Foreign Service Regional Medical Laboratory Scientist (RMLS)

Montevideo, D.C
Oct 05, 2019
Oct 13, 2019
Full Time


The U.S. Department of State is hiring Regional Medical Laboratory Scientists (RMLS). The salary listed is from the FS Base Schedule Payscale. In most cases, new-hires are paid at the FS Overseas Comparability Pay rate ($61,827 to $80,670). Refer to the Benefits section for information on recruitment and retention incentives. Joining the Foreign Service is more than just salary . Please visit for information on Foreign Service medical careers.

Learn more about this agency


The Bureau of Medical Services (MED) in the Department of State maintains and promotes the health and well-being of America's diplomatic community who represent a wide range of United States government agencies abroad. The Department assigns Foreign Service Regional Medical Laboratory Scientists (RMLS), Medical Officers (RMOs), Medical Officers/Psychiatrists (RMO/Ps), and Medical Providers (MPs) to selected posts overseas. Many of these posts have significant health risks and local medical care that is inadequate by U.S. standards.

The Foreign Service Regional Medical Laboratory Scientist (RMLS) performs a wide variety of tests and procedures in Parasitology, Microbiology, Chemistry, Immunology, Hematology, Blood Banking and Urinalysis. Duties also include training Medical Technologists, visiting local laboratories and addressing food safety, environmental issues, and water quality issues. The RMLS travels up to 75% of the time to provide services at regional posts.

RMLS duties may include, but are not limited to the following at each regional post of responsibility:

  • Evaluates and reports on the quality of local medical laboratory services, blood banks, and industrial laboratories at home and regional posts
  • Supervises laboratory personnel
  • Technical supervisor of regional laboratory personnel
  • Conducts competency assessments at home and regional posts
  • Performs and reports on medical and environmental laboratory tests
  • Performs phlebotomy on patients of all ages
  • Ensures patient confidentiality and records' integrity
  • Addresses food safety, environmental and water quality issues at home and regional posts
  • Maintains own credentials and continuing medical education
  • Trains health unit staff on specimen collection, processing, testing, and reporting at home and regional posts
  • Presents food safety and other instructional classes at home and regional posts
  • Performs sanitation inspections at home and regional posts
  • Maintains ServSafe® manager certification

  • Collaborates with local laboratory directors and managers at home and regional posts

  • Manages the health unit laboratory operations
  • Oversees the Quality Management program at home and regional posts
  • Writes Exposure Control Plans for home and regional posts
  • Performs cost analysis to determine cost versus benefit when indicated to maintain fiscal responsibility
  • Mentors new RMLSs
  • Evaluates test methods
  • Submits statistical reports to MED
  • Updates the medical capabilities database for home and regional posts

Emergency Preparedness
  • Prepares Laboratory testing information for the emergency preparedness program
  • Assists with the post pandemic medical response plan

Regional Care Responsibilities
  • Arranges and maintains a regional travel schedule to respond to immediate and routine post needs
  • Maintains communication with regional health unit staff and responds to email inquires
  • Liaison with Regional Medical Managers
  • Maintains regular communication with MED/LAB office in Washington, DC

An RMLS is considered ‘essential personnel' and is expected to be available on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Travel Required

75% or less - An RMLS generally spends the majority of his/her career assigned to the Department of State's overseas missions and at times, lives away from family and/or in difficult or isolated conditions. Selected applicants will be notified of an Oral Assessment (OA) requirement in Washington D.C. For the selected applicants, all travel and other expenses incurred in connection with the OA are the sole responsibility of the applicant.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Be a U.S. citizen and available for worldwide service.*
  • Be able to obtain a Top Secret Security Clearance.
  • Be able to obtain an appropriate Foreign Service Medical Clearance.
  • Be able to obtain a favorable Suitability Review Panel determination.**
  • Be at least 20 years old and at least 21 years old to be appointed.
  • Be appointed prior to age 60 (preference eligible veterans excepted).***


At the time of application, applicants must possess:

Bachelor's degree in medical laboratory science, medical technology, clinical laboratory science, chemistry, or biological science that must include 16 semester hours (24 quarter hours) of biological science (with one semester in microbiology), 16 semester hours (24 quarter hours) in chemistry (with one semester in organic or biochemistry), one semester/quarter of mathematics, and one semester of Immunology from a U.S. accredited university or college.


