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Job Description of a Domestic Policy Advisor

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Domestic policy refers to the set of public policy actions and programs that governments enact to address issues within a nation itself. This distinguishes domestic policy from foreign policy, which involves how a nation advances its interests internationally. Domestic policy issues include education, health care, environmental protection, economic intervention, taxes and national infrastructure. Governments and other organizations with domestic policy interests employ advisors to help them shape and advocate policies.

Function

Domestic policy advisors assist government officials and interest groups in shaping domestic policy proposals. Advisors do this through a combination of analysis, policy design and advocacy. Advisors analyze various public policy alternatives, develop proposals that are consistent with the policy objectives of the government or interest group that employs them, and advocate those policy proposals to legislators charged with passing new laws.

Government Policy Advisors

A domestic policy advisor in a government entity, such as at the White House, has three key responsibilities. The website of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council states the domestic policy advisor helps develop policy proposals and takes the lead in offering advice to the president. Second, the domestic policy advisors represents the president’s policy agenda to Congress. Finally, the domestic policy advisor supervises the implementation of domestic policy initiatives.

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Policy Advisors in Interest Groups

Interest groups that advocate policies consistent with their agendas employ domestic policy advisors to help them accomplish their goals. A domestic policy advisor may analyze recent legislation and government regulations, offering advice on how these new policies affect the interests of the group that employs him (see References 2). Policy advisors in interest groups also strive to enhance the groups’ influence over the form and substance of various domestic policy proposals.

Qualifications

Becoming a domestic policy advisor requires a combination of education and relevant experience. An advisor should have a relevant academic background, such as a degree in political science, economics, public policy or a law degree. Some positions in interest groups may require only a bachelor’s degree, while some senior positions in government may require an advanced degree, such as a master’s degree or even a law degree. Because domestic policy advisors must advocate the policy agendas of their employers, they should have knowledge of the political process and excellent communication skills. Political contacts gained from previous experience are a plus, as well.

Benefits

Working as a domestic policy advisor enables a person to work in a politically charged environment, with the potential to influence the shape of government policies on health care, education, welfare, economics and the environment. In 2012, the median annual salary for political scientists was $102,000.

2016 Salary Information for Political Scientists

Political scientists earned a median annual salary of $114,290 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, political scientists earned a 25th percentile salary of $86,600, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $141,550, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 7,300 people were employed in the U.S. as political scientists.

About the Author

Shane Hall is a writer and research analyst with more than 20 years of experience. His work has appeared in "Brookings Papers on Education Policy," "Population and Development" and various Texas newspapers. Hall has a Doctor of Philosophy in political economy and is a former college instructor of economics and political science.

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