DoD Schools May Be for You

eagle  We were a bit hesitant to introduce this topic since it’s outside the usual scope of International Schools Review. However, we’ve noticed several active DoD schools conversations on the ISR Forum & think it’s a good idea to bring this topic to light, especially since recruiting season is underway.

  If you’re not familiar with DoD (U.S. Department of Defense) overseas schools, you may want to consider one for your next career move, especially if you’re a U.S. citizen & your area of certification/expertise falls outside the realm of positions generally offered at the vast majority of International Schools.

  DoD schools recruit for a wide variety of positions: education technologist, library information specialist, guidance counselor, nurse, school psychologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech/language pathologist, special education, as well as classroom teacher.

  Unlike some International Schools reviewed on ISR, the U.S. DoD is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All applicants are considered without regard to political, religious, or labor organization affiliation or non-affiliation, marital status, race, color, creed, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation or non-disqualifying physical or mental handicap, or any other non-merit factor. Additionally, DoD schools offer health benefits, life insurance, retirement benefits & shipping of household goods/pets. In some locations your car will be shipped as part of the package.

  Of course, DoD schools aren’t for everyone. The most notable difference between a DoD school & an International School is that a DoD classroom will be comprised of American students who are the children of government employees, such as military and embassy personnel. You may find your school is located on a military installation. You will, however, be overseas, well-paid, receive great benefits & free to travel/experience the local culture.

  We created this special DoD Blog to facilitate discussion & the sharing of information about DoD schools among interested teachers.

24 Responses to DoD Schools May Be for You

  1. Megan says:

    I’m a registered nurse interested in the possibility of a position as a school nurse working overseas with DOD. Any insight, thoughts and or advice would be much appreciated.


  2. Jana Feken says:

    Yes, I am interested in teaching in Europe. I am special education teacher with 10 years experience. I would like to know what DOD schools have Elementary Special Education Programs? Are there any suggestions or advice in finding/getting these positions?


  3. bethaniee says:

    Working for DoD is my dream and the only thing that keeps me slogging through an accelerated MAT program with three kids at home! 😉
    My favorite teacher, Mr. Randall, was my 6th and 7th grade teacher at a DoD school in Augsburg…I still tell his jokes to my kids and think of him every time I hear “Down under” by Men at Work! We took field trips to amazing places and learned German. I was leagues ahead of kids at the American public schools when we finally settled stateside in 1993.
    sigh. I hope my kids can have a chance at the kind of childhood I had!


  4. Anonymous says:

    I am an experienced international teacher, but my husband is a newbie vocational teacher in the states. He would love to stay in his subject area as he has 20 years professional experience in his field before he started teaching. How often do vocational positions open? Would they be hired earlier in the season? Should I also apply? I am an English teacher, so it is not in high demand, so we were thinking we would just use his application to get us in the system and I could apply later.


    • Mila Johnson says:

      I am an English teacher as well, and I just received an offer at a middle school stateside (Fort Campbell) I think what helped me was the fact that I was eligible to also teach other subjects. Form what I have seen, the more you are eligible to teach, the better your chances/


  5. Marci Wu says:

    I attended a DoD school in Germany for two years and it was the most enriching time of my life. My mom was an elementary music teacher there. I am now a high school literature teacher in Taiwan, and I would love to find a way to break into DoDs teaching in order to allow my own children to have overseas experiences like I did. I’m still taking courses towards state certification, but when I get it, I’ll definitely be looking in this direction. Any advice on how to start, contact information, etc., would be very appreciated. Thank you!


  6. Anonymous says:

    Is there such a thing as a Dept. of State school anymore? From what I’ve read, it seems they endorse and sometimes financially support select schools in certain places, but do not directly manage any school. Did they ever?


  7. DoDDS Teacher says:

    And they do not generally post/advertise jobs. The ads you may see on USA Jobs are usually just to pad the applicant pool (not for actual open positions).

    Hiring is usually June through Sept. Most districts stateside are very understanding if you leave to take a DoDDS job. If you ever want to go back to int’l schools you can job hunt right up until school starts in the fall and give notice if something great comes along (rather than having to maybe jump before you know where you will land).


  8. DoDDS Teacher says:

    Good topic. A lot of misinformation already posted.

    German schools now offer extensive German classes (and have for some years, at least).

    There is no limit to number of years you can serve overseas or even at one location. There is a transfer round most years where you can apply to move to an open position in another location but it is voluntary.

    If you turn down an offer you do not have to start over, you are just taken out of consideration for that hiring year.

    There are jobs but not that many compared to the pool of int’l schools. There are around 200 stateside hires most years. Principals come in all varieties.

    You can be hired from overseas (I was and know others that were). As long as your int’l school brought you over as foreign hire with full benefits than DoDDS would also provide those. Local hires with DoDDS get full on base privileges and a small post allowance (cost of living bump). They just don’t get LQA (housing allowance).