In addition to the Educational requirements and Specialized Experience (see below) requirements, applicants must:
  • Demonstrate completion of a National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) Program for a Medical Laboratory Scientist, or Medical Technologist;
  • Must have a current national certification as a Medical Laboratory Scientist or Medical Technologist.

Specialized Experience

Applicant must have a minimum of five (5) years of full-time post-certification laboratory experience within the last seven (7) years in the Chemistry, Hematology and Immunology areas of the laboratory, with experience and working knowledge in, Parasitology, Microbiology, Blood Banking, and Urinalysis, with progressively responsible experience as a Medical Technologist/Medical Laboratory Scientist.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

The Department has conducted extensive job analysis research to determine KSAs and other attributes conducive to successful performance as an RMLS. An applicant's education level, work experience, and other qualifications will be considered as part of the hiring decision-making process based on these KSA criteria.
  • Applicant must have demonstrated skill in performing tests with detail and accuracy and providing information to appropriate individuals as necessary. The work involves exercising a high degree of laboratory management and technical expertise.
  • Applicant must have knowledge of the following: Laboratory Science, General Anatomy, Medical Terminology, Quality Control procedures, Quality Assurance plans, laboratory equipment used in performing a variety of laboratory tests, skill in performing preventive maintenance and troubleshooting on laboratory equipment, ability to train other medical professionals in laboratory techniques is required.
  • Applicant must be a skilled and experienced Medical Laboratory Scientist capable of working independently. Experience in performing laboratory techniques to diagnose infectious and tropical diseases is preferred.
  • Applicant must have the ability to develop, coordinate, and administer food and safety programs and procedures, including teaching laboratory and safety topics to both small and large groups.
  • Applicants must be able to organize and supervise a diverse group of health care staff and medical technologists with varying degrees of expertise, education, and command of English. Applicants must understand the unique cultural differences related to laboratory methods and health care delivery in varied countries and address these differences in a positive manner.
  • Applicant must have the capacity to gain the cooperation and confidence of patients, co-workers, supervisors, and subordinates. Individuals must have experience in working in a multidisciplinary setting as well as experience in team building, leadership and management. Effective written and oral communication skills are essential, as well as the ability to present laboratory findings in a clear and concise manner to medical and non-medical personnel. Demonstrated ability to teach or lecture to groups on laboratory issues is preferred.
  • General computer and Microsoft Office skills are required.

Applicants must demonstrate a high degree of technical expertise with management experience.

The candidate must demonstrate the ability to manage the administrative aspects of a health unit laboratory, as well as the ability to cope with extraordinary issue, which may occur in remote and isolated settings. Previous experience working as a supervisor or section chief, or in an overseas setting, is advantageous.

The applicant must be a skilled and experienced medial laboratory scientist with excellent interpersonal skills. The applicant must be able to function well within a complex organization and have experience working in a high stress environment, and recognize and understand the problems of delivering laboratory services to Americans posted in locations where local laboratory resources are limited or non-existent. The ability to objectively evaluate the quality of laboratory services based on observations and open-ended questions, and the ability to provide long distance assessment of issues via electronic communications such as telephone, radio, and email.

Knowledge of medical laboratory equipment, the Federal Regulations governing clinical laboratories and testing to include: CLIA 88, OSHA requirements for safety in the clinical laboratory, U.S. accreditation requirements, phlebotomy, Quality Management guidelines, International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations, medical laboratory tests, laboratory management, food safety guidelines, water testing methods and standards, and, Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) guidelines for all testing.

Personal skills in social perceptiveness, reading comprehension, active listening, critical thinking, active learning, judgement and decision making, complex problem solving, customer service, teaching, leadership, time management, critical thinking, acclimating to different cultures, collaborating, learning strategies, persuasion, and event and project organizing.

