Department of Defense Education Activity

General Information and Benefits

Most of the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) employees will fall into one of the three main types of employees listed below.

General Schedule Employees

The General Schedule (GS) is the federal government's main pay system that sets pay rates for employees in most "white-collar" positions. The GS pay system covers approximately half of the federal workforce.

Basically, the general schedule is composed of 15 grades, or salary levels. Each grade includes 10 steps through which employees advance based on satisfactory work performance and length of service. Locality pay is designed to make up the pay gaps between Federal and non-Federal salaries in local areas. Employees are hired into or placed within the general schedule in accordance with the provisions of Title 5 US Code and implemented in 5 Code of Federal Regulations. For the most current pay charts, access the OPM Web site

GS employees who are stationed overseas may be eligible for benefits and allowances in addition to pay, The Eligibility for allowances, differentials, and transportation agreements is determined by the type of appointment and location of residence at the time of appointment.

Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) Educators

These are the teachers and administrators who are part of the overseas school system. They are not part of the General Schedule and are in the "excepted service." Because DoDDS educators are stationed outside of the United States, they may be eligible for certain benefits. The eligibility for allowances, differentials, and transportation agreements is determined by the type of appointment and location of residence at the time of appointment. Selectees will be advised of their eligibility for allowances, transportation, and other benefits at the time an offer is extended.

Salaries are comparable to salaries for similar positions in urban school jurisdictions having a population of 100,000 or more in the United States. Teachers are paid on seven (7) different academic salary lanes (ASL) which reflect degrees and graduate course work completed after each degree. The current ASL's are bachelor's degree, bachelor's plus 15 semester hours, bachelor's plus 30 semester hours, master's degree, master's plus 15 semester hours, master's plus 30 semester hours, and doctorate degree. Service increments or steps are provided to recognize years of verified experience up to the allowed maximum. To access the most recent educator salary schedules, please click the salary schedules overview section of our website.

The Department of Defense Education Activity Americas Educators

These are the teachers and administrators who are part of the United States school system. They are not competitive service employees or part of the General Schedule pay system. They are federal employees employed in the "excepted service". Information on salary may be obtained at:

Life Insurance

The Federal Employees' Group Life (FEGLI) Program is a Term Insurance program offering eligible employees several choices in selecting the level of life insurance that is right for their individual needs with low group rates. Participation is entirely voluntary and may be cancelled at any time. FEGLI builds no cash or loan value. It is intended as a form of immediate protection against financial hardship in the event of death. For more information visit the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) web site.


The retirement programs are governed under 5 Code of Federal Regulations (5 CFR), Part 831 and 842. The Office of Personnel (OPM) has overall responsibility for administering the retirement programs while Agency Headquarters are responsible for managing and administering the retirement programs within the agency. There are two primary Federal retirement systems, the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) - which includes CSRS-Offset - and the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS). Both provide retirement pensions, disability income and survivor's benefits. Most Federal civilian employees are covered by one of these two retirement systems.

For more information visit the Office of Personnel Management website.

Overseas Employment Only:

Living Quarters Allowance

A Living Quarters Allowance is paid to eligible employees by the U.S. Government to help defray rental and utility charges when housing is rented on the local economy. Government housing may be provided in some overseas areas without charge. Extended stays in temporary housing may be necessary at some posts while awaiting suitable housing for the employee and family. Generally, only applicants hired while living in the United States are eligible for a Living Quarters Allowance.

Length of Tour


The tour of duty for persons in teaching positions under the DoDDS system is 1 or 2 school years, as required, plus the time required in the area because of arrival before the start of the school year and while awaiting transportation upon departure. The tour of duty for persons in teaching positions consists of not more than 190 working days including not less than 175 days of classroom instruction. Below is the current tour of duty for teachers.

  • One-Year Tour Areas: Bahrain, Cuba, Italy (Sigonella), Korea, Japan (Misawa and Okinawa), and Turkey.
  • Two-Year Tour Areas:Belgium, England, Germany, Italy (other than Sigonella), Japan (other than Misawa and Okinawa), Netherlands and Spain.

Principal and Assistant Principals

The tour of duty for persons in principal and assistant principal positions under the DoDDS system is the same as for other DoD civilian employees who are employed on a calendar year basis (i.e. GS employees). The tours are expressed in school years rather than calendar years. The school year for principals and assistant principals will consist of 222 working days including not less than 175 days of classroom instruction. Included in the 222 working days is any time when the services of the majority of educators at the school are required.

General Schedule (GS) Employees

The tour of duty for GS employees and other civilians employed on a calendar year basis is normally 36 months under an initial agreement. Exceptions are noted in Appendix Q of the JTR.

Official Passport(s) and/or Visa(s)

All selected applicants and eligible family members (if applicable) who will travel overseas on government orders are required by the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense to have in their possession an official passport and proper visa (if required) prior to commencing travel to their country of assignment. These official passports are issued free by the government for a period of five years and are burgundy in color versus the traditional tourist passport which is valid for 10 years, blue in color, and can be purchased at your own expense. The purpose of the official passport is to provide protection for the traveler when abroad on official government business. The traditional tourist passport cannot provide this same protection or privileges. If selected it is also recommended, although not a condition of employment, that you obtain a tourist passport for you and your family members for personal travel while assigned in an overseas area; however, you still must have in your possession an official passport.

Transportation Agreement

Selected educator applicants must sign a Transportation Agreement to commit to remain overseas for the tour of duty. Transportation is provided for eligible employees, their family members, and household goods to and from the overseas area. Upon successful completion of a tour of duty, employees may commit to another tour of duty and be granted travel to and from the United States at government expense.

Selected applicants are also required to sign a mobility certificate indicating that they understand and agree to be reassigned to other school positions, for which they are determined qualified, at any location within the DoDDS system.

Shipment of Household Goods

Shipment and/or storage of household goods and personal effects are at government expense for eligible employees. The weight allowances vary according to location and will be determined at the time of processing.

Shipment of Automobile

The shipment of a privately owned automobile at government expense may be authorized in certain areas. There may be restrictions on model, size, year, and country of origin of the vehicle.

Shipment of Pets

The Shipment of pets are at the expense of the selectee. These expenses may be quite high. Pets are not authorized entry into some areas. Some countries impose lengthy quarantines on pets. The required quarantine of the selectee's pet(s) may be claimed under the miscellaneous expense portion of the foreign transfer allowance for new hires.

Medical/Dental Facilities

Applicants should be prepared to use the medical and dental services of the host country. Military dispensaries are available to provide emergency services in some locations, but the nearest military hospital facilities may be located some distance away. If military facilities are available, a charge will be assessed for medical services. Applicants should determine whether adequate medical care is available in the country concerned prior to accepting an assignment if they or their family members have medical problems or require medication. Military dental clinics, when available at all, are usually only available to provide emergency services.

Additionally, if prescriptions are available at Military Treatment Facilities

(MTFs), employees will have to pay the MTF to fill their prescriptions. The MTFs pharmacy rates are comparable to rates in the United States.

Special Education

The Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) provides education including special education to the children of DoD civilians who are eligible for services from DoDDS. Students must meet DoDDS criteria for special education. Services are provided based on an Individualized Educational Program. Most schools are not staffed for all disabilities although DoDDS staffs schools in specific locations for a full range of disabilities. Prior to accepting a position, applicants who have children with significant disabilities (i.e., blindness, deafness, severe mental retardation, serious emotional impairments) should ensure that the child's educational need can be met at the location of the job. Applicants may review the DoDEA Special Education web page for more specific information on special education services overseas.