Getting A Job On A Military Base

Updated: July 18, 2021
In this Article

    There are too many job opportunities available on a military base to name them all, but you can find everything from typical fast-food jobs to high-paying Civil Service positions. These jobs are available to spouses, retirees, dependents, and veterans. In this article, we will try to answer some of your questions on how to get a job on a military base.

    What Kind of Jobs Are Available on Base?

    If you look at employment opportunities from the big-picture, jobs are either “appropriated fund” positions (funded yearly in congressional budgets), or “nonappropriated fund” (NAF) jobs (paid by other agencies are not specifically listed in a congressional budget). Civil Service jobs would fall under “appropriated fund” work, and a job opening at an on-base shop or movie theater run by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) are good examples of “non-appropriated fund” positions.

    That distinction may be unimportant to some, but when you begin applying for on-base jobs, you will see phrases like “appropriated fund position” or “nonappropriated fund position” listed prominently in the job description. It’s good to know what these terms mean when you apply for a job because if you are a military spouse, you may qualify for hiring preferences. Both types of jobs are available to qualified applicants at military bases stateside and overseas.

    How Do I Find Open Positions?

    Job applications on military bases are not all centralized. Each hiring agency advertises and hires using different methods. In the case of appropriated fund Civil Service jobs, vacancies are usually listed through “apply here” websites like or Some of these jobs may require specialized experience, training, or education. You’ll find that information in the job description. Other vacancies may be listed locally on-base using bulletin boards or official web pages.

    What Are Some of the Things Employers Ask for When Applying for a Job?

    When you apply for a job on a military base as a spouse or military dependent, they may ask you for information about your sponsor. When asked “who’s your sponsor,” they want to know the name of the currently serving military member in the family assigned to that particular base. That question won’t apply to all applicants and can be a source of confusion if you’re not familiar with the term. As a spouse or dependent, you may also be eligible for local hiring incentives that are not available to civilians looking for a job on-base

    Some jobs may require a security clearance. If you are a veteran or active-duty military member, it’s not a big deal. You may have already gone through the process and have had at least a “Secret” security clearance. In some cases, even the most basic types of jobs may require this. It just depends on the type of military installation. For example, a job as a coffee vendor at the Pentagon may require the kind of background check you would never need to apply for a job at your local café.

    But these practices are, in many cases, formalities. If you are asked to consent to a background check, be ready to answer questions that might require you to do a bit of preparation. Do you remember your first street address? Dates of your previous jobs? Brushing up on your personal history can help in such cases.

    About The AuthorJoe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News

    Written by Team