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FAQ: Recruitment

Find answers to common questions about our recruitment process.

A Round Table at the MSF fistula project in Chad

CHAD 2013 © Elisabeth Grâce Brya/MSF

Below, we have answered some common questions about working as international mobile staff with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). 

Read our statement on our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and read our stories to experience first-hand accounts from staff and patients.

Recruitment FAQs


MSF recruits doctors (MD and DO) and other medical and non-medical staff. Please visit our Find a Role page to view the profiles we recruit.

We do not recruit medical students as extensive workloads do not grant our teams the ability to oversee unlicensed staff.

We do not recruit Physician Assistants as these roles are filled by locally hired staff. However, PAs with extensive international NGO experience can still be considered for coordinator level positions.

MSF has no prescribed age limit, as physical condition is more important than age. As living conditions while on assignment can be basic, with hot and cold climate extremes, international mobile staff must provide MSF with medical clearance from a health-care provider certifying fitness to lift and carry a reasonable amount of weight, and the ability to walk distances that one might not at home.

The essential criteria for international mobile staff include at least two years of professional experience in relevant fields, current professional credentials, relevant work experience in a low resource or humanitarian setting.

All new recruits must make a commitment of 9 to 12 months. The exception to this is surgeons, anesthesiologists, and OB-GYNs, who can do assignments from 6-8 weeks. See more on our essential requirements page.

  1. The applicant completes an online application form, including a current CV and a motivation letter.
  2. An International HR Recruitment Officer screens the application and responds within four weeks of receipt of application.
  3. Positively screened applicants are invited to interview with a Recruitment Officer online. 
  4. Following an interview, reference check and criminal background check, suitable applicants are invited to attend a two-day non-technical induction course called Welcome Days in New York (travel, meals, and lodging are paid for by MSF)
  5. Following completion of Welcome Days, successful applicants are accepted into the pool of active international mobile staff.
  6. Placement for international mobile staff is entirely dependent on the needs of MSF programs, and can take several months from the point of acceptance into the active pool.


No. All assignments for first-time international mobile staff are unaccompanied. Assignment locations do not allow for friends or family members to visit. Accompanied assignments may be offered to experienced MSF staff, depending on needs in the program.

No. MSF places staff on assignment based on the needs in the region. Proposed international mobile staff do have a final say in the assignment, though the decision to accept or reject an assignment should not be taken lightly.

We welcome your interest in working for Doctors Without Borders in one of our U.S. offices. Search our current job listings, or learn about our internships and volunteering opportunities.

2-3 months before your availability, MSF will start looking for assignment vacancies pertinent to professional experience.

  • Lists of vacant international positions are provided to MSF-USA by the five Operational Centers in Europe
  • International HR officers propose staff for appropriate vacancies
  • A final decision on placement is taken by the Operational Center after considering relevant candidates from all MSF sections for each vacancy

Once an assignment is confirmed, MSF will be responsible for all travel, visas, and vaccinations. All international mobile staff receive per diem while on assignment in the field. For more information on the benefits package, please visit our Career Opportunities and Benefits page. The starting monthly salary for international mobile staff is approximately $2,209.

While on assignment

MSF maintains extensive risk-management procedures and security guidelines for every assignment. International mobile staff are briefed on the country security situation before departure, and upon arriving at the assignment site are given specific security protocols. Adherence to our guidelines for personal and team conduct and safety is not negotiable.

MSF promotes a working environment free of harassment and abuse in countries where we operate. Our leadership has unequivocally committed to fight abuse and to reinforce mechanisms and procedures to prevent and address it. This includes enhancing grievance channels at all levels of the organization and supporting victims and complainants. Victims or witnesses in the communities where MSF works are likewise encouraged to report misconduct to us so that allegations can be properly addressed. Read more about our commitment to fighting abuse, exploitation, and harassment.

MSF provides medical insurance, including coverage for medical evacuation if necessary. In addition, a clinician in each team is responsible for treating minor injuries or illness, and has the capacity to refer to a higher level of care, if necessary.