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Job Corps Basics

Job Corps 101

What is Job Corps?

With over 120 campuses across the United States, Job Corps provides free career training and education for low-income 16- through 24-year-olds. Here, students get the experience they need to begin a career or apprenticeship, go on to college, or join the military. The best part? It’s free.

How do you join Job Corps?

The first step to enroll in Job Corps is filling out theMyJobCorps Express Interest Tool to get connected to an Admissions Representative! Theyll help you navigate the application process and find a campus that fits your needs. You may also call 800-733-JOBS (5627) or walk into your local Admissions office. Learn more about the enrollment process here.

How much does Job Corps cost?

Job Corps is always FREE for students. The program is fully funded by the federal government.

Where is Job Corps located?

Job Corps has more than 120 campuses across the United States and Puerto Rico. Chances are, there’s one near you. Find the closest campus to you.

How long does it take to finish Job Corps?

The length of training depends on the type of training, your learning pace and whether you pursue additional Advanced Training opportunities. Job Corps students can be in training anywhere between eight months and three years.

What kind of training is available at Job Corps?

With 10 industries to pick from and countless careers to explore, Job Corps has an opportunity for anyone who is ready to work hard and focus on their goals. See which career paths are a great fit for YOU by taking this quiz or by exploring the possibilities available to you.

What else does Job Corps have to offer?

In addition to career training, Job Corps can also help you earn your high school diploma or the equivalent and a driver’s license. Job Corps will also provide in-depth career planning, on-the-job training, job placement assistance, housing, food, health and dental care, a biweekly basic living allowance, and basic uniforms and equipment for your career training. All for FREE. Learn more about Job Corps’ benefits.

Does Job Corps offer virtual training?

No, Job Corps currently does not offer virtual training. 

Are there rules I have to follow at Job Corps?

While each campus has its own set of rules designed for your safety, Job Corps has a national, zero-tolerance policy regarding alcohol and all other drugs. Our policy for marijuana use does not penalize students for past drug use upon entering the program. When a student joins Job Corps, they will be drug tested. If the results are positive, they will enter prevention and education services. Under some circumstances, Job Corps refers students to external programs for additional support. 

Do I get paid while I am at Job Corps?

Throughout your training, you will receive a biweekly basic living allowance. As your training progresses, your living allowance will increase. After you graduate, Job Corps can help you get started on your journey with a transition allowance. This allowance is based on your academic and career technical training achievement while in Job Corps.


Training and Learning at Job Corps

What’s the difference between the Express Interest Tool and my application?

Completing the Express Interest Tool will connect you to an Admissions Representative, which is the first step in the enrollment process. You can fill out the Express Interest Tool for yourself, or someone you know can fill it out on your behalf.

Completing an application happens once you’re connected with an Admissions Representative. First, an Admissions Representative will help confirm your eligibility for Job Corps by guiding you through some questions and paperwork. After confirming your eligibility, they will also help you complete and submit your final application.

Who should I contact for help?

If you have general questions about the benefits of Job Corps, campus life, training programs and support that have not been answered on this FAQ page, you can submit your questions here or through the chat box in the bottom right corner.

If you need help with any of the following, reach out to your Admissions Representative: 

  • Requesting a reasonable accommodation or getting language translation assistance 
  • Answering questions about your application or application status 
  • Identifying and tracking down required documentation to apply 
  • Understanding forms that require signatures 
  • Rescheduling orientations or other admissions meetings 

Your Admissions Representative is the only person who will be able to help with your specific application. If you aren’t sure who your Admissions Representative is or how to get in touch with them, fill out a contact form and we’ll help you get connected.

I submitted the Express Interest Tool. What’s next?

Once you have answered all the questions and selected “Submit my information,” you’ll receive a confirmation e-mail. The information you entered is sent to a Job Corps Admissions Representative who will contact you to schedule an orientation. At the orientation, you’ll learn more about what Job Corps can offer you on your path to success. If you decide that Job Corps is right for you, your Admissions Representative will help you start the application process.

What is an Admissions Representative?