    There is movement between locations. One thing not mentioned is job security. Once you are off of provisional status it is almost impossible to be fired. Even if you are excessed or your school closes they have to find you a job somewhere in the world (you can list your desired locations but no guarantees).

    In short, tough to get into but a great gig.


  9. A.Nonymous says:

    I just met with a former colleague who now teaches at a DoD school in Korea — a very nice position, well supporting a family there. But the hiring process was Very last-minute (late July for an August start); that is in stark contrast to most international school gigs, so it is quite a gamble to take. And, they refused to hire both spouses. So you must be either unemployed at the time, or ready to break contract. Neither one speaks well for the cohort.


  10. Anonymous says:

    Can someone post the website to apply or enquire about these jobs with DOD?


  11. Bill Rago says:

    Is the only place vacancies are posted? That’s what I was told, but I haven’t seen an academic position posted ever.


  12. eslkevin says:

    I think the most disturbing thing about DdD comes from the fact that currently they make too little attempt to integrate in the local culture–even in places like Germany, where they have been for 70 years.

    Let me explain, I am a foreign language teacher of German–and my nieces and nephews spent 5 years of their lives (two different tours) and never did the schools offer German courses in the curricula.

    That is a waste of a great cross-cultural asset.

    I think that this extreme barring of local language on base curricula is almost a crime and doesn’t help us now or in the future in our relationships with others on this globe.

    In short, the ostrich mentality to foreign languages in DoD schools (aside from Spanish I suppose) should end.


  13. Anonymous says:

    I wanted to teach for DoD schools since I had attended them as a child for quite a few years. However their system has changed. Years ago you could join DoD school and make it your career. Now they have the system in place that people can’t stay for their entire career. There is a limit on how many years you can stay in an assignment. The idea of not being able to make it my career does not appeal to me so I turned down their job offer. Who wants to work somewhere for only a few years? it creates discontinuity on the resume.


  14. Well, my personal take: if you want an American (read USA) school with USA cultural orientation or social setup then go for DOD schools. If you are looking for an INTERNATIONAL school, with all its cultural diversity, vibrancy and richness then DOD schools may not be for you.
    I also think that the DOD schools only hire USA citizens with expat salaries -they will only go for other nationalities if there is no USA citizen in the application pool. I think the order is USA>British>Canadian>Rest of Europe (but remember New Zealand for example is not on equal ranking as say Romania)>Rest of world.

    To be fair, I must say the same line is true for Canadian or UK-Embassy sponsored schools.


  15. J says:

    I worked for them – it was a lucrative deal as long as the exchange rates are in our favor. Living in Europe was not as easy as Asia financially. The ability to transfer to other schools a lot isn’t really viable anymore since there aren’t that many left. So many have shut down. It also can be a bit of a fishbowl. And as for dating material (although you are on a military base) can be difficult so it can be kind of lonely. There are a lot of go bachelor’s who don’t mention they are married.


  16. Rob Kempton says:

    Where do you find job opportunities?


  17. Jean says:

    I assume you would need to be a US citizen- rules out many overseas teachers.


  18. J says:

    You also have to be living in the United States in order to be hired and get all the benefits. Otherwise if your hired in country you won’t get the cost of living or base allowance or comissary/exchange privilidges. Normally you land in Asia as that’s where the jobs are. To say you want to go to Europe rarely happens. You also have to enjoy military and the type of people that entails. On the other hand if there are discipline problems it can go up the chain of command which usually makes it easier to reaolve.


  19. Jen says:

    There are no jobs on DOD because of the BRAC- base realighnment. People stay in those jobs till they die. In addition there are extremely extremely poor principals in many of the schools. They are there because they don’t hack it in the US.


  20. Anonymous says:

    What the previous poster said about choosing your location (or rather NOT choosing it) is true. What was not mentioned is you can check and uncheck the boxes for locations you refuse to consider. Also keep in mind the qualifications are looked at differently for DODEA. What certifications are accepted by some states may not be be accepted by the DODEA. Integrated curriculum, for example. Choosing “Grade 7&8” as your subject area (that is a choice apparently) is considered “elementary” for the certificate requirement. Don’t ask me why since. Calls come very late in the year and into the summer. Long after the recruiting is over for international.


  21. Anonymous says:

    There are a few other things about DoD schools you missed. It takes about six months for them to respond to your application. If they offer you a job in Timbuktu and you turn it down, they throw your application in the trash and you have to start the long process all over again. You don’t get a choice of your location. They chose it for you. Having said that, Dod is an excellent organization to work for. I used to know a man who worked for them in Germany and he had a sweet deal. Fabulous if you can get in, but if you need to secure a job immediately, you’d better put some irons in other fires until you hear from Dod.


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