Budget Analysts

Summary

budget analysts image
Budget analysts help public and private institutions organize their finances.
Quick Facts: Budget Analysts
2015 Median Pay $71,590 per year
$34.42 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2014 60,800
Job Outlook, 2014-24 3% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 1,500

What Budget Analysts Do

Budget analysts help public and private institutions organize their finances. They prepare budget reports and monitor institutional spending.

Work Environment

Budget analysts work in a variety of settings, including government agencies, universities, and companies. Most work full time.

How to Become a Budget Analyst

Budget analysts typically must have a bachelor’s degree, although some employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree.

Pay

The median annual wage for budget analysts was $71,590 in May 2015.

Job Outlook

Employment of budget analysts is projected to grow 3 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Budget analysts should be needed for their ability to manage the allocation of funds in both governments and businesses.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for budget analysts.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of budget analysts with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about budget analysts by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Budget Analysts Do About this section

Budget analysts
Budget analysts prepare budget reports and monitor spending.

Budget analysts help public and private institutions organize their finances. They prepare budget reports and monitor institutional spending.

Duties

Budget analysts typically do the following:

  • Work with program and project managers to develop the organization's budget
  • Review managers' budget proposals for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with laws and other regulations
  • Combine all the program and department budgets together into a consolidated organizational budget and review all funding requests for merit
  • Explain their recommendations for funding requests to others in the organization, legislators, and the public
  • Help the chief operations officer, agency head, or other top managers analyze proposed plans and find alternatives if the projected results are unsatisfactory
  • Monitor organizational spending to ensure that it is within budget
  • Inform program managers of the status and availability of funds
  • Estimate future financial needs

Budget analysts advise various institutions—including governments, universities, and businesses—on how to organize their finances. They prepare annual and special reports and evaluate budget proposals. They analyze data to determine the costs and benefits of various programs and recommend funding levels based on their findings. Although elected officials (in government) or top executives (in a private company) usually make the final decision on an organization's budget, they rely on the work of budget analysts to prepare the information for that decision.

Sometimes, budget analysts use cost-benefit analyses to review financial requests, assess program tradeoffs, and explore alternative funding methods. Budget analysts also may examine past budgets and research economic and financial developments that affect the organization's income and expenditures. Budget analysts may recommend program spending cuts or redistributing extra funds.

Throughout the year, budget analysts oversee spending to ensure compliance with the budget and determine whether changes to funding levels are needed for certain programs. Analysts also evaluate programs to determine whether they are producing the desired results.

In addition to providing technical analysis, budget analysts must effectively communicate their recommendations to officials within the organization. For example, if there is a difference between the approved budget and actual spending, budget analysts may write a report explaining the variations and recommend changes to reconcile the differences.

Budget analysts working in government attend committee hearings to explain their recommendations to legislators. Occasionally, budget analysts may evaluate how well a program is doing, provide policy analysis, and draft budget-related legislation.

Work Environment About this section

Budget analysts
Budget analysts work in a variety of settings including government agencies, universities, and companies.

Budget analysts held about 60,800 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most budget analysts were as follows:

Federal government 20%
Educational services; state, local, and private 15
State government, excluding education and hospitals 13
Professional, scientific, and technical services 10
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 10

Although budget analysts usually work in offices, some may travel to get budget details firsthand or to verify funding allocations.

Budget analysts spend most of their time analyzing data and preparing budget proposals. In nonprofit and government organizations, analysts try to find the most efficient way to distribute funds and other resources among various departments and programs. In private firms, a budget analyst's main responsibility is to review the budget and seek new ways to improve efficiency and increase profits.

Work Schedules

Most budget analysts work full time, and overtime is sometimes required during final reviews of budgets. The pressures of deadlines and tight work schedules can be stressful.

How to Become a Budget Analyst About this section

Budget analysts
Budget analysts must present technical information in writing that is understandable for the intended audience.

A bachelor’s degree is typically required to become a budget analyst, although some employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree.

Education

Employers generally require budget analysts to have at least a bachelor's degree. However, some employers may require candidates to have a master’s degree. Because developing a budget requires strong numerical and analytical skills, courses in statistics or accounting are helpful. Federal, state, and local governments have varying requirements, but usually require a bachelor's degree in one of many areas, such as accounting, finance, business, public administration, economics, statistics, political science, or sociology.

