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What are the Different Department of State Jobs?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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There is a vast array of different Department of State jobs within the United States (US) Department of State, though they can be broken down into four primary fields. These are foreign service officer, civil service officer, foreign service specialist, and diplomatic security. Within these four fields, there are also a number of specific tracks and career opportunities that can be chosen by someone interested in a position with the Department of State.

In general, the Department of State handles issues of diplomacy and societal transformation both outside and within the US. Foreign service officers are involved in Department of State jobs that are often outside the US and can choose from one of five different career tracks. Once a track is chosen, it generally dictates the direction of the person’s career. These tracks are: the consular track, that is charged with border security and protection of Americans abroad; the economic track, that works to support American businesses around the world; the management track, responsible for running US embassies in other countries; the political track, that works to analyze political activity around the world; and the public diplomacy track, that is charged with working to explain and demonstrate positive American values to the rest of the world.

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Civil service officers choose from Department of State jobs that are often tied into building and changing societies from within, sometimes even in the US. These jobs can involve monitoring human rights situations in other areas, helping American couples with adopting children from other countries, and other such duties. Civil service officers typically choose from one of seven fields of interest to pursue and specialize within. These seven fields are business management, engineering, foreign affairs and international policy, human resources, international and domestic security, office support professionals, and senior executive services. The choice of which field to pursue will dictate the types of Department of State jobs that a civil service officer can further choose from.

Foreign service specialists work within the Department of State to bring specialized skills and abilities to hundreds of different locations across the world. While the actual opportunities within this field can vary depending on where a specialist is stationed, there are seven general categories for a specialist to work within. These are administration, construction engineering, information technology, international information and English language programs, medical and health, office management, and security. While there are numerous different Department of State jobs available within these categories, specialists often focus on what their talents or skills best suit them for.

The Bureau of Diplomatic Security, as the name suggests, is focused primarily on ensuring the safety and security of US embassies and diplomatic officers around the world. These security officers typically choose from one of five specializations. These are: special agents, who protect ambassadors in other nations and foreign dignitaries within the US; security engineering officers, who oversee technical security operations overseas; security technical specialists, who maintain technical security systems at locations of US operations in other countries; diplomatic couriers, who are charged with securely transporting sensitive or classified information outside the US; and civil service employees, who work with civil service officers to ensure security. The official Department of State website should be consulted for further information regarding specific Department of State jobs and employment opportunities.

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