Other attributes include empathetic personality, self-confidence, firmness of convictions, adaptability, unflappability, creativity, confidentiality, interest in Foreign Service work, loyalty to the U.S., tolerance of non-scheduled work hours and travel, physical endurance, worldwide availability, tolerance of separation from family, and working and living in difficult and/or isolated or high-threat locations.

Superior oral and written communication skills: Applicants must demonstrate a strong command of the English language to include grammar, spelling and punctuation. Foreign Service Specialists must consistently meet a high standard for English, both written (overall structure as well as grammar, spelling and punctuation) and spoken (overall structure as well as delivery, clarity and succinctness).

Essential Physical Requirements

RMLSs may need to perform essential functions effectively with or without reasonable accommodation, in environments that pose physical or other occupational challenges. These duties may include:
  • Provision of direct patient care that may require heavy lifting, pulling, stooping, bending and twisting in tight and limited spaces.
  • Travelling independently to regional posts utilizing commercial air carriers, military aircraft, or other transportation modalities that may not offer special access accommodations
  • Provision of emergency care in any location following an accident, natural disaster, or attack and emergency care in potentially hostile or physically challenging environments, such as in buildings without elevators or in areas with irregular spaces that require kneeling, bending, stooping, lifting, walking and running on uneven terrain.
  • Transportation of self or patients via small aircraft, helicopters, ambulances, or other non-standard modes of transportation with small entrances and high floors, such as high axle armored vehicles.


You must submit a copy of your college transcript(s) with your application. Official or unofficial transcripts may be submitted with your application. Your transcript must include your name, the school's name, and, if applicable, the degree and date awarded. A transcript missing any of these elements will not pass the minimum qualifications and the candidacy will be ended. Copies of diplomas may not be submitted in lieu of transcripts for education above high school level.

Education from a program or institution within the United States must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, , in order to be credited towards qualifications.

Education completed in foreign high schools, colleges or universities may be used to meet the education requirements if you can show that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States. It is your responsibility to provide such evidence when applying. Only accredited organizations recognized as specializing in the interpretation of foreign education credentials that are members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or the Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc. (AICE) are accepted. If documentation from an accredited organization is not provided, your candidacy will not be continued.

For further information on the evaluation of foreign education, please refer to the Office of Personnel Management and the U.S. Department of Education . The U.S. Department of State neither endorses nor recommends any individual evaluation service.

Additional information

*EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILIY VERIFICATION PROGRAM (E-Verify) - Verification of employment eligibility in the United States is required.
U.S. law requires companies to employ only individuals who may legally work in the U.S. - either U.S. citizens, or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization. This agency utilizes E-Verify to compare information from the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) records to confirm employment eligibility. If the employee's information does not match DHS and/or SSA records, the employee is given an opportunity to resolve the problem. If eligibility cannot be verified, employment will be terminated.

**The Department of State Suitability Review Panel and standards are defined in Chapter 3 of the Foreign Affairs Manual. For more information please visit: /

***For more information about Veteran's Preference and how it is applied in the FSS Selection Process, please visit:

No applicant will be considered who has previously been separated from the Foreign Service under sections §607, §608, §610 or §611 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu of separation under these provisions. In addition, no applicant will be considered who has previously been separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section §306 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu thereof.

An FSS separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section 306 may not re-apply to be an FSS in the same skill code, but may apply for another skill code (or to be a Foreign Service Generalist).

Executive Branch agencies are barred by 5 US Code 3303 as amended from accepting or considering prohibited political recommendations and are required to return any prohibited political recommendations to sender. In addition, as mandated by 5 US Code 3110, relatives of federal employees cannot be granted preference in competing for these employment opportunities.

It is the policy of the Federal Government to treat all of its employees with dignity and respect and to provide a workplace that is free from discrimination whether discrimination is based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity or pregnancy), national origin, disability, political affiliation, marital status, membership in an employee organization, age, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors.

The Department of State provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodations for any part of the application or hiring process should so advise the Department at , within one week of receiving their invitation to the oral assessment. Decisions for granting reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis.

