Careers App
Construction Engineer


United States Department of State
An Equal Opportunity Employer
How to Apply

Announcement No: CON-2016-0001
Position Title: Foreign Service Construction Engineer
Open Period: 11/17/2015 - 12/09/2015
Series/Grade: FP-0801-04
Salary: $54,069 - $79,402
Promotion Potential: Senior Foreign Service
Duty Locations: MANY vacancies Throughout the World

Who May Apply

Must be a U.S. citizen. Potential applicants should read the entire announcement to ensure that they meet all of the requirements and understand a Foreign Service career.

If a State Department Suitability Review Panel denied suitability in the last two years, you may not apply (except Diplomatic Security Special Agent (SA) candidates whose denial was based solely on the unique requirements for SAs.)

Security Clearance

Top Secret

Supervisory Status


Job Summary

The U.S. Department of State, our country’s lead foreign policy agency, provides a rich international experience whether at home or abroad, and opportunities to become responsible leaders.

Each day, our employees make a difference as they contribute to our global society and defend and advance our country’s interests and values. They work on the business of diplomacy and high priority issues that impact the safety, security, and prosperity of our world – human rights, environment, energy, food security, public health, and technology – all while experiencing a unique career.

Our talented workforce reflects and champions all of our strengths and diversity – personal, professional, and educational. We offer a workplace that values and rewards leadership, collaboration and innovation, and personal and professional development.

A Foreign Service Construction Engineer (FSCE) is an engineer or architect, in the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations working specifically in the Office of Construction Management, responsible for managing Department of State construction projects overseas. The FSCE is a member of a U.S. Government team that ensures construction is professionally performed according to applicable plans, specifications, schedules, and standards. The FSCE must adhere to the highest standards of integrity, dependability, attention to detail, teamwork and cooperation while accepting the need to travel, to live overseas, and when necessary, to live away from family.

To find out more specifics about the qualifications required for a FSCE, please click here for the FSCE Career Track Quiz:

The Department of State is developing a rank-order list of eligible hires for a limited number of FSS vacancies based on the needs of the Department.

To learn more about the Department of State and a career as an FSS, please visit us at

Key Requirements

  • Be a U.S. citizen and available for worldwide service.
  • Be able to obtain a Top Secret Security Clearance.
  • Be able to obtain an appropriate Foreign Service Medical Clearance.
  • Be able to obtain a favorable Suitability Review Panel determination.*
  • Be at least 20 yrs old and at least 21 yrs old to be appointed.
  • Be appointed prior to age 60 (preference eligible veterans excepted).**

Travel Required

An FSS generally spends the majority of his/her career assigned to our overseas missions and at times, lives away from family and/or in difficult or isolated conditions.

Selected applicants will be notified of an Oral Assessment (OA) requirement in Washington D.C. For the selected applicants, all travel and other expenses incurred in connection with the OA are the sole responsibility of the applicant.

Relocation Authorized

After completing orientation and initial training in Washington, D.C., an FSCE usually is assigned to a two-year tour in the Washington, D.C. area, then to a two-year overseas tour in length, directed by the Department. After the initial two tours, assignments will be for periods of one to three years overseas or in the United States.

Major Duties

Learn more about this career.

The following are typical duties, performed at various grade levels, in the course of a career as a Foreign Service Construction Engineer (FSCE).

In Overseas Assignments:

  1. Performs quality assurance tasks, including approving quality programs, hiring and managing quality assurance staff, ensuring contractor’s work is properly inspected, selecting laboratories for testing, ensuring corrective actions take place, ensuring trades are certified, ensuring materials meet contract specifications, accepting contractor submittals, and resolving conflicts.
  2. Performs financial control tasks, including approving progress payment requests, preparing estimates, evaluating changes in costs, evaluating contractors’ claims, establishing procedures for petty cash, controlling costs, and monitoring schedule.
  3. Performs safety tasks, including approving project safety programs, monitoring safety, ensuring safety training and equipment, and ensuring health requirements.
  4. Performs security tasks, including approving project security programs, managing security staff, monitoring security, ensuring document security, and coordinating final inspections.
  5. Performs preconstruction tasks, including performing design reviews and constructability reviews.
  6. Performs administrative tasks, including managing the site office, approving budgets, preparing inventories, hiring and managing local employees, preparing reports and files, liaising with local officials and utilities, performing contracting officer duties, ensuring proper inventory control, and performing other site obligations (e.g., tours).
  7. Performs commissioning tasks, including coordinating close outs, commissioning of systems, managing the commissioning agent, providing warranty support, ensuring commissioning training, and participating in relocation.

