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How educated is the typical state legislator?

Although many members of the U.S. Congress are lawyers and doctors, you certainly do not need such a long education to serve as a state lawmaker. To produce the table below, I wrote a program to automatically code the educational histories available for each legislator from Project Vote Smart (as of February 2011).

  • Doctoral level: Includes PhD, MD, DDS, DVM, OD, PharmD, EdD, DBA, DHA, DSW, and other medical/doctoral degrees.
  • Law school: Includes JD and LLM.
  • Masters level: Includes MA, MS, MFA, MBA, LLB, MSF, MMus, MPA, MEd, MPharm, and other tertiary degrees.
  • Bachelors level: Includes most traditional four-year degrees, including BA, BS, BFA, BSW, BPhil, BBA, BBEd.
  • Associates level: Includes associates degrees, two-year nursing programs, technical college certificates, and so on.
  • High school only: Includes high school graduates, GEDs, and those who attended some college but never earned a degree or certificate.
  • No data: For some legislators Vote Smart does not report data. This problem is worse in some states than in others.

Click a state or chamber name to see a list of legislators from that state/chamber.

State Chamber Size Doct. JD Mast Bach. Asso. H.S. No data Graph
National average Lower 5391 186
3%
713
13%
852
16%
1555
29%
190
4%
653
12%
1242
23%
Upper 1961 110
6%
385
20%
365
19%
615
31%
56
3%
241
12%
189
10%
AlabamaLower 104 6
6%
9
9%
24
23%
37
36%
3
3%
10
10%
15
14%
Upper 35 1
3%
13
37%
5
14%
13
37%
1
3%
1
3%
1
3%
AlaskaLower 40 0
0%
4
10%
8
20%
12
30%
4
10%
9
23%
3
8%
Upper 20 2
10%
5
25%
4
20%
7
35%
1
5%
1
5%
0
0%
ArizonaLower 60 5
8%
4
7%
11
18%
16
27%
1
2%
7
12%
16
27%
Upper 30 2
7%
3
10%
5
17%
10
33%
0
0%
3
10%
7
23%
ArkansasLower 98 2
2%
8
8%
8
8%
23
23%
1
1%
2
2%
54
55%
Upper 35 0
0%
5
14%
3
9%
12
34%
0
0%
3
9%
12
34%
CaliforniaLower 79 1
1%
15
19%
21
27%
28
35%
1
1%
3
4%
10
13%
Upper 40 6
15%
9
23%
5
13%
16
40%
1
3%
2
5%
1
3%
ColoradoLower 65 2
3%
12
18%
16
25%
13
20%
0
0%
2
3%
20
31%
Upper 35 1
3%
7
20%
8
23%
11
31%
1
3%
3
9%
4
11%
ConnecticutLower 145 1
1%
23
16%
31
21%
36
25%
4
3%
24
17%
26
18%
Upper 33 0
0%
12
36%
9
27%
7
21%
0
0%
1
3%
4
12%
DelawareLower 41 3
7%
2
5%
6
15%
10
24%
6
15%
12
