Career Definition of a Legislative Correspondent
Legislative correspondents work alongside legislative aides and other legislative staff. They work in government, and their role is to facilitate communication with citizens. When people write letters to their elected senators, the person who drafts a response is a legislative correspondent. Legislative correspondents process phone calls, emails and letters as part of their regular duties.
Legislative correspondents also meet with constituents and special interest groups. With experience, they may be able to assist with developing legislation and crafting memos on policy issues. In order to perform their duties, they need to learn a lot about specific policy issues and may research information about such issues as animal rights, healthcare and transportation. Legislative correspondents may also attend public events.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree|
|Job Skills||Customer service skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, organizational skills, diplomacy, teamwork skills, computer skills|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$35,750|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)**||9% (all public relations specialists)|
Sources: *PayScale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
It is possible to become a legislative correspondent without formal postsecondary training, but a bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline may be preferred and can increase job prospects. Fields of study that can prepare individuals for a career as a legislative correspondent include political science and communications. Since communication and research skills are important in this field, pursuing studies that develop those skills will be an asset. The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) also offers courses, including beginner and advanced courses in constituent correspondence, that can help prepare legislative correspondents for their role.
Excellent communication skills are crucial for legislative correspondents. They need interpersonal skills to engage people in person, and they need written communication skills to craft letters and emails. They also need to be diplomatic and know how much to say or how to address specific issues. Organizational skills are important so that they can be on time for meetings and manage their schedule effectively. Since they work with legislative aides and others, they also need to have strong teamwork skills.
Career Outlook and Salary
The median income for legislative correspondents is $35,750 per year. This was reported by PayScale.com in 2018. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide specific information for legislative correspondents but does offer job growth data for public relations specialists. Over a ten-year period starting in 2016, the BLS projects that legislators will see a 9% job growth. This is slightly higher than the expected average job growth of 9% for all occupations during this period.
There are other careers that involve using similar skills or working to assist elected officials with policy development or practical matters, like city operations. Individuals considering a career as a legislative correspondent may be interested in a number of other career options, including lobbying for specific causes. Learn more about some different career options through these links.