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Functional Training for Foreign Service Family Members


The Department of State is authorized to provide functional training to family members of U.S. Government direct-hire personnel anticipating an overseas assignment (section 704 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980). Functional training for prospective employment is offered to family members on a space available basis.

To be eligible for most functional training, a family member must be a U.S. citizen whose spouse has been paneled for an overseas assignment. Functional training enrollment is managed by the Family Liaison Office (FLO) when the family member does not have a position at post. However, when employed at post, the family member is an employee and should request enrollment in functional training through post’s supervisor and training officer. The only exception is for Consular training. FLO manages ALL requests for consular training enrollment, regardless of whether or not the family member is employed at post. Family members may contact the Family Liaison Office for additional questions.

Overview of Functional Training Available Courses

Functional training courses available to family members include Consular, General Services Operations, Facility Management, Human Resource Management, and Financial Management.

Completion of any of the functional training classes does not guarantee a family member a position at post, but may increase his/her employability. Enrollment is managed by FLO.

Administrative and Office Management, Computer End User and other IT training courses are available to family members who have secured a position at post and who wish to enhance their employment skills. Post should approve enrollment and the employed family member’s enrollment request will be directly managed by post; if approval is not granted, family members may still apply for courses while on leave but training would be at their own expense. FLO will assist in this case.

Please visit the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) website or consult FSI's catalog for more information. Applicants should be prepared to commit the time and energy necessary to learn technical material in a full-time course. Homework may be necessary in order to pass the required examinations.

Enrollment of family members in language training (including instructor-led training in class or online training) and area studies are coordinated through the Bureau of Human Resources / Career Development and Assignments. The sponsoring employee should contact his/her Assignments Officer for further information about enrolling a family member in language training.

FSI Functional Training Courses Available to Family Members on a Space-Available Basis

Basic Consular Course (PC530 or ConGen)
Facility Manager Tradecraft (PA521)
Management Oversight of Construction Safety/Occupational Health Programs (PA585)
Managing Projects at State - OBO Companion Course (PA682)
Financial Management Overseas (PA211)
General Services Operations (PA221)
Human Resources Management Overseas (PA230)
Foreign Service Office Management Specialist Training for Entering Personnel (PK102)
OMS Front Office Skills (PK340)
Information Technology Training: CompTIA Security+ (YW261)

FSI Catalog

For a complete listing of courses, family members may check the FSI course catalog available in many Community Liaison Offices overseas and in the Overseas Briefing Center at FSI. The course catalog is also available on the Department of State intranet web site. A copy of the course schedule may also be requested from FSI by sending an email to

FSI's mandate is to provide training to Foreign Service Officers and others who are required to take certain offerings. When checking the catalog, family members should pay careful attention to the "intended audience" paragraph because not all classes are open to EFMs and seats are offered on a space available basis.


Department of State Family Members
There is no charge for functional training for a Department of State family member. Family members should contact the Family Liaison Office for enrollment information..

Non-Department of State Family Members
For spouses of employees of other agencies, the parent agency of the employee must agree to pay the course fee before the EFM can be considered for enrollment. There is no mechanism at FSI for the spouse to pay directly for a course, nor is it allowed. The fee for the Basic Consular Course may be waived for non-Department of State spouses if post requests the tuition waiver and FSI approves. Non-Department of State family members should contact the Family Liaison Office for enrollment information.

Attendance Policy
Students are required to maintain 100 percent attendance for all classes. See FSI’s attendance policy.

Cancellation, No Show and Incomplete Policy
Family members who register for courses are expected to attend. If students know in advance that they are unable to attend the course, they are expected to notify a minimum of five (5) days prior to the class start date. Failure to do so could jeopardize the family member’s selection for future training and may result in student reimbursement of the course cost. See FSI’s no show, cancellation policy.

Basic Consular Course (PC530 or ConGen) 30 days
The Basic Consular Course, or ConGen, is required for all Department of State personnel encumbering consular adjudicating positions overseas and is strongly recommended for those whose work has a significant consular component.

