My Military
OneSource App

Start Your Career With Military Children And Youth – Come Grow With Us

Preschoolers sing at a child development center

The Defense Department is the nation’s largest employer-sponsored child care system and one of the largest youth development programs in the country. Through the DOD’s career opportunities initiative, Come Grow With Us, you can apply for both entry and management-level positions in many child development and youth programs worldwide. Learn more about the variety of jobs available in child development centers, before- and after-school programs, summer camps and beyond.

Defense Department child and youth development careers

Watch this video of the career opportunities available within military child development and youth programs.


As a DOD child development and youth program employee, you’ll enjoy competitive pay and benefits, including:

  • Health and life insurance
  • Paid vacation and sick leave
  • Retirement and 401(k) benefits
  • Tuition assistance
  • Training, mentoring and professional development
  • Career advancement opportunities

Plus, many of the DOD’s 850+ high-quality child development and youth programs are located on or near military installations worldwide. For military spouses seeking employment, spousal preference is offered as well.

Ready to explore a portable career working with children and youth?

Find flexibility and advancement for your career. Look for child and youth employment opportunities across all DOD locations by searching for “Child and Youth” jobs in your area.

If you are interested in a career that offers flexibility and advancement while providing a vital service to our military families around the world, this employment opportunity is for you.

Some available jobs that may be open in your area include:

  • Child development directors and assistant directors
  • Training and curriculum specialists
  • Before- and after-school directors
  • Youth program directors
  • Direct care staff

Apply today. Full-day, part-time, hourly and even 24/7 care positions with DOD programs can be found at:

View this helpful step-by-step video to learn how to search USAJOBS for child and youth opportunities:


Skills you need to succeed as a child and youth development staff member

If you’re considering a career in early care and education or youth development, these questions can help you determine if you’d fit the qualifications for many entry and management-level positions:

  • Do you have experience with children? Previous experience working with children and youth may give you an advantage when seeking employment. Don’t just count formal student teaching or training, though. An employment history of babysitting or camp counseling will look great to potential employers.
  • Do you have formal early childhood education or youth development training or certifications? Most employers request candidates have at least a GED/high school diploma. Having an associate or bachelor’s degree in child development, education, psychology, social work, youth development or physical education can set your application apart from others. Child care-related certifications like the Child Development Associate, or CDA, or the Child Care Professional, or CCP, may also increase your employability. Basic first aid and CPR certifications are also valuable skills.
  • Are you looking for a rewarding, meaningful career? Few careers offer the chance to directly support military children and youth, offering them the foundation they need to succeed as adults. If you enjoy a challenge and are passionate about working with children and youth, this job opportunity is for you.

No matter your skill level, you can build your career in child and youth programs with the DOD and support our nation’s military moms and dads. You will also actively support the resilience of military children and youth who have unique life experiences including deployments of one or both parents, frequent moves and changes of schools.

Deciding on a career or finding a job isn’t easy when your family moves every few years. Military spouses can get help through free career coaching from the DOD. Contact a SECO career coach to discuss a career working with children and youth.

For more information

If you have questions about Come Grow With Us opportunities, send us an inquiry form. A program manager will reply.

Learn about military bases worldwide. Get installation overviews, check-in procedures, housing, neighborhood information, contacts for programs and services, photos and more.

Find an Installation