In-Person PSO

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There are three things you must complete before attending an in-person PSO; travel arrangements, pre-service coursework, and onboarding forms. Read below for details on how to complete these items. 

Travel to Pre-Service Orientation (PSO)

To arrange travel to training, plus relocation travel if you are moving to serve, follow the instructions below:

  • Log-in to your my.americorps.gov account and click on the link on the left menu titled “My Travel Request Profile” to complete the profile

    • If you are not relocating to serve, complete the Travel Request Profile for “Travel to Training.”

    • If you are moving 50 miles or more to your project site, you may qualify for relocation assistance. Please read the VISTA Travel Fact Sheet and then complete the Travel Request Profile for “Training and Relocation Travel.”

  • Questions about your Travel Request Profile can be answered by the VISTA Member Support Unit (VMSU) at 800-942-2677.

Pre-Service Coursework

There are a few online courses you must take before going to PSO.

  • VISTA Terms and Conditions. This course describes the laws and policies related to your VISTA service. After completing all modules of this course, you will be directed to a Terms and Conditions Acceptance form on my.americorps.gov. 

    • Please note that you must be logged in to the VISTA Campus and must not be logged in to my.americorps.gov while taking this course in order to access the acceptance form. Click here for detailed instructions on completing and certifying your acceptance of the Terms and Conditions.

  • VISTA Civil Rights and Responsibilities. This course explains your legal rights and responsibilities as a VISTA member, and what to do if you experience or witness discrimination or harassment.

  • Benefits of Service. This tutorial describes the wide range of benefits you are eligible to receive during and after your service including, but not limited to:

    • End of Service Benefit (Education Award or Cash Stipend)

    • VISTA Healthcare Benefit

    • Childcare

  • Mission and Legacy of VISTA. This course provides a brief overview of the VISTA program.

  • VISTA Campus Overview. The VISTA Campus offers a variety of online resources to help you during your year of service, as well as opportunities to connect with your fellow VISTA members, supervisors, and alumni.

Onboarding Forms

There are four online forms to complete before becoming a VISTA member.  Log into your my.americorps.gov account and click on each link in the left menu to complete these forms:  

My Living Allowance

  • Direct Deposit InformationWatch this video on how to complete your direct deposit. If you are unsure of your account number and routing number, call your bank.  

  • Federal Tax Withholding (W4) – If you need help filling out the form, go to www.irs.gov.

  • Unpaid Compensation Information (Designation of Beneficiary) – If you don’t know the ZIP+4 extension, enter 1111 and the system will suggest the correct extension. 

My End of Service Benefit

  • End of Service Benefits Selection – Read about the end of service benefits before choosing between the stipend and the education award.

Questions about onboarding forms can be answered by the VMSU at 800-942-2677.

Criminal History Checks

All AmeriCorps VISTA members are required to undergo a background investigation. This includes an FBI criminal history check, which requires you to submit fingerprints. The VISTA program is investigating for past sexual offenses, violent crimes, and crimes that have direct negative implications on your service assignment.

You will be provisionally sworn-in at PSO and your assignment is contingent upon successful completion of the criminal history background check.

On the first day you report to your site, your VISTA supervisor will provide you with two fingerprint cards and instructions for getting fingerprinted. You have 30 days from your first day of service to get fingerprinted (at a local police station or other site) and submit the completed cards to VISTA program headquarters.

Pre-Service Orientation for VISTA Candidates

The VISTA Pre-Service Orientation (PSO) introduces you to the VISTA program, its mission, history, and policies, and to your roles and responsibilities as a member.

A few weeks before the start of your PSO, you will receive an email with details about your PSO including the agenda and how to prepare. 

If you would like us to consider unique, personal circumstances or accommodations—for example physical or emotional support, gender identity, or learning challenges—please contact the VMSU at 800-942-2677.

Click here to download the VISTA Resource and Contact Sheet. Have questions? This document serves as a list of who to contact for issues that may arise throughout your year of service.