Policy Analyst Jobs: How to get a job as a policy analyst

A policy analyst looks into existing and new policies and then suggests ways to address societal problems based on their findings. Even though their work involves politics and the government, they are also accountable for considering how laws and public policies will affect real individuals.

A career as a policy analyst can be ideal for you if you have powerful data collection, analytical, and communication skills. In this article, we go over the definition and responsibilities of this profession, outline the steps to becoming a policy analyst, and examine the working conditions, compensation, required abilities, and other aspects of this job.

What is a policy analyst?

A professional that develops ideas for policies and policy adjustments that address social problems is known as a policy analyst. In order to evaluate present regulations and gauge the effects of new ones, those in this position do extensive scientific study.

To individuals in government who can pass legislation and make laws, such as lawmakers and legislators, they explain their findings, offer counsel, and suggest courses of action. In order to create solutions that benefit different groups, policy analysts often research political trends, factions, and tensions.

These experts have a crucial role to play since they have a significant impact on governance and help to inform choices regarding public programs and services.

Policy analysts may work for the following types of organizations:

  • Government agencies
  • Lobbying agencies
  • Businesses
  • Consulting firms
  • Special interest groups
  • Nonprofits
  • Think tanks

Many policy analysts specialize in certain topics, such as:

  • Defense
  • Labor
  • Finance
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Health services
  • Transportation
  • Education
  • Urban planning
  • Science
  • Criminal law
  • Economy

What does a policy analyst do?

A policy analyst impacts laws at the municipal, state, and federal levels. Here are a few of their regular duties:

  • Look at laws and policies to see how they affect how society works.
  • To comprehend various debating viewpoints, conduct studies, and work with others.
  • assemble and evaluate information and figures from a variety of sources, including polls and focus groups.
  • Write summaries and assessments of current policy as well as reports on research findings.
  • Make policy recommendations detailing the probable effects, costs, and advantages of the change.
  • Report findings and recommendations to the public, elected officials, and government personnel.

How to become a policy analyst

You can be a strong candidate for a position as a policy analyst if you have the appropriate educational and professional background. Here are the first five steps to becoming a policy analyst:

1. Complete Education

Employers frequently demand applicants for policy analyst positions to have at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline. study for four years in a college or university in a subject like:

  • Public policy
  • Political science
  • Public administration
  • Education
  • Statistics
  • International relations
  • Legal studies
  • Sociology
  • Economics
  • Philosophy

For entry-level jobs, you typically only need a bachelor’s degree, although many employers prefer master’s degree holders for mid-to senior-level policy analyst employment. If you work for a government agency, in particular, you might be able to obtain this on the sponsorship of your employer.

You can broaden your skill set, deepen your knowledge foundation, and develop specialized knowledge in a concentration by continuing your education. Additionally, it can help you win promotions, bargain for higher compensation, and impress prospective employers. Think of enrolling in graduate school to obtain one of the following titles:

Public administration master’s degree

If you opt to pursue this degree, you can enroll in classes in managerial accounting, microeconomics, statistics, public management, program evaluation, policy analysis, and ethics.

Public policy master’s degree

You can study topics including business and government regulation, urban planning, democracy and governance, economic growth, education, and labor while pursuing a master’s degree in public policy.

International Affairs Master’s degree

You could get intriguing knowledge in areas like international law, trade politics, other people’s societies and cultures, and international economics by pursuing this degree.

2. Acquire professional and extracurricular experience

To land a position as a policy analyst, you could be required to have relevant work experience on your CV. Try to enroll in a program where you may get knowledge of public policy while you are still in high school or college. 

This might be an internship with a legislative or executive branch office where you could advance your legislative and executive branch knowledge. It might also be a political organization’s volunteer program.

In this situation, you might build expertise by researching public concerns and contacting policymakers. You can also think about joining one of these helpful groups at school:

  • Debate team
  • Mock government
  • Business organizations
  • School newspaper

3. Expand your network of business contacts

Developing a professional network can help you land a job in many areas, but government hiring is especially benefited by it. Make friends with the coworkers and managers you come across in the field, whether through volunteer work, internships, jobs, or college classes.

Knowing individuals who share your interests enables you to solicit their help and counsel as needed. Inquire with them whether they are aware of any employment opportunities for you. Maintaining relationships with supervisors is crucial since they might serve as references for you if you apply for a job.

These organizations provide a network for professionals, provide chances for growth, and set standards for the sector. These groups are frequently accessible through a college or university, but you can also uncover them by doing online research or browsing social media.

You might take classes, go to conferences, and take part in webinars on crucial business topics by joining a professional association. Here are some suggestions for organizations you. Joining organizations and societies for professionals is a wonderful method to grow your professional network. Here are some ideas for groups you could join:

  • The American Society for Public Administration
  • The Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management
  • The American Political Science Association

4. Acquire the necessary credentials

Building your skill set, expanding your work choices, and raising your earning potential are just a few advantages of gaining certifications in any industry. Certifications allow you to have essential skills in specific fields and show that you’ve successfully finished and passed certified, standardized training in your sector. Obtaining these qualifications is beneficial if you wish to work in management or supervision. Consider investigating these credentials:

Program for Certificate in Policy Analysis

This certification, provided by Northwestern University, is available to applicants who already hold a graduate degree from a recognized university. Students learn how to model and negotiate policy processes using economic, statistical, and other quantitative analytic techniques, as well as how to analyze public policy and support decision-making.

