How to Become a Policy Analyst?

Are you thinking of becoming a Policy Analyst or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Policy Analyst, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Policy Analyst job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become a Policy Analyst

Policy analysts influence public policy by researching important issues, developing solutions, analyzing current policies, and generating public awareness. Policy analysts can work in many different fields, including education, law, science, and sociology. These professionals share their information with policymakers, government officials, academia, and the press to help influence change. Here are four steps you can follow to become a policy analyst.
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1

Get a bachelor's degree.

You must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree to get a job as a policy analyst, though most employers require a master's degree as well. There are many degrees that will give you a solid foundation for this career path, including a bachelor's degree in public policy, social policy analysis, economics, political science, education, business administration, psychology, or philosophy.

If you're passionate about a particular industry, you may choose to focus your degree in this field. For example, a medical degree positions you to work with health care policy. A Bachelor of Science in environmental policy and management prepares you to focus on environmental policies. You should take courses on communication, policy, economics, and government regardless of your chosen program.

2

Gain relevant work experience.

Completing an internship or getting an entry-level job will help you acquire the necessary experience to get a job as a policy analyst. Since this is a high-level position, you should expect to put in at least five years of work in a related field to build your resume. You may consider pursuing a job as a research assistant, law clerk, program analyst, research interviewer, administrative analyst, market research analyst, or public relations specialist.

It's important to establish your ability to perform in-depth research, communicate in both verbal and written form, and manage many tasks or projects at once. Published articles or reports on issues related to public policy will give your resume a boost.

3

Get a graduate degree.

Most employers require a graduate degree, such as a master's degree, law degree, or doctorate, for a job as a policy analyst. You might pursue a Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Policy, or Master of Public Affairs. If you want to focus on a specialized area, you might also pursue a more focused degree, such as a Master of Science in environmental science and policy.

You could also pursue a Ph.D. in social policy planning and analysis, a Ph.D. in policy analysis and management, or similar degrees. Expect to take classes on economics, law, policy analysis, problem-solving, and the theory of public policy.

4

Stay current on public policy in your area of interest.

As you interview for positions as a policy analyst, you'll find that it's crucial to have a solid understanding of the current public policy in your field of interest. Regularly research relevant policies and take the time to develop strong, data-backed opinions and suggested solutions for the most critical issues facing policymakers so you can share this information in your interview.

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