In Domestic Assignments:

  1. Performs project support tasks, including prequalifying bidders, evaluating bids, participating in the design of new facilities, providing guidance to contractors, coordinating construction projects, coordinating procurement, traveling to project sites, making recommendations to contracting officers, organizing meetings, preparing progress information, providing supervision, and participating in planning.
  2. Performs administrative support tasks, including developing special contract provisions, participating in policy/procedure development, and participating in training.

Both overseas and domestically, some of the essential functions of the job have a physically demanding component. In the execution of the duties and tasks listed above, Construction Engineers may frequently be required to:

  • Work in confined areas such as crawlspaces, attics, utility pits, tunnels, manholes, and other confined spaces.
  • Work from heights such as rooftops, ledges, and scaffolding, including climbing extension ladders and scaffolding.
  • Follow established safety regulations related to construction and renovation practices and regulations.

A FSCE periodically must perform work that requires regular and recurring periods of prolonged standing, bending, and stretching. Additionally, FSCEs may supervise contractors and tradesmen that work with building equipment, heavy machinery and construction vehicles. All of these tasks are at times performed at construction sites with ambient noise and other environmental factors that are typical for such sites.

Qualifications Required

Specialized Experience

Vertical Construction Experience: You must have five years of experience within the last 10 years, working in the field on major vertical construction projects, to be considered for this position. A master's degree in one of the accredited programs listed under Education may be substituted for one year of specialized experience toward satisfying the five-year minimum requirement for specialized experience, unless the master’s degree was used to meet minimum qualifications.

Specialized experience should show that applicants have an in-depth knowledge of their field and can be expected to perform engineering or architectural duties related to construction at Department of State projects worldwide. Specialized experience must have been obtained through assignments to field sites on vertical construction projects. Vertical construction projects include but are not limited to multi-story buildings, large-scale residential and commercial developments, and warehouses.

Applicants should show that their job-related experience has been at progressively increasing levels of performance and responsibility through such indicators as promotions, raises, and increases in scope, authority, impact, etc.

Specialized experience requirements will be judged based on the past performance of activities such as:

  1. Reviewing, interpreting, and checking construction drawings, architectural plans, engineering drawings, and other specifications to ensure compliance, recognize errors, ambiguities, or omissions and provide corrective recommendations.
  2. Inspecting construction techniques, procedures, standards, and materials to ensure construction is performed in accordance with applicable plans and specifications.
  3. Applying quality control and quality assurance practices and procedures to construction projects, and applying test procedures and equipment.
  4. Applying safety practices and procedures to construction projects.
  5. Developing and applying construction scheduling techniques, monitoring project progress, identifying causes for delays, and developing and taking corrective action.
  6. Managing financial elements of a construction project, such as monitoring construction project costs, reviewing and certifying contractor requests for progress payments, forecasting total construction costs, and managing budgets.
  7. Analyzing and negotiating pending contract change orders, potential or actual claims, and acceptable cost and time settlements.
  8. Applying computer software to construction project management and fiscal control.
  9. Recognizing impending problems, developing options for action, and recommending solutions.
  10. Preparing and delivering presentations and reports on project status and recommendations.
  11. Demonstrating effective verbal and written communications skills with technical and non-technical personnel.
  12. Displaying effective leadership, team building and consensus building skills with colleagues, supervisors, and subordinates.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  1. Ability to think logically and objectively, demonstrating resourcefulness and judgment.
  2. Ability to express oneself both orally and in writing.
  3. Ability to work and deal effectively with others; tact and the ability to obtain cooperation and confidence from supervisors and subordinates in performing official duties.
  4. Ability to work with minimum job supervision and a willingness to accept responsibility.
  5. Ability to read in detail, and make decisions based on, plans and architectural diagrams.
  6. Ability to work from heights such as rooftops, ledges, scaffolding, including climbing extension ladders and scaffolding.
  7. Ability to work in confined areas such as crawlspaces, attics, utility pits, tunnels, manholes, and other confined spaces.
  8. Ability to see (with corrective lenses, if needed), with at least an average level of depth perception, objects that are near, far, in color, and in dim lighting. Ability to hear (with hearing aids, if needed) above the ambient noise of a typical construction site. Ability to speak clearly enough so others will understand you in an environment with a high level of ambient noise. Ability to climb ladders and scaffolding without difficulty.