Diploma in Policy-Strategy

This accreditation, provided by the Brookings Institution, is available to seasoned professionals from governmental agencies, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. Students are given knowledge of government institutions, analytical and political abilities, tactics for policy deliberation, and expertise in policy and entrepreneurship in the linked courses.

Analysis of public policies (graduate certificate)

The School of Public Affairs at American University’s Department of Public Administration and Policy offers this certification, which is available to students with a bachelor’s degree, strong GRE test results, and upon submission of an essay. Students learn about issues like benefit-cost analysis and program evaluation through the curriculum.

5. Apply for a job as a policy analyst

You can confidently submit an application for a position as a policy analyst after you feel that you have established an impressive professional background for yourself. Even if you haven’t finished your master’s degree, many entry-level analyst positions may accept your bachelor’s degree as acceptable documentation.

Look online for positions in this field, and make sure you meet the requirements by carefully reading the job description. These could include skills, years of experience, and educational background.

You can also write a list of all the duties and qualifications the employer is looking for. Describe in two sentences how you meet each requirement after the list item. Verify that your examples are precise, succinct, and quantitative.

You can plan for an interview as well as create your CV and cover letter using this technique. Make sure your resume is readable and showcases your most important experiences. You can also create a personalized letter that is geared to each job that you apply for to describe why you are drawn to that employment.

Policy analyst Job environment

While the majority of policy analysts work for the government, they also represent businesses, lobbying groups, and other organizations in their efforts to influence policy. They spend some time at a desk researching a public problem online.

To conduct focus groups and interviews for their study, they nevertheless frequently travel. They also go to conferences and seminars, frequently to advocate for certain laws and rules. While they often work full-time, regular hours, they occasionally may need to work past their normal schedule due to an emergency or a bill.

Policy Analyst Jobs (Description and What they do)

Below are some of the Policy analysts jobs you can take up

  1. Policy analyst jobs entry level
  2. Entry-level policy analyst jobs
  3. Health policy analyst jobs
  4. Public policy analyst jobs
  5. Education policy analyst jobs
  6. Foreign policy analyst jobs
  7. Legal policy analyst jobs
  8. Junior policy analyst jobs
  9. Environmental policy analyst jobs Washington dc
  10. Security policy analyst jobs

Analyst roles in the federal government, state governments, nonprofit groups, private enterprises, and foundations or trusts are the most prevalent jobs for policy analysts. We can create subcategories for each category.

Foreign policy analyst jobs

Foreign policy analysts, government policy analysts, antiterrorism policy analysts, and weapons control policy analysts are typical positions for policy analysts in the federal government. These different categories of policy analysts have some overlap.

For instance, both a foreign policy analyst and an analyst of arms control policy are familiar with the specifics of the treaties that regulate missiles and chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. The capacity to evaluate the underlying assumptions of current policies and offer suggestions for building new ones that are supported by statistical evidence is a requirement for all kinds of government policy analyst professions.

Health policy analyst jobs

Some of the most popular policy analyst positions in the private sector and inside nonprofit organizations, foundations, and trusts are in the fields of health, public safety, and higher education. For example, a health policy analyst often works for a company committed to enhancing access to healthcare for specific demographic groups. The job description frequently calls for attempting to influence pertinent government entities through official or informal letters, press releases, papers in scholarly journals, and presentations to audiences of the general public or professionals.

For instance, both a foreign policy analyst and an analyst of arms control policy are familiar with the specifics of the treaties that regulate missiles and chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.

Public policy analyst jobs

Other types of policy analyst jobs include strategic research policy analyst, product development policy analyst, aviation policy analyst, medical material policy analyst, and occupational safety policy analyst. Any type of policy analyst job requires skills in the areas of accounting, gathering information, meeting deadlines, communicating effectively, and analyzing data. Policy analysts should also be capable of studying the effects of new technologies in their field.

Entry level policy analyst jobs

Entry-level policy analyst jobs generally require a bachelor’s degree. More advanced positions require a master’s degree and several years of experience in the field. Some high-level policy analyst jobs in sensitive areas of the federal government also require a top-secret security clearance. Political science, economics, business administration, and public policy are typical areas of study for a policy analyst.

Policy analyst’s average salary

The national average income for a policy analyst is $82,397 per year. The location of the organization, years of experience, credentials, and other criteria may affect their pay.

In general, policy analysts can bargain for a higher income if they complete more studies and have specialized certifications. Additionally, they might go after managerial or executive positions, which often pay better. It has a projected increased growth outlook according to BLS.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it hard to become a policy analyst?

Analysts of public policy have diverse backgrounds. In general, those joining this job field should have at least a master’s degree. Some firms can demand that prospective candidates have a doctorate. Political science and philosophy are only two examples of the many subjects that policy analysts can major in.

Do policy analysts make good money?

What is the salary of a policy analyst? In the United States, policy analysts make an average salary of $66,359 per year, or $31.9 per hour. The bottom 10% of that range, or the policy analysts, make about $47,000 annually, while the highest 10% make about $92,000.

What should I study to become a policy analyst?

Political science, public administration, journalism, or a closely related discipline as a bachelor’s degree

Conclusion

Researching and analyzing data on social and political concerns, like infrastructure, national security, crime prevention, health care, and environmental protection, are integral parts of policy analysts’ jobs. It also includes proposing remedies to social challenges and seeking to influence government action on the issues in the job description of a policy analyst.

With the process we have outlined above, you can make a good career being a policy analyst. It has a projected increased growth outlook.

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