Military Spouse Preference in Employment
Moving doesn't have to disrupt your career, because as a military spouse you may get preference when you apply for Department of Defense civilian jobs. The Military Spouse Preference program gives preference to military spouses for Department of Defense civilian jobs. To be eligible for military spouse preference, you must be:
- The spouse of an active-duty service member (including Coast Guard or full-time National Guard)
- Moving with your spouse to a new duty station
- Married before your spouse or partner's reporting date
- Applying for a position within commuting distance of your spouse or partner's new duty station
- Ranked among the best-qualified candidates for the position.
You can apply for spouse preference for Appropriated Fund and Non-Appropriated Fund federal jobs as early as 30 days before your spouse's reporting date.
The civilian personnel office fills Appropriated Fund vacancies on military installations, and spouse preference is available for these positions at pay grades up to GS-15.
The following information applies to Appropriated Fund vacancies within the continental United States. Regulations are different for spouse preference outside the United States — contact your installation's civilian personnel office or human resources office, or read "Understanding Military Spouse Preference Overseas" for more information.
To use spouse preference for Appropriated Fund jobs within the United States, you must:
- Create an application resume. Use the resume builder on USAJobs to create your resume.
- Meet the eligibility requirement. If you're applying through USAJobs, find the hiring eligibility section in your profile and check Military Spouse under Special Hiring Options. Visit the USAJobs Military Spouses page or contact your local civilian personnel office to find out more about eligibility requirements.
- Register for military spouse preference. You must apply for the Priority Placement Program to register — it's the only way to get spouse preference for an Appropriated Fund position. Apply for the program through your local civilian personnel office.
You need to provide a number of documents when you apply for the Priority Placement Program:
- A copy of your spouse's PCS orders
- A copy of your SF-50, if you had a federal job
- A copy of your DD214, if you're a former service member
- A copy of your most recent performance appraisal, if you're a current or former federal employee.
Non-Appropriated Fund vacancies
Non-Appropriated Fund positions include jobs at military exchanges, recreation facilities, restaurants and other Non-Appropriated Fund activities. Spouse preference applies to positions at pay grades up to NF-3. To use your spouse preference, you'll need:
- An application. Return your completed application to your human resources office.
- A copy of your spouse's PCS orders. Attach the orders to your application.
- A request for military spouse preference. In some cases, the hiring office may have a form for requesting spouse preference. If not, make a written statement requesting military spouse preference.
Effect on military spouse preference when you accept a position
If you accept a continuing position — selections made without a time limitation and requiring a fixed work schedule — you can use your military spouse preference only once at each new duty station. You don't lose your spouse preference if you accept a non-continuing position, which doesn't have a time limitation and a fixed work schedule requirement. These include temporary, flexible or permanent positions with an intermittent schedule.
Your military support services
Most installations have a civilian personnel office or human resources office that can give you more information about military spouse preference and can:
- Refer you to on-installation hiring authorities for both Appropriated Fund and Non-Appropriated Fund positions
- Help you create a resume
- Refer you to potential employers in the local community
Visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS to find your installation's civilian personnel office or human resources office. You can also visit Spouse Education and Career Opportunities for more information, or the Military Spouse Employment Partnership to look for a job in the private sector.
Don't give up on your career just because you moved. The Military Spouse Preference program is an important benefit that can help you get a job or continue your career as you move with the military.