Foreign Service Officer
Learn about this occupation – including typical duties, education required, salary and job outlook information, job boards and more.
Foreign service officers work both in Canada and in diplomatic offices in countries around the world providing advice to the Canadian government on foreign policy matters, and acting on behalf of Canada abroad. In general, foreign service officers are responsible for scientific, technical and information exchanges, economic and political reporting, negotiation with host countries, public affairs activities, promotion of trade and financial interests, administration of Canadian missions abroad, management of immigration programs, assistance to Canadians travelling, studying and working abroad. (alis)
Find detailed information about the occupation, including typical duties and working conditions, in the links below:
- National Occupational Classification (NOC) - Canadian occupational descriptions
- OCCinfo by alis - Alberta-based occupational information
- University of Manitoba Career Mentor profile - Foreign Service Officer, U of M alumnus
- How we help Canadians aboard: Consular Officers in action - Government of Canada officer profiles
- Article: The life of a diplomat - Matador Network
- Sokanu: Diplomat - occupational overview and videos
- A Day in the Life of a Diplomat/Attache/Foreign Service Officer - The Princeton Review
- Careers Representing America: Foreign Service Officer - U.S. Department of State
- A Day in the Life of a Foreign Service Officer (U.S.) - SAIS Observer at John Hopkins' University
The educational requirements to enter the foreign service vary depending on the type of position. Completion of a bachelor's degree is usually required. A graduate degree or several years of experience may be an asset. Proficiency in French and/or other foreign languages may also be an asset. Acceptance to the foreign service is also based on a competitive exam. Students are encouraged to become familiar with the Public Service Recruitment Programs, including student employment opportunities with the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP).
U of M Academic Calendar
The Academic Calendar & Catalogue outlines program admission and course requirements. Use the left menu to navigate to a specific faculty and program. To determine which degree path suits your unique occupational goals, speak with a Career Consultant. For support with course registration and academic issues, speak with an Academic Advisor.
Labour market information
Labour market information informs users of supply and demand for specific occupations and sectors. It includes such things as salary and job outlook information. These resources support informed career decision making and job search efforts.
- Trend Analysis: Job Market Report (Winnipeg Region) - Gov. of Canada Job Bank
- Collective Bargaining Agreements (see Appendix A) - Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers
- Rates of pay for the public service - Government of Canada
- Working for the U.S. Federal Government - U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics
Professional associations may organize events and provide directories, job postings, career and labour market information. Student membership opportunities may also be available. This is a great way to learn and network!
- Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO)
- Retired Heads of Mission Association - association of Canada's retired ambassadors
- American Foreign Service Association (U.S)
Directories, Industry Associations, and Sector Councils
These resources provide industry news, labour market information and a list of potential employers. Remember, there are usually multiple industries worth exploring.
- Global Affairs Canada
- Public Service Commission of Canada
- Embassies, Consulates, High Commissions and Trade Offices Around the World - Global Affairs Canada
- U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions - U.S. Department of State
Search occupations of interest in the industry-specific job boards below to learn about skill requirements, employers, job duties and available jobs. You may also wish to search more general online job boards.
These external resources may provide you with additional information about the occupation and opportunities to build experience:
- My World Abroad - sign-in with your University of Manitoba e-mail to access travel and work abroad resources
- Students Without Borders Internships - University of Manitoba International Centre
- UMSU Student Club: UM Model United Nations Club - a platform for students to delve into the world of international politics through role-play
- UMSU Student Club: University of Manitoba Youth Association of Multiculturalism - promotes multiculturalism on campus
- Global Political Economy Students Association (Facebook page)
- Canadian International Council - Winnipeg Branch
- Canadian Foreign Service Institute - Government of Canada's Centre of Expertise on learning related to International Affairs
- Government of Canada Trade Commissioner Service
- Government of Canada: Canada and the world - information about Canada's foreign policy, trade agreements, development work and more
- Getting involved with International Development - Government of Canada
- Article: Where do many Canadian ambassadors get their start? - Carleton University Newsroom
- Careers in the Canadian Foreign Service and US State Department (pdf) - profiles of individuals working in the field, from Trinity Western University
- Article: What it takes to represent Canada abroad - from Upstream Journal (magazine on human rights and social justice)
- Open Canada - digital publication explaining Canadian public policy and foreign affairs
- The Canadian Immigration Historical Society
- Centre for International Governance Innovation - non-partisan Canadian think tank
U.S. Dept. of State Foreign Service Officer Program - U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Canada
- Foreign Service Community Support Offices (U.S)