Additional Benefits:

Health and medical coverage, federal retirement benefits, paid leave, and an unprecedented chance to see the world and experience different cultures. Overseas benefits include tax-free housing overseas and tax-free education allowance for dependent children between K-12 overseas.

Continuing Medical Education (CME)

RMLSs receive at least 12 hours of Continuing Medical Education credit through annual State Department-sponsored CME program.

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

Candidates will be evaluated on their total background including experience, education, awards, training, and self-development as it relates to the position. Selection for this position will be made only from among candidates possessing the best qualifications. Part-time work experience will be prorated.

Medical Credentialing

Applicants are subject to a medical credentialing process conducted by the Quality Improvement Staff of the Bureau of Medical Services. The medical credentialing process includes queries of national credentialing agencies.
To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance
Top Secret

Drug test required

Required Documents

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all required documents are uploaded and the application is fully completed before the closing deadline of this announcement. Any missing required documents or incomplete applications will result in your application not being considered further.
  • USAJobs Résumé Builder is the résumé format that is accepted for this Vacancy Announcement.
  • Completed online application including the required Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest narratives in the online application.
  • Uploaded/faxed all required supporting documentation including proof of educational achievements, certifications, professional licenses, or completed forms as required in this Vacancy Announcement to qualify for this position.
  • For applicants who are age 60 to 65, you must provide your Veteran's Preference documentation at the time of your application. If claiming a 5 pt. veteran's preference, you must submit a copy of your DD-214 or Certification of service. If claiming a 10 pt. veteran's preference, you must submit your VA letter and SF-15, in addition to your DD-214 or Certification of service. A Certification must be from the armed forces that certifies the service member is expected to be discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions within 120 days after the Certification is submitted by the applicant and should include military service dates, date of expected discharge or release, and character of service and disability rating, if applicable.
  • Required attachments include:
    • Transcripts as stated in the Education and Requirements sections.
    • Personal memo to include the following information: the NAACLS-accredited Medical Laboratory Scientist Program attended: name and location of the school, year the degree/diploma was granted and the name of the hospital-based program that provided the clinical experience.
    • A copy of National Certification as a Medical Laboratory Scientist or Medical Technologist.

    Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest

    These required questions provide an opportunity to describe examples and accomplishments from your education, life, and/or work experience that demonstrate your qualifications for becoming an FSS. Examples can be drawn from any part of your professional or personal experience. The information you give may be used in your oral assessment should you be invited and is an important factor in the competitive evaluation of applicants. Each response is limited to 300 words or fewer (maximum length 2,000 characters) for each item. You should compose your replies carefully, as one of the skills necessary to succeed as an FSS is the ability to write clearly and concisely. Answers to the all of the items in the Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest are required and must be completed in the online application.

    Laboratory Skills: Describe a specific complex laboratory case, which you have encountered that demonstrates your laboratory skills in identifying and investigating an unexpected laboratory result.

    Leadership Skills: Describe a situation that demonstrates your ability to lead and accomplish a specific task or goal.

    Technology Skills: Describe your skill and give an example in managing laboratory instruments and technology, including conducting complex procedures and troubleshooting equipment.

    Organizational Abilities: Describe a specific achievement demonstrating your planning and organizational skills in the setting of a multidisciplinary clinical team or practice.

    Problem Solving and Troubleshooting: Use specific examples to describe your troubleshooting skills involving laboratory instrumentation and procedures.

    Teamwork Abilities: Discuss a situation and your abilities to lead and participate as a team member working toward a common goal, as well as examples of your ability to assist a team in the accomplishment of a goal.

    Public Speaking and Teaching Ability: Describe specific examples demonstrating your public speaking and teaching abilities as part of an assignment or work-related task.

    Statement of Interest

    Required narrative Statement of Interest which discusses your:
    • Motivation for joining the Foreign Service,
    • Comments about your work experience, special skills (e.g. computer), current licenses, honors, awards, special accomplishments, and/or training (with date completed) relating to this position,
    • Experience living or working in a multicultural environment, overseas or in U.S.

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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