A Career in the Foreign Service

Candidates should use their personal e-mail addresses which they check regularly throughout the Foreign Service testing and assessment processes. Candidates who are current U.S. government employees may not use their U.S. government email addresses for the Foreign Service testing and assessment process.

The U.S. Department of State is the United States’ premier diplomatic institution, with opportunities for IT professionals to serve our country overseas and domestically. If you are interested in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we are now hiring Information Management Specialists for Foreign Service careers.

Among the many benefits you will receive are: paid housing or a housing allowance when serving overseas, health and medical coverage, federal retirement benefits, paid education for dependent children in K-12 overseas, generous paid leave, and an unprecedented chance to see the world and experience different cultures.

To learn more about the Department of State and a career in the Foreign Service, please visit us at careers.state.gov. For information on IT positions in the Department of State, please visit us at Information Technology – Careers (state.gov).

U.S. Department of State Information Management Specialist Test (IMST)

The Information Management Specialist Test (IMST) is a key step in the Foreign Service Information Management Specialist (IMS) selection process, covering job knowledge, English expression and situational judgment necessary to work as an IMS. You can view complete information on the IMS selection process.

The IMST is conveniently offered throughout the U.S., likely in a location near you, and is available Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Some test centers offer testing Monday through Sunday with some evening hours. Click here to find a test center near you.

Please note: New candidates must create a web account before they can submit an application.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible, the U.S. Department of State requires that each candidate be:

  • Be a U.S. citizen and accept assignments based on the needs of the FS.
  • Be able to obtain a Top Secret - SCI Security Clearance.
  • Be able to meet the minimum medical qualification standard.
  • Be able to obtain a favorable Suitability Review Panel determination.
  • Be at least 20 years old to apply; at least 21 years old to be appointed as an IMS.
  • Be appointed prior to age 60 (preference eligible veterans excepted).

Education Requirements:

At the time of application, you must have one of the following:
  • IT degree (minimum Associate’s degree). No specialized experience required. OR
  • Non-IT degree (minimum Associate’s degree) with two years of Specialized Experience out of the last five years. OR
  • U.S. military IT-related training or specialty with two years of Specialized Experience out of the last five years. Applicants with U.S. military IT-related training from a U.S. military facility or Academy in fields directly related to the duties described below. A list containing U.S. military occupational specialty codes or designators is provided for your reference.

IT-related degree or training must be in the following: Information Management, Telecommunications Management, Computer Information Systems, Networking, Data Processing, Computer Sciences, Mathematics or other related computer networking fields.

Please refer to the Vacancy Announcement for complete information on eligibility requirements and qualifications.

If you have questions about this position, please email us at DOSITRecruitment@state.gov, and for more information about the Foreign Service, please visit our FAQs.

Collection of No-Show Fees

The IMST is offered for free. However, please note that Department of State requires that candidates provide credit/debit card information to Pearson VUE (the test administrator) in order to complete the registration process. The card will be charged $5 to hold the appointment. This fee is fully refundable and will be credited back to the credit/debit card a few weeks after you test. If, however, a candidate either does not take the test or does not cancel an appointment at least 48 hours in advance, the card will be charged an additional $40 for a total no-show fee assessment of $45.

Registering for the IMST

Candidates must complete two registration steps: submitting an application and selecting an appointment. Applicants have six months to schedule an appointment for the gateway test, however due to required administrative processes, the appointment must be made within eight weeks of the desired testing date. If you would like to schedule an appointment further than eight weeks out, you will need to log back into this system closer to the date you wish to schedule the test to make a request. Once an application is submitted it cannot be changed until the six months have passed. Candidates may test only once in a 12-month period.

AUTHORITIES: The information is sought pursuant to 301(b) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended (22 U.S.C. § 3941(b)).

PURPOSE: The information solicited on this form will be used to determine eligibility to take the Foreign Service Officer Test, to register for the Foreign Service Officer Test, to assess qualifications for selection as a Foreign Service Officer, and to ensure the integrity of the examination process.

ROUTINE USES: The information solicited on this form may be made available to prepare statistical reports and analyses at the Department of State. Such reports and analyses, which are prepared in such a way that they are not individually identifiable, may be shared outside the Department. This information may also be shared with other federal agencies in response to request for information about hiring or retention of an employee or to Members of Congress in response to an inquiry on behalf of the applicant. More information on the Routine Uses for the system can be found in the System of Records Notice State-31, Human Resource Records.

DISCLOSURE: Providing this information is voluntary. Failure to provide the information requested on this form may result in the user’s inability to submit appropriate responses to the FSOT questionnaire and/or the FSOT and oral exam.

Last updated 2023-03-20