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Considering an Overseas Assignment

FDA Overseas Assignments

Interested in a position in one of the FDA’s foreign offices? FDA employees who have lived and worked abroad for the agency say it can be a rewarding and exciting experience to serve as the FDA’s eyes, ears and voice overseas. You play an important role in advancing the agency’s public health mission of ensuring the safety, quality and effectiveness of FDA-regulated food and medical products that are exported from their countries to the United States.




Some of the tasks fulfilled by FDA staff in one of the agency’s seven foreign posts include:  

  • Inspecting foreign farms and factories exporting FDA-regulated products;

  • Building relationships with foreign regulatory authorities to enhance cooperation and information exchange and to promote international health policy harmonization and regulatory convergence;

  • Providing hands-on training and real-time feedback to local industry on how to comply with FDA’s regulatory requirements; and,

  • Keeping a close watch on the local market, to give FDA a more unvarnished thorough and nuanced understanding of the conditions, trends and events that might affect the safety, quality and effectiveness of FDA-regulated imports than would ever be possible by relying on news from afar.

Employment Opportunities

Overseas job opportunities are at the GS-12 level or higher. The initial tour of duty is 24 or 36 months, and those who serve in a foreign office are eligible for a variety of entitlements, including special pay and an education allowance for minor children. FDA’s overseas vacancies fall into one of three positions:

Supervisory Public Health Advisor (Country Office Director and Deputy Director): In this position, the employee would plan, direct, and oversee all aspects of strategic, policy, organizational, and program objectives in-country; represent and advocate for the goals and activities of FDA with host-country government officials, industry, the U.S. Embassy, and other government agencies; and oversee operations and staff in functional areas including program, administration, logistics, and financial management. 

Consumer Safety Officer (CSO - including Supervisory): In this position, the employee would conduct inspections and investigations of FDA-regulated facilities in-country; make recommendations regarding FDA-regulated products; develop, implement, and administer commodity-specific trainings. As a Supervisory CSO, the employee would perform the same tasks as a CSO, and provide guidance, oversight, and direction in supervising foreign investigation and inspection operations of FDA-regulated products.  

International Relations Specialist (IRS): In this position, the employee would serve as the in-country agency expert on FDA-regulated products and the regulatory activities of the foreign government. This includes analyzing foreign governments’ regulatory programs, evaluating how such programs impact the FDA’s interests, and effectively communicating the FDA’s goals and policies to foreign government representatives and other in-country stakeholders. The employee would also prepare relevant reports, talking points, briefing books, and background documents.  

Vacancies are announced through the U.S. government’s official job site, USAJOBS.gov and periodically via Linkedin.

For information on joining the OGPS team, contact us at OGPSOutreach@fda.hhs.gov

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