29%
2
5%
Upper 21 2
10%
0
0%
5
24%
7
33%
0
0%
6
29%
1
5%
FloridaLower 120 4
3%
26
22%
15
13%
37
31%
6
5%
7
6%
25
21%
Upper 39 5
13%
10
26%
8
21%
8
21%
0
0%
5
13%
3
8%
GeorgiaLower 179 7
4%
21
12%
17
9%
74
41%
3
2%
15
8%
42
23%
Upper 56 5
9%
9
16%
7
13%
19
34%
1
2%
8
14%
7
13%
HawaiiLower 51 2
4%
12
24%
4
8%
18
35%
1
2%
2
4%
12
24%
Upper 25 2
8%
3
12%
5
20%
9
36%
0
0%
1
4%
5
20%
State Chamber Size Doct. JD Mast Bach. Asso. H.S. No data Graph
IdahoLower 70 4
6%
4
6%
7
10%
23
33%
5
7%
9
13%
18
26%
Upper 35 1
3%
4
11%
5
14%
15
43%
1
3%
7
20%
2
6%
IllinoisLower 118 2
2%
19
16%
21
18%
33
28%
5
4%
15
13%
23
19%
Upper 58 1
2%
13
22%
11
19%
19
33%
0
0%
7
12%
7
12%
IndianaLower 100 3
3%
7
7%
17
17%
29
29%
2
2%
16
16%
26
26%
Upper 50 0
0%
13
26%
6
12%
22
44%
3
6%
5
10%
1
2%
IowaLower 100 1
1%
13
13%
17
17%
31
31%
10
10%
14
14%
14
14%
Upper 50 1
2%
1
2%
12
24%
18
36%
2
4%
10
20%
6
12%
KansasLower 125 5
4%
7
6%
13
10%
31
25%
2
2%
1
1%
66
53%
Upper 40 4
10%
6
15%
7
18%
9
23%
2
5%
3
8%
9
23%
KentuckyLower 100 7
7%
14
14%
22
22%
21
21%
0
0%
13
13%
23
23%
Upper 38 3
8%
9
24%
9
24%
9
24%
1
3%
4
11%
3
8%
LouisianaLower 104 1
1%
25
24%
12
12%
37
36%
4
4%
21
20%
4
4%
Upper 38 2
5%
11
29%
2
5%
13
34%
2
5%
4
11%
4
11%
MaineLower 152 5
3%
8
5%
23
15%
40
26%
10
7%
23
15%
43
28%
Upper 35 3
9%
5
14%
6
17%
5
14%
3
9%
7
20%
6
17%
MarylandLower 141 3
2%
27
19%
24
17%
38
27%
1
1%
20
14%
28
20%
Upper 47 2
4%
12
26%
14
30%
12
26%
3
6%
2
4%
2
4%
MassachusettsLower 159 2
1%
36
23%
27
17%
33
21%
4
3%
19
12%
38
24%
Upper 40 2
5%
13
33%
10
25%
7
18%
0
0%
7
18%
1
3%
MichiganLower 110 1
1%
10
9%
9
8%
24
22%
1
1%
4
4%
61
55%
Upper 38 1
3%
4
11%
7
18%
11
29%
1
3%
13
34%
1
3%
State Chamber Size Doct. JD Mast Bach. Asso. H.S. No data Graph
MinnesotaLower 133 4
3%
13
10%
29
22%
41
31%
6
5%
9
7%
31
23%
Upper 67 1
1%
9
13%
14
21%
30
45%
4
6%
6
9%
3
4%
MississippiLower 122 5
4%
28
23%
10
8%
40
33%
4
3%
32
26%
3
2%
Upper 51 1
2%
8
16%
6
12%
15
29%
2
4%
17
33%
2
4%
MissouriLower 163 3
2%
8
5%
20
12%
32
20%
3
2%
21
13%
76
47%
Upper 33 2
6%
8
24%
2
6%
12
36%
0
0%
7
21%
2
6%
MontanaLower 100 6
6%
4
4%
11
11%
31
31%
5
5%
8
8%
35
35%
Upper 50 3
6%
4
8%
8
16%
12
24%
1
2%
7
14%
15
30%
NebraskaUpper 49 5
10%
11
22%
10
20%
17
35%
0
0%
5
10%
1
2%
Nebraska has a nonpartisan unicameral legislature.
