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Foreign Service Economic Officer

Foreign Service Economic Officers develop relationships with important economic figures, including those in the business community, the government and opposition, non-governmental organizations, academia and multilateral organizations. They promote U.S. economic and commercial interests abroad. They also report on economic conditions and trends in the host country.

The mission of a Foreign Service Officer is to promote peace and prosperity while advancing the interests of the U.S. abroad. Candidates to become Foreign Service Officers are usually passionate about public service and want to represent the U.S. around the world.

Sample Companies:

Foreign Service Economic Officer works for the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service. The latter is an organization that improves understanding of American interests and culture abroad. The U.S. Department of State is therefore a major institution of American diplomacy.

The Foreign Service counts with 13,000 employees that are dedicated to represent America abroad. There are also more than 45,000 locally employed Foreign Service staff at overseas posts. 


The Foreign Service operates on a pay scale that takes into account qualifications, experience and responsibilities. The starting salaries for recent graduates are $47,439. The candidates holding a Master’s or law degree have a starting salary of $53,065. Salaries can rise as high as $142,180.

How to get there:

There is no specific major required for a position in the Foreign Service. However, any coursework in foreign languages, politics, finance, and economics is an advantage for a candidacy.

A successful application also requires a passing score on the annual Foreign Service Officer Test, a physical exam, a background check and the ability of a candidate to respond to stressful situations. 

Important Qualities:

Quantitative Analysis 
Cultural Adaptability 
Oral Communication 
Written Communication


In order to become a Foreign Service Economic Officer, candidates have to pass a series of tests. The first test is a written examination that will test the candidate on all the information he learned in college from economics. After passing this test the candidate has to submit a personal narrative. The last test is a day-long process that tests the candidate on the thirteen dimensions of being a Foreign Service Officer. For more information please visit:

Relevant Classes:

  • Composition I and Advanced Composition/Writing
  • BADM 314- Leading Negotiations
  • BADM 380- International Business
  • CMN 101- Public Speaking
  • CMN 211- Business Communication
  • ECON 420- International Economics
  • ECON 303- Macroeconomic Theory
  • *Actuarial Courses (MATH & FIN)

Relevant Clubs & Organizations:

  • Government Interest Law Association
  • Illinois Student Government
  • Illinois Economics Consulting
  • Finance Club
  • Econ Club
  • Econ Ambassadors