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Policy Analyst Career

Career Description

Policy analysts work to raise public awareness of social issues, such as crime prevention, access to healthcare, and protection of the environment. And in the solutions they propose, these policy analysts hope to influence government action.

Common Work Tasks

  • Create policy and evaluate program effectiveness
  • Decide which private organizations should be awarded publicly funded grants
  • Suggest ideas for a county recycling plan, report on how well a State project met its objectives, or propose funds for relief organizations to aid rebuilding after a natural disaster
  • Provide deci­sion-makers with data and hypotheses about the effects of different policies
  • Critique the principles behind policies and describe the values that they believe should drive policy deci­sions
  • Gather information, especially statistical data, to help explore issues and explain the solutions they propose
  • Analyze how vari­ous policy ideas and proposals could affect the problem and suggest solutions
  • Study the effects of new technologies

Other Job Titles

Policy Analysts are also known by other titles, including:

  • Researcher
  • Scholar
  • Fellow
  • Lobbyist
  • Political Scientist

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
Most, but not all, policy analysts have a graduate degree, such as a law (J.D.), doctorate (Ph.D.), or master’s degree. The required educational background depends on the employer, the subject being studied, and the analyst’s work experience.

Common fields of study include economics, public policy, and political science. But other policy analysts have a degree in education, business administration,  philosophy, or psychology. And many analysts have a degree related to a specific area of expertise, such as when a healthcare analyst has a medical degree.

Would-be analysts can start getting experience while still in school. Many college campuses have student organizations dedicated to particular public policy topics, and many offer open lectures and debates hosted by the public policy or political science department. Analysts can also gain expertise by starting in lower-level jobs related to policy. In some government agen­cies, for example, entry-level program analysts assist with policy work. Still other analysts have worked at nonprofit organizations, such as advocacy groups.


The median annual salary for a Policy Analyst is $62,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $145,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $32,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of policy analysts are:

  • Federal Government - $62,558
  • State Government - $47,459
  • Non-Profit Organization - $41,403
  • Private Practice/Firm - $50,000
  • Foundation/Trust - $52,000

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  N/A
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: N/A
  • Employment 2006 : N/A
  • Employment 2016:   N/A

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