This intensive, six-week course provides a realistic simulation of a busy consular section overseas. Each student rotates through four modules focused on a different subject area: Passports and Nationality (PPT); Immigrant Visas (IV); Nonimmigrant Visas (NIV); and Special Consular Services (SCS). Throughout the course, students study and learn how to apply U.S. laws, regulations, and procedures relating to visas, passports, citizenship, and services provided abroad to U.S. citizens; consular automated systems and management and internal controls, and the role of security, accountability, fraud prevention, ethics, and public service in consular work.

Students are evaluated on the basis of four graded examinations, case studies, consular systems proficiency, and several other performance factors. Each examination is graded on a 100-point scale, and students must pass each exam with a score of 80 percent or better to successfully complete the course. Students who fail two exams will be dropped from the course. Students are required to maintain100 percent attendance for all individual classes, including first and last days.

PC530 Course Modules Include:

PC535 Special Consular Services 7 days
PC536 Passports and Citizenship 6 days
PC537 Immigrant Visas 6 days
PC538 Non-Immigrant Visas 12 days

Facility Manager Tradecraft (PA521) 7 weeks
This course provides basic training in overseas facilities management operations and the functions of the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO). Instructors introduce students to the applicable regulations and procedures and guide them through case studies and other practical exercises, including management of OBO budgets and funding, annual inspection surveys, special maintenance requirements, and managing projects. This course includes overview training of fire alarm systems, physical security, electrical power generation, heating ventilation and air conditioning systems, building automated systems, and specific training for overseas facilities management. In some cases, individuals may only need one or two modules of the course. Prerequisite: Complete familiarity with standard computer software applications, including MS Windows, MS Word, and MS Excel and with navigating the Internet. Must have professional-level competency in both spoken and written English at the 4/4 level. New- hire facility managers must also take PA221 General Services Operations in conjunction with PA521 Facility Manager Tradecraft.

PA521 Course Modules Include:
PA522 Building Automation Systems 2 Weeks
PA523 HVAC Fundamentals for Facility Managers 1 Week
PA524 Electrical Power Generation for Facility Managers 1 Week
PA525 Overseas Facility Management 3 Weeks

Management Oversight of Construction Safety/Occupational Health Programs (PA585) 4 days
This course provides individuals who have responsibility for safety and occupational health with the knowledge, skills and, confidence critical to managing overseas new construction and renovation projects. The course addresses Department of State policy and is modeled upon the construction industry safety standards found in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Safety and Health Requirements Manual EM 385-1-1. Instructors will introduce students to applicable Department of State construction contract requirements and safety and health regulations. This course identifies the essential responsibilities of United States Government managers and construction industry contractors to establish and manage effective safety and health programs. Instructors will outline the most common areas of failure, which account for most Department of State project mishaps and will summarize how to mitigate risk associated with construction hazards.
Prerequisites: Knowledge of contract management. A working-level competency in English at the 3/3 level.

Managing Projects at State-OBO Companion Course (PA682) 3 days
Building upon FSI's PA680, Managing Projects at State course, this companion course provides students with a more advanced level of project management, specifically used by the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) projects, the processes involved and the Managing State Project (MSP) OBO Project Cycle. OBO subject matter experts outline the multi-year OBO Project Management cycle and describe the synergies between the various Directorates within OBO and their coordination with functional and regional bureaus. OBO project managers will provide examples of best practices and lessons learned.
Prerequisites: Knowledge of contract management. A professional-level competency in English at the 4/4 level.

