Legislators are elected officials who develop laws and statutes at the Federal, State, or local level.
Common Work Tasks
- Enact laws and provide oversight of the executive branch
- Research how proposed laws, known as bills, might affect their town or district and speak to other legislators to convince them to support or oppose the bills
- Meet with constituents—businesses, individuals, or groups from their district—and with lobbyists
- Make remarks or ask questions of the bill’s advocates and opponents
- Propose amendments to bills
- Deal with bills related to providing money for schools, roads, and public services; try to pass bills to attract businesses and industries to the State
- Work on issues such as traffic-light placement and noise ordinances
- Determine teacher salaries and the specific curriculum taught in the district
Other Job Titles
Legislators are also known by other titles, including:
- City Council Member
Education, Training, and Experience
Education and Training
Becoming a legislator is different from entering other occupations in politics. There are no formal education or experience requirements for becoming a legislator, although legal conditions vary by office and may include minimum age or residency requirements. The only prerequisite for entering this occupation is to be elected by the voters in a town, city, district, or State. However, candidates should have some personal or professional experience that is related to the office they are seeking.
Interpersonal skills are essential, because most positions require interacting with a variety of people. Some workers suggest that taking an introductory course in psychology may be helpful for understanding people.
Because success in these jobs often hinges on being able to persuade others—whether to take a particular viewpoint or to vote for a particular candidate—communication skills, both written and oral, are also important. Persuasive communication skills require the ability to convey complicated legislative procedures to people who know little about the process. Strong writing skills are critical, especially for jobs that involve drafting position papers, bills, speeches, or press releases.
In addition, anyone interested in getting a job in politics must understand how the political process works.
The median annual salary for a Legislator is $16,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $76,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $13,000. Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of legislators are:
- Local Government- $33,500
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- Walden University
Bachelor of Science in Poli Sci and Public Admin - Global Issues and Social Justice
- Brescia University
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science