The Peace Corps, established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, is a government organization with a mission to promote world peace and friendship. You can serve in the Peace Corps as an employee or volunteer. Both positions have financial rewards and benefits. Peace Corps employees support the 200,000-plus worldwide volunteers at the Washington, D.C. headquarters, one of the nine regional recruiting agencies or at overseas offices.
Salary and Benefits
When considering the salary of a desired career, you also should consider the benefits and perks. As a government organization, the Peace Corps offers standard federal employment benefits, including competitive salaries, 13 vacation days, 13 sick days, retirement benefits, health insurance and a tax-deferred savings plan. Sick and vacation leave time can increase after three years of service. The salary of Peace Corps employees conforms to United States government approved ranges; Congress votes on these each year. According the Peace Corps, these ranges are available only by viewing specific job vacancies.
According to domestic and overseas job announcements posted on June 17, 2011, salary ranges vary depending on the type of position and experience of the applicant. Director positions are listed with a range of $61,759 to $138,137. Executive assistant positions range from $42,637 to $62,614. A country director position was listed with a salary range of $94,064 to $150,913. Employees also live in Peace Corps-provided housing or receive additional living expenses.
Volunteer Living Expenses
The majority of people who work for the Peace Corps are volunteers. These positions are unpaid, although the Peace Corps provides living expenses in exchange for service. The Peace Corps will provide volunteers with a living allowance that enables them to live in a comfortable manner, similar to the people living in the communities in which they are serving. These funds can be used to cover housing, food and incidental items. Many Peace Corps volunteers find full-time employment with the agency or within another government agency after their service.
Other Peace Corps Volunteer Benefits
In addition to providing living expenses, Peace Corps volunteers also are provided transition funds. As of June 2011, the amount a volunteer receives at the end of his or her service is $7,425; these funds are unrestricted and can be used for travel, vacation, moving or securing housing. Also, volunteers are awarded two vacation days per every month of service. Finally, a major benefit of serving in the Peace Corps is deferment or, in some cases, cancellation of student loans.