Budget analysts help public and private organizations plan their finances. They prepare budget reports and monitor organizational spending.


Budget analysts typically do the following:

  • Work with program and project managers to develop the organization’s budget
  • Review managers’ budget proposals and funding requests for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with laws and other regulations
  • Combine program and department budgets into a consolidated organizational budget
  • Explain funding requests to others in the organization, to legislators, and to the public
  • Help 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 organizations—including governments, private companies, and universities—about the details of 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 they recommend funding levels based on their findings. Although government officials or top executives in a private company usually decide 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 cutting spending on particular programs or redistributing funds.

Throughout the year, budget analysts oversee spending to ensure that organizations comply with the budget and to determine whether certain programs need changes in funding. Analysts also evaluate programs to determine whether they are producing desired results.

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

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

Work Environment

Budget analysts held about 50,400 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of budget analysts were as follows:

Federal government 25%
Educational services; state, local, and private 13
State government, excluding education and hospitals 11
Local government, excluding education and hospitals      11
Professional, scientific, and technical services 9

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

Work Schedules

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

Education and Training

Budget analysts typically need a bachelor's degree to enter the occupation. Some employers prefer to hire applicants who have a master's degree. Courses in accounting, economics, and statistics are helpful.


Budget analysts typically need at least a bachelor's degree in fields such as business, social science, psychology, or mathematics. Because developing a budget requires numeracy and analytical skills, coursework in accounting, economics, and statistics is helpful.

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

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Budget analysts working in federal, state or local government may earn the optional Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) credential from the Association of Government Accountants (AGA). CGFM candidates must have at least a bachelor’s degree, abide by the AGA’s Code of Ethics, pass examinations, and complete a designated period of professional-level experience in governmental financial management. To maintain certification, CGFMs must complete continuing education.

Although the CGFM is not required, having a designation may help with career advancement.

Personality and Interests

Budget analysts typically have an interest in the Thinking, Persuading and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Thinking interest area indicates a focus on researching, investigating, and increasing the understanding of natural laws. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.

If you are not sure whether you have a Thinking or Persuading or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as a budget analyst, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Budget analysts should also possess the following specific 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.


The median annual wage for budget analysts was $79,940 in May 2021. 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 $49,330, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $124,440.

In May 2021, the median annual wages for budget analysts in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Professional, scientific, and technical services $98,030
Federal government 87,190
State government, excluding education and hospitals 79,270
Local government, excluding education and hospitals      77,320
Educational services; state, local, and private 63,890

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

Job Outlook

Employment of budget analysts is projected to grow 3 percent from 2021 to 2031, slower than the average for all occupations.

Despite limited employment growth, about 4,000 openings for budget analysts are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. 


Calls for efficient use of public funds will lead to continued demand for budget analysts to estimate program costs, develop budgets, and explain their findings to legislators and the public. Demand for these workers is somewhat tied to the government funding that is allocated for these positions. However, budget analysts manage resource allocation and will be needed even during times of tight budgets.

For More Information

For information about the Government Financial Manager certification, visit

Association of Government Accountants




Where does this information come from?

The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

I would like to cite this page for a report. Who is the author?

There is no published author for this page. Please use citation guidelines for webpages without an author available. 

I think I have found an error or inaccurate information on this page. Who should I contact?

This information is taken directly from the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Truity does not editorialize the information, including changing information that our readers believe is inaccurate, because we consider the BLS to be the authority on occupational information. However, if you would like to correct a typo or other technical error, you can reach us at help@truity.com.

I am not sure if this career is right for me. How can I decide?

There are many excellent tools available that will allow you to measure your interests, profile your personality, and match these traits with appropriate careers. On this site, you can take the Career Personality Profiler assessment, the Holland Code assessment, or the Photo Career Quiz.

Get Our Newsletter