A Career in the Foreign Service

A Career in the Foreign Service

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 careers.state.gov/irm.

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 available for worldwide service.
  • Be able to obtain a Top Secret - SCI 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 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 any questions about this position or the Foreign Service, please email us at DOSITRecruitment@state.gov or search for topics of interest in our forums or FAQs.

If you have questions about the IMS Selection Process, please email us at IMSVacancyInfo@state.gov.


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. Applications are valid only for the IMST and will expire after six months. Once an application for the IMST is submitted it cannot be changed until the six months have passed. Candidates may test only once in a 12-month period.

Last updated 2019-05-03