Legislators are elected officials who develop, introduce and enact laws, statutes, amendments and other government regulations. They operate at the local, tribal, state or federal level.
Legislators keep abreast of the issues affecting their constituents and represent them when creating or voting bills into law. They also serve on investigative and legislative committees, appoint nominees to government posts, and seek federal funding for local projects.
Legislative work can vary depending upon the level of government and region. Federal congress members typically have many commitments and full daily schedules. They may put in well over 40 hours a week during crises, important deliberations and campaigning.
Legislators at lower levels of government are busiest when in session but, overall, may make a part-time commitment. Some may even have full-time jobs in addition to their legislative position.
A career as a legislator can be complicated, fast-paced and stressful. There can be a lot of travel between your office, public appearances, meetings and interviews. Federal legislators must travel between Washington, DC and their home district. International travel is possible. Campaigning will also keep you out on the road, particularly at the state and federal level.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
DVM / VMD degree
While there are no minimum education requirements for legislators, most have a bachelor’s degree. Typical courses of study include political science, business, economics or law. Candidates with a solid educational background are often more competitive in campaigns.
Relevant work experience is also helpful to winning an election as well as excelling at the position. Many legislators begin as legislative aides, volunteering for community organisations and services, or working for political action groups. Lawyers and business owners are also prevalent in legislatures.
Legislators usually begin their career path by running for a local office. Achieving success in the position, networking and marketing well can help you move to the next level. Several years as an effective state lawmaker can lead to a position in federal legislature.
A career as a legislator can last many years, but you may also segue into other government positions. Some former lawmakers also go on to become political consultants, media pundits, authors or speakers.