How to Become a Lobbyist
How to Become a Lobbyist
Today’s political society is complex and ever changing and various individuals and groups often need a professional communicator speak on their behalf. A lobbyist plays a distinct role as a strong communicator to influence views in favor of the interest of their client. Lobbyists commonly work for public relations firms, public interest groups, lobbying firms, or for specific election campaigns.
What does a lobbyist do?
Lobbyists often speak on behalf of special interest groups or specific industries. They attempt to influence votes of political elections and implementation of laws at the local, state, and federal level. The primary duties include scheduling and directing meetings with legislators on behalf of clients, representing clients at media events, preparing press releases and informational literature, and testifying at public court hearings. Lobbyists also attend various events to get to know politicians and increase job prospects.
Lobbyists work for a variety of purposes such as lobbying for one specific group or working for a lobbying firm. They work for all types of businesses and organizations that seek public relations specialists such as health care, advertising, education, and government entities. Lobbyists who earn more than $6,000 during a six-month period to lobby on behalf of groups or entities are required to register with the federal government. Majority of states also require lobbyists to follow specific laws when working at the state level.
What kind of training does a lobbyist need?
Lobbyists generally have at least a bachelor’s degree in a communications or political science-related area. Most lobbyists have extensive backgrounds in politics, journalism, or specific fields related to their position. Many colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degree programs in public relations through communications or journalism departments. Click here for a list of public relations programs.
It is important the lobbyists have a working knowledge of current laws and legislation. Many lobbyists begin their careers working for public relations companies to establish strong communications abilities. Lobbyists must have a solid understanding of the interests of their clients and how they apply to active legislation. They must have a good network of contacts of policymakers and other public office members as well as a working knowledge of various other interests groups.
What are the prospects for a career as a lobbyist?
Employment of all types of public relations specialists, including lobbyists is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, with an increase of 24% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The demand for effective lobbying professionals in an increasingly competitive environment will fuel the job growth for lobbyists. Lobbyists with specialized knowledge and an international background will have a competitive advantage.
Job growth will also increase due to the recent appearance of social media in public relations areas. Various organizations are increasing their use of these tools and lobbyists with experience in this type of communication will be in demand.
How much do lobbyists make?
As of March 2011, the median annual salary for lobbyists is $98,652, with the top 10% earning more than $170,462 (2). Average annual salaries of lobbyists will differ greatly on location, education, experience, employer, and type of work they do.
Lobbyists offer valuable assistance for individuals and groups that need a strong and persuasive communicator to speak on their behalf. The position offers an excellent annual salary and high projected rate of job growth. It is a great choice for individuals with strong communication and analytical skills that enjoy working in the political field.