How to Get a Job with AAFES or the Commissary

Commissaries and Post/Base Exchanges offer job opportunities to service members, Veterans, family members, and the general public. Read on to learn how to apply for these positions.
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How to Get a Job at AAFES or the Commissary
Table of Contents
  1. What is the Commissary?
    1. Who Works At the Commissary
    2. Military Considerations For Working At the Commissary
  2. How To Find Commissary Jobs
  3. What is AAFES?
    1. Who Works For AAFES
    2. Military Considerations For Working For AAFES
  4. How To Find AAFES Jobs
  5. The Most Important Qualities to Work at AAFES or the Commissaries
  6. NEX, MCX, and CGX

You’ve just finished unpacking from your most recent PCS move. Thank goodness.

Now that you’ve had a chance to take a deep breath, it’s time to start looking for a new job. Again.

You’ve heard from a friend that their job at their Post Exchange moved with them on their last PCS move. And you’re so curious to learn how they managed that. 

In this article, we’ll explain who works at the Commissary and Post Exchange (AAFES), how to find a job with these entities, and what it takes to succeed in these roles. 

What is the Commissary?

The Commissary is the on-base grocery store. These grocery stores are owned and managed by the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA). 

These on-base grocery stores can save military shoppers “thousands of dollars annually” through competitive pricing on top of already being tax-free.

Shopping at Commissaries is reserved for military personnel, retirees, and their families.

Who Works At the Commissary

Despite being located on a military base or post, Commissary jobs are open to the public. You don’t need to be a military member, Veteran, or family member to apply for a position. 

The Defense Commissary Agency has Commissaries wherever there are military members to serve. As a large Federal Government Agency, they have a wide range of career fields. They encourage all qualified prospective employees to apply for any opportunity in the store, region, or headquarters as they expand their knowledge and develop their skills.

Military Considerations For Working At the Commissary

At the Commissary, military members, spouses, and dependents may receive hiring preference. This preference depends on:

  • Type of job openings available
  • Whether the position requires a GS rating (DeCA only)
  • How long the applicant is available to work in that location

DeCA employs over 18,000 civilians throughout 14 countries where it serves the U.S. military community. 

How To Find Commissary Jobs

DeCA requests that you apply for any vacancies through USAJobs. Applying through USAJobs also guarantees you will be able to sort through all DeCA jobs, which are not listed in their entirety on other job board sites. 

The Commissary also has a Store Finder option available on their website to help you find their employment opportunities.

What is AAFES?

The Army & Air Force Exchange System, operating since 1895 through multiple iterations, runs the Exchange system for online shopping and on-base retail stores. Family members are not eligible to shop online. 

AAFES operates all Base Exchanges and Post Exchanges. The BX/PX stores are similar to many big-box stores such as Target, Walmart, etc. 

AAFES also operates other entertainment attractions like on-base movie theaters, concessions, and other retail outlets. BX/PX outlets are located on U.S. military bases both in the country and overseas.

Who Works For AAFES

The Exchange employs more than 35,000 associates and serves more than 12 million military members and their families. The Exchange operates 2,500 facilities on military installations, including retail stores, restaurants, convenience stores, and name-brand franchises. 

Employment at AAFES is open to the public. Depending on the military base or post’s size, there may be a wide variety of AAFES jobs available. These can be found online on the AAFES website.

On the website, you can find a mixture of internship programs, management training opportunities, career opportunities for transitioning Service members, and more.

Military Considerations For Working For AAFES

AAFES jobs have a rare trait that military family members covet: transferability. 

The Associate Transfer program helps employees who meet service and performance requirements continue their employment with the Exchange at their new location. These requirements include:

  • PCS with your sponsor
  • Have 6 months Exchange service or more
  • Have a rating of Satisfactory or higher on the most recent performance evaluation

The Exchange gives two-thirds of its earnings to the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines through Morale, Welfare, and Recreation programs. 

AAFES has also been named one of the top ten employers for Military Spouses. 

How To Find AAFES Jobs

AAFES jobs are posted on the career section of their website. Here you can find opportunities in:

  • Hourly
  • Management
  • Corporate
  • Distribution
  • Management Trainee Program

The Most Important Qualities to Work at AAFES or the Commissaries

Both AAFES and DeCA support military service members, Veterans, and their families. When it’s time to look for a new job– whether because of a PCS move or you’re ready for a change– don’t overlook these places you might already be going to regularly. 

These organizations put a huge emphasis on giving back to the community they are in. They emphasize a passion for providing excellent customer service and serving those who serve. If that sounds like you, then you might be a good fit!

NEX, MCX, and CGX

While this article has focused on AAFES, the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard each have their own separately operated exchange system. Job opportunities and application processes are similar to that of AAFES.

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About Meredith Morales

Meredith is a military spouse who has experienced the struggles of managing PCS moves, handling family finances, waiting through NTC rotations, and preparing for her husband’s upcoming deployment.

Before joining the military community, Meredith worked in Tacoma, Washington. There, she supported Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Service members, civilian employees, and their families by building and promoting programs for transit, bikes, carpools, and vanpools.

At JBLM Meredith was introduced to her US Army husband. They now reside in El Paso, Texas, with their Boston terrier mix.

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