Your Admissions Representative is your personal guide to support you throughout the admissions process. Your assigned Admissions Representative will contact you directly to learn more about you and your goals for enrolling in Job Corps. They will work with you to complete the application and to make sure you have everything you need to successfully enroll in Job Corps, including access to language support services if needed. If you have questions or concerns during the Job Corps application process, reach out to your Admissions Representative.

Pro Tip: Save your Admissions Representative’s e-mail and telephone number in your phone, so you don’t miss future messages and can easily reach out when you have questions.

When will I hear from my Admissions Representative?

Once you fill out the Express Interest Tool, your Admissions Representative will contact you via phone or e-mail. Admissions Representatives are working as quickly as they can to help people through the process, but this may take a few days.

How do I contact my Admissions Representative?

Your Admissions Representative will contact you first via phone or e-mail. After that first connection, your Admissions Representative will let you know the best way to stay connected and how to reach out if you have questions.

Pro Tip: Save their e-mail and telephone number in your phone, so you know how to reach out with any questions. If you lose touch with your Admissions Representative, please fill out our contact form.

Can I reschedule the orientation?

Orientation is scheduled with the local Admissions team. Please reach out to your Admissions Representative to schedule or reschedule your orientation.

How do I get the application?

Your Admissions Representative will share the application questions with you and let you know which documents you’ll need to share to confirm you’re eligible for Job Corps.

How do I know if I’m eligible?

Your Admissions Representative will review your application and let you know if you’re eligible for Job Corps. Generally, Job Corps students are low-income 16- through 24-year-olds who are U.S. citizens, legal U.S. residents or residents of a U.S. territory, and/or individuals who are authorized to work in the United States. You may NOT be eligible for Job Corps if you:

  • Use drugs illegally under federal law
  • Exhibit behavioral problems that could prevent you or others from success in Job Corps
  • Have certain criminal convictions or require court supervision

Get the inside scoop on Job Corps Eligibility or speak to your Admissions Representative for more information.

Are Job Corps’ financial eligibility requirements based on my parents’ income or my income if I’m over 18 years old?

Income requirements are determined by your household’s total income. If you live with your parents and are their legal dependent, your parents’ income will be considered. If you do not live with your parents and are not claimed as a dependent, only your income will be considered.

How long does this process take?

Because each applicant’s circumstances are unique, the wait time for an acceptance decision varies. Usually, this process takes two to three months. If you’ve selected a high-demand training area and there is a waitlist, your process could look a bit longer.

The most common reason for a delay is needing to update inaccurate or out-of-date information in your application. Other factors that may slow the process include gathering required documents (if not immediately available) and review of medical information. Your Admissions Representative will be able to discuss this timeline with you, including options to fast-track your application, based on your specific circumstances.

What will I need to complete my application?

Generally, you will need:

  1. Citizenship or residency status documentation

    Such as: birth certificate, U.S. passport, valid foreign passport, Social Security card, green card (I-551, Permanent Resident Card) or Employment Authorization Document (I-766).

  2. Form of identification

    Government-issued and includes your legal name and date of birth (like a driver’s license).

  3. Social Security number (if applicable)

Your Admissions Representative may also request documentation related to your income over the last six months, or documents related to family income. If you are under 18 years old, a parent or guardian (or other approved delegate) will need to provide consent for you to enroll in Job Corps. 

Keep track of everything you need for your application with this checklist

How do I share my application documents?

To complete your Job Corps application, you will submit all documents and answers to your Admissions Representative. You can e-mail and/or text your documents as images directly from your mobile phone, tablet or computer. Make sure the images are clear and easy to read and that you save files with names that clearly state what information each contains. For example, if you upload your birth certificate, you should name the file Birth Certificate.

What types of questions will I be asked in my application?

Your Admissions Representative will ask questions about you, your career interests and your personal experiences, such as:

  • What’s your education and employment history?
  • What opportunities do you want to get through coming to Job Corps?
  • How do you feel about following rules and requirements?
  • Have you ever worked as part of a team or group?

These questions will help determine if Job Corps is the right path for you at this time. Remember to be thoughtful and thorough when you answer.

How do I complete and submit my application?

