AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

Aug/12

14

Ayesha Tillman on Finding an Entry to Mid-Level Evaluation Position within a Government Agency

Hello, I am Ayesha Tillman, a fourth year Ph.D student in Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (Illinois). I received my Bachelor of Science in Psychology and my Master of Arts in Research Psychology and never dreamed of working in evaluation. After receiving my MA, but prior to coming to Illinois, I worked as an education research associate in the Research and Evaluation Section of the Arizona Department of Education for two years.

Lessons Learned:

  • There are many paths to a professional evaluation career. There are many educational paths and even more opportunities for a career in evaluation. Evaluation positions can be found in academia, private consulting firms, educational research companies and government agencies.
  •  Government agencies are a great place to work! While you likely won’t make as much as working for a private evaluation firm or an educational research company, there are lots of perks to working for the government. These agencies often have great healthcare packages, ample vacation/sick time, job security and usually support professional development.

Hot Tips:

  • Know what skills they are looking for. Government employed evaluators are usually expected to be able to write reports, give oral presentations, have comprehensive qualitative and quantitative research skills, be able to develop surveys, and analyze data using SPSS, MS Access or SAS.
  • Know the policies. In addition to the previous, you will also be expected to have some knowledge of policy or legislation as it relates to the agency you are applying for.  For example, if you are applying for a state Department of Education, you should be familiar with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
  • Know what to look for. Government agencies may not always post positions that require evaluation skills as “Evaluator”. Know what type of positions to look for. They may be titled: research associate or program specialist. Check the position description in the job posting. Don’t pass up a job because it doesn’t have ‘_JGevaluator’ in the title.
  • Know where to look. The AEA Career Center is a great place to start looking for jobs. You will also want to look at the specific government agency’s website as well. Some government agencies that hire evaluation positions are: Departments of Education (federal and state), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and Government Accountability Offices.

Rad Resources:

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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1 comment

  • JoAnn Paxson · August 15, 2012 at 9:39 am

    The state-level equivalents of the federal Government Accountability Office are usually legislative program evaluation groups or performance audit offices. Our peer organization is a subgroup of the National Conference of State Legislatures. The National Legislative Program Evaluation Society may be a useful resource for identifying state program evaluation offices.
    http://www.ncsl.org/legislative-staff.aspx?tabs=857,43,495#857

    Reply

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