Working in the field

Annually, around 3,000 international staff join local colleagues to help populations in danger.

In 2016, they brought motivation, professional abilities and practical experience to projects in 71 countries.

The work is tough and demanding, but the rewards are immense. To get an idea of what it’s like, watch the video, or read our field staff blogs.

Interested in working overseas?

If you think you fit one of the profiles below, find out what you need to know before you apply, how to apply or see our FAQ.

Our teams require experts in a range of fields.

We hire:

  • Medical doctors — generalists, HIV/TB specialists, paediatricians, anaesthetists, surgeons, emergency specialists, obstetricians/gynaecologists and infectious disease specialists
  • Anaesthetists
  • Surgeons
  • Nurses
  • Midwives
  • Mental health specialists — psychologists, psychiatrists, and nurses and social workers with psychology qualifications
  • Nutritionists
  • Pharmacists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Lab technicians and scientists
  • Epidemiologists
  • Field coordinators
  • Logisticians — experts in construction, electricity, mechanics, water and sanitation, supply chain
  • HR coordinators
  • Financial controllers
  • Administrators

Urgently needed:

  • Pharmacists
  • HIV or TB doctors
  • Anaesthetists
  • Surgeons
  • Obstetricians/gynaecologists
  • Midwives


1. Is there an age limit to working for MSF?

There is no age limit for our field staff. Difficult working conditions do mean that applicants must be in a good state of health. 

2. How long does the application process take?

It takes around 4–6 months from the submission of an application to eventual addition to our pool of field staff.

3. When is the best time to apply?

You can apply as soon as you have definite dates of your availability, normally around six months before you want to start.

4. What are working conditions like?

We guarantee an intense and dynamic working environment, and the opportunity to work in a diverse and multicultural team.

Living and working closely with a relatively small team in stressful conditions may be challenging, and the work may not be heroic, but it will certainly be rewarding.

To hear about life in the field directly from our staff, read our field staff blogs.

5. How long is an assignment?

Assignments are generally for between nine and 12 months for all professions, except anaesthetists and surgeons who, due to the intensity of their work, are placed in projects for six weeks to three months. 

6. What are the working hours?

Working hours vary considerably depending on the programme with, on average, one day off per week. Work can frequently be hectic and you may be required to put in longer hours. However, time is normally set aside for rest and relaxation. 

7. What if I am injured or become ill?

MSF will arrange and cover you for health insurance while on assignment. This will continue for up to three months once you return. In the event of medical evacuations, repatriation is also covered.

8. Can couples go on assignment together? Can my family accompany me?

Individuals are matched to specific roles. It is therefore highly unlikely that two people would simultaneously be matched to two jobs in the same place at the same time.

Living conditions in the field (security, housing, etc.) make it difficult for field staff to be accompanied by children or partners who are not participating in the programme.

9. My profession is not on your list – can I still apply?

If you are not qualified for any of the profiles we list, we will not be able to hire you. Among others, we do not currently hire paramedics, dentists, occupational therapists, ophthalmologists, podiatrists or dieticians.

10. Do you need to be multilingual to work for MSF?

Applicants need to be able to speak either English or French.