NevadaLower 42 1
2%
4
10%
7
17%
4
10%
1
2%
5
12%
20
48%
Upper 21 1
5%
2
10%
3
14%
7
33%
1
5%
6
29%
1
5%
New HampshireLower 399 16
4%
7
2%
39
10%
51
13%
11
3%
38
10%
237
59%
Upper 24 2
8%
3
13%
4
17%
10
42%
1
4%
0
0%
4
17%
New JerseyLower 80 5
6%
21
26%
14
18%
19
24%
1
1%
12
15%
8
10%
Upper 40 4
10%
12
30%
14
35%
5
13%
1
3%
3
8%
1
3%
New MexicoLower 70 1
1%
5
7%
12
17%
11
16%
1
1%
6
9%
34
49%
Upper 42 2
5%
5
12%
13
31%
10
24%
0
0%
2
5%
10
24%
New YorkLower 149 6
4%
41
28%
34
23%
38
26%
6
4%
9
6%
15
10%
Upper 62 0
0%
19
31%
14
23%
21
34%
2
3%
2
3%
4
6%
North CarolinaLower 120 4
3%
14
12%
16
13%
32
27%
2
2%
6
5%
46
38%
Upper 50 3
6%
13
26%
6
12%
9
18%
1
2%
6
12%
12
24%
North DakotaLower 94 4
4%
2
2%
14
15%
38
40%
6
6%
18
19%
12
13%
Upper 47 2
4%
4
9%
6
13%
19
40%
3
6%
8
17%
5
11%
State Chamber Size Doct. JD Mast Bach. Asso. H.S. No data Graph
OhioLower 99 1
1%
24
24%
15
15%
34
34%
3
3%
11
11%
11
11%
Upper 33 1
3%
10
30%
8
24%
8
24%
1
3%
3
9%
2
6%
OklahomaLower 101 6
6%
11
11%
16
16%
36
36%
2
2%
9
9%
21
21%
Upper 48 2
4%
13
27%
6
13%
14
29%
1
2%
7
15%
5
10%
OregonLower 60 5
8%
9
15%
14
23%
19
32%
0
0%
10
17%
3
5%
Upper 30 3
10%
5
17%
10
33%
10
33%
0
0%
2
7%
0
0%
PennsylvaniaLower 203 4
2%
41
20%
22
11%
79
39%
15
7%
38
19%
4
2%
Upper 49 3
6%
15
31%
4
8%
17
35%
3
6%
5
10%
2
4%
Rhode IslandLower 75 1
1%
19
25%
13
17%
19
25%
5
7%
15
20%
3
4%
Upper 38 1
3%
6
16%
10
26%
7
18%
2
5%
8
21%
4
11%
South CarolinaLower 123 9
7%
28
23%
18
15%
42
34%
10
8%
13
11%
3
2%
Upper 45 2
4%
13
29%
5
11%
19
42%
0
0%
5
11%
1
2%
South DakotaLower 70 1
1%
2
3%
7
10%
19
27%
1
1%
6
9%
34
49%
Upper 35 0
0%
1
3%
9
26%
13
37%
1
3%
4
11%
7
20%
TennesseeLower 99 6
6%
5
5%
12
12%
47
47%
1
1%
20
20%
8
8%
Upper 33 2
6%
11
33%
2
6%
12
36%
0
0%
3
9%
3
9%
TexasLower 150 6
4%
40
27%
22
15%
53
35%
3
2%
11
7%
15
10%
Upper 31 2
6%
12
39%
2
6%
13
42%
0
0%
2
6%
0
0%
UtahLower 75 5
7%
5
7%
20
27%
22
29%
1
1%
11
15%
11
15%
Upper 29 2
7%
7
24%
6
21%
7
24%
2
7%
3
10%
2
7%
VermontLower 150 3
2%
10
7%
39
26%
48
32%
14
9%
21
14%
15
10%
Upper 30 3
10%
3
10%
7
23%
11
37%
2
7%
1
3%
3
10%
State Chamber Size Doct. JD Mast Bach. Asso. H.S. No data Graph
VirginiaLower 99 5
5%
27
27%
28
28%
27
27%
1
1%
7
7%
4
4%
Upper 40 4
10%
10
25%
11
28%
9
23%
0
0%
4
10%
2
5%
WashingtonLower 98 2
2%
9
9%
22
22%
38
39%
5
5%
16
16%
6
6%
Upper 49 5
10%
2
4%
12
24%
18
37%
4
8%
4
8%
4
8%
West VirginiaLower 100 5
5%
10
10%
24
24%
30
30%
3
3%
19
19%
9
9%
Upper 34 4
12%
5
15%
10
29%
6
18%
1
3%
6
18%
2
6%
WisconsinLower 96 2
2%
9
9%
16
17%
43
45%
4
4%
21
22%
1
1%
Upper 33 2
6%
3
9%
5
15%
18
55%
0
0%
4
12%
1
3%
WyomingLower 60 3
5%
11
18%
5
8%
18
30%
2
3%
13
22%
8
13%
Upper 30 2
7%
4
13%
5
17%
7
23%
0
0%
8
27%
4
13%