Superior oral and written communication skills: In order to perform the duties of a FSS, successful applicants must consistently meet a high standard for English, both written (overall structure as well as grammar, spelling and punctuation) and spoken (overall structure as well as delivery, clarity and succinctness).

Education Requirement

Applicants must possess, at the time of application:

  1. a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from a program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) in one of the following:
    • Civil/Structural Engineering
    • Electrical Engineering
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Architectural Engineering

    or, a Master of Architecture from a program accredited by NAAB Accreditation Board,

    or, a Bachelor of Architecture from a program accredited by NAAB Accreditation Board.

  2. Degrees in the above mentioned majors, completed at foreign schools without ABET or NAAB accreditation, may be used to fulfill the education requirements for this position if :
    1. The applicant holds a valid professional architecture or engineering license from a U.S. State, the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico. The evidence of the license must be included as an attachment to the application.
    2. The degree program is substantially equivalent to NAAB-accredited programs (,
    3. The issuing university is a participant in the Canberra Accord (,
    4. The foreign architectural degree has been evaluated by Education Evaluation Services for Architects (EESA-NCARB) (


    Candidates will be evaluated on their total background including experience, education, awards, training, and self-development as it relates to the position. Selection for this position will be made only from among candidates possessing the best qualifications. Part-time work experience will be prorated.

    To preview application questions, please visit:


    For more information on FSS Benefits, please click here:

    Additional Benefits

    Health and medical coverage, federal retirement benefits, paid leave, and an unprecedented chance to see the world and experience different cultures. Overseas benefits include tax-free housing overseas, tax-free education allowance for dependent children between K-12 overseas.

    For information on FS Salary, please visit

    Other Information

    *The Department of State Suitability Review Panel and standards are defined in Chapter 3 of the Foreign Affairs Manual. For more information please visit:

    **For more information about Veteran’s Preference and how it is applied in the FSS Selection Process, please visit:

    No applicant will be considered who has previously been separated from the Foreign Service under sections §607, §608, §610 or §611 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu of separation under these provisions. In addition, no applicant will be considered who has previously been separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section §306 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu thereof.

    An FSS separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section 306 may not re-apply to be an FSS in the same skill code, but may apply for another skill code (or to be a Foreign Service Generalist).

    Executive Branch agencies are barred by 5 US Code 3303 as amended from accepting or considering prohibited political recommendations and are required to return any prohibited political recommendations to sender. In addition, as mandated by 5 US Code 3110, relatives of federal employees cannot be granted preference in competing for these employment opportunities.

    It is the policy of the Federal Government to treat all of its employees with dignity and respect and to provide a workplace that is free from discrimination whether discrimination is based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity or pregnancy), national origin, disability, political affiliation, marital status, membership in an employee organization, age, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors.

    The Department of State provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodations for any part of the application or hiring process should so advise the Department at , within one week of receiving their invitation to the oral assessment. Decisions for granting reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis.

    How to Apply

    We are now accepting applications for this position.

    Apply now at USAJOBS.

    Steps to Apply

    1. Register on USAJOBS at
    2. Create an online federal resume. Your online resume may be typed or you may cut and paste an existing resume into the space provided. Your resume must include your work history for the last 10 years or since completing formal education, whichever is the shorter period.
    3. From the announcement, select the Apply Online button. This button will transfer you to Gateway to State.
      • Follow the instructions at Gateway to State and answer self-assessment questions for the specific job to which you are applying, complete the required Accomplishment Questionnaire and Statement of Interest in the online application.
      • Your application is automatically saved as you proceed through it. You may interrupt your application process and return to it until you submit it.
    4. As specified in the announcement, upload or fax required or supporting materials.
      • For those uploading or faxing documents, multiple pages must be sent as a single document. Only the most recently uploaded documents will attach to your application and will replace previously uploaded documents.
      • If faxing, you will be prompted to print out a fax coversheet once you have successfully completed your application. It is essential that you use this coversheet for all faxes, because it is bar-coded to link your fax to your application.
    5. Complete, review, and submit.
      • After you complete and submit the above including attaching all required documents, this becomes your online application and will be used to evaluate your qualifications for this career.
      • You have until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date of this announcement to complete the application process and successfully upload or fax any required documentation outlined in this announcement.
      • Application packages must be complete and received by the closing date to be considered. There are no exceptions.
      • You should submit your application early, and may make changes as often as needed, up until the closing date of the announcement. We strongly recommended that you go back into your application and verify that your documents are attached. Due to the volume of applications, fax lines can become jammed and documents may not successfully attach to your application on the final days/hours of the announcement.

