Minimum field requirements
We recruit medical, administrative, and logistical support personnel to provide medical care to people in crisis in more than 70 countries worldwide.
Every year, around 3,000 international MSF field staff provide lifesaving medical assistance to people who would otherwise be denied access to even the most basic health care.
Below is a general overview of the minimum requirements for working with us. For more detailed information on the additional technical skills required of your profile, check the relevant specific field job profile description, or take a look at the job application pages of the MSF website in your country of residence, accessible through the form above.
Essential criteria for all potential field workers
To work in the field with MSF, every applicant must meet the following general requirements:
At least two years of relevant professional experience
For some physicians, and nurses, this may vary.
Availability for a minimum 9 to 12 months*
Most first missions are nine to twelve months long. This level of commitment is a requirement because of the degree of responsibility MSF humanitarian workers are expected to assume, the time needed to acclimatise to a project and context, and the need for continuity among field staff for the benefit of both our locally hired staff and patients.
*Due to the nature of their workload while in the field, a shorter time commitment is required of surgeons, anaesthetists, ob-gyns, OT nurses, and electricians.
Experience in low-income/developing countries and remote/rural areas
Recent and relevant experience working, volunteering, living, and/or travelling abroad, particularly in Africa, Asia, Central or South America is essential.
Demonstrated capacity for team management/supervision and training
Every MSF humanitarian worker will be in a supervisory or management position in the field and will often spend more of their time overseeing and training others than doing hands-on work themselves.
Demonstrated ability to live and work as a team
Our teams are made up of medical and non-medical professionals from an array of nationalities and cultural backgrounds who live and work together.
Willingness to work in potentially unstable environments
The nature of our work means that just over half of our projects are in unstable contexts due to conflict, instability, or post-conflict challenges. It is impossible to exclude all risks, but we do our utmost to mitigate these risks through strict security protocols.
Understanding of and commitment to the Médecins Sans Frontières Charter
We operate independently of any political, military, or religious agenda, observes neutrality, and provides impartial care delivered on the basis of need alone. These principles of action are described in our founding charter, and should resonate with anyone thinking of applying to MSF.
Flexibility and adaptability
To reflect changing needs in the field, activities can shift quickly and job descriptions change accordingly. Working environments, security protocols, and team size/composition may also change during assignments.
Ability to manage stress
Many of our projects are located in or near conflict areas. The environment is often chaotic and volatile and the target populations are large and in distress. Even in more stable areas, sizeable workloads and team living may cause stress.
All of our staff write and submit reports, and many are involved in data collection. You must have basic computer skills and must be comfortable using Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint).
The following criteria are not essential, but are very highly valued. Individuals with these assets will be eligible for more positions and will usually be placed more quickly:
Flexible dates of availability
The more restricted your dates of availability, the more difficult it can be to match you with an appropriate field position.
Ability to depart at short notice
Some our projects are launched in response to sudden crises, whether natural or anthropogenic, requiring field workers who are available at short notice once successfully recruited.
Language skills (especially French and Arabic)
A significant number of our missions are in French- and Arabic-speaking countries, therefore these language skills are highly desirable as they allow for more opportunities for placement. Fluency is valuable but not essential. Skills in other languages, such as Spanish, Portuguese, or Russian, are also assets in the field.
Interest and/or experience in international humanitarian issues, international relations, anthropology
Previous field experience in a similar role with a non-government organisation