What Are the Different Types of Federal Jobs Overseas?

Elizabeth West

Federal jobs overseas exist in many different fields through US federal agencies. They are usually filled by existing employee transfer. Agencies hire for all types of positions, including technical and healthcare jobs. Military personnel are the most likely to be sent abroad, although qualified applicants who fit the criteria can certainly obtain an international career placement. Compensation is virtually the same as for stateside federal jobs.

Applicants must pass a medical examination when applying for federal jobs overseas.
Applicants must pass a medical examination when applying for federal jobs overseas.

The Department of Defense is the top US employer overseas. Military personnel in the Army, Navy and Air Force may be stationed overseas in the course of their enlistment. Teachers in schools for dependents of military personnel or those working federal jobs overseas are needed on a regular basis. Non-military engineering, administrative and technical jobs are also available. Social workers such as substance abuse counselors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals may also seek foreign job opportunities from the federal government.

Federal jobs overseas can include work in embassies and consulates.
Federal jobs overseas can include work in embassies and consulates.

Other agencies that hire overseas include the State Department, the Department of Agriculture, and the Peace Corps, an organization that places volunteers in worldwide education, environmental, technology and health programs. Family members of employees working in US embassies or consulates may also be eligible for federal jobs overseas within those agencies. Local hires typically fill administrative support, clerical and secretarial positions.

Open examination does not occur unless there are no in-house applicants or qualified citizens are not available. Those interested in an international career who are applying for federal jobs overseas will need to make sure they fit the required skills and education for the listed position. While many countries have English-speaking citizens, especially in Europe, proficiency in a foreign language is a definite plus. The best candidates for working overseas possess a curiosity for and openness to other cultures.

In addition to careful preparation of paperwork, applicants will take a physical examination. Health care in the assigned country may not be as comprehensive as in the US, so applicants with certain conditions may not be accepted. Applicants for federal jobs overseas must pass a stringent background check. Some positions may need security clearance, and these investigations can take months. It is best to apply for a desired position well before making any plans to relocate.

Salaries are typically equivalent to those the position would command in the US, with a cost-of-living allowance if the job is in a place where the salary won’t cover expenses. Although Peace Corps volunteers are not technically employees, they are paid a living stipend and offered healthcare and other benefits during their 27-month service terms. Federal jobs overseas normally offer the same benefits that stateside civil service employees receive, and free travel is generally provided.

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