Policy Analyst Salary

By Henry R. Steele - April 15, 2018
Reading Time: 9 minutes

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.

Job Duties

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.

Education Requirements

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.

  •  Masters in Public Administration & Policy – American University
    • No GRE Required for admission!
    • This program combines a nationally recognized and NASPAA-accredited Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) and Master’s in Public Policy (MPP) degree programs into one foundational, highly marketable credential.
    • Princeton Review Best Colleges (2018), U.S. News Best Colleges (2019), #35 Best Colleges for Veterans

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
  • Creativity
  • Great critical thinking skills
  • Empathy
  • Strong negotiating skills

Minimum Education

Master’s Degree

National Salary

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.

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$17,000

$151,000

Salary Distribution

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.

Arkansas Illinois Oregon
Arizona Indiana Rhode Island
California Louisiana South Dakota
Colorado Massachusetts Tennessee
DC Maryland Texas
Delaware Michigan Virginia
Florida Minnesota Vermont
Georgia North Carolina Washington
Iowa Nebraska Wisconsin
Idaho New York Wyoming
Arkansas$50,827 Rank: 20th
The average salary ranks 20th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like University of Arkansas.

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$25,000

$77,000

Salary Distribution
Arizona$49,728 Rank: 22nd
The average salary ranks 22nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Maricopa County, State of Arizona, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, and Gould Staffing.

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$19,000

$94,000

Salary Distribution
California$69,256 Rank: 7th
The average salary ranks 7th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Santa Clara County Housing Authority, San Francisco Unified School District, University of California-Riverside, and University of California Berkeley.

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$24,000

$138,000

Salary Distribution
Colorado$66,574 Rank: 11th
The average salary ranks 11th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like MHP Salud, Colorado Department of Human Services, and State of Colorado.

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$21,000

$136,000

Salary Distribution
DC$87,370 Rank: 2nd
The average salary ranks 2nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Labor, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Energy.

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$24,000

$190,000

Salary Distribution
Delaware$92,960 Rank: 1st
The average salary ranks 1st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Citi.

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$46,000

$141,000

Salary Distribution
Florida$48,680 Rank: 23rd
The average salary ranks 23rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like MHP Salud and Express Employment Professionals.

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$24,000

$82,000

Salary Distribution
Georgia$56,769 Rank: 15th
The average salary ranks 15th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Fulton County, GA, Office of Planning and Budget, and DoverStaffing Agency.

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$17,000

$119,000

Salary Distribution
Iowa$76,844 Rank: 4th
The average salary ranks 4th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Iowa Department of Revenue.

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$22,000

$165,000

Salary Distribution
Idaho$45,734 Rank: 25th
The average salary ranks 25th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like IDAHO DEPT. OF LABOR.

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$12.00

$36.30

Salary Distribution
Illinois$58,547 Rank: 13th
The average salary ranks 13th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like HSBC.

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$17,000

$125,000

Salary Distribution
Indiana$42,600 Rank: 27th
The average salary ranks 27th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like State of Indiana.

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$14,000

$90,000

Salary Distribution
Louisiana$35,467 Rank: 29th
The average salary ranks 29th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like ResCare Workforce Services.

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$14,000

$92,000

Salary Distribution
Massachusetts$67,716 Rank: 8th
The average salary ranks 8th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Transportation, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Huxley Associates.

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$18,000

$147,000

Salary Distribution
Maryland$78,478 Rank: 3rd
The average salary ranks 3rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like CyberCoders, State of Maryland, Ripple Effect Communications, Inc., and Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

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$25,000

$161,000

Salary Distribution
Michigan$47,586 Rank: 24th
The average salary ranks 24th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like State of Michigan.

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$14,000

$113,000

Salary Distribution
Minnesota$57,676 Rank: 14th
The average salary ranks 14th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like MINNESOTA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION, MN Public Utilities Commission, State of Minnesota, and Minnesota Department of Human Services.

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$9.35

$62.20

Salary Distribution
North Carolina$54,034 Rank: 17th
The average salary ranks 17th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Wake County Government and The Greer Group, Inc..

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$14,000

$119,000

Salary Distribution
Nebraska$28,032 Rank: 30th
The average salary ranks 30th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Mutual of Omaha.

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$7.30

$21.95

Salary Distribution
New York$61,563 Rank: 12th
The average salary ranks 12th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, CIVILIAN COMPLAINT REVIEW BD, and Department of Finance.

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$19,000

$127,000

Salary Distribution
Oregon$66,768 Rank: 10th
The average salary ranks 10th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like State of Oregon.

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$2,400

$11,000

Salary Distribution
Rhode Island$71,140 Rank: 6th
The average salary ranks 6th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like State of Rhode Island and Rhode Island Department of Administration.

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$33,000

$124,000

Salary Distribution
South Dakota$35,654 Rank: 28th
The average salary ranks 28th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like South Dakota State Government.

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$9.30

$28.05

Salary Distribution
Tennessee$52,136 Rank: 19th
The average salary ranks 19th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

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$19,000

$101,000

Salary Distribution
Texas$50,157 Rank: 21st
The average salary ranks 21st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like MHP Salud, Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Department of State Health Services, and Surplus Lines Stamping Office of Texas.

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$16,000

$102,000

Salary Distribution
Virginia$71,941 Rank: 5th
The average salary ranks 5th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Homeland Security, Dynamis, Dept of Housing and Comm Dev, and Commonwealth of Virginia.

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$16,000

$167,000

Salary Distribution
Vermont$45,024 Rank: 26th
The average salary ranks 26th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like State of Vermont.

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$11.75

$35.35

Salary Distribution
Washington$67,416 Rank: 9th
The average salary ranks 9th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like State of Washington, Employment Security Department, and City of Seattle.

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$27,000

$126,000

Salary Distribution
Wisconsin$56,719 Rank: 16th
The average salary ranks 16th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Blueline Consulting, LLC, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Department of Children and Family Services, and University of WisconsinMadison.

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$25,000

$100,000

Salary Distribution
Wyoming$53,964 Rank: 18th
The average salary ranks 18th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like State of Wyoming.

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$2,200

$6,900

Salary Distribution

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

Learn More

Related Careers

Career Name Average Salary
Henry R. Steele
Henry R. Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.Follow on Twitter.com

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