Government Jobs that Travel Overseas

Apr 04, 2018

If you are interested in pursuing a career that offers opportunities for overseas travel, then you may want to consider becoming a federal government employee. This article examines some of the many federal government positions that travel overseas.

Government Career Options with Travel Overseas

There are many benefits to working for the federal government, including salaries and benefit packages that are comparable to, if not better than, those found in the private sector. The hiring process can be daunting and time-consuming, but you will have good job security once you are hired. Most civilian government employees are paid under the General Schedule (GS) payscale, and open positions will include information regarding the starting GS level, step and salary.

If you are looking to work for the federal government because you specifically want to work overseas, you will find that there are a myriad of occupations and locations available. However, applicants for overseas positions will have to meet certain requirements including the passing of a basic security clearance (certain occupations include attaining secret or top secret clearance), passing a physical examination, committing to an overseas assignment for up to three years (dependent upon the specific job), and, in some cases, possessing foreign language skills.

Now, let's take a look at a few of the many government career options that offer overseas travel.

Job Title Average Entry-Level GS* Corresponding Base Payscale
Teacher GS 09 - 11 $43,857 - $53,062**
Public Health Advisor GS 12 - 14 $63,600 - $116,181**
Foreign Service Officer FP 6 - 4 $40,514 - $55,929***
IT Specialist GS 09 - 13 $43,857 - $75,628**
Administrative & Clerical GS 03 - 07 $23,045 - $35,854**

Sources: *;; **Office of Personnel Management (OPM - 2018); ***U.S. State Department - 2018

Information on Government Career Options with Travel Overseas


Currently, there are military bases in 12 countries along with Guam and Puerto Rico in which the Department of Defense (DoD) has schools, including Germany, Japan, Italy, and Bahrain. As such, there is the need for various educational occupations including teachers at all grade levels and for all subjects. Applicants must have at least a bachelor's degree along with 18 hours of professional teacher education coursework and have successfully passed specific PRAXIS tests. While the pay structure for teachers typically begins at GS-9, this will be adjusted dependent upon the degree you have obtained. Housing (typically free) is provided in some localities, but not all, so this is something you will want to research.

Public Health Advisor

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and they provide many overseas career options pertaining to global health. Public health advisors are responsible for managing a variety of overseas public health programs including disease protection and prevention, immunization programs, access to safe water initiatives, as well as the teaching of proper hygiene, in over 60 countries including Botswana, Kenya, Nepal and Morocco.

A college degree is required and foreign language skills are encouraged. Applicants will need to commit to a two year overseas assignment, need to be able to attain a secret or top secret clearance, and must have at least one year of experience utilizing the skills and knowledge, including analytical and management skills, that are required for this position.

Foreign Service Officer

Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) are employees of the U.S. State Department who work overseas in U.S. consulates and embassies, representing U.S. interests abroad by interacting and maintaining relationships with the government of the host country. While there are no specific requirements regarding education, the State Department does have a list of 13 specific skills/abilities that successful candidates are required to have including proven leadership skills, the ability to adapt to different cultures, and the ability to take initiative as well as maintain composure in stressful circumstances.

The selection process is quite rigorous, typically taking around one year to complete, and includes successfully passing a test, writing a personal narrative that showcases how you meet the 13 criteria, and participating in a full day of interviews intended to determine if you meet the criteria.

While life as a FSO can provide you with unparalleled life experiences as well as a fulfilling career, keep in mind that many of the postings are considered hardships as they are located in third-world countries and/or countries at war and with unstable governments, while some are considered to be in danger zones. For these postings, you will receive hardship pay or danger pay, dependent upon the classification of the posting.

IT Specialist

The field of IT specialist covers a gamut of occupations including network administrators, software developers, and information systems designers. All federal agencies employee IT specialists, with the Departments of the Air Force, Army and Navy employing the largest number of civilian IT specialists who may be posted on military bases overseas in countries like Germany, Guam and Romania. Entry-level positions require a minimum of a bachelor's degree or a high school diploma plus experience that has prepared them with the skills needed for the applied for position.

Administrative & Clerical

Administrative and clerical staff provide the backbone within any industry, including the federal government, and while these positions can be found wherever the federal government is located overseas, many of the positions are needed by the Department of Defense who requiring staffing on numerous military bases found in countries such as Germany, Belgium, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Some of the job titles included in this field are typists, mail and file clerks, receptionists, messengers, secretaries, and data transcribers. A high school diploma is required for these positions, and, depending upon the specific position, job duties may include utilizing a variety of office equipment and providing a variety of administrative support to management.

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