The federal government provides many career opportunities for veterans. Thanks to the Veterans’ Preference Act of 1944, veterans who are disabled or who served on active duty during certain times or in military campaigns receive preference when applying to federal jobs. Hiring preference applies to all jobs, and veterans may be considered for special noncompetitive appointments if they are eligible.
It is important to remember that veterans’ preference does not guarantee a job, and there is no set hiring practice for preference. While eligible veterans do receive preference when applying for federal jobs, they must adhere to hiring guidelines and processes.
Careers in the federal government are stable, provide excellent benefits for employees and their families, and many are aligned with veteran skills.
Along with hiring preference, veteran status in federal jobs provides additional protection from termination during workforce reductions due to government cuts. These protections also apply to Reserve or Guard members on active duty.
Except for some law enforcement and firefighting positions, most federal jobs have no age limit or retirement requirements. In many federal jobs for veterans, the maximum entry age is 37 with a 20-year career and a retiring age of 57. Veterans with preference who are above the maximum age for entry into jobs like law enforcement can apply for a waiver. The agency that the veteran is applying to work for must grant the waiver unless it certifies that an age limit is vital to the job they are applying to.
Honorably separated veterans who are discharged or released from active duty meeting the following requirements can receive preference:
- Must have served in any war declared by Congress.
- Must have served for more than 180 consecutive days from January 31, 1955 and before October 15, 1976.
- Served in the Gulf War from August 2, 1990 to January 2, 1992.
- Served in any military campaign or expedition
- Served for more than 180 consecutive days other than training from September 11, 2001 to the last day of Operation Iraqi Freedom on August 31, 2010.
- Received a Purple Heart
To see if you are eligible for veterans preference, visit Feds Hire Vets. This program is managed by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and provides resources for veterans when applying to federal jobs.