Represent America to the World

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  • History of the
  • U.S. Department of State
  • The oldest cabinet agency
  • (1789)
  • Thomas Jefferson was
  • the first Secretary of
  • State

The Secretary of State leads the Department of State team that:

  • Serves as the principal advisor to the President on foreign policy issues
  • Coordinates foreign policy issues for the U.S. government
  • Implements the President's foreign policy decisions and programs
  • Protects U.S. interests abroad
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton

Who We Are

  • Approximately 61,000 employees
  • 11,700 Foreign Service Americans
    • 6,700 Generalists
    • 5,000 Specialists
  • 9,300 Civil Service
  • 40,400 Foreign Service Nationals (non-US citizen employees at overseas missions)

Where We Are

  • Over 265 posts abroad in more than 180 countries
  • Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
  • Passport agencies and various field offices are located throughout the U.S.

Where We Are in the World

  • Blue: WHA, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Orange: AF, Bureau of African Affairs
  • Green: NEA, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Pink: EUR, Bureau of European Affairs
  • Purple: SCA, Bureau of South and Central Yellow: EAP, Bureau of East Asian and Asian Affairs Pacific Affairs
  • Organization of an Embassy
  • President
  • Ambassador/
  • Chief of Mission
  • Deputy
  • Chief of Mission
  • Regional Security Office (DS)
  • Management
  • Consular
  • Human Resources
  • Financial Management
  • Logistics
  • Information Systems
  • Medical
  • Community Liaison
  • Refugees Notarials
  • Immigration
  • Citizenship/Passports
  • Arrest Cases
  • Death Cases
  • Federal Benefits
  • American Citizens’ Services
  • Visas
  • AID
  • Commerce
  • Agriculture
  • DOD Attaches
  • Others: Customs, DEA, Energy, EPA, FAA, FBI, Peace Corps , Secret Service, etc.
  • Domestics Politics
  • Trade
  • Human Rights
  • Finance
  • Arms Control Issues
  • Environment
  • Narcotics
  • Energy
  • Telecommunications
  • Economics/Political
  • Secretary
  • of State
  • Press
  • Culture
  • Exchanges
  • Online Library
  • Cultural Center
  • Other
  • Agencies
  • Diplomatic Security: for USG people, offices, schools, housing. Security liaison with host government & USG law enforcement agencies

Student Programs

  • Student Programs
  • Civil Service
  • Foreign Service Specialists
  • Foreign Service Officers
  • Now that you know about us,
  • How Can You Work at State ?
  • Student Internships - Summer, Fall, and Spring in Washington and overseas
  • Cooperative Education Program (Co-op)
  • Stay-in-School Program
  • Student Disability Program
  • Summer Clerical Program
  • Visit for details
  • Student Programs
  • Fellowships
  • Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF):
  • Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs/Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program:
  • Charles B. Rangel Fellowship Program:
  • Majority of Civil Service positions are in the United States
  • The Civil Service and Foreign Service both perform the same variety of functions in Washington, DC. However, the selection processes and career patterns are very different
  • There are two ways to apply to the Civil Service:
    • Apply for a particular job online through USAJobs (
      • There are a limited number of entry-level positions for the Civil Service. The best tactic is to apply for all jobs for which you qualify.
    • Through career-entry programs: The Civil Service Career Entry Program (AKA the Federal Career Internship Program) and the Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF).
  • Civil Service
  • Access USAJobs through the website to see State Department jobs
  • Familiarize yourself with
  • Create an account, including a profile & resume
  • Create search agent for email notification
  • Search widely, using different criteria
  • Identify the jobs you want
  • Check grade level and Who May Apply
  • Review vacancy announcement carefully
  • Confirm that you have necessary qualifications
  • Civil Service Tips
  • Follow the application instructions carefully
  • Log into your USAJobs account to check application status, and follow up a few weeks after announcement closes
  • General Schedule (GS) Guidelines for grade and
  • qualifying education:
  • GS-5 Bachelor’s Degree
  • GS-7 3.0 GPA upon completion of B.A. OR
  • 1 year of Graduate-level education
  • GS-9 Master’s Degree, LLB, or JD
  • GS-11 Ph.D. or 3 years graduate education
  • Civil Service Tips
  • Competitive salaries with locality pay
  • Paid federal holidays
  • Annual and sick leave
  • Health/Life Insurance
  • Retirement system includes pension, Social Security, and Thrift Savings Plan (401k with 5% match by USG)
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (pre-tax medical and child care funds)
  • Student Loan Repayment Program
  • Transit subsidies
  • Flexible workplace/time arrangements
  • Civil Service Benefits

