Enriching your career and education in Germany

Group of people waiting for job interview
Group of people waiting for job interview

Enriching your career and education in Germany

by Stripes Europe
Stripes Europe

Adjusting to moving abroad can be especially difficult for spouses who have left respected careers, business networks and emotional support of friends and family. Take control of your routine — learn about the new job market and seek employment, find volunteer opportunities and further your education. 

Groom yourself into the best candidate

Your installation’s employment readiness program with AFRC or ACS has assessed the job market in your area and can help direct your search while providing workshops to get you ready for interviews. Also check out My Army OneSource and AF Civilian Careers

Get your resume in shape

  • Your resume and applications are binding testaments of your work history, so make sure they are accurate. 
  • Pay attention to job requirements and ensure your résumé highlights your qualifications. 
  • Your application package will be rejected if it does not have all required documentation. 

Military Spouse Preference (MSP) 

  • The Military Spouse Preference program was created by the DOD to provide an edge in the employment selection process. 
  • To qualify, military spouses must be relocating to Germany with active-duty servicemembers on PCS orders. 
  • You must be married to your active-duty military sponsor before his reporting date, and be listed on his orders. 
  • To qualify for MSP for a position, you must meet job requirements and be among the best qualified for the position. 
  • MSP applies to Appropriated Fund (APF) vacancies that are filled competitively and to Non-Appropriated Fund (NAF) positions at grade NF-3 and below (or equivalent). 
  • Your MSP is a one-time benefit at each duty station unless used for a temporary position. 

Career opportunities on installations

If you are stationed in a joint services area, contact other service branches to learn about their opportunities. You are not required to work at the same installation as your spouse.

NAF and APF positions: NAF positions support installations through services in Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) and force support squadrons (FSS). Hours range from regular, full-time to flexible part-time with varying employment benefits. Also keep a lookout for highly competitive APF positions, which are usually full-time office jobs in various business fields. 

You are eligible to apply for both types of jobs. Federal positions are listed through the Office of Personnel Management online on USA Jobs

DODEA-Europe: These schools offer a variety of APF positions, including full-time and substitute teachers, administrative staff and educational aids. Go to https://www.dodea.edu/Europe/index.cfm. 

Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES): Apply at odin.aafes.com or through local human resources offices. 

Defense Commissary Agency (DECA): Jobs at commissaries may be federal positions or contracted. Apply online through USA Jobs

Defense contractors: A variety of job opportunities in technology, management, accounting and administration are available with contracting firms. Your installation’s contracting office and AFRC or ACS office will have information about vacancies. Pay could be subject to American or German taxes. 

Other opportunities

Many laws apply to home-based businesses, even if all clients are government ID cardholders. 

  • You must obtain a German business license with your local German trade office (Gewerbeamt). 
  • Using military privileges, such as your APO box, for your business violates customs laws. 
  • You will be subject to German taxes; find a German tax adviser (Steuerberater). 
  • Contact your installation’s Legal Office before establishing a business. 

On the economy: The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in Germany permits military spouses to work on the local economy. You will be subject to German laws and taxes. 

Volunteer work: Volunteering is rewarding, leads to new friendships and keeps you busy while you search for a job. Volunteering can also help you gain experience and network for paid positions. Visit AFRC/ACS, the American Red Cross and the United Service Organizations (USO). 

Your education

Educational opportunities in Germany come in a variety of programs at universities partnered with the DOD. 

Central Texas College (CTC)

  • Primarily associate degrees and practical training. 
  • The Advanced Skills Education Program develops leadership qualities within noncommissioned and junior officers. 
  • Face-to-face and online. 

Community College of the Air Force (CCAF)

  • Accredited degrees for enlisted DOD Air Force personnel. 

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

  • Certifications, undergraduate and graduate degrees. 
  • Face-to-face and online. 

University of Maryland Global Campus 

  • Undergraduate and graduate certificates as well as associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs. 
  • Online, face-to-face and hybrid. 
  • Many programs not available in Europe can be completed online through the main campus, though tuition may be higher.

The University of Oklahoma (OU)

  • Advanced degrees on-site in Germany. 
  • Online and independent study options for some classes. 

Other schools

Many U.S.-based schools offer online courses or have European satellite locations, and some European universities offer programs for English speakers.  

Many financial incentives and benefits can help you achieve your educational goals. For tuition assistance and financial aid information, visit www.military.com or your Education Office. 

Enrich your life by taking advantage of the employment and educational opportunities available to you in Germany.

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