You’ll complete your application information with your Admissions Representative to make sure everything is accurate and all steps are finalized. Next, your Admissions Representative will review your application to confirm that you’re eligible for Job Corps. Your Admissions Representative may schedule an interview to do a final review and submission.

What do I do if I miss my interview or need to reschedule it?

Interviews are often scheduled as a final step to review and submit your application with your Admissions Representative. Please reach out to your Admissions Representative to schedule or reschedule your interview.

Where is my interview? Is there a virtual option?

If your Admissions Representative requests an interview to finalize your application, it will take place in person, usually in an Admissions office or at a Job Corps campus. However, it can be done online if you are in a remote area. Reach out to your Admissions Representative to confirm the location of your interview.

How do I check the status of my application?

Reach out to your Admissions Representative with any questions about your specific application, including status. They will have the most up-to-date information about your application.

I submitted my application. What happens next?

Your Admissions Representative will review your information and let you know if you’re officially eligible to join Job Corps. Then, they will send your application to a Job Corps campus for one more review. This step makes sure you’re assigned to the campus that’s the best fit for you. The campus review can take up to 30 days.

You can reach out to your Admissions Representative if you have questions or need updates while you wait. Your Admissions Representative will let you know when you’ve received an official enrollment offer.

When will I find out if I got in?

Reviewing the application can take several weeks, but Admissions and campus staff are working as quickly as possible to help everyone through the process. If you’ve selected a training area that many students are interested in and there is a waitlist, your process could look a bit longer.

The most common reason for delays is needing to update inaccurate or out-of-date information in your application. Reach out to your Admissions Representative if you need to update your information or if you have questions about your application status.

Who will let me know if I’m accepted into Job Corps?

Once the Job Corps campus reviews and accepts your application, your Admissions Representative will reach out with your final enrollment offer. Your final offer includes your start date and travel documents (if appropriate).

What do I do if I’m not accepted to Job Corps?

If you are not accepted by a specific campus, your Admissions Representative may recommend another campus to you.

If you receive a physical denial letter, you may file a written appeal within 180 days to the Department of Labor Civil Rights Center. If needed, reach out to your Admissions Representative for more details.

While you might not be able to attend Job Corps, an American Job Center may be able to help you find a program that can meet your needs. To explore all your options, you can visit your local American Job Center or research information about apprenticeship programs.

Preparing To Start

Center Life

If I am under 18, does another person need to be involved in my education?

Yes. We require that someone (preferably a parent, guardian, foster parent, mentor or adult who is interested in your success) meet with an Admissions Representative prior to applying. This same person must visit and meet with your career counselors monthly for the first four months of your enrollment.

I’m eligible for Job Corps. What’s next?

Congratulations! If you are eligible for Job Corps, your Admissions Representative will offer you conditional enrollment. You will then:

  • Be assigned a Job Corps campus by your Admissions Representative.  
  • Complete a health questionnaire. Job Corps provides basic medical care to all students. You’ll need to provide your health information in preparation for your arrival so that Job Corps can meet your needs.

Your assigned Job Corps campus is the campus closest to you and/or the one that provides your requested training program. You can go to a different Job Corps campus if you are interested in a training program that’s not offered at the one closest to you or if you need housing but your nearest campus is nonresidential.  

Your Admissions Representative will ask you about your goals and interests to help you select the right career training program. If you don’t know which career training program you want to pursue yet, that’s OK! Once you’re officially accepted to Job Corps and on campus, you will work with your counselor and campus staff to determine the right training area for you.  

Once you know your assigned campus and have completed your health questionnaire, your Admissions Representative will send your application for final review to your assigned campus. Campus staff will review your information to determine your acceptance. This step in the process takes about 30 days.  

I’ve been accepted to Job Corps. What’s next?

Congratulations! Once you’ve been accepted at a Job Corps campus, your Admissions Representative will contact you to share your final enrollment offer. Together with your Admissions Representative, you’ll select a planned date to arrive on campus and work with your future Job Corps campus to confirm your travel arrangements.

Can I attend Job Corps if I have a child?

