Career Paths at GAO


The majority of the people at GAO who are engaged in mission work are analysts. The analyst plans and conducts reviews of multiagency programs and the internal operations of individual agencies. Subject areas take in the full spectrum of federal activities, including health care, housing and urban development, tax policy and administration, national security and international relations, financial management, and natural resources and the environment.

Typically, an analyst works as part of a team conducting in-depth research on studies requested by committees, subcommittees, or individual members of Congress or studies that GAO has been mandated by legislation to conduct. This work is demanding, time bound, and important. Analysts must have strong methodological and research skills and must excel at documenting the work they do, writing the results and the findings, and presenting the work to audiences ranging from their team members to members of Congress and their staff. The hallmarks of our work are accuracy, objectivity, and integrity.

An analyst is expected to

    • support and promote collaborative efforts to achieve mission requirements;
    • satisfy client needs;
    • meet common goals; and comply with GAO policies, generally accepted government audit standards, and other requirements.
    • promote teamwork;
    • communicate openly and candidly;
    • participate fully in discussions;
    • employ techniques for problem solving and decision making; and
    • ensure that the principles of equal opportunity are properly observed.

Initially, an analyst will be supervised closely by a more senior analyst, but as he or she gains experience, supervision decreases until the supervisor needs only to review the analyst's work to ensure that objectives have been met and GAO policies have been followed. Entry analysts are assigned to GAO's Professional Development Program.