We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How Do I Become a Foreign Service Specialist?

Dan Harkins
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Any nation that maintains embassies abroad enlists foreign service specialists and officers to run those satellite posts and serve as national ambassadors. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) is responsible for picking and training America's embassy staff. If you want to become a foreign service specialist, most jobs require candidates to have a bachelor's or even advanced degree in one of a half-dozen career specialties. Many posts also require a minimum amount of experience in the field.

The key to landing a position in foreign service requires a knowledge of what career tracks are available. There are two main types of overseas Embassy posts: foreign service officers and foreign service specialists. Officers handle more of the foreign affairs types of duties; its five basic career types involve consular duties, political or public diplomacy, and management or economic affairs. All of these jobs require at least a bachelor's degree, though some internships are awarded.

Wanting to become a foreign service specialist means your background and education is in one of several other career specialties. In general, these are information technology, construction engineering, library science or English education, health care, international studies, security and administration, or office management. For each career track, the DOS requires a specific minimum amount of education and experience. This varies from general service officers who need a high school diploma and three years of job experience to information resource officers requiring a master's in library and information science as well as a range of other experience prerequisites.

The DOS Web site contains detailed job descriptions to help those who want to become a foreign service specialist identify the appropriate career track. After educational requirements are met, experience in the field is often sought. Once requirements are satisfied, candidates must apply for the particular position for which they believe they are suited, as long as they meet citizenship demands and are between the ages of 20 and 59.

The standard application for federal employment, called DS-1950, must be submitted to become a foreign service specialist. This is readily available online as well. Once completed, the DOS Qualifications Evaluation Panel will check references and verify that all information on the application is truthful. Veterans and those with foreign language proficiency are given preferential treatment.

A written and oral exam follows this initial review. If successfully passed, candidates will be placed on a register of tentatively approved candidates, at which point medical and security screenings take place. Once these final hurdles are breached, a panel gives its final go-ahead before training to become a foreign service specialist can begin.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Dan Harkins
By Dan Harkins , Former Writer
Dan Harkins, a former military professional, brings his diverse life experiences to his writing. After earning his journalism degree, he spent more than two decades honing his craft as a writer and editor for various publications. Dan’s debut novel showcases his storytelling skills and unique perspective by drawing readers into the story’s captivating narrative.

Discussion Comments

Dan Harkins

Dan Harkins

Former Writer

Dan Harkins, a former military professional, brings his diverse life experiences to his writing. After earning his...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.