Yes. We do ask our Job Corps students with children to find childcare before they begin their training, though. Job Corps is a full-time program, and many of our students live on campus to focus 100% on their training. An Admissions Representative will be able to talk with you about your options.

What can I bring to Job Corps?

Job Corps provides a lot of what you’ll need, but there are still some things you should pack and some things you should plan to leave behind. Prepare for life at Job Corps with this checklist

If you have questions about what items are accepted, what items are prohibited or what Job Corps provides, please contact your Job Corps campus or Admissions Representative.

Is there security on campus?

Yes, there is 24/7 security at all Job Corps campuses.

Do I live on campus?

If you choose to attend a residential Job Corps campus, you will be expected to live on campus. But there are some nonresidential campuses, and an Admissions Representative will be able to discuss these options with you. Check out the living options available to you.

Who will I live with on campus?

Most campuses offer separate male and female dorms, and place students based on their gender identity. Dorms vary from campus to campus, but you’ll typically live with roommates. Job Corps values diversity and will provide you with opportunities to live and interact with people of many different backgrounds. Reach out to your campus with specific questions about dorm life.

Can I leave campus?

Yes! If you are a residential student, you will stay on campus most of the time so you can focus on your career goals; but there are opportunities to leave too. Most Job Corps campuses host off-campus trips, like recreation activities or grocery store runs. Campus-sponsored trips include transportation. Job Corps also provides your initial transportation to campus, to and from campus for winter break, and for your return trip home after you graduate.

For any other trips off campus, you’ll need campus approval and to arrange and pay for the transportation yourself. You can also get weekend passes to visit family members. We also understand that there may be situations when you need to leave campus. To coordinate a weekend pass or any other trip off campus, reach out to your campus staff.

Can my family visit?

Of course! Your parents or guardians are invited to visit you on campus. Please have them contact your Job Corps campus before their visit. You can also get weekend passes to visit family members. To coordinate a weekend pass, please reach out to your campus staff members.

Is extra help available to me for reading or math?

Yes. We have academic tutors prepared to provide you with the extra help you need in reading or math. Reach out to your campus staff members or Admissions Representative for more information.

Is there homework, and will I receive grades?

Job Corps gives out homework, but not grades. Your instructors will assign independent study assignments as necessary to enhance your learning. Instead of assigning grades, Job Corps allows you to demonstrate your skill (competency) in a given subject area or training area. Instructors will mark the completion of training on your Training and Achievement Record (TAR).

Why do I have to take an assessment test?

You will take the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) to measure your basic math and reading proficiency. These tests will assist in making decisions about training and your academic coursework. You may wonder, why am I taking the proficiency tests if I already have a high school diploma? The proficiency tests ensure you have the current basic reading and math skills needed to succeed in your career training, on the job and in life. 

Will I have to take academic classes even if I have my high school diploma?

To make sure you have a solid foundation, you’ll likely find yourself taking some basic education classes to start. If you already have your high school diploma, you may find yourself moving more quickly through this academic phase; but do expect some classroom requirements in addition to your training. 

What should I expect when I arrive on campus?

Congrats on becoming a Job Corps student! We’re happy to have you here and hope you’re excited for this part of your journey. When you arrive on campus, you will:

  • Be welcomed by staff and students.
  • Complete a security check, including a bag screening to review for any prohibited items.
  • Get your training uniform.
  • Get a tour of campus and your dorm.
  • Complete a physical exam and any additional medical tests. These will be used to provide your basic medical care on campus.
  • Complete a mandatory drug test. As a reminder, Job Corps has a Zero Tolerance Policy for drugs.
What does a typical day look like?

Every campus is different, so your campus staff will provide you with your schedule when you arrive. Your day-to-day schedule can change as you get more involved, set your goals and progress through your training. Here is what a typical training day looks like for most students:

  • MORNING (6–11 A.M.)
    • Each weekday morning, you'll wake up and get ready for a full day of training and activities. This includes breakfast and ant other preparation you need to tackle the day. 
    • Then you’ll begin your training and education.
    • Around noon, you’ll take a break for lunch in the cafeteria.
  • AFTERNOON (1–4 P.M.)
    • You’ll spend your afternoons in hands-on career training and academic classes.
  • EVENING (5–8 P.M.)
    • After class, you’ll have free time to eat dinner, study, and join enrichment and recreational activities.