Sometimes, budget-related or finance-related work experience can be substituted for formal education.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Government budget analysts may earn the Certified Government Financial Manager credential from the Association of Government Accountants. To earn this certification, candidates must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree, 24 credit hours of study in financial management, 2 years of professional-level experience in governmental financial management, and they must pass a series of exams. To keep the certification, budget analysts must take 80 hours of continuing education every 2 years.

Advancement

Entry-level budget analysts begin with limited responsibilities, but advancement is common. As analysts gain experience, they have the opportunity to advance to intermediate and senior budget analyst positions.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Budget analysts must be able to process a variety of information, evaluate costs and benefits, and solve complex problems.

Communication skills. Budget analysts need strong communication skills because they often have to explain and defend their analyses and recommendations in meetings and legislative committee hearings.

Detail oriented. Creating an efficient budget requires careful analysis of each budget item.

Math skills. Most budget analysts need math skills and should be able to use certain software, including spreadsheets, database functions, and financial analysis programs.

Writing skills. Budget analysts must present technical information in writing that is understandable for the intended audience.

Pay About this section

Budget Analysts

Median annual wages, May 2015

Budget analysts

$71,590

Financial specialists

$67,740

Total, all occupations

$36,200

 

The median annual wage for budget analysts was $71,590 in May 2015. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $47,550, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $108,600.

In May 2015, the median annual wages for budget analysts in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Professional, scientific, and technical services $79,580
Federal government 77,230
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 67,230
State government, excluding education and hospitals 65,480
Educational services; state, local, and private 62,630

Most budget analysts work full time, and overtime is sometimes required during final reviews of budgets.

Job Outlook About this section

Budget Analysts

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Financial specialists

10%

Total, all occupations

7%

Budget analysts

3%

 

Employment of budget analysts is projected to grow 3 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations.

Efficient use of public funds is increasingly expected at the Federal, state, and local levels. Budget analysts should be in demand for their ability to manage the allocation of public funds. Many state and local governments, which previously had hiring freezes due to revenue shortfalls, are now seeing growth in revenue and spending. This should allow for increased hiring of budget analysts, as these governments fill positions that were previously left vacant. Budget analysts working in state government are projected to grow 2 percent, while those working in local government are projected to grow 6 percent.

However, recent slowdowns in federal spending and employment have limited overall employment growth at the federal level. Because of this, budget analysts working in the federal government are projected to decline 10 percent.

Job Prospects

This occupation has fairly steady turnover, as budget analysts often leave the occupation to pursue opportunities to work in similar areas. These opportunities include positions as higher-level budget analysts at other organizations and positions in related business and financial occupations, such as financial analysts. For this reason, job prospects are expected to be good for entry-level budget analysts.

Employment projections data for budget analysts, 2014-24
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Budget analysts

13-2031 60,800 62,300 3 1,500 [XLSX]

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of budget analysts.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2015 MEDIAN PAY Help
Accountants and auditors

Accountants and Auditors

Accountants and auditors prepare and examine financial records. They ensure that financial records are accurate and that taxes are paid properly and on time. Accountants and auditors assess financial operations and work to help ensure that organizations run efficiently.

Bachelor's degree $67,190
Cost estimators

Cost Estimators

Cost estimators collect and analyze data in order to estimate the time, money, materials, and labor required to manufacture a product, construct a building, or provide a service. They generally specialize in a particular product or industry.

Bachelor's degree $60,390
Economists

Economists

Economists study the production and distribution of resources, goods, and services by collecting and analyzing data, researching trends, and evaluating economic issues.

Master's degree $99,180
Financial analysts

Financial Analysts

Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and other types of investments.

Bachelor's degree $80,310
Financial managers

Financial Managers

Financial managers are responsible for the financial health of an organization. They produce financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop strategies and plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization.

Bachelor's degree $117,990
Management analysts

Management Analysts

Management analysts, often called management consultants, propose ways to improve an organization’s efficiency. They advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues.

Bachelor's degree $81,320
Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents

Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents ensure that federal, state, and local governments get their tax money from businesses and citizens. They review tax returns, conduct audits, identify taxes owed, and collect overdue tax payments.

Bachelor's degree $51,430
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Budget Analysts,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/budget-analysts.htm (visited June 29, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

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How to Become One

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Pay

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State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's Career InfoNet.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

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Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2014

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2014, which is the base year of the 2014-24 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2014-24

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.