Foreign Service Junior Officer Program

USAID's work in development joins diplomacy and defense as one of the three key pillars of our nation's foreign policy. USAID Foreign Service Officers are typically accorded diplomatic status when posted overseas. Our work supports long-term economic growth and trade; agriculture and the environment; education and training; democracy and governance; global health; global partnerships and humanitarian assistance. We operate in more than 100 countries in five regions of the world: Sub-Saharan Africa; Asia; the Middle East; Latin America and the Caribbean; and Europe and Eurasia. USAID works in close partnership with the governments and people in those countries, as well as with private voluntary organizations, universities, American businesses, other governments, trade and professional associations, faith-based organizations, and other U.S. government agencies. Our Foreign Service Officers work alongside Civil Service employees and contracted staff in our offices in Washington, DC and overseas. USAID offers generous federal benefits that include health and life insurance; annual, sick and home leave; contributory government pension system; and while serving overseas, government-provided housing, shipment of household effects, and other support.

USAID seeks the best-qualified professional candidates who are willing to make a long-term career commitment to the Foreign Service and international development. New entrants begin their careers in a formal training program which is followed by rotational on-the-job, Washington DC-based training for 12-18 months, which may include foreign language training. After completion of Washington training, new entrants are assigned to an overseas mission. This initial assignment is a directed assignment where the Office of Human Resources determines the optimal placement for the new employee, taking into consideration the employee's prior experience and family situation. After completing the initial posting, the employee enters USAID's competitive bidding system where all Foreign Service Officers express their preferences for follow-on assignments in line with bidding instructions. Critical Priority Countries (CPCs -- currently Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and South Sudan) are the Agency's highest priority for staffing. Assignments in all these countries (except Yemen) are for 12 months. All Foreign Service Officers should anticipate serving at CPCs multiple times during their careers.

New Foreign Service Officers have five years in which to earn tenure in the Foreign Service. Tenure requirements include foreign language proficiency and successful performance during at least three years in the agency, of which 18 months must have been on a permanent overseas assignment in one of USAID's field offices. Medical and security clearances must be updated.

Last updated: February 20, 2014

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