How do I Become a Diplomat?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 03 April 2020
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Almost every nation in the world has dedicated staff members who are posted in an embassy office located in another country. The primary responsibility of a diplomat is to perform government services for a country's citizens abroad and represent the government during state functions. Each country's government decides where to locate an embassy, who is appointed to the post and the length of the assignment. Among the things you'll need to become a diplomat are interpersonal skills, language skills and a satisfactory background check.

The exact requirements to become a diplomat vary by nation. However, all positions have similar basic requirements and skill sets necessary to be successful. People who are naturally outgoing, are skilled with languages and are able to use conflict resolution skills to defuse a situation might enjoy working as diplomats. A career in the diplomatic service involves living in different countries, working with local governments and providing support as required.

The first requirement to become a diplomat is eligibility. Candidates must be a citizen and a legal adult. Ideally, post-secondary education has been successfully completed at an accredited school. The training can be in a range of disciplines, with the humanities being the most popular.


Language skills are very important for anyone who wants to become a diplomat. Fluency in all official languages is mandatory, and the ability to quickly learn new languages with a high degree of skill is considered a valuable asset. In addition to excellent written and oral communication skills, candidates should be familiar with international customs for public events such as weddings and funerals.

A complete background check is standard and includes a check for criminal records as well as financial and credit ratings. Some governments also include drug and health screening into the application process. These checks are considered the best way to avoid the potential of an embarrassing situation. Any examples or history of poor judgment or poor decision-making will have a negative effect on your application to become a diplomat.

In most countries, there are exams required as part of the application process. These exams might be in written form, oral form or both. Items typically included on the exams include the history of the country, international politics, familiarity with world history and geography and critical thinking skills.

There are a range of private schools that offer preparatory courses to help prepare for these exams. Textbooks, online materials and workbooks are all great reference materials that can be used to prepare independently. You should research the exams in advance so you can determine how long they will be, the format and the pass rate.


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Post 5

@SarahGen-- I'm so glad you said that it's difficult to be a diplomat. For some reason, people think that being a diplomat means living in Paris and attending fancy embassy parties. What they don't know is that, that Ambassador, before getting to Paris, worked in godforsaken places across the world for many years.

My friend's dad is a retired ambassador. He worked in many places like in Africa, Asia and Latin Africa. He has so many stories to tell about his experiences. He has been through many difficult situations and had to serve in sometimes unpleasant places. So being a diplomat is not all fun and games. It's definitely for people who want to serve their country, like traveling and do not mind challenges.

Post 4

@candyquilt-- Yes, there is a foreign exam test that has to be passed. Once that is passed, I don't think one becomes a diplomat right away. It's a position that one moves up to. So if you want to be a diplomat, you have to be prepared to work in other foreign service positions in various countries. This is necessary to gain the right experience for the job.

Ambassadors are diplomats and it's fairly difficult to be an ambassador. Ambassadors in the US are often appointed by the president. Others move up the foreign service chain and eventually become ambassador after years of excellent service. Since ambassadors are appointed, they may be relocated or asked to resign when the administration changes.

Post 3

Is there an exam for being a diplomat in the US? And how many years does it take to become a diplomat?

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