Military Spouse Employment Preference

Updated: July 27, 2021
In this Article

    As a military spouse, you face unique employment challenges. Depending on your military spouse’s career choice, you may have the luxury of settling in one area for many years or face the challenge of relocating once every few years. Holding down a job in such conditions can be difficult. Don’t worry! The military is there to help by providing hiring preferences if you want to compete for certain types of on-base employment, including Department of Defense (DoD) civilian jobs.

    This program is called the Military Spouse Preference Program (PPP) (Schedule S). This DoD program was created to lessen career interruption if you are a military spouse and have to relocate because your spouse had to move to a new assignment (PCS). PPP allows you to be noncompetitively considered for well-paid government positions. That means your career choices aren’t limited to AAFES jobs, openings with the base Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) department, or simple entry-level hiring.

    Does PPP apply to All DoD Job Vacancies?

    No. PPP only applies to competitive service positions in the U.S. and its territories and possessions. It does not apply to foreign areas, non‐appropriated fund (NAF) organizations, or certain non-competitive positions in the DoD. The human resources office on-base can guide you through the registration process and help you make that decision. Applying for spouse preference overseas has additional requirements.

    What Do I Need to Qualify and Apply for PPP?

    To be eligible for the PPP, you must meet the following criteria:

    • Be the spouse of an active-duty service member (including Coast Guard or full-time National Guard)
    • Move with your spouse to a new duty station
    • Be married before your spouse or partner’s reporting date
    • Apply for a position within commuting distance of your spouse or partner’s new duty station
    • Rank among the best-qualified candidates for the position

    You should choose carefully when applying for and accepting employment using military spouse preference because you can only use that preference once per duty station. This does not apply if you accept a non-continuing position, such as jobs that are temporary, flexible, or permanent positions with an intermittent schedule.

    How Do I Apply for a Job using PPP?

    The Human Resources Office (HRO) at the military installation will have all you need to register for PPP status when you apply for jobs that qualify for the spouse preference program. Your military spouse preference applies if you are deemed among the “best‐qualified” candidates for the position based on the hiring agency’s competitive criteria. This means if you are rated best qualified, you block the selection of other competitive candidates.

    About The AuthorJim spent 22 years on active duty, climbing the ranks from Airman Basic to a decorated Air Force Major. Stationed all over the world, he held many high-level posts, including Chief of Foreign Military Sales at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Jim earned his Ph.D. through the Montgomery Era GI Bill and spent 13 years teaching African Studies in Pennsylvania. Jim is also an award-winning travel writer.

    Written by Team