A Member of Congress (MOC) can hire a congressional aide to help them significantly with a variety of day-to-day duties. They can support a committee within Congress as well. Though not a requirement, a congress member may prefer to hire their aide that is from their home state or district.
How to Become a Congressional Aide
Though there is no specific educational requirement to be a congressional aide, most look for aides with a bachelor’s degree in a related field that could include political science, public administration, communication, or a degree relating to the committee they may be working for. While in college, you can start to gain experience in politics and get involved in your college’s student government or debate club. If you can volunteer to help on a campaign or find an internship opportunity in Washington D.C. that can be extremely helpful to help you network.
An aides salary is up to their congress person to determine. According to the U.S. Senate, each member of congress receives a Members’ Representational Allowance (or MRA) which is a set dollar amount that can be used for “official expenses including, for example, staff, travel, mail, office equipment, district office rental, stationery, and other office supplies.” There is also a limitation to the number of employees a congress person can hire which makes gaining employment as a congressional aide competitive. In fact, each member of congress can only have up to 18 permanent employees and four additional employees if they meet certain requirements. To check out available positions, you can visit the United States Senate Employment Bulletin. The Senate Employment Bulletin is published as a service to Senate offices choosing to advertise staff vacancies.
Job Description of a Congressional Aide
A congressional aide’s duties vary depending on the work needed from their congress person. They could also work in their state or the Capitol. They often handle administrative duties such as managing meetings, events, emails, phone inquiries, and may also be tasked to handle research. Some aides may attend meetings and take notes. Because of these tasks, they have strong organizational and communication skills. Members of congress hold elections every two years so the length of time the aide is employed may depend on their employers term in office.
Congressional aide’s must often multitask, work long hours, and work varied schedules (nights, days, weekends, etc). This job can be stressful and gaining a position can be competitive.
United States Senate, Ida A. Brudnick. Updated April 11, 2018 Congressional Salaries and Allowances: In Brief.