Foreign Service Program Officer

Washington, D.C
Sep 25, 2022
Oct 01, 2022
Program Manager
Full Time

You are encouraged to read the entire announcement before you submit your application package. Your application may not receive full consideration if you do not follow the instructions as outlined.

This is a Foreign Service announcement. Worldwide availability is a requirement of the position. Successful candidates must be available to work in any country in the world where USAID has a presence. Here is the link to the current list of countries.

Position Title: Program Officer

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is seeking Program Officers who will be responsible for country strategy development, policy formulation and execution, performance reporting, programming/budgeting of resources, coordination with other donors and U.S. government agencies, and public communications and outreach. Program Officers serve in Foreign Service assignment rotations around the world and at USAID's headquarters in Washington, D.C.


Program Officers are responsible for successfully implementing the USAID Program Cycle at overseas field missions and headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Program Cycle is USAID's operational model for planning, delivering, assessing, and adapting development programming in a given region or country to advance U.S. foreign policy.

Program Officers carry out a full range of activities such as the following:
  • Lead teams in operationalizing USAID's development assistance goals and priorities, ensuring that our work integrates diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Analyze and assess the cooperating country's development potential, economic, political, and social problems and needs.
  • Develop country development cooperation strategies, including defining development objectives, critical assumptions, and obstacles to strategy implementation.
  • Formulate program policy, define the role and objectives of U.S. assistance to the cooperating country, and select alternative courses of action to achieve goals.
  • Prepare, design, justify and implement project and activity proposals, including integration of assistance efforts into the cooperating country's programs.
  • Negotiate project agreements and implementation authorizations
  • Assess and evaluate cooperating country and U.S. development assistance program objectives.
  • Plan and manage program budgets, including preparing annual reports and analyses as part of USAID's program budget cycle.
  • Prepare and negotiate program agreements with host country governments.
  • Build alliances with clients and partners and maintain contacts with a wide range of officials, community leaders, and nongovernmental donors and entities, including those representing underrepresented or marginalized groups, to gain understanding and insight into the country's social and economic needs and to interpret and gain support for U.S. assistance policies and goals.
  • Support senior management decision-making by providing recommendations on priorities among ongoing and proposed program activities based on evidence and alignment with the country's strategy.
  • Monitor and evaluate performance and help ensure organizational learning.
  • Evaluate the respective contributions and the interrelationships of individual sector programs and projects toward the achievement of overall development objectives of the country.
  • Manages outreach and communication efforts, including preparing speeches, press releases, social media postings and events.

Program Officers ensure that priority cross-cutting issues such as gender, climate change, food security, youth, corruption, inclusive development, private sector engagement, partnering with local actors and nontraditional development partners to drive change, and others are included in projects as appropriate and that programs comply with federal law and agency policy.


Conditions of Employment

  • United States Citizenship is required.
  • Relevant education and experience ? see Qualifications below
  • Must be able to obtain and maintain a Top Secret Security clearance.
  • Males born after 12/31/1959 must be registered with the Selective Service. If selected, the applicant must sign a statement certifying his registration, or the applicant must demonstrate exempt status under the Selective Service Law.
  • Worldwide Availability. Worldwide availability is a requirement of the position. While USAID uses a bidding system for assignments, Foreign Service Officers must be willing and available to accept assignments to any country where USAID operates.
  • Must be between 18 and 59 years old at time of application, unless the applicant is a Veteran. Veteran, must be between 18 and 64 years old at time of application.
  • Class 1 Medical Clearance (no identifiable medical condition that would limit assignment). A medical clearance or waiver is required prior to being hired for this position verifying that the applicant is able to serve at any USAID overseas post.
  • Foreign Language Proficiency is not required to apply; however, applicants who demonstrate proficiency in a USAID tenuring language will have an opportunity to test via phone for bonus points to be added to their interview score.
  • Drug Testing. These are Testing Designated Positions under the Agency's approved Drug Free WorkPlace Program. All applicants selected for this position will be subject to random drug testing once they begin working for the Agency.


Relevant majors are international development, economics, international affairs, public administration, business administration, international management, urban development, rural development, economic development, project management, and humanitarian assistance management or a related degree.

Relevant work experience is defined as professional work directly related to strategic planning for the discipline of international development or international humanitarian assistance, including strategic analysis and utilization of results frameworks; design and management of country or community development and humanitarian assistance projects, including supporting studies; budgeting of country or community assistance resources; coordination and engagement with other donors (country, private sector, non-profit, international multilateral organizations, and others) and external partners (nongovernmental organizations; communities; private sector; local, regional, and national governments, and others); monitoring and evaluation, including the application of learning; public communications; and gathering and analyzing information and data for performance reporting, programming, and performance-based budgeting.

Overseas and diverse working environment includes serving or working in an overseas context or in an economically disadvantaged domestic community (such as an inner city or Indian reservation) for the minimum number of years required, performing work directly related to the advertised Foreign Service Officer position, in which you experienced new cultures, learned foreign languages, encountered different cultures and practices, and/or coordinated and engaged with external partners and local counterparts.

Volunteer experience. Experience includes relevant paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience, that meets the criteria as defined under "relevant work experience".

Unofficial transcripts must be uploaded as part of the application. Failure to do so will result in the application being eliminated from consideration. A transcript is only required for the degree you are using to meet the education requirement. The unofficial transcript must be issued by the university and include the name of the applicant, the name of the college/university, the degree awarded, and the completion date. The degree must be completed at the time of application. If we are unable to determine that you meet the required education, you will be found ineligible for further consideration. If you proceed past the initial application phase, official transcripts must be received by USAID from your university/institution during the final selection process.

Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the education requirements. Transcripts from any and all foreign educational institutions must be accompanied by an official Evaluation of Educational Credentials in order to be considered for the position. It is your responsibility to provide evidence that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States when applying. If you are qualifying based on foreign education, you must submit proof of accreditation of education as evaluated by a credentialing agency. There are two nationally recognized associations whose members can provide this accreditation: the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services ( ) and the Association of International Credential Evaluators ( ). More information about this process may be found at

Equal Employment Opportunity policy. USAID envisions a world where all individuals are valued, have equitable access to opportunities, and are included, respected, and safe in their societies. USAID embraces diversity as outlined in USAID's EEO Statement . We seek to elevate and include the voices of the USAID workforce, recognizing and valuing the unique contributions of all stakeholders. USAID also strives to improve equity for underrepresented communities that have historically been denied fair and just treatment and improve accessibility in all facets at USAID.

The skills and abilities described in USAID's Foreign Service/Senior Foreign Service Skills Framework are required of all foreign service officers and form the basis for the foreign service performance management and promotion systems. During the recruitment process, candidates are evaluated on the following skills which can be found in the Skills Framework:

Motivation and Empowerment

Accountability for Results

Building Consensus and Partnerships

Oral Communication

Written Communication


Interpersonal Skills

Flexibility and Adaptability

Problem Solving

Taking and Managing Risk

Supports EEO, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

In addition to these foundational skills, the following skills are required of USAID Program Officers:

Project Management - Applies principles, methods, or tools for developing, scheduling, coordinating, monitoring, evaluating, and managing projects and resources, including technical performance.

Reasoning - Identifies rules, principles, or relationships that explain facts, data, or other information; analyzes information and makes correct inferences or draws accurate conclusions.

Strategic Thinking - Formulates effective strategies consistent with the business and competitive identity of the organization in a global economy. Determines objectives and sets priorities; anticipates potential threats or opportunities. Examines policy issues and strategic planning with a long-term perspective; identifies results frameworks, causal linkages, and indicators.

Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluating - Determines objectives and strategies; coordinates with other parts of the organization to accomplish goals; monitors and evaluates the progress and outcomes of operational plans; anticipates potential threats or opportunities; promotes organizational learning.

Financial Management - Prepares, justifies, and administers the budget for program areas; plans, administers, and monitors expenditures to ensure cost-effective support of programs and policies; assesses financial data to propose budget solutions to program and project designs, pipeline issues, and program performance, and changes in country context or Agency priorities.


FS-05: A graduate-level degree (Master's or Doctorate) in a relevant major plus two (2) years of relevant professional work experience with a minimum of one (1) year relevant experience working overseas or in diverse environments in the United States.

If selected and hired at the FS 05 level, the career candidate officer will be reviewed for an administrative promotion from FS 05 to FS 04 after one year of satisfactory service.

FS-04: A Master's level graduate degree in a relevant major plus four (4) years of relevant professional work experience with a minimum of three (3) years overseas or diverse working environment experience, OR a Doctoral degree in an appropriate major plus three (3) years of relevant professional work experience with a minimum of two (2) years overseas or diverse working environment experience.

Additional information

Benefits and Allowances. USAID offers generous federal benefits that include health and life insurance; annual, sick and home leave; contributory government pension system ( Foreign Service Pension System ); Thrift Savings Plan (with agency matching funds), a student loan repayment program; and while serving overseas, government-provided housing, shipment of household effects, education allowances, country specific incentive pay and allowances, and other support.

Telework. USAID defines telework as a work flexibility arrangement in which an employee performs the duties of their position of record on-site as well as from an approved alternative worksite other than the location from which the employee would otherwise work, on an approved work schedule. During the initial training period in Washington which can last 12-24 months for most new employees, new foreign service officers will be allowed to telework a portion of each two week period if their training and supervised work arrangements allow and there is prior approval from their supervisor. There will be times when they must report in-person 100% of the time based on training and work requirements. This includes all language training at the Foreign Service Institute, and the initial Orientation in the first five weeks on the job. When assigned overseas, telework flexibility is determined by the policy for the U.S. Embassy in that country.

Medical Clearance. A medical clearance or waiver for the applicant is required prior to being hired for this position verifying that the applicant is able to serve at any USAID overseas post. Many USAID assignment locations are remote, unhealthy, or have limited medical support. Therefore, prior to being appointed to the Foreign Service, applicants must have a thorough medical examination and must be able to receive a medical clearance for worldwide availability or obtain a waiver of this requirement.

Foreign Language Ability. Foreign language ability has no effect on whether or not you are selected for an interview. However, to reach required tenured status, you must be able to achieve minimum proficiency levels in a USAID tenuring languag e. Candidates who demonstrate proficiency through an online test will be given the opportunity to test for bonus points that will be added to their final interview score. Bonus testing will be conducted via telephone and/or in person.

Minimum and Maximum Age at Appointment, and Mandatory Retirement Age Career appointments in the Foreign Service are covered by the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended which requires an applicant to be 18 years old at time of application and which directs mandatory retirement at age 65 (chapter 8, section 812). Given this mandatory retirement age and the fact that five years must be allowed to achieve tenure in the agency, Individuals must be appointed on or before their 60th birthday, unless the applicant is a preference-eligible veteran who may be hired up to age 65.

Direct Deposit Electronic Funds Transfer is required.

Moving/relocation expenses are authorized for individuals who are not currently living in the Washington, DC area and are not current federal employees with a duty location in the Washington D.C. area.

Applicants who previously applied for this position and were interviewed will not be invited for another interview within one year from the prior interview for the same position.