How to Become a Policy Analyst

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If you have a strong interest in public policy and economics, you may want to pursue a career as a policy analyst. Public policy involves a law or system of laws put in place to correct a social problem. These public policies provide a framework in which people are expected to act, for the greater good of society. As a policy analyst you will examine public policy problems, analyze proposed solutions and make recommendations based on the findings of your analysis.

Things You'll Need

  • High school diploma
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Master's degree (optional)
  • If you are still in high school, it is important that you do well and focus on your writing and math abilities. It is almost impossible to be a policy analyst without going to college, and having good writing and math skills will help you throughout your career.

  • While you are in college you will again need to focus on your writing abilities and math skills. Good majors for policy analysis include economics, political science, statistics and public administration. Your adviser should be able to help you select elective courses that will help you in your career.

  • Get a relevant internship while you are an undergrad. Many policy institutes and government agencies have internships for college students who want to work in policy. This internship will provide you with experience and make it easier to find a job later.

  • Decide if you want to go to graduate school or try to find a job with a bachelor's degree. It is quite possible to do policy analysis with a bachelor's degree. A graduate degree may help open more doors for you in the long run, however.

  • If you decided to go to graduate school, try to have a relevant internship under your belt before you attend. The master's of public policy degree was designed specifically for training policy analysts and is an excellent choice for a graduate school major. Other valid paths include a master's in economics, statistics, political science or public administration.

  • Once you have completed school, it is time to search for a job. Look at all levels of government and at policy institutes. Many universities also harbor policy institutes that may provide you with employment opportunities. As with any job search, you should make use of your school' s alumni network and other resources.

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