Career Development

How To Become a Monitoring And Evaluation Specialist: Step-by-Step Guide

Learn about the steps important to pursuing a career as a monitoring and evaluation specialist, including education, skills, salary and more.

Monitoring and evaluation specialists are responsible for designing and conducting evaluations of programs, projects and policies. They use data to assess program effectiveness and make recommendations for improvement. A career as a monitoring and evaluation specialist can be very rewarding, but it does require specific skills and training. In this article, we discuss what a monitoring and evaluation specialist does, the average salary and how to become one.

What Does a Monitoring And Evaluation Specialist Do?

Monitoring and evaluation specialists are responsible for designing, conducting and overseeing evaluations of programs or projects. They work in a variety of industries, including government, healthcare, education and social services. The goal of their work is to improve the effectiveness of these programs or projects by providing data that can be used to make changes.

Some of the specific duties of a monitoring and evaluation specialist include:

  • Developing evaluation plans that outline how a program or project will be monitored and assessed
  • Collecting data through surveys, interviews, focus groups or other methods
  • Analyzing data to identify trends and patterns
  • Writing reports that summarize findings and recommend changes
  • Presenting findings to program staff, funders or other stakeholders
  • Providing technical assistance to program staff on evaluation methods and tools
  • Training staff on how to collect data
  • Supervising other evaluators
  • Staying up-to-date on the latest evaluation methods and standards

Monitoring And Evaluation Specialist Salary and Job Outlook

The average salary for a monitoring and evaluation specialist is $75,705. This figure can vary based on the level of experience, education, industry and geographical location of the specialist.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job prospects for monitoring and evaluation specialists to increase at a faster than average rate over the next decade. This is due in part to the growing emphasis on accountability and data-driven decision making in the public and private sector. Monitoring and evaluation specialists play an important role in helping organizations track their progress and assess the effectiveness of their programs.

How to Become a Monitoring And Evaluation Specialist

Here are several steps you should take to become a monitoring and evaluation specialist.

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as international development, economics, or statistics

A monitoring and evaluation specialist needs a bachelor’s degree in order to work in this field. Common degrees that are helpful for becoming a M&E specialist include international development, economics, statistics or public policy.

While pursuing your undergraduate degree, consider taking courses in research methods, data analysis, program planning and evaluation, and other relevant subjects. These courses will help you develop the skills necessary to succeed as a monitoring and evaluation specialist.

2. Consider pursuing a master’s degree in evaluation, public policy, or a related field

While a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for most monitoring and evaluation specialist positions, many employers prefer candidates who hold master’s degrees. A master’s degree in public policy, evaluation or another relevant field can help you develop your skills further and give you an advantage when applying for jobs.

A master’s degree program in monitoring and evaluation typically includes coursework in research design, data analysis, survey development, ethics, impact assessment and report writing. Some programs also offer courses in geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing and other advanced technology applications.

3. Gain experience working on monitoring and evaluation projects

While a bachelor’s degree is the minimum education requirement for most monitoring and evaluation specialist positions, experience in this field is also necessary. Many employers prefer candidates who have worked as research assistants or data analysts on projects related to those of the job they are applying for.

Working under the supervision of an experienced M&E professional can help you develop your skills and knowledge of the field. It can also give you valuable networking opportunities that can help you find a job after graduation.

4. Develop strong research, writing, and analytical skills

Monitoring and evaluation specialists must be able to conduct thorough research on the programs they are evaluating. They often review large amounts of data and other sources to find relevant information about a program’s impact or outcomes.

Monitoring and evaluation specialists also need strong writing and analytical skills to create reports and communicate their findings in an understandable way.

5. Understand statistical analysis methods

Monitoring and evaluation specialists use statistical analysis methods to identify trends in the data they collect. For example, a monitoring and evaluation specialist might study school attendance rates among students in a developing country and find that attendance is lowest during rainy season. The specialist can then work with local officials to develop strategies to improve school attendance during this time of year.

Monitoring and evaluation specialists who work for large organizations or governments often need to understand complex statistical analysis methods such as regression analysis and multivariate analysis. These professionals also need to be able to interpret the results of these analyses and communicate them clearly to others.

6. Stay up to date on new developments in the field of monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation professionals must always be learning new developments in their field. This is because the needs of those being monitored and evaluated are constantly changing, and you must adapt your strategies accordingly.

For example, if a nonprofit organization that you work for has been monitoring the effectiveness of its literacy program among low-income families, it may discover that more families would benefit from additional support with nutrition. In this case, you will need to research effective ways to monitor and evaluate nutritional assistance programs.

7. Join professional organizations such as the American Evaluation Association

The American Evaluation Association (AEA) is a professional organization that provides training and networking opportunities for monitoring and evaluation professionals. The AEA offers members access to resources such as job boards, journals and newsletters, and online discussion groups where they can ask questions and get advice from peers.

The AEA also hosts conferences and workshops where you can learn about the latest developments in the field of monitoring and evaluation. Attending these events can help you stay up to date on industry trends and enhance your skills.


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