplemental screenings done by a doctor.
Peace Corps Volunteer Medical Clearance
Peace Corps Medical Clearance Paperwork

Departure:

  1. You will be issued an electronic ticket from a location near your home address to one of a handful of pre-departure staging areas.
  2. Fly to the departure staging area.
  3. Participate in one to two days worth of pre-departure training.
  4. Fly to your country of service.
  5. Train in your assigned country for 3 months.
  6. Work as a Peace Corps Volunteer for at least two years.
  7. Renew for additional year(s), if applicable.
Peace Corps Invitee Staging
Peace Corps Staging Email

Conclusion: 

Life is calling. How far will you go?

Joining the Peace Corps
Peace Corps Volunteer Application Process

Countries of Service: 

  • Afghanistan 
  • Albania 
  • Anguilla 
  • Antigua and Barbuda 
  • Argentina 
  • Armenia 
  • Azerbaijan 
  • Bahrain 
  • Bangladesh 
  • Barbados 
  • Belize 
  • Benin 
  • Bolivia 
  • Botswana 
  • Brazil 
  • Bulgaria 
  • Burkina Faso 
  • Burundi 
  • Cambodia 
  • Cameroon 
  • Cape Verde 
  • Central African Republic 
  • Chad 
  • Chile 
  • China 
  • Colombia 
  • Comoros 
  • Congo, Democratic Republic of 
  • Congo, Republic of 
  • Cook Islands 
  • Costa Rica 
  • Cote d'Ivoire 
  • Cyprus 
  • Czech Republic
  • Dominica 
  • Dominican Republic 
  • East Timor 
  • Ecuador 
  • El Salvador 
  • Equatorial Guinea 
  • Eritrea 
  • Estonia 
  • Ethiopia 
  • Fiji 
  • Gabon 
  • Gambia, The 
  • Georgia 
  • Ghana 
  • Grenada and Cariacou 
  • Guatemala 
  • Guinea 
  • Guinea-Bissau 
  • Guyana 
  • Haiti 
  • Honduras 
  • Hungary 
  • India 
  • Indonesia 
  • Iran 
  • Jamaica 
  • Jordan 
  • Kazakhstan 
  • Kenya 
  • Kiribati 
  • Kyrgyz Republic 
  • Latvia 
  • Lesotho 
  • Liberia 
  • Lithuania 
  • Libya 
  • Macedonia, The Republic of 
  • Madagascar 
  • Malawi 
  • Malaysia 
  • Mali 
  • Malta 
  • Marshall Islands 
  • Mauritania 
  • Mauritius 
  • Mexico 
  • Micronesia, Federated States of 
  • Moldova 
  • Mongolia 
  • Montserrat 
  • Morocco 
  • Mozambique 
  • Namibia 
  • Nepal 
  • Nicaragua 
  • Niger 
  • Nigeria 
  • Niue 
  • Oman 
  • Pakistan 
  • Palau, Republic of 
  • Panama 
  • Papua New Guinea 
  • Paraguay 
  • Peru 
  • Philippines 
  • Poland 
  • Romania 
  • Russia 
  • Rwanda
  • St. Kitts/Nevis 
  • St. Lucia 
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines 
  • Samoa 
  • Sao Tome and Principe 
  • Senegal 
  • Seychelles 
  • Sierra Leone 
  • Slovak Republic 
  • Solomon Islands 
  • Somalia 
  • South Africa 
  • South Korea 
  • Sri Lanka 
  • Sudan 
  • Suriname 
  • Swaziland 
  • Tanzania 
  • Thailand 
  • Togo 
  • Tonga 
  • Tunisia 
  • Turkey 
  • Turkmenistan 
  • Turks-Caicos 
  • Tuvalu 
  • Uganda 
  • Ukraine 
  • Uruguay 
  • Uzbekistan 
  • Vanuatu 
  • Venezuela 
  • Yemen 
  • Zambia 
  • Zimbabwe


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Location: Washington, DC, USA

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