1) What are my tasks going to be as an AmeriCorps VISTA member?
AmeriCorps VISTA members serve at a community organization all around the United States to alleviate poverty. AmeriCorps VISTA members work on projects that build the capacity their organization. Those projects cover a wide variety of topics. Some of them are:
- Developing outreach and marketing campaigns
- Building a social media presence
- Creating a program database
- Writing grants
- Managing a program in its first year
- Recruiting volunteers.
AmeriCorps VISTA members work full time (40 hours/week) for one full year.
2) How can I apply to AmeriCorps VISTA?
3) Where do AmeriCorps VISTA members serve?
AmeriCorps VISTA members serve in every US state as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
4) Can I choose where I want to do my service?
Yes. When you apply for AmeriCorps VISTA you apply for a specific position of your choosing. Thus, you select where you will do your service and what organization/community you will be working with.
5) Who can apply to AmeriCorps VISTA?
Applicants need to be at least 18 years old when they start their AmeriCorps service. There is no upper age limit. Further, applicants must have one of the following citizenship statuses:
- U.S. Citizens
- U.S. Nationals
- Lawful Permanent Resident Aliens
- Persons legally residing in a state that have the following legal residency classifications:
- Asylum or asylee
- Temporary protected status or deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) status.
Some AmeriCorps VISTA positions may have additional requirements on top of general program requirements such as a college degree, specific experience/classes, languages etc.
6) How long does it take to finish the application?
It takes about two hours to complete the application.
7) What does the application include?
In order to apply you first need to create a profile including your basic demographic information. The actual application consists of your work and community service history, motivational statement, and two references.
8) When should I start applying to AmeriCorps VISTA?
Positions are posted year-round, so you can search for opportunities at any time. The best time to apply is approximately four month before your anticipated start date.
9) What is the application deadline?
Generally, you can apply to become an AmeriCorps VISTA member year-round. Application deadlines vary by position. Since positions are posted all year, make sure to browse open positions frequently.
10) Can I apply for several positions?
Yes, you can. You can apply to as many as 20 positions at one time.
11) How competitive is AmeriCorps VISTA?
Everyone who is over 18 years old and has one of the citizen statuses listed above, is eligible to apply to AmeriCorps VISTA. Applying to several positions that interest you help increase your chances of being selected to become an AmeriCorps VISTA and serve your country.
12) I am having trouble completing the application, who do I talk to?
You may either make an appointment to speak with the UHM AmeriCorps VISTA representative, Foley Pfalzgraf or call the National Service Hotline at 1-800-942-2677. There is also the opportunity to submit application questions via webform.
13) Why do I need to provide two references?
References are an important part of any application process in order to determine whether you are a good fit for the position, and can help to improve your success rate. Appropriate references include teachers, professors, coaches, and supervisors. Friends and family members do not count as acceptable references.
14) There are no interesting AmeriCorps VISTA positions open right now, should I still apply to AmeriCorps VISTA?
Absolutely! Positions are posted throughout the year.
15) What are the benefits of AmeriCorps VISTA?
You will be gaining professional experience and building skills as you learn, experiment, and adapt to a new environment while delivering outcomes.
AmeriCorps VISTA members earn a Segal Education award, which can be put towards future higher education expenses or to pay off student loans. AmeriCorps VISTA members who successfully complete a year of service can opt to receive either the education award (approximately $6,000) or the end of-of-service cash stipend ($1,800). Also, AmeriCorps VISTA members receive one year of Federal Non-Competitive (NCE) hiring eligibility, which provides advantages in the federal hiring process.
16) Who can I contact if I have further questions?
17) What does national service mean?
National service describes volunteer service that is performed on a national level. The Corporation for National and Community Service funds those national service members, who can serve in locations across the U.S.
18) What is the difference between AmeriCorps, NCCC, and VISTA?
There are three different AmeriCorps programs:
AmeriCorps State/National is an intensive service program located in nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. Members must complete 300-1,700 hours of service.
AmeriCorps National Community Civilian Corps (NCCC) is a 10 month, full-time, team-based residential service program for individuals ages 18-24. NCCC members serve on 10- to 12- member teams that travel to serve in communities all over the U.S. and U.S. territories.
AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service to America) is full-time service for a year at nonprofit organizations or local government agencies to build the capacity of these organizations to carry out programs that alleviate poverty.
19) Can I go to school while I am serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA?
Yes, you may. However, classes cannot interfere with your AmeriCorps VISTA position.
20) Can I have a part-time job at the same time?
Yes, you can have a part-time job while you serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Before you get a job, you need to request approval from your supervisor. Further, the job may not interfere with your AmeriCorps VISTA position.
21) Will AmeriCorps VISTA cover my relocation expenses?
AmeriCorps VISTA offers limited relocation travel assistance and a settling-in allowance if you move more than 50 miles from your home to a new community for your service year.
22) Does AmeriCorps VISTA provide housing?
No, you will be responsible for your own accommodation. However, specific AmeriCorps VISTA positions may offer housing benefits depending on the sponsoring organization.
23) What is the living allowance?
There is not set amount of allowance for all AmeriCorps VISTAs. The amount of the living allowance varies by the county you will be serving in. You will receive a living allowance similar to the income level of that particular community.
24) What if I find a job during my AmeriCorps VISTA year?
You can leave AmeriCorps VISTA early if you accept a job offer. By doing so, you forfeit all benefits including your stipend, the Segal Education Award, and Federal Non-Competitive Eligibility.
25) What is the healthcare plan?
26) What if I don't want the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award?
If you become an AmeriCorps VISTA member you can chose whether you want to receive an end-of-service stipend or the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. You cannot select both and the Education Award is non-transferable.
27) What is Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) and how can it help me get a job in the government?
Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) is a special hiring path for federal jobs. NCE is a hiring authority that allows federal agencies to hire AmeriCorps VISTA alumni outside the traditional hiring process. Please note, NCE status does not guarantee employment. AmeriCorps VISTA alumni must still apply and meet qualification standards and additional requirements, such as a background investigation. Upon successful completion of service, AmeriCorps VISTA alumni receive one year of NCE status.
28) Do I have to use my education award right away?
No. Your Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is valid for seven years after you complete service.