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Can Civilians Work on Military Bases?

Civilians often think of military bases as secretive locations with soldiers carrying out important work or training. However, military bases also house soldiers and their families who require access to food and essential services. So, who works on military bases?

TLDR – Over 180,000 civilians are employed at military bases around the United States. Civilians work in a variety of professions on military bases, from electricians and physicians to food service workers and bartenders. However, veterans and dependents of service members receive priority over other civilians applying for jobs on military bases.


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How Do Civilians Get Jobs on Military Bases?

Civilians get jobs on military bases by applying for open positions but may find it difficult to get hired. Civilian jobs at military bases are Federal government positions. Those who have previously worked for the Federal government are more likely to find work on a military base. 

Veterans and disabled veterans are eligible to apply for civilian jobs at military bases. Other qualifying candidates include dependents of service members and military spouses, including spouses of service people being relocated, widows of service members, and spouses of retired service members. 

Many of the people in these categories apply for open job listings at the military base of their choice. If they do not get the job, their information remains on file, allowing them to join a pool of candidates for future job listings.


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Those interested in civilian jobs at military bases typically need to create an online account. Each branch of the military has a website dedicated to civilian jobs. After creating an account, individuals can search job listings and submit applications.

When job openings become available, hiring managers first look at those with a connection to the military. Veterans, military spouses, and those with existing military affiliations receive priority over civilians with no military affiliations.

The Department of Defense (DoD) has a Spouse Preference Program that helps spouses of active-duty service members find work on military bases. Programs are also available to give priority to veterans and existing Federal employees who need to transition due to military downsizing.

Along with having a connection to the military, meeting the requirements of the job also increases employability. Some positions may require a specific college degree, certification, or training. All candidates must also pass extensive background checks. A criminal past often disqualifies candidates.


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What Are the Perks of Working on a Military Base?

Civilians working on military bases tend to enjoy competitive pay rates, full health benefits, and access to amenities that are typically off-limits to the public. While civilian employees cannot access the commissary or exchange, they are often allowed to use other facilities, such as the gym and library. 

What Are Military Jobs for Civilians?

A wide variety of jobs are available at most military bases. Service members typically receive access to a complete range of amenities and services at the base. Gas stations, grocery stores, and essential services are often located on the base to limit the need for personnel to frequently leave and reenter.

Military bases may offer jobs for skilled professionals, such as accountants, counselors, construction contractors, and business administrators. Employees are also needed for retail, warehouse support, marketing, human resources, information technology, and health. 

How Many Civilians Work for the Army?

About 330,000 civilians work for the US Army, making the Army Civilian Service one of the largest elements of the Department of Defense (DoD). The Army offers jobs in over 500 different fields. US citizens who work in the Army Civilian Service are called “Army civilians.”

Army civilians work at military bases and facilities in the United States and overseas. According to the Army’s website, the most in-demand civilian career fields in the Army include finance, medical, cybersecurity, engineering, science, human resources, and mathematics.

Do Army Civilians Wear Uniforms?

Only a select few jobs occasionally require Army civilians to wear uniforms and insignia. For example, employees in certain fields who accompany the Armed Forces may need to wear utility uniforms with an insignia that designates their role.


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Operations analysts, technical observers, chauffeurs, messengers, logistics specialists, and scientific consultants have official designations. Other roles may require Army civilians to wear a standard insignia that does not display the designated assignment.

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