Diplomatic Service officers help to promote and protect British interests, businesses and citizens overseas.
Salary range: £25,000 to £45,000
How to become a Diplomatic Service officer
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- working towards this role
- applying directly
- a graduate training scheme
You could take a degree before applying to join a graduate training scheme. Most subjects are accepted.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
If you already work in the Civil Service, you can apply to join the Diplomatic Service, depending on your skills and experience.
Volunteering and experience
It will help if you have some relevant work and life experience, like a proven interest in other countries and culture, international relations or a foreign language.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office offers a number of work experience schemes for people from different backgrounds who may be interested in joining them.
You can apply directly to employers if you have some of the relevant skills and knowledge needed for this role.
To join as a diplomatic administrative officer you’ll usually need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C). If you apply to become an operational or policy officer, you’ll usually need A levels or equivalent qualifications.
If you’re a graduate with at least a lower second class degree, you can apply to the Diplomatic Service Fast Stream programme, which leads to senior management posts in the service.
You can also apply through the Government Economic Service Fast Stream to join the Diplomatic Service as an economist. You’ll need an upper second class degree in an economics-related subject to do this.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- administration skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others
- to be flexible and open to change
- sensitivity and understanding
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- knowledge of English language
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties will depend on your role but may include:
- monitoring and analysing overseas events
- developing policies and strategies towards different countries
- dealing with press and communications at home and abroad
- promoting overseas investment into the UK
- giving consular support to UK citizens abroad
- processing visa applications for people looking to visit, study or work in the UK
- giving admin support to other embassy staff
You could work in an office or be based overseas.
Career path and progression
You’ll have access to a wide range of Civil Service training, designed to prepare you for your first overseas posting. This includes foreign language training.
You’ll be encouraged to identify your own training needs as part of an appraisal and staff development programme.
After 2 years, you can apply to join the Fast Stream programme if your manager thinks you have the potential for senior management.