Lobbyist Careers

NUMBER OF JOBS

5,600

JOB OPENINGS

400

JOB GROWTH

8%

AVG. SALARY

$107,420 /yr

$51.65 /hr

All Stats from BLS.gov

Lobbyists work to sway elected officials regarding specific opinions and legislation on behalf of a special interest organization. Lobbyists study legislation that’s under consideration to determine its effects on their employers, and tries to influence senators and other elected officials to vote for legislation that benefits their employer or against non-beneficial legislation.

What is a Lobbyist?

Lobbyists have to be excellent communicators and persuaders. They have to understand not only the interests of the specific representative they’re speaking to—and how their employer’s interests complement those—but also the interests of the voting public that official represents. The job can also be strategic, with lobbyists from several different organizations teaming up to face an outside threat - excellent career for individuals with a degree in politicial science.

Lobbyists often meet with representatives directly to deliver presentations. Some lobbyists get the chance to help representatives draft new legislation—with their employers’ interests in mind.

It’s crucial for a successful lobbyist to cultivate strong relationships with various politicians. Lobbyists can’t donate money to a politician’s campaign themselves—it’s illegal—but they can work to raise money from other organizations and individuals on a politician’s behalf. Some lobbyists host parties that give them the opportunity to connect with politicians, other lobbyists, and potential funders.

Some lobbyists work at a local level to inspire communities to try to influence politicians. These lobbyists are often referred to as grassroots lobbyists or community organizers. They may conduct public outreach campaigns or organize letter-writing drives; write articles or do media interviews; and communicate with politicians or other organizations regarding community opinion.

How to Become a Lobbyist

There is no specific educational path to becoming a lobbyist. Most lobbyists get their entry into the job after working in a different career for many years—building up the contacts and expertise needed to effectively represent the interests of a specific organization or group.

While there are no licensure or certification requirements for lobbyists, they are required to register with federal and state governments. And while there is no specific education requirement to become a lobbyist, most have at least a Bachelor’s degree, and many have more advanced degrees. Degrees in law, economics, public policy, journalism, and political science are not uncommon. Degrees from accredited online colleges won’t necessarily hold you back in this field, but this depends on the route you plan to take to become a lobbyist.

Landing an entry-level job in politics as a congressional aide or intern—either as a college student or when you graduate—can help you start to build the connections and experience you need to become a lobbyist. It would also give you the chance to meet working lobbyists and observe them at their jobs. However, this is just one of many entryways into the profession. It can also be helpful to start out in the field of public relations—as lobbying firms are officially classified as public relations firms.

Lobbyist Salary

Lobbyists have a lucrative job. The median salary for lobbyists in the US is $100,206 according to Salary.com. However, the job can pay significantly less for grassroots organizers and lobbyists who work at the state level.

Those who earn the most tend to be high-profile politicians who enter the field after their terms in office; sometimes other lobbyists will offer politicians these jobs upon leaving office as a form of leverage.

Job Outlook for Lobbyists

While this is technically a growing field, there are few actual registered lobbyists—only about 19,000 working in Washington according to Legislative Resource Center numbers. However, there are many more people working as lobbyists at the state level in all fifty states.

For Further Research

Occupational Outlook Handbook: Political Scientists

American League of Lobbyists: Lobbyist Careers

Where to Look for Lobbyist Jobs

LobbyingJobs.com
SimplyHired.com