Career Advice on How to Become A Legislator

General Career Information

If you are considering a career as a legislator, when doing your career planning or job search you should realize that it could be an extremely competitive field.  There is great demand for most legislative jobs.  Legislators, who are sometimes referred to as “law makers,” do much what the name indicates in that they make laws for other people to follow.  Yet, that is a bit of an oversimplification as the process can be laborious and quite difficult and time consuming.  

Laws are often the result of lengthy negotiations between different parties.  The general term “legislator” also covers a fairly wide group of government officials, as law makers can range from local elected official to state elected officials and, of course, national elected officials.  The responsibilities can differ greatly as well, depending upon the job title held.  Some positions do not require legislators to work year round, however.

Career Facts:

Most are very surprised to learn how many legislators the government at all levels currently employ.  As of 2006, there were about 65,000 legislators working in the United States.  Of course, this number is spread out across all 50 states and represents local legislators as well.


Career Opportunities and Job Outlook- Poor:

The number of legislators should stay fairly stable and competition will often remain high.  However, depending upon the district, region and specific legislative job, some legislative positions may be less competitive than others.
Job Outlook is Poor

A Day in The Life:

While the job can change greatly depending upon the title and position, legislators at all levels of government, make laws.  At the local level, the educational and professional background of legislators can vary.  But at the state and federal level, those with law degrees and businessmen usually dominate the “playing field.”  It is important to note that a local legislator’s experience and workday is likely to be vastly different, when contrasted with that of a senator, for example.

Average Salary:

Legislators can average between $13,000 and $39,000 annually, with the top ten percent earning as much as $75,000 per year.

$13k - $39k


Career Training and Qualifications:

There are legal requirements for holding most offices, such as being a citizen, as well as age requirements.  Many who enter the political arena and become legislators, especially at the Federal level, have a legal background and are usually lawyers and businessmen.  However, historically other professions have been represented as well.  Due to the fact that the nature of the positions varies so greatly, it is no surprise that the responsibilities and requirements for the position differ greatly as well.  Those seeking to become a legislator will be well served by demonstrating solid public speaking skills, as communication is key.  A strong educational background and evidence of volunteer work is also important for those seeking to work as legislators.
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