Budget and Policy Units Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


1. What does the Career Ladder look like?

2. What abilities do you look for in a Finance Budget Analyst?

Finance Budget Analysts should be able to:

  • Work independently and as part of a team
  • Communicate effectively through clear and concise written and oral skills
  • Reach out to a broad spectrum of people, including representatives of local, state, and federal government and special interest groups, to develop a thorough understanding of a policy or issue
  • Gain and maintain cooperative working relationships
  • Put their political biases aside and think objectively about an issue
  • Advocate, as a representative of the Administration, for a policy that he or she may not personally endorse
  • Testify before budget subcommittees and be able to respond to questions about program areas
  • Work well in a fast-paced environment with competing deadlines
  • Adapt to shifting priorities
  • Have a solid understanding of basic mathematical, statistical, and economic principles
  • Maintain the integrity and confidentiality of budget information during the deliberative process where various ideas are evaluated or considered
  • Identify problems and recommend solutions
  • Use good judgement

3. What qualities do you look for in a Finance Budget Analyst?

Finance Budget Analysts should be:

  • Inquisitive
  • Analytical
  • Skeptical while maintaining respect for different views
  • Informed about current news impacting public policy at the local, state, and federal level
  • Helpful to other state entities and members of the public
  • Someone who enjoys a challenge
  • Flexible
  • Reliable

4. I have a degree, but very little work experience. Is there an entry-level classification for me?

Finance offers two entry-level classifications:

  • Junior Staff Analyst (candidates with a Bachelor’s degree are encouraged to apply)
  • Finance Budget Analyst, Range A (candidates with a Master’s degree are encouraged to apply)

Class specifications can be found on CalHR’s website at:

5. What are my promotional opportunities?

After 6 months of experience at each level, you are eligible for a promotional exam. After one year of experience, you are eligible for promotion to the next classification if you achieved a passing score on the exam.

6. How much overtime can I expect to work?

Overtime can vary greatly from assignment to assignment and can often be dependent on the current policy and political issues facing a particular assignment area. Most overtime will be worked in the months of October and November as the Governor’s Budget is under development and in May when the Governor’s May Revision to the budget is released. Analysts may need to work overtime during other times of the year, but generally less than the amount worked in the three months noted above.

Overtime is compensated at a rate of time and a half and can either be paid-out to the analyst the month after it is worked or banked as compensatory time off which provides the analyst with additional leave credits.

7. What benefits are offered for new employees?

Generally, employees earn paid time off (sick leave/vacation or annual leave), health, dental, and vision benefits, and can participate in the state’s retirement program. Detailed information about benefits offered to Finance employees can be found on DOF’s Benefits Page.

8. Do we get time-off with pay for holidays?

Yes, employees receive 11 paid holidays each year. To see a listing of all state holidays, please visit the  CalHR website.

9. Will I be able to choose which policy area I work in (e.g. education, health and human services, environmental resources, etc.)?

The policy preferences of potential hires are given weight during the selection process, but there may not always be sufficient vacancies available to match analysts with their desired policy area. However, analysts are encouraged to rotate budget assignments (typically after two or more years of experience), so it is possible that you would eventually be able to work in your preferred policy area.

10. Is travel required?

Travel is not typically required. However, analysts are encouraged to schedule site visits in their program areas during the less busy times of the year. For example:

  • Corrections/Public Safety analysts have visited a number of prisons, jails, and courthouses.
  • Department of Forestry and Fire Protection analysts have visited the central command sites for active fires and have gone out to watch fire crews at work.
  • Transportation analysts were able to tour the Bay Bridge and climb suspension cables.
  • General Government analysts went on a ride along with the Special Operations Enforcement Unit within the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control.