    If you are having technical difficulty with the application process, please contact the Help Desk by calling 1-866-656-6830 or by emailing

    For more information on the FSS hiring processes, please visit our FAQs at If you have any questions regarding FS careers, please visit our Careers.State.Gov site and post your question(s) on the appropriate Forum in the Connect section:

Required Documents

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all required documents are uploaded and the application is fully completed before the closing deadline of this announcement. Any missing required documents or incomplete applications will result in the application not being considered further.

  1. Completed online application which contains the completed required Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest.
  2. Transcripts or other educational documents as stated in the “Qualifications Required” Section.
    • Official or unofficial transcripts may be submitted for the application process. It is essential that your transcript include your name, the school’s name, the degree and date awarded. A transcript missing any of the key elements above will not pass the minimum qualifications and the candidacy will be ended.
    • Copies of diplomas may not be submitted in lieu of transcripts for education above high school level.
  3. Additional required documents such as certifications or professional licenses as stated in the Qualifications Required Section.
  4. If claiming a 5 pt. veteran's preference, you must submit a copy of your DD-214. If claiming a 10 pt. veteran’s preference, you must submit your VA letter and SF-15, in addition to your DD-214.

Accomplishments Questionnaire

The required questions provide an opportunity to describe examples and accomplishments from your education, life, and/or work experience that demonstrate your qualifications for becoming an FSS. Examples can be drawn from any part of your professional or personal experience. The information you give may be used in your oral assessment should you be invited and is an important factor in the competitive evaluation of applicants. Responses are limited to 300 words or fewer (maximum length 2,000 characters) for each item. You should compose your replies carefully, as one of the skills necessary to succeed as an FSS is the ability to write clearly and concisely. These items must be completed in the online application, not as attachment.

  1. Knowledge of Construction: Describe your education and work experience that demonstrates you have the various knowledge areas required of a construction engineer.
  2. Skill in Administering Contracts: Describe examples of past accomplishments that demonstrate your skill in planning and organizing, leadership, customer service, and other skills needed to administer contracts.
  3. Problem Solving: Give examples demonstrating your ability to think logically and objectively, to analyze problems, and to apply sound judgment in assessing practical implications of alternative solutions.
  4. Communication Skills: Give examples displaying your ability to communicate effectively and persuasively both orally and in writing.
  5. Computer Skills: Describe specific instances which show how you used computer software and other technologies to manage construction-related projects.
  6. Citing specific examples from your background and experience summarize your professional knowledge, skills and abilities which would apply to a career as a Foreign Service Construction Engineer.

Statement of Interest

Required narrative Statement of Interest equivalent to two-to-three pages typed and no more than 5000 characters, which discusses your:

  • Motivation for joining the Foreign Service,
  • Comments about your work experience, and
  • Experience living or working in a multicultural environment, overseas or in U.S.

The Statement of Interest must be completed inside the online application, not as an attachment.

Agency Contact Info


Agency Information

U.S. Department of State
2201 C St NW, Washington, D.C. 20520
Fax: 000-000-0000

What to Expect Next

Once submitted, your application status on USAJobs will change from “received” to “referred to hiring agency only” after the close of the announcement. After the announcement’s closing date, all “referred” applicants will be notified via e-mail from the U.S. Department of State of the status of their applications.

Please note that the “referred” status on USAJobs will not be updated throughout the entire evaluation process.

Due to the high volume of applications, we ask all applicants to remain patient and await communication. It is not uncommon for several months to pass before you are informed of the results of your applications.

We recommend adding the Department of State domain ( as an approved sender.

For more information, please visit

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