Financial Management Overseas (PA211*)
Financial Management Overseas provides entry-level tradecraft instruction in the fundamentals of budget and financial management at Foreign Service posts abroad and introduces students to both the legislative and budgetary processes in Washington, DC. Through process-oriented training, students gain a knowledge base and skills in financial management in order to be operationally effective as the "Chief Financial Officer" at post. Modes of instruction include joint lectures with other Tradecraft courses, discussion, individual and group exercises, self-study, embassy case studies, and role-play activities. Additional essential information on training requirements for those employees seeking designations as principal or alternate certifying officers is in the subchapters of 4 FAH-3 H-065 4 FAH-3 H-065. The PA211 course is comprised of several embedded course modules, as shown below, some of which can be taken on an individual basis. For those enrolled in the entire PA211 eight-week course, the first and last weeks (FMO Fundamentals part 1 and part 2) contain topics centered on the tools, resources, and guidance from various Department offices utilized by financial management personnel overseas.

Prior experience in financial management is required.

PA211 course modules include:
PA211 FMO Fundamental Part 1* 5 days
PA214 Working with ICASS** 4 days
PA215 Principles of Appropriation Law** 4 days
PA216 Vouchering and Certification 5 days
PA217 Supervising a Cashier 5 days
PA218 Budgeting for Supervisors 5 days
PA220 Accounting 5 days
PA211 FMO Fundamental Part 2* 5 Days

*cannot be taken separately
** Two additional days dedicated to self-study/consultations

*Please note that PA211, PA221, and PA230 all start on the same date; therefore, only one course can be taken among the three as space permits.

General Services Operations (PA221*) 9 weeks
This nine-week course provides basic training in overseas general services operations. Instructors introduce students to the applicable regulations and procedures and guide them through case studies, role-plays, and other practical exercises in four areas: general management issues, acquisitions, real property management, and overseas logistics management (comprising travel, transportation, motor pool, and property management). Successful completion of the acquisitions portion of the course qualifies eligible students for the standard overseas contracting officer's name warrant issued by the Office of the Procurement Executive. Students will be expected to use computers to prepare a variety of documents and to access online versions of various regulations during training. They will also have to pass a written exam every two weeks. In some cases, individuals may only need one or two modules of the course.
Prerequisite: Complete familiarity with Personal Computers, including MS Windows, MS Word, MS Excel, the Internet, and a professional-level competency in both spoken and written English at the 4/4 level.

PA221ACQ Acquisitions 4 Weeks
PA221RE Real Estate 2 Weeks
PA221LMO Logistics Management Overseas 3 Weeks

Students who have served overseas in a management section or who completed PA211 Financial Management Overseas, PA230 Human Resource Management Overseas or PA231 Human Resource Management between January 2008 and October 2010 are exempt from the above pre-requisite.

*Please note that PA211, PA221, and PA230 all start on the same date; therefore, only one course can be taken among the three as space permits.

Human Resource Management Overseas (PA230*) 5 weeks
This course provides a thorough grounding in the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to manage the Human Resource (HR) Program overseas. Through subject matter expert presentations, group discussions, simulations and case studies, participants will gain an operational knowledge of the principles of American and Locally Employed Staff human resource management. Students will learn to effectively and accurately interpret the laws, regulations and procedures governing the Foreign Service human resources system as it applies to U.S. Direct Hire (USDH) American staff overseas including, but not limited to, compensations, premium pay, allowances, benefits, Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO), performance management, training, awards, bidding, assignments, and transfers. Students will also learn to effectively and accurately interpret the laws, regulations and procedures governing the Foreign Service human resources system as it applies to the full life cycle of employment for Locally Employed Staff overseas including, but not limited to, compensation, benefits, position management, recruitment, performance management, training, awards, grievances, separations, and retirement. Students will gain an understanding of the importance of maintaining accurate HR data overseas, gain an awareness of the multiple HR data systems and how they are related. Students will also gain an understanding of the support and guidance available from the various offices within the HR Bureau and other domestic Bureaus. Students will be able to implement appropriate management controls at post in regards to human resources operations.


PA431 Web.PASS Post Personnel: Local Track
PA432 Web.PASS Post Personnel: American Track
PA448 ePerformance for Foreign Service
PA496 Locally Employed Staff Performance Management and Evaluation
PA497 Foreign Service Performance Management and Evaluation
PA487 Intro to Evacuation Management System
PD543 Emergency Action Committee

*Please note that PA211, PA221, and PA230 all start at the same date, therefore only one course can be chosen among those three if space permits.

