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Budget Analysts - What They Do

How to Advance (Advancement)
Entry-level budget analysts usually begin with limited responsibilities, working under close supervision. Capable analysts can be promoted to intermediate-level positions within 1 to 2 years, and to senior positions with additional experience. Because of the importance and high visibility of their jobs, senior budget analysts may be promoted to management positions in various parts of their organizations, or with other organizations with which they have worked.

Government budget analysts employed at the Federal, State, or local level may earn the Certified Government Financial Manager designation granted by Advancing Government Accountability, an organization that represents government accountability officers. To earn this designation, candidates must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree, 24 credit hours of study in financial management, and 2 years of professional-level experience in governmental financial management. They also must pass a series of three exams that cover topics on the governmental environment; governmental accounting, financial reporting, and budgeting; and governmental financial management and control. To maintain the designation, individuals must complete 80 hours of continuing professional education every 2 years.

Budget analysts held 67,200 jobs in 2008. Government is a major employer, accounting for 41 percent of budget analyst jobs. Budget analysts were also employed in manufacturing; management services; professional, scientific, and technical services; and schools.

Job Outlook
Budget analyst jobs are expected to increase faster than average. Candidates with a master's degree are expected to have the best opportunities.

Job Growth
Employment of budget analysts is expected to increase by 15 percent between 2008 and 2018, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by the continuing demand for sound financial analysis in both the public and the private sectors.

As businesses and other organizations become more complex and specialized, budget planning and financial control will demand greater attention. In recent years, computer applications used in budget analysis have become increasingly sophisticated, allowing more data to be analyzed and processed in a shorter amount of time. As a result, agency leaders have begun to demand more data, analyses, and other types of information relevant to the budgeting process. This has increased the workload of budget analysts, and created the need for more workers. As this process continues, demand for budget analysts will grow.

Job openings will result from employment growth and from the need to replace workers who retire or leave the occupation for other reasons. Candidates with a master's degree are expected to have the best opportunities. Familiarity with spreadsheet, database, data-mining, financial-analysis, and Enterprise Resource Planning software packages also should enhance a jobseeker's prospects.

Wages of budget analysts vary by experience, education, and employer. Median annual wages of budget analysts in May 2008 were $65,320. The middle 50 percent earned between $52,290 and $82,150. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $42,470, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $100,360.

The average annual salary in March 2009 for budget analysts employed by the Federal Government was $80,456.

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