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What is a budget analyst?

At a glance

  • Budget analysts help public and private organizations plan their overall finances.
  • To become a budget analyst, applicants typically need a bachelor’s degree in math, business or a related field. 
  • Important qualities to have as a budget analyst are strong communication skills (oral and written), analytical skills and being detail oriented.
  • Explore online finance and accounting programs at University of Phoenix!

Budget analysts* play an integral role in the financial aspects of a business or organization. In this profession, you work hand-in-hand with department heads, project managers and other decision-makers to plan the overall company budget and allocate funding. You might also assess current processes and purchasing practices to find areas for financial improvement.

*University of Phoenix does not offer a program that guarantees it aligns with requirements to become a budget analyst.

Interested in accounting? 

A degree from University of Phoenix is a great place to start! 

Budget analysts often come from a math background, with many choosing a degree in accounting or finance. In addition to math and analytical skills, the profession requires strong communication. Since budget analysts work closely with management, you need to be able to convey your analysis in writing and in visual and oral presentations.

A career in budget analysis goes well beyond crunching numbers and using budgeting principles, though. This career is a good option for people who want to apply a range of skills and collaborate.

Here is a closer look at the career path of a budget analyst.

How to become a budget analyst

Budget analysts need a specific skill set, professional experience in their sector of choice, and a degree. Here is a closer look at these requirements.

Earn a degree

The first step along the budget analyst career path is to earn a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s in math, accounting, business or social science can typically qualify you for an entry-level job. If you choose a business, finance or accounting degree, you will have a stronger understanding of the different types of financial functions of a company or organization.

Budget analysts’ findings can affect the strategic direction of a company or the standing of a government agency. Because of the importance of this role, some employers prefer applicants with a master’s degree. Ideally, a master’s degree in accounting, economics or statistics will provide a thorough understanding of an organization’s financial requirements.

Gain professional experience

Employers in many sectors prefer applicants with experience. In some sectors, competition for lucrative positions is high, and those with experience may have a better chance of securing interviews or open positions.

Internships during a bachelor’s degree program can help with real-world experience, and some small businesses and nonprofits may hire recent graduates and provide a setting for them to gain valuable on-the-job experience.

Some federal agencies hire budget analysts with limited experience for entry-level duties, allowing them to move into higher positions as they gain experience. 

Earn certifications

Professional certification isn’t typically required for a budget analyst position. However, there’s a specific certification that may improve employment prospects for those interested in working on public sector budgets.

A Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) certification** is available for those who want to work with federal, state or local government agencies. This certification, available through the Association of Government Accountants, involves sitting for three exams that measure understanding of government accounting, auditing and financial policies. You must have a bachelor’s degree and two years of professional experience to qualify for the exams.

**University of Phoenix does not educationally prepare for individuals to sit for CPA exams.

Explore career opportunities

If you are committed to a budget analyst career, show employers that you have a solid understanding of how the different aspects of a business or organization work and their financial requirements.

Certain types of private companies are likely to hire budget analysts. You can apply with large corporations, including in the energy, hospitality and transportation support services sectors.

When applying for these jobs, be sure to highlight experience, including internships, during your degree program. This real-world experience can help distinguish you from others who lack professional experience.

Some smaller companies and nonprofit organizations may offer entry-level positions for those looking to gain experience. In the government sector, local governments may offer entry-level jobs, as well.

USAjobs.gov is the official job search portal for government employment. You can typically find budget analyst jobs through this site. Though these are federal agencies, the jobs are not necessarily Washington D.C.-based. 

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Budget analyst job outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS ) projects demand for budget analysts will increase by 3% from 2021 to 2031. This growth is slower than the average for all professions (5%). BLS data shows this translates to roughly 4,000 job openings projected each year.

BLS Occupational Employment Projections, 2021-2031 is published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This data reflects BLS’ projections of national (not local) conditions. These data points are not specific to University of Phoenix students or graduates.

Is becoming a budget analyst right for you?

A budget analyst’s career could be right for you if you want a job that requires you to apply technical knowledge of business and finance in real-world settings. You also need to be comfortable communicating with others both orally and in writing.

You should also consider where you will find employment when choosing a career. Jobs are available in the private sector. However, many budget analyst opportunities are with government employers. Therefore, you should be comfortable with the idea of working in the public sector or with foundations or nonprofits.

This career could also be right for you if you are detail oriented and have the ability to find important information in ledgers, balance sheets and financial reports. If you are looking for a finance-related job that goes beyond bookkeeping and creating balance sheets, a budget analyst career might be right for you.

Finance and accounting at University of Phoenix

As noted, University of Phoenix does not have a program that guarantees it aligns with requirements to become a budget analyst. However, if you’re interested in business, finance or accounting, there are online program options to consider!

 

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