Education and Training Requirements

High School

Becoming a lobbyist requires years of experience in other government and related positions. To prepare for a government job, take courses in history, social studies, and civics to learn about the structure of local, state, and federal government. English, speech, and composition classes will help you develop your communication skills. Work on the student council or become an officer for a school club. Taking journalism courses and working on the school newspaper will prepare you for the public relations aspect of lobbying. As a reporter you will research current issues, meet with policymakers, and write articles.

Postsecondary Training

As a rule, people take up lobbying after having left an earlier career. Schools do not generally offer a specific curriculum that leads to a career as a lobbyist; your experience with legislation and policy-making is what will prove valuable to employers and clients. Almost all lobbyists have college degrees, and many have graduate degrees. Degrees in law and political science are among the most beneficial for prospective lobbyists, just as they are for other careers in politics and government. Journalism, education, public relations, history, and economics are other areas of study that would be helpful in the pursuit of a lobbying career.


The National Institute for Lobbying and Ethics offers a public policy certificate program for lobbyists and governmental affairs, grassroots, social media, public relations, and corporate/association professionals at all levels. Applicants must complete 24 credits of course work (12 classes), including the following required classes: Lobbying Ethics, House & Senate Procedures, Avoiding Conflicts of Interest, Political Action Committees, and Campaign Finance Rules and Regulations. Contact the institute for more information.

Other Education or Training

The ASAE & Center for Association Leadership offers continuing education (CE) opportunities for association management professionals. Women in Government Relations provides CE opportunities at its conferences. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There are no certification or licensing requirements.

Other Requirements

Lobbyists do not need a license or certification, but are required to register. The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (which was amended by the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007) requires all lobbyists working on the federal level to register with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House. You may also be required to register with the states in which you lobby and possibly pay a small fee.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Three to five years’ of legislative experience dealing with a variety of political issues will be useful for aspiring lobbyists.

Lobbyists need to know what motivates Congress members and staff to act. They must be honest in all their dealings with others. A lobbyist's career will be based on his or her reputation as a reliable person, so it is important to be scrupulous in building that reputation. They also need people skills to develop good relationships with legislators in order to serve their clients' interests. Their knowledge of the workings of government, along with good communication skills, will help them explain government legislation to their clients in ways that they can clearly understand.