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How do I Become a Program Evaluator?

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  • Written By: Elva K.
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 26 March 2019
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Program evaluators are research professionals who specialize in the quantitative or qualitative evaluation of programs in order to find out if programs work or how programs can be improved. The focus can be on process evaluation or outcome evaluation. To become a program evaluator, you generally will need a college degree, internship experience, a drive to gain a post-graduate degree, and experience on real-world research projects while in graduate school.

Some researchers specialize in specific areas, such as program evaluation in education. Other researchers conduct program evaluations in various fields. Some individuals work with school systems while others work as independent research consultants who work with companies or organizations.

While a college degree is generally required, it can be helpful to get a degree in subjects such as math or statistics. During college, it can be important for you to participate in research. Internships or part-time jobs where you work with professors on their research projects can provide you with valuable real-world experience.

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Post-graduate work in inquiry, statistics, or program evaluation is generally recommended for anyone that wants to become a program evaluator. You typically should look for graduate opportunities during your final year or semester of college. If possible, you should pursue a doctorate degree (PhD) because having a PhD will greatly help in the effort to become a program evaluator. Not all schools offer PhDs; starting with a master's degree can help get you moving in the right direction as you search for the optimal PhD program that best suits your interest and goals.

Good grades in both undergraduate and post-graduate situations can be important. Many prospective employers will want to see a high grade point average (GPA) along with real-world experience. Internships in program evaluation can also be important; this type of experience will demonstrate to an employer that you are able to hold down a job in the field while pursuing further study.

After graduate school, it can be a good idea for you to talk with professors to ask for assistance in the job search process. Also, contact the career services department at your school to see if it has any job leads. Joining a professional organization of researchers who provides career advice could help with your efforts to become a program evaluator, as well.

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