Foreign Service

  • Foreign Service Officers (Generalists) and Foreign Service Specialists promote U.S. interests and protect U.S. citizens at U.S. embassies and consulate posts overseas and in Washington, DC
  • Foreign Service Officers work in five broad career tracks
  • Foreign Service Specialists perform a variety of technical functions worldwide
  • Most of the Foreign Service career is spent overseas
  • Worldwide availability is a requirement
  • 19 specialties in:
    • Security
    • Administration (e.g. Human Resources, General Services/Logistics, Financial Management, Office Management)
    • Construction Engineering & Facilities Management
    • Information Technology
    • Medicine and Health
  • Strong subject matter expertise required
  • Resume-based application process
  • Specialized Oral Assessment
  • Foreign Service Specialists

Foreign Service Officers

  • FSOs declare one of the following career tracks when applying:
    • Consular Affairs
    • Economic Affairs
    • Management Affairs
    • Political Affairs
    • Public Diplomacy
  • FSOs must be flexible with their international assignments

How Do I Become an FSO?

  • Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT)
  • Oral Assessment
  • Medical & Security Clearances
  • Orientation Class
  • Qualifications Evaluation Panel (QEP)
  • Career Track Register
  • Final Review Panel

Register for the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT)

  • Tests are given multiple times a year, with rolling registration throughout the year
  • Choose career track after consulting with a Diplomat-in-Residence.
  • Register online at
  • The FSOT is given around the country and at overseas locations


  • The Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) includes:
    • Job-related knowledge, including U.S. and world history and culture, American and foreign systems of government, and basic principles of economics
    • English expression and usage
    • Biographic information questionnaire
    • Written essay (scored only if the applicant passes the multiple-choice portion of the exam)

FSOT Preparation

  • It is expected that candidates will:
    • Be widely read and keep current on recent trends that may not be covered directly in a classroom environment
    • Read major newspapers and news magazines regularly
  • Although current events are not tested directly, contemporary events may influence the topics selected for the knowledge areas and the written essay.

General Knowledge Areas for FSOT

  • English Composition
  • Management
  • Comparative Politics
  • Economics
  • International Trade and Finance
  • U.S. History
  • U.S. Economic History
  • U.S. Political System
  • U.S. Social and Intellectual History
  • World Geography

Qualifications Evaluation Panel (QEP)

  • If you pass the written test and the essay:
  • You will receive an email asking you to submit a Personal Narrative in which you answer questions describing your experiences. The firm deadline for submission will be three weeks after the request is sent to you.
  • The panel will take a comprehensive "total candidate" approach in evaluating your qualifications for the Foreign Service in the context of your chosen career track.
  • The QEP determines which candidates are invited to the Oral Assessment.

Oral Assessment

  • Components:
    • Group Exercise
    • Structured Interview
    • Case Management Written Exercise
  • Held in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere in the U.S.
  • Successful candidates are placed on a ranked register for their chosen career track
  • For more information and prep sessions contact your local Diplomats in Residence

The Oral Assessment is Based on 13 Dimensions

  • Composure
  • Cultural Adaptability
  • Experience and Motivation
  • Information Integration and Analysis
  • Initiative and Leadership
  • Judgment
  • Objectivity and Integrity
  • Oral Communication
  • Planning and Organizing
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Resourcefulness
  • Working with Others
  • Written Communication

Key Reasons To Join the Foreign Service

  • Public service
  • Overseas lifestyle
  • Challenging work
  • Lifelong learning
  • Constant variety and change
  • Learn foreign languages

  • Competitive Salary
  • Retirement plan at age 50 (with 20 years of service)
  • Language and other Training
  • Host country holidays (up to 20 total)*
  • Housing*
  • Cost of Living Allowance*
  • Financial Incentives
  • Children's Education Allowance*
  • Paid Home Leave*
  • Rest and relaxation travel*
  • Student Loan Repayment Program*
  • * Overseas only
  • Foreign Service Benefits Include:

Reflect America to the World

  • We seek a diverse group of talented Americans for the State Department, with experiences and perspectives in a variety of areas.
  • All academic disciplines are useful in the State Department.
  • Questions?
  • Resource Reminder:
    • Diplomats in Residence

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