Becoming a Budget Analyst

A budget analyst is only one of many careers in accounting. Budget analysis involves correlation between project goals and budgetary concerns. Paraphrased, a budget analyst helps organize a business’s or organization’s finances. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one definition includes preparing budget reports and monitoring spending.

Budget Analyst Education Requirements

Typically, employers require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and some require a master’s degree in accounting. Developing budgets require very strong analytical, numerical and accounting skills, most degree programs for this career includes statistics and advanced mathematical courses. If public service appeals to you, any bachelor’s degree is usually sufficient for an entry-level position in budget analysis for the federal government. State governments, though, often require a baccalaureate degree specifically within an accounting, public administration, business or economics fields. You might successfully substitute verifiable work experience for some or all of the formal education requirements.

Due to the complexity and high standards for accuracy, on-the-job training requirements can extend through a full year of supervised training for entry-level positions before working unsupervised.

If federal government service is your goal, you will probably be required to earn not only your entry-level degree but also the Certified Government Financial Manager credential, given after testing by the Association of Government Accountants. Certification is possible after 24 hours of financial management study, two years of professional experience in financial management for the government and successful completion of a test series. To keep your certification, you must complete 80 hours of continuing education every two years.

Budget Analyst Salary Estimates and Job Outlook

As with virtually any career, salary expectations can increase with education and experience. As of May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a median salary of $78,970 for budget analysts. The bottom 10% in this profession earned about $51,220, while the top 10% earned about $121,360 during this time.

The federal government came out on top for being the largest industry for budget analyst jobs as of May 2020, comprising 22% of all jobs in this field, followed by educational services (13%), professional, technical, and scientific services (11%) and state and local government (11% each).

May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job market trends for budget analysts represent national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data Accessed May 2021.