Diplomatic service officer

Diplomatic service officers help to promote and protect British interests, businesses and citizens overseas.

Average salary (a year)

£25,000 Starter


£45,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 40 a week

You could work

on call attending events or appointments

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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

More information


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.

Direct application

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.

Other routes

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 and join the service as an economist. You'll need an upper second class degree in an economics-related subject to do this.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about working in the diplomatic service through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Civil Service Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • 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

Day-to-day tasks

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

Working environment

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.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a diplomatic service officer right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

VTCT Level 2 Diploma in Business Administration (QCF)

  • Start date: 01 December 2019
  • Location: Highbridge

Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Business & Administration

  • Start date: 01 November 2019
  • Location: DONCASTER

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