What type of education do you need to become Speaker of the House?

In the United States House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House is elected by a simple majority during the first session of Congress. These days, the election is a mere formality because the majority party chooses a senior representative ahead of time and then votes together during the session. The Speaker of the House, apart from leading full sessions of Congress, is also second in line to fill a vacant presidency, after the Vice President.

So there are really only two things you need to become the Speaker of the House: First, you must be elected to a seat in the House of Representatives. After that, you must gain experience and the respect of those in your party; only then will you be viewed as a good choice for this important post.

The hardest part, of course, is getting elected to the House of Representatives. The U.S. Constitution has only three requirements that you must meet to become a U.S. Representative:

  • You must be at least 25 years old.
  • You must have been a U.S. citizen for at least the past 7 years.
  • You must be a resident of the state (though not necessarily the district) that you want to represent.

There are no educational requirements to become a Congressman or Congresswoman. Although you'll see a lot of people in Congress with degrees in political science, law, or business, you'll also find Representatives with degrees in French, education, sociology, optometry, and more. In fact, one current Congressman never finished his college education, spending only one year as a university student.

Does that seem unbelieveable? It shouldn't. Remember Abraham Lincoln? He had very little formal education and no college degree, but not only was he elected to the House of Representatives in 1846, but he was twice elected as the President of the United States.

If you're trying to choose your college major, you should do what you love. Of course, if becoming the Speaker of the House is your ultimate goal, then you'll probably love law or political science, and those would be perfectly reasonable choices. But throughout its history, the House of Representatives has been home to not only lawyers and businessmen, but teachers, scientists, farmers, artists, and soldiers, so there is no reason to limit yourself.