Posted by: careeradvisor | March 30, 2009

Degree options to be a Diplomat?

By Career Advisor


What bachelors degree do I need to pursue to go into
consular/embassy jobs or to be a diplomat/ambassador?


Answer: U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions are under the direction of the Department of State. You can see a complete list of their websites here:

To work at one of these facilities you would either want to be a Foreign Service Officer or a Foreign Service Specialist.

Foreign Service Officers (FSOs)


FSO’s advocate American foreign policy, protect American citizens, and promote American business interests throughout the world. FSOs staff our Embassies, consulates and other diplomatic missions devoted to strengthening peace, stability, and prosperity. Their perceptiveness, dedication, and creativity drive the formulation and achievement of American foreign policy objectives.

Who Qualifies?

There are several important eligibility requirements:

All applicants must be U.S. citizens on the date they submit their registration package.

On the day you submit your registration, you must be at least 20 years old and no older than 59 years of age.

On the day you are appointed as a Foreign Service Officer, you must be at least 21 years old, and not yet 60.

You must also be available for worldwide assignments*, including Washington, D.C.

No specific educational level, or proficiency in a foreign language is required for applicants.You are not required to know a foreign language to become a Foreign Service Officer, but proficiency in one or more languages will enhance your competitiveness for selection.

* Members of the Foreign Service are expected to serve anywhere in the world, even in cases where family members cannot go to post due to political instability and/or other concerns, or when family members must leave post as conditions deteriorate (evacuations).

– Education you need: There is not specific education level but you need to be highly educated in order to compete for these positions.

  • You should know at least one foreign Language (While you are not required to know a foreign language to become a Foreign Service Officer, proficiency in one or more languages will enhance your competitiveness for selection.) Here are the languages that are in a Super Critical Need: (Arabic (Modern Standard, Egyptian, and Iraqi), Chinese (Mandarin), Dari, Farsi, Hindi, and Urdu)
  • Here is a list of degrees that actual Foreign Service Officers have obtained. I got this information from their profiles on
    • B.A., Economics, M.A., International Economic Policy –
    • Masters of International Management, International Management – from Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management
    • BA, International Affairs – Latin American Studies – The George Washington University
    • B.S., Business Administration – Elon University
    • B.A., Political Science – University of California, Santa Cruz
    • MALD, Intl Negotiations and Conflict Res – from Tufts University – The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
    • MBA, Business Administration – University of Virginia – Darden Graduate School of Business Administration
    • BA, Political Science – Villanova University
    • BA, Communications, Economics, Legal Studies, Political Science – from American University and JD, International Law from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University
    • BS, International Economics – Georgetown University



Who are the Foreign Service Specialists? What do they do?

The Department of State offers career opportunities to professionals in specialized functions needed to meet Foreign Service responsibilities around the world. As a Foreign Service Specialist, you will provide important technical, support or administrative services at one of 250 posts overseas, in Washington, D.C., or elsewhere in the United States.

As a Foreign Service Specialist, you’ll receive excellent paid housing or a housing allowance, health and medical coverage, federal retirement benefits, paid education for dependent children between K-12, generous paid leave, and an unprecedented chance to see the world and experience different cultures.

The opportunities that exist for Foreign Service Specialists are as diverse as the countries in which they serve. Foreign Service Specialist jobs are grouped into seven major categories: Administration, Construction Engineering, Information Technology, International Information and English Language Programs, Medical and Health, Office Management, and Security.

See who qualifies:

Employment Opportunities for Foreign Service Specialists



Ambassadors are appointed to their positions by the President of the United States. Most of them are former Foreign Service Officers who have a long history of service to the State Department. You can see a list of US Ambassadors here:



  1. great ideas and information…thanks for sharing.

  2. I dont have a college degree but proficient in Filipino Language. What are my chances of becoming an FSO?

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