Federal Jobs and Noncompetitive Eligibility

In the whirl of getting started as an AmeriCorps VISTA member, you may have heard about a benefit that gives you an advantage when applying for federal jobs after your term is complete.

It’s called Non Competitive Eligibility (NCE) and gives you two advantages:

  • Opens the door to federal jobs not open to the general public
  • Can help you get placed with a job in the federal system in less time than the traditional process.

It’s also worthwhile to note that the time you served as a VISTA counts towards your federal retirement and leave benefits. Under FERS (Federal Employees Retirement System), you can make a payment for any period of VISTA or Peace Corps volunteer service (excluding training time) regardless of when the service was performed in order to credit it toward your retirement.

VISTA alumni should direct all questions or concerns to OPM and the Human Resources/Benefits personnel at their existing agency.

Application to make service credit payment.

Here are three resources that can help you learn more and get started:

NCE for VISTAs is a tutorial designed to help VISTAs learn the process of applying their NCE status to their job search

USAJobs.gov is a site where job openings in the federal government are posted. You can learn how to find positions open to individuals with NCE status in the NCE for VISTAs tutorial.

How to Get a Job in the Federal Government is a guide that helps people learn how federal hiring processes differ from those in other sectors.

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