I think one of the number one reasons people never actually apply for the Peace Corps is how long the application process takes.
The first thing you’re told when considering joining the Peace Corps is to start your application immediately… and they mean it.
The entire process of filling out an application and going through legal and medical clearance takes on average about 8 – 12 months. This varies for everyone but it definitely takes a lot longer than applying for a typical office job. So if you think the Peace Corps is something you might be interested in start a Peace Corps Application ASAP. Starting an application does not mean you are actually applying, it’s more of building a portfolio in case some day you want to click that “submit” button.
The application and initial health history form are online. They make it fairly easy to track your progress by updating a “Check Your Application” page. You are given an “HR Status” that tells you where you’re at in the process and the date of the latest status.
* It is important to note that in August 2012 the Peace Corps revamped their application process. Most of the main application is the same and the medical portion has been altered to make the process more efficient. This has made comparing my timeline to others a bit difficult, considering I am among some of the first groups to go by the new process. I did use “Peace Corps Wiki” to get a general idea of what to expect on timing. However, now that I have finally received my invitation I noticed that my timeline was a bit longer than most. This could be due to the switch-over to the new application process, government sequester that cut part of the PC budget right before I applied, or that my skills in my nominated sector weren’t as competitive as other applicants.
PEACE CORPS TIME LINE 2012 – 2013
September 15 – Submitted my application and was immediately e-mail the Health History form. After submitting the Health History form HR status on the application portal updated, “Application received. Health History Form Pending.”
September 18 – HR Status updated, “Application and Health History Form received”
September 20 – My 3 references informed me they received their “reference letters” via e-mail to fill out and submit.
September 28 – HR Status updated, “References Received”
October 2 – Received call from recruiter to schedule interview.
October 5 – HR Status updated, “Interview Scheduled”
October 9 – Interview with recruiter.
October 12 – HR Status updated, “Interviewed”
October 25 – HR Status updated, “Nominated”
October 26 – Received nomination e-mail with tentative departure date and work sector. Medical Portal is updated with request for doctor verification of any conditions reported in Health History form.
November 3 – Received legal packet via mail, request for fingerprints and background information.
November 9 – Mailed fingerprints to East Coast offices. ($35 for prints)
March 27 – HR Status: “Legally Cleared”. Received medical pre-clearance via e-mail (portal apparently doesn’t report this).
April 15 – Received e-mail from placement with request for updated resume, transcripts, contact information and a follow up questionnaire on any concerns I might have, what I will find most challenging, and conditions I am willing to endure in my country of service. They ask for you to respond to the e-mail and inform them when ALL documents have been updated.
April 18 – Received e-mail from placement confirming they have received my updated information and should expect to hear back from them in 6 – 8 weeks.
May 10 – Departure date push back to January, February, March 2014.
July 17 – Received e-mail from placement, a different person than who originally reviewed my file, asking to schedule a 30 minute phone interview for final suitability. Giving a few times that I am open they scheduled it for 9 am Eastern (that’s 6 am my time!) on Friday, July 19.
July 19 (6:00 am) – Final suitability phone interview. It only lasted 11 minutes. On the questionnaire you are asked to list your three top concerns – these are mainly what we talked about. The phone call was short and to the point – as are most interactions with PC staff. I was told I could expect an invitation to be e-mailed to me in about a week.
July 19 (9:00 am) – Invitation received! I could not believe I was invited within hours. After almost a whole year of being in limbo it felt so amazing to finally know the outcome.
Project: HIV/AIDS Prevention and Community Health
Job Title: Community Health Volunteer
Staging Dates: February 10 – February 11, 2014
Pre-service Training (in Ethiopia): February 12, 2014 – April 23, 2014
Dates of Service: April 24, 2014 – April 24, 2016
Feel free to leave any questions and comments below. Or let me know where you’re at in your process!