A diplomat's salary

Updated March 23, 2017

Although the career of a diplomat is often viewed as exciting, luxurious and full of international intrigue, the Princeton Review notes that a good portion of a diplomat's time is spent dealing with paperwork, as they read and write reports. However, individuals who enjoy travel and interacting with other cultures and those who are patriotic may enjoy the work. Further, diplomats' salaries are generally competitive.


What most people consider "diplomats" go by two technical terms in the U.S. government. According to the Princeton Review, foreign service specialists are professionals in the U.S. foreign services doing work dictated by their professions. For example, they may be medial specialists. Foreign service generalists or officers, on the other hand, choose to enter consular, diplomatic, economic, management, public or political foreign service.

Foreign Service Pay Schedule

Foreign service officers are paid according to the Foreign Service (FS) Pay Schedule. When you get a job as a diplomat, you will be assigned a class and a step on the schedule, which you can use to look up your salary. Your class and step is determined by your education level, experience and type of job you have. Different schedules also exist for different cities and for overseas employees.

Salary Range

According to the FS Pay Schedule, salaries in the foreign service can range from as little as just under £17,875 for a class nine, step one employee to £129, 700 for an executive foreign service worker. In each locality, there are pay caps, so foreign service workers cannot make over that amount regardless of their position and education. Overseas, the cap is £91,611. In Cleveland, that cap is £99,912.

Entry-Level Salaries

The State Department notes that foreign service officer pay is determined using a two-step process. First, a board of examiners determines a class and step on the FS pay schedule commiserate with the employee's experience and education level. Second, the board attempts to match the previous salaries of individuals who are giving up higher paying jobs to join the foreign service. The Princeton Review states that foreign service salaries range from £25,799 to £35,616

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About the Author

Miranda Morley is an educator, business consultant and owner of a copywriting/social-media management company. Her work has been featured in the "Boston Literary Magazine," "Subversify Magazine" and "American Builder's Quarterly." Morley has a B.A. in English, political science and international relations. She is completing her M.A. in rhetoric and composition from Purdue University Calumet.