The U.S. Department of State offers worldwide career opportunities providing an experience where you will connect with the global community, conduct diplomacy by communicating U.S. foreign policy, and explore different cultures while living and working overseas. Even the internship program offers the opportunity to live and work overseas, while exploring new career possibilities.
Foreign Service Location List
Below is a list of U.S. embassy, consulate and mission locations throughout the world. For details about specific locations, visit http://www.usembassy.gov.
South and Central Asia
After you complete orientation and training in Washington, D.C., as a newly hired Foreign Service Officer, you will typically be assigned overseas, although at this time a few officers begin with a domestic assignment. Typically, the first two overseas tours (usually two years each) are designed to develop your talents in different working environments and ensure that you attain foreign language skills. You will hold a variety of positions within a probationary period (up to five years) in order to demonstrate your qualifications for tenure as a career Foreign Service Officer and to see if the Foreign Service is the right fit. As part of this process, you will perform two to three years on average of consular work, and should expect an assignment to at least one hardship post.
You are given the opportunity to express your preference for postings from a list of positions available at the time of entry into the Foreign Service. Personal and professional goals, training requirements, and medical and educational concerns for family members are the types of considerations the Department takes into account. When making assignments, however, the needs of the Service remain paramount. It is possible you may not serve in positions related to your career track during the first two assignments. Moreover, if you have critical language skills you should expect to serve in positions using your language skills in your first or second assignment. Later, as you move to the mid-career ranks, you may be required to serve again in a country that uses that language skill.
All officers are considered worldwide available and must be prepared to go where needed; you must be ready, at any time, to meet the needs of the Service. You should be aware that an increasing number of posts are considered “hardship,” that is, in isolated, unhealthful and/or perhaps dangerous environments. Some posts will not allow accompanying family members.
A career with the Foreign Service may appear glamorous: worldwide travel, government-paid housing, generous pay and benefits. In some instances, though, working as a Foreign Service Officer can be very challenging and sometimes dangerous. During this career you can expect to be assigned to hardship posts. You may face an irregular or extended work schedule. These posts can be in remote locations, without many U.S.- style amenities; there can be sporadic power outages, unreliable internet service etc. Health and sanitation standards can be below U.S. standards. Some assignments are “unaccompanied,” which means family members may not travel to the post with you.
That’s why it takes a special type of person to represent America abroad, to advance diplomatic initiatives to the benefit of both the U.S. and the host country. Serving as a U.S. diplomat requires fortitude, flexibility, a commitment to public service, and the ability to adapt to changing situations and cultures other than your own.
When hiring Foreign Service Officers, we look for motivated individuals with sound judgment and leadership abilities who can retain their composure in times of great stress — or even dire situations, like a military coup or a major environmental disaster. We are looking for individuals dedicated to public service.
Whether you want to follow a professional path that grows your management skills, impacts economic policy or helps reunite families, you’ll find five different career tracks that can direct you towards realizing your goals. Please choose carefully, as your decision will have an impact on your selection and job experiences once you enter a Foreign Service career. In order to make the most informed decision, you’ll need to understand the similarities — and the differences — between each career track.
There are several areas that all career tracks have in common:
- Each engages with host government officials, private sector leaders and international organization officials. In every career track, you will work closely with people from other countries.
- Each fosters dialogue between the United States and the host country. In every career track, you will advocate U.S. policies, promote U.S. interests, and strengthen understanding between our country and other nations.
- Each career track requires the same characteristics — also known as the 13 dimensions.
While all U.S. diplomats are expected to communicate U.S. foreign policy, and interact effectively with host country governments to help advance American interests worldwide, each career track has a specific focus.
- Consular Officers facilitate adoptions, help evacuate Americans, combat fraud to protect our borders, and fight human trafficking. Consular Officers touch people’s lives in important ways, often reassuring families in crisis.
- Economic Officers work with foreign governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other USG agencies on technology, science, economic, trade, energy, and environmental issues both domestically and overseas.
- Management Officers are resourceful, creative, action-oriented “go to” leaders responsible for all embassy operations (large or small) from real estate to human resources, from budget to security.
- Political Officers analyze host country political events and must be able to negotiate and communicate persuasively and effectively with all levels of foreign government officials.
- Public Diplomacy Officers engage, inform, and influence opinion leaders, local non-governmental groups, the next generation of leaders, academics, think tanks, government officials, and the full range of civil society in order to promote mutual understanding and support for U.S policy goals.
Who can become a Foreign Service Officer?
To be eligible, the U.S. Department of State requires that you be:
- A U.S. citizen on the date you submit your registration package
- At least 20 years old and no older than 59 years of age on the day you submit your registration
- At least 21 years old and not yet 60 on the day you are appointed as a Foreign Service Officer
- Available for worldwide assignments, including Washington, D.C.
Even though you are not required to know a foreign language to become an officer, proficiency in one or more languages will enhance your competitiveness for selection.
If you are a capable, healthy and dedicated candidate who is prepared to step up to the challenges facing our country and the world, we want to talk to you.
Are you ready to make a difference? Click here to review 13 dimensions sought in all Foreign Service candidates and explore the traits needed for a successful and fulfilling career.
Joining the Foreign Service is a career opportunity of a lifetime, but it isn’t the right lifestyle for everyone. While some people might find the career challenging, exciting and rewarding, others will see it as a less-than-perfect match. The questions in this quiz will help you to determine if the Foreign Service is right for you. Take the quiz »
Foreign Service Officers
The first step in becoming a Foreign Service Officer is to register for, and take, the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT). This is just one step in the total selection and hiring process. Read the Eight Steps to Becoming a Foreign Service Officer.
Foreign Service Specialists
All Foreign Service Specialist vacancies are posted on USAJOBS. Be sure to read about the Seven Steps to Becoming a Foreign Service Specialist.