How Do You Become a Diplomat?


Quick Answer

Becoming a diplomat requires taking the State Department's Foreign Service Exam, getting accepted into the Foreign Service Institute, then working as an officer and bidding on available jobs around the world. Aspiring diplomats may also need to take foreign language classes while studying at the Foreign Service Institute.

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Full Answer

Diplomats are known as Foreign Service Officers. The FSO exam consists of a series of exams that include written, oral and negotiating sections. Those that pass are invited to join the Foreign Service, and this institution is an entry point into the State Department, where students train in the National Affairs Training Center under the A-100 program. A-100 is an introduction course that lasts 10 weeks and details the inner workings of the State Department and the Foreign Service. Other topics covered include human rights, diplomatic skills and the history and culture of a particular region.

Being a diplomat also requires being knowledgeable about current events and having superb listening skills. Diplomats must also apply problem-solving skills within a foreign setting. Diplomats need to learn etiquette and respect other cultures.

Once students are trained, they are allowed to bid on international job postings. Officers usually wait to hear back about their station and job description. These duties may include promoting trade, banking or business practices. Officers can outline their preferences upon accepting the job, but novice officers may be tested by being offered posts in uncomfortable and dangerous settings.

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