By-Pass the FSOT (Part 2): The Mustang Program

Aside from student fellowships, there is another way of by-passing the FSOT: by way of the Mustang Program.

What is the Mustang Program?

It’s a program that gives Civil Service (CS) employees and Foreign Service Specialists (FSS) the chance to apply and become FSO’s without having to take the FSOT.  CS and FSS employees in the State Department are welcome to apply to any of the five Generalist cones: Management, Consular, Economic, Political or Public Diplomacy.

By-Pass the FSOT

But keep in mind, if you’re selected to be an FSO through the Mustang Program, you can by-pass the FSOT but you still need to take the Foreign Service Oral Assessment (FSOA)!  Also, this assumes you meet medical requirements, clear security background check, and have spent at least three years as a CS or FSS employee, among other criteria (to be revealed at a later date).

Get into State FIRST, then prep for the FSOT:

The beauty of this option is that  if you get into State Department as CS or FSS, the pressure to get a job in foreign affairs is taken off you and you can prepre for the FSOT at your leisure (that is if you’re still set on being an FS Generalist).

Failed the FSOT? No Fear!

So if you failed the FSOT, no fear, you can still get your foot in the State Department door through CS and FSS programs and still have a shot at becoming an FSO through the Mustang Program.

If you have more questions about the program, leave a comment and I’ll answer any questions.


3 Responses to By-Pass the FSOT (Part 2): The Mustang Program

  1. Brendan says:

    I’m considering a CS position overseas and would like to eventually move to FS. Can you confirm that I will need to be a CS for three years before being eligible to take the FSOA? Where can I get more information?

    • You need to be a State Department Civil Servant for three years prior to applying for the Mustang Program. If you are accepted into the Mustang Program, then you would be eligible to take the FSOA. This is a multi-year approach into the Generalist career path. Unfortunately, there is no publicly available information on this subject. The guidelines for the Mustang Program are archived in internal State Department official cables.

  2. Bill says:

    I’m a specialist in my second year of service and am considering using the Mustang program to switch to the generalist side. I don’t know if you’re able to answer my questions, but I thought I’d give it a shot:

    First, if pass all of the Mustang tests and qualifications, does that put me at the top of the registry, or do I still compete with those applying through the traditional route? If I do compete, how can they compare apples-to-apples if I don’t take the FSO exam?

    Second, I’m currently a FP-04 and am eligible promotion to go to FP-03 right around my three-year mark. As I understand it, FP-03’s are not eligible for the Mustang program. If I am a FP-04 when I submit my application, but a FO-03 when I get a job offer, do I still qualify?

    Even if you can’t answer these questions, I appreciate your time!


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