Check out a “day in the life” of Duke, a Job Corps student

What do my first two weeks look like?

During your first two weeks, you will:

  • Arrive on campus and get settled into your dorm.
  • Take a test to determine any additional support you’ll need before you start your career training.
  • Meet with your career preparation counselor.
  • Learn about Job Corps and life on campus and meet your instructors.
  • Access Job Corps’ career assessment and progress tool, MyPACE.
  • Research your career training options (if you haven’t chosen a career training area already) and take assessment tests.
    • These tests help identify your strengths and interests and help you meet eligibility requirements for certain career training programs. To get the most out of your Job Corps experience, you’ll want to take these tests seriously.  
What do my first two months look like?

Your first 60 days on campus will be busy as you get accustomed to life on campus, meet new people, and begin your career training and education classes. This is called the Career Preparation Period, and it is broken down into the following phases:

    • Learn about Job Corps and life on campus and meet your instructors.
    • Access Job Corps’ career assessment and progress tool, MyPACE.
    • Research your career training options (if you haven’t chosen a career training area already) and take assessment tests.
      • These tests help identify your strengths and interests and help you meet eligibility requirements for certain career training programs, so it’s important to take these seriously.
    • Discuss the importance of goal-setting and how it will help you build your future.
    • Meet student mentors and learn about conflict resolution.
    • Learn about workplace and campus safety.
    • Learn how to set yourself up for financial success.
  • Phase 3: SET YOUR GOALS
    • Establish your short- and long-term goals and create a plan for achieving them. Learn about career search tips and best practices.
    • Focus on resume-writing, discuss interview skills and build a professional portfolio.
    • Research college partnership opportunities and Advanced Training programs.
    • Explore career training areas of interest, if you haven’t chosen a career training area already.
    • Learn about career training certifications and why they matter.
    • Complete your exit presentation.

After you complete the Career Preparation Period, you will focus on your career training.

What if I don’t like Job Corps?

Adjusting to a new place and routine can take time. If you’re having a hard time navigating campus life, reach out to your peers, your counselors or campus staff for help and advice.

If Job Corps truly does not feel like a good fit for you, that’s your decision to make. We encourage you to speak to your campus staff first so that they can help you navigate your next steps.

Life After Graduation

Center Standards

What happens after I graduate from Job Corps?

Even before graduation, Job Corps staff will help you in starting your job search. They can also help you find health care, housing and childcare if needed. For six months after graduation, a Job Corps career transition specialist will keep in touch with you to make sure things are going well in your new career and that you have what you need to succeed.

What if I want to pursue college or join the military after I graduate from Job Corps?

Many students take the skills and experience they gain at Job Corps to college or into a career in the military. Most Job Corps campuses have partnerships with community colleges to teach career courses or to offer courses with college credit. These partnerships can also provide opportunities for Job Corps students to transfer into college programs.

All Job Corps campuses will support students who want to get connected to military recruiters. Some campuses even offer military preparation programs. An Admissions Representative will be able to discuss your options with you.

Does Job Corps have an alumni network? 

Yes! Job Corps Alumni Connect is a national network for Job Corps alumni to stay connected with Job Corps, reconnect with friends and mentors, and build their professional and personal networks. Learn more about Alumni Connect and how you can engage with your larger job Corps community.

How can I share my Job Corps experience? 

Thank you for your interest in sharing your experience! The story of your Job Corps journey will inspire and motivate other Job Corps students. Please fill out the Submit Your Story form and we will be in touch with next steps.

Is there a way for me to connect with other Job Corps graduates? 

Absolutely. One of the best parts of Job Corps is the community. Connect with other alumni through our official Facebook group, Job Corps Alumni Connect.

How can I find out about alumni events? 

The best way to stay up to date on alumni events is to reach out to your Job Corps campus or a campus near you to see what’s happening in your area. Find the closest campus to you.

Tell me more

Get more information on how Job Corps can help you.