The following article discusses the career path of Policy Analyst. Learn about how to become one, education requirements, job duties, traits and qualities, national salary outlook as well as top national employers of Policy Analysts.
Policy analysts implement, adjust, or change public policies, laws, and regulations. They often work for the government or for organizations that are involved in government lobbying. In some cases, they may be employed by for-profit organizations who wish to change certain political actions and regulations.
Sometimes, they specialize in certain topics, such as energy. However, most of them focus on general politics and how this affects daily government actions. They provide advice to government executives and legislators, making suggestions for improvement of regulations and laws. They will also develop relevant strategies to bring about their suggested change.
Policy analysts, particularly those who work for the government, must have a solid understanding of the different political factions and their interactions. They should also be able to come up with compromises so that the different political branches can find agreement. Should they work for outside organizations, they will focus on finding those politicians who share the ideals relevant to their targeted policy change and lobby them to take action.
Other job duties of the policy analyst are:
- To monitor, evaluate, and review legislation and policies in order to ascertain their impacts, flaws, and benefits
- To work together with internal and external stakeholders to understand the viewpoints, concerns, and needs that exist
- To gather qualitative and quantitative data and to analyze and integrate this into reports
- To write reports on policies in which information is synthesized and evidence is presented on how constituents benefit from proposed changes
Where We Work
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 7,300 political scientists in 2016. The largest employers of these professionals are:
- Federal government, excluding postal service 48%
- Professional, scientific, and technical services 27%
- Educational services; state, local, and private 7%
- Religious, grant making, civic, professional, and similar organizations 7%
- Self-employed workers 7%
How to Become
Those who want to become policy analysts should seek to obtain a political education, such as a degree in public policy or political science. Some choose more specific degree subjects that are related to politics, such as education. Most hold a master’s degree. Often, they will take on an entry level governmental position to gain experience and to build a contact network. They then grow into the position of analyst. Hours are quite long and irregular and travel is often required.
A policy analyst is generally expected to hold a master’s degree, with some even having a Ph.D. To do this, they must first have completed a bachelor’s degree, usually in a field related to statistics, public policy, public administration or politics. Internships and work experience are also very important.
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The most popular degrees for policy analysts are the Master of Public Administration (MPA), the Master of Public Policy (MPP), and the Master of Public Affairs. These degrees are quite broad and some students choose a concentration in a policy area that they are particularly interested in. The master’s degree will always teach them about topics like statistics, program evaluation, policy formation, and research methods. Alternatively, a political science degree may be interesting, particularly with an applied concentration.
It is possible for graduates to take on an entry level position at bachelor’s degree level. This will enable them to gain experience and build a network. While working, they then complete their master’s degree, often with sponsorship of the government. Many also do volunteer work with political organizations.
Traits & Qualities
The most effective policy analysts have the following traits to some degree or other:
- Strong analytical skills
- Excellent communication skills
- Great critical thinking skills
- Strong negotiating skills
The national average salary estimate for Policy Analyst was $67,742. This number is estimated from over 253,036 employees, users past and present job advertisements from Indeed.com. This equates to an hourly salary of $35.28 and monthly of $5,645.
- Most Reported
Salary by State
The following section lists Policy Analyst salaries in each state around the country. The figures are based on the total number of job postings through Indeed.com. For example, Delaware had the largest quoted salary of $92,960 while Nebraska had the smallest quoted salary of $28,032.
Top 20 National Employers
According to Indeed.com, the following states had employers looking to hire a Policy Analyst. The quoted salary figure represents the average salary from all job postings by this employer.
|Employer Name||Location||Average Salary|
|United States Department Of Defense Policy Analyst||Virginia||$127,405|
|U.S. Army Policy Analyst||Virginia||$122,839|
|Department of Labor Policy Analyst||DC||$122,282|
|Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Policy Analyst||DC||$120,459|
|Department of Homeland Security Policy Analyst||DC||$115,858|
|Department of Energy Policy Analyst||DC||$112,436|
|Indian Health Service Policy Analyst||Maryland||$110,901|
|U.S. Government Policy Analyst||Virginia||$109,158|
|Department of Health and Human Services Policy Analyst||Maryland||$109,082|
|Department of the Interior Policy Analyst||DC||$109,062|
|Dept of Health Care Finance Policy Analyst||DC||$106,819|
|U.S. Department of State Policy Analyst||DC||$104,131|
|Department of Transportation Policy Analyst||DC||$103,864|
|City of Seattle Policy Analyst||Washington||$103,846|
|Executive Office of the President Policy Analyst||DC||$102,387|
|Huxley Associates Policy Analyst||Massachusetts||$102,318|
|Citi Policy Analyst||Delaware||$92,763|
|CyberCoders Policy Analyst||Maryland||$89,669|
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|Career Name||Average Salary|
|Pharmaceutical Sales Rep||$68,040|
|Business Operations Manager||$68,007|
|Supply Chain Analyst||$66,387|