What is a “Skill Code Change”?
A skill code change request is a request by any State Department employee to switch into another career track after she has demonstrated she has already been doing an outstanding job in that career track.
Say you are a Foreign Service Specialist (FSS) in the IT career track (IMS). You’ve taken to serving at small posts where the Department has trouble finding people to take consular and management jobs. Since you’re on the ground, you take up responsibilities as the post consular and management officer while still fulfilling your regular IT duties. After one tour you’ve become good enough in consular and management functions that the Department allows you two more tours as a management officer. When all is said and done, you’ve got three management tours under your belt and you’ve shown you can do the job.
Now comes the skill code change: you’ve been doing the management job for so long you might as well just convert, and under the rules of this program, you can do exactly that. This applies for any job you can consistently do well, e.g. Management to Political, Consular to Economic, OMS to IRM, IRM to Consular, CS to Public Diplomacy etc.
I will be covering the exact details of how this program works in a later post.
By-Pass the FSOT
If you’re selected to be an FSO through a skill code change, you can by-pass the FSOT but you still need to take the Foreign Service Oral Assessment (FSOA)!
Get into State FIRST, then prep for the FSOT:
As with the Mustang Program, 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 prepare for the FSOT at your leisure (that is if you’re still set on being an FS Generalist).
If you have more questions about the program, leave a comment and I’ll answer any questions.