Foreign Service Office Management Specialist Training for Entering Personnel (PK102) 3 weeks
Through a series of hands-on activities, guest speakers and technical instruction, participants are introduced to the culture of the Foreign Service and to the skills needed to be successful Office Management Specialists. The course provides realistic first-hand experience to reinforce the material presented. Office Management Specialists learn the fundamental skills required including “Tags & Terms,” formats for Department of State correspondence, management of official records, and the use of many tools to facilitate their work. Students are also required to maintain the classroom as a controlled access area, learn fundamental protocol skills and prepare and deliver a country presentation

While this course is specifically mandated for newly hired Foreign Service office managers, EFMs who are hired by post to serve as OMS in an overseas mission may attend, provided there is space available. Human Resource/Career Development and Assignment (HR/CDA)/Entry Level maintains control over the enrollment process.

OMS Front Office Skills (PK340) – 4 days
This course is designed for Office Management Specialists (OMS) who serve or who will serve in the Front Office of an Embassy or Consulate and whose primary duties are to provide leadership to support the Ambassador or Deputy Chief of Mission in accomplishing the post mission and to provide leadership of the OMS community at post. The course provides an overview of the role of an OMS in the front office and focuses on the development of leadership, team building, and negotiations skills required to work effectively with internal teams and external representatives. Prerequisites: PK102 Foreign Service Office Management Specialist Training for Entering Personnel or approval of Office Management Training Director.

While this course is specifically offered to Foreign Service office managers, EFMs who are hired by post specifically to provide office manager support to the executive office of an overseas mission may apply. However, preference will be given to FS OMS employees who are, or will be, working in a front office.

Information Technology Training: CompTIA Security + (YW 261)
Offered by the School of Applied Information Technology Enterprise Technology (SAIT/ET) Division, this foundation-level course covers a wide breadth of technical knowledge, including mitigating threats, cryptography, PKI, vulnerability testing, and business continuity. It addresses security in operating systems, networks, Internet browsers, messaging, wireless devices, remote access, physical and more.

Please note that the class is live, online, and hosted in the AvayaLive virtual environment, which provides real-time, instructor-led distance learning worldwide. Students connect to a virtual classroom and interact with each other and the instructor in the form of avatars. This class cannot be conducted from an OpenNet system due to technical constraints.

Students must attend a mandatory virtual orientation session one week before the training begins. To successfully complete the course, students must have 100 percent attendance and at the end of the course, must pass the in-house exam. Upon successful completion of the course, an optional certification voucher for the CompTIA+ SY0-401 exam may be issued to Department of State employees and students from other agencies. Department of State EFMs who are not currently employed by the Department of State, do not qualify for the free CompTIA+ SY0-401 exam voucher. The course is available virtually from anywhere and runs monthly, twice a week.

Family members may attend on a space available basis. Enrollment can be done online by the sponsoring employee or through the Department of State employee's Career Development Officer.

This training is available to anyone who would like to build upon their IT skills, however; it is recommended that CompTIA Security+ candidates have at least two years of technical networking experience with an emphasis on security. The CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications or equivalent experience are also highly recommended.

See FSI's handout for more details.

Enrollment opens in September 2015. FY2016 AvayaLive Training Dates

  • YW259 CompTIA Network+
    • Session 10/19/2015 - 10/23/2015
    • Session 12/7/2015 - 12/11/2015
    • Session 2/1/2016 - 2/5/2016
  • YW261 CompTIA Security+
    • Session 10/26/2015 - 11/4/2015
    • Session 11/16/2015 - 11/25/2015
    • Session 12/14/2015 - 12/23/2015
  • YW365 CompTIA Cloud Essentials
    • Session 10/14/2015 - 10/16/2015
    • Session 12/2/2015 - 12/4/2015
    • Session 2/10/2016 - 2/12/2016

Information provided by the Family Liaison Office
Contact the Family Liaison Office


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