Policy analysts research, evaluate, and shape policy. Policy analysts can be involved in developing new policy or in analyzing existing policy, and their role will usually be determined by the type of organization for which they work. Policy analysts can work in a variety of settings including government offices, nonprofit organizations, think tanks, and corporations.
Key skills that a policy analyst should possess include an analytical mind, an ability to think creatively, attention to detail, excellent oral and written communication skills, and an ability to understand and analyze statistical information.
Most policy analysts have a graduate degree such as a masters degree, J.D. or Ph.D. Policy analysts will usually start out by specializing in a particular field to develop an expertise in that area. Because most employers seek policy analysts with particular specializations, it is very important to gain experience in this field prior to graduation. Experience can be gained while in school through internships, working with professors, and joining public policy clinics.
Check out these resources for additional information on a career as a policy analyst:
- Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management: www.appam.org
- Public policy jobs and internships: publicservicecareers.org; opajobs.com (obtain login information from Career Services); usajobs.gov; makingthedifference.org.
- List of Policy Organizations: http://www.c-span.org/Resources/Policy-Organizations/