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A multi-step process


Via flickr by neil-san

Here are the steps to becoming a Foreign Service Officer:

1. Register for the Written Exam. This involves picking one of five career tracks or “cones”: political, economic, consular, management or public diplomacy.  Also, you submit a resume.
2. Take the Written Exam (includes general knowledge, english language, an essay, and a biographical section).
3. If you pass the written exam, you are must submit a series of 5 essay questions for the Qualifications Evaluation Panel: QEP.
4. If your QEP essays are accepted, you are invited to take the Oral Exam. The Oral Exam is a one-day in-person interview that involves three parts: 1. Group Exercise, 2. Case Management Exercise, and 3. Structured Interview.  If you achieve the required score you are given a conditional offer of employment, subject to a few steps:
5. Security Clearance (i.e. background check, credit check, make sure you don’t hate America, have a drug/alcohol problem, or are a pervert)
6. Medical Clearance (and your family members who will travel with you)
7. Final Suitability Review (this is one last review to make sure that nothing has come to light that would disqualify you from being a Foreign Service Officer).
8. Wait on a list known as “the register”, ranked by your Oral Exam score and language abilities, until they call you to join an A-1o0 Foreign Service Officer Orientation Class. If you aren’t called in 18 months, start over at step #1.

The whole process took L a little over one year to complete. He took the written exam July, 2008 and started his first day as a State employee September, 2009.

Still want more information? Let me point you to some other blogs that have done a great job describing the process:

This post on Diplolife has a great overall summary of the exam process. Plus I enjoy reading about this family’s adventures in their first post in India.

Hegemonist has a detailed guide to the Foreign Service exam, including summaries of the various career tracks.

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