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Legislative Assistant: Duties, Salary and Requirements

Legislative assistants require a significant amount formal education. Learn about the associated education and job duties to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Information

Legislative assistants draft, edit and gather support for bills or other pieces of legislation. They generally work for elected and appointed officials, advocacy groups or non-profit organizations. Getting into this field requires a bachelor's degree, and work experience is typical.

Required Education A bachelor's degree, usually in political science, business, social science or public administration
Additional Requirements Work experience and excellent oral communication preferred
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 17% (legal assistants)
Median Annual Salary (2014)** $39,472

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale.com

Job Duties of a Legislative Assistant

A legislative assistant (LA) drafts and edits legislation, including bills, rules or other items. Other job duties include generating ideas for legislation and writing speeches to introduce new legislation to a committee or legislature, such as the U.S. Congress or a state legislature. LAs also track legislation after it is introduced and work to ensure that the legislation has the appropriate support for it to pass.

LAs may answer questions about legislation for reporters, committee members or other legislative staff. Sometimes, they meet with constituents, non-profit agencies or lobbyists to discuss a current or future bill. Drafting constituent correspondence may also be part of the job.

Requirements to Work as a Legislative Assistant

Most employers require that legislative assistants have at least a bachelor's degree. There is no specific degree of study required to work as a legislative assistant, but degrees in fields of political science, social science, business or public administration may be preferred.

Similarly, there are no specific work experiences required to work as a legislative assistant. Some employers prefer candidates with prior legislative experience, such as interning in a legislative office or working for a local legislator in an administrative or other role. LAs need to have good written an oral communications skills. If a LA is hired to work for a specific committee, a working knowledge of the committee subject may be required.

Salaries of Legislative Assistants

The salaries of legislative assistants vary depending on location, employer and experience. In U.S. Congress positions, legislative assistant salaries are established individually by each Member of Congress, but are subject to a maximum cap. The salary that legislators pay depends on how they choose to allocate their yearly budget. According to PayScale.com, the majority of legislative assistants earned from $26,939 to $54,472 per year as of September 2014.

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