Best-Kept-Secret Career: Program Evaluator

Some evaluators have only a bachelor's degree with no special training.

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Snapshot: Not withstanding politicians' rhetoric, is Head Start really worth the taxpayer dollars? What are the benefits and liabilities of online versus in-person training of solar energy installers? How might a teen-pregnancy prevention program further reduce teen pregnancy? How might the United Way reduce its overhead without diminishing benefits to clients? Program evaluators address such questions. This career has lots of upsides. It's fun getting immersed in a different program every few weeks or months, and it feels good to know that you are key to making programs better, or deciding whether one is worth continuing. You get to use a combination of observation, interviewing, questionnaires, presentation skills, and statistics. But don't worry if you're not a stats whiz; advanced statistics usually aren't necessary, and if they are, you can hire a consultant.

Getting there: Some evaluators have only a bachelor's degree with no special training. Yet some evaluations utilize Ph.D.'s from a specialized training program, such as Claremont Graduate School, UCLA, or Western Michigan University.

Learn more: Basic Guide to Program Evaluation