How To Become A Teacher At Military Bases

Updated: October 29, 2021

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    Do you want to learn how to become a teacher at a military base high school, middle school, or primary school?

    This is not your typical educator job and the hiring and even the application requirements can be greatly different than what experienced educators might be used to. What does it take to be considered for a teaching job at a military base?

    The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA)

    How To Become A Teacher At Military Bases DoDEA is responsible for the operation of schools on military bases all over the world. A separate organization within DoDEA has responsibility for schools at overseas military bases–that entity is called Department of Defense Dependent Schools or DoDDS, and in spite of the fact that it operates overseas is said to be in the top ten largest American school systems.

    DoDEA is a “field activity” of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness). And is located at DoDEA Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. DoDEA’s schools are divided into 3 geographic areas: the Americas, the Pacific, and Europe.

    DoDEA operates an impressive number of facilities in the Continental United States and overseas. The agency has some 160 accredited schools in 11 foreign countries, seven states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Approximately 70,000 children are served in DoDEA facilities each year.

    The official site of DoDEA reminds parents and job seekers that DoDEA schools offer “comprehensive prekindergarten through 12th grade curriculum that is dedicated to attaining highest student achievement for all students” with 100% of DoDEA schools “accredited and in good standing with their regional accrediting agency,” according to the official site.

    Applying To Teach At A DoDEA School

    Those interested in teaching at a DoDEA school in the United States or overseas should know that like many federal agencies, there is a centralized application portal and process and if you don’t apply for a teacher job using that application portal, you are likely wasting your time.

    All applicants must use the  Employment Application System (EAS) as all DoDEA teaching jobs are filled via EAS and only “active” applications are considered.

    You may find job listings for DoDEA teaching jobs elsewhere such as on Indeed.com or other job boards. Don’t waste time applying for such jobs outside the Employment Application System as you likely won’t be considered based on the instructions on the DoDEA official site.

    Applying For Non-Teacher Jobs

    The advice above does NOT APPLY for those seeking non-teacher jobs within the agency. Those who want to be employed by DoDEA but not as a teacher must look for jobs at USAJobs.gov. The official site advises this is true for those seeking jobs including but not limited to:

    • Educational Aides
    • Office Automation jobs
    • Principals
    • Assistant Principals
    • ROTC Instructors
    • Instructional System Specialists

    Be advised that some positions listed at USAJobs.gov may be restricted to current DoDEA employees only–read the fine print carefully.

    About Becoming A DoDEA Substitute Teacher

    The official site advises there are substitute teacher positions open within DoDEA as well as Tutoring jobs, and Training Instructor positions. Unlike permanent teacher positions, these jobs are not advertised via Employment Application System, but rather via USAJobs.gov. If you want to find substitute teacher jobs, don’t look at EAS as those positions are not listed there.

    Requirements To Teach At A DoDEA School

    No matter where you wish to teach, stateside or overseas, you will have a set of standards you must meet in order to be considered for a teaching position within the agency.

    If you haven’t applied in a while, or at all, it’s best to review the these requirements as A) they are subject to change and B) they have been revised since 2009 with new guidelines. Those include:

    • State teaching endorsements (must be comparable to DoDEA’s teacher categories)
    • Official transcripts reflecting 50% of the applicant’s course work in the classroom content area being applied for
    • Professional development/teacher education
    • A baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association is required
    • Academic preparation of at least 40 hours in general education coursework in English, history, social studies, mathematics, fine arts, languages, science, philosophy, and psychology is required
    • 18 hours of professional teacher education coursework is required
    • Student teaching or an internship

    Some DoDEA teaching jobs may be exempt from the professional teacher education requirement listed above, including (but not limited to):

    • Social Workers
    • School Nurses
    • School Psychologists
    • JROTC Instructors
    • Non-certified Training Instructors

    There are also testing requirements. All applicants must submit proof of meeting DoDEA minimum scores for both PRAXIS I and PRAXIS II.

    The official site lists separate requirements for elementary, middle school, and secondary school jobs. Space does not allow us to list all requirements for all possible subject matter areas and grade levels, but one thing you’ll notice that is consistent across all applications?

    A general requirement to have training and/or experience directly in the subject matter taught but also a minimum amount of grade-level-appropriate teaching training/experience.

    For example, among DoDEA grade school teacher job openings, you’ll find things similar to the following line:

    “All applicants must have completed a minimum of 3 semester hours containing early childhood education if reassignment to lower elementary grades 1-3 becomes necessary for continuous employment”.

    Requirements for specific training and experience at a specific grade level or developmental level are common.

    DoDEA Jobs In Support Services

    Not all jobs advertised involve direct classroom teaching work. There are plenty of support services jobs for guidance counselors, school psychologists, and school nurses. These each require specific credentials and education depending on the nature of the job.

    The school psychologist, for example, is required to have earned a Master’s Degree in school psychology or a state license in school psychology.

    DoDEA Teaching Certification

    While it is true that DoDEA instructors must carry a DoDEA certification, this is not available until after you are hired for a specific job. Also, the agency does not generally permit experience to substitute for college-level coursework in a subject matter area.

    What is this certification? According to the official site, the agency, “…issues a Provisional certificate and a Professional certificate. The provisional certificate is issued to all newly hired educators” and is valid for two years. It is basically an endorsement that states the bearer has met qualification requirements of the job and has successfully completed “two years in an educator position with DoDEA”.


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


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