What is a Senator?

A senator is someone who is elected in the central legislative body of a state (usually it concerns the upper, more prominent chamber of Parliament), by voters of a region or other territorial district, and fulfills this governing mandate for a number of years, according to the law. The term "senator" derives from Ancient Rome, where the Senate depicted the 'elders' assembly' ("senex" means "old").

A senatorial career usually involves a long-term commitment as a public figure, as well as a political affiliation to a certain party. A senator needs to keep in close contact with the electors' agenda of concerns and issues at hand. Often this link is facilitated by lobby groups and non-governmental organizations that plead for certain matters at stake, such as limiting civilians' possession of fire arms, protecting the natural environment and other sustainable development topics.

What does a Senator do?

Being a senator usually involves a long-term commitment as a public figure, as well as a political affiliation to a certain party.

A senator takes part in meetings and congresses, debates over the creation or update of laws and regulations and votes for or against certain political measures or motions. In open, democratic societies, a senator is nominated and elected for parliament as a representative of the people, who defends and promotes their interests. His/her role is essential to the influential mission of checking, certifying and balancing the propositions and amendments made by the Deputies' Chamber - the lower chamber of Parliament.

It is noteworthy that a senator is a prominent, elite figure that other politicians turn to for advice and counselling. Furthermore, he/she is involved in legislative projects of trans-national extent (such as treaties or economic agreements and partnerships between countries). Usually a senate member raises issues and makes legislative proposals, reports and stipulations in plenum (in front of the whole Senate assembly) and in specific commissions, according to his/her professional background.

For instance, a person who has economic expertise may be a part of the financial/fiscal parliamentary commission, a former physician belongs to a public health commission, an actor - to a culture commission, an ambassador - to a foreign relations commission, while a military officer typically participates to an internal affairs committee. He/she should obey procedures regarding speeches, voting and promulgation of legislative initiatives.

For instance, a quorum (a minimum number of senators attending a meeting) is necessary to adopt a project. There are several institutional requirements concerning a solemn etiquette, ritualistic, standardized way of address, a strict code of conduct. All these expectations are legitimate because a senator acts as an influential role model for the political world and for the citizens in general.

In order not to fall prey to revenge litigations, senators typically benefit from political immunity, that is, they cannot be prosecuted throughout their mandate for assignments related to their responsibilities in this public function.

Are you suited to be a senator?

Senators have distinct personalities. They tend to be enterprising individuals, which means they’re adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extroverted, energetic, enthusiastic, confident, and optimistic. They are dominant, persuasive, and motivational. Some of them are also conventional, meaning they’re conscientious and conservative.

Does this sound like you? Take our free career test to find out if senator is one of your top career matches.

Take the free test now Learn more

What is the workplace of a Senator like?

The Senate has congress assembly halls and commission working chambers, and each member has a personal office where he/she receives audiences and works on projects. The position of senator supposes frequent travelling inside the country or abroad, for various events such as congresses, symposium, forums or summits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Steps to becoming a Senator

The journey to a seat in the United States Senate is multi-faceted, challenging, and rarely the same for any two senators.

Are Senators happy?

It is safe to say that senators are happy when they pass legislation that they support and procure federal funds for their constituencies. However, we do not have any statistical data that speaks to the overall, general happiness quotient in this career.

Should I become a Senator?

Because senators come from many walks of life, perhaps the best advice for anyone pursuing the role is to be highly trained in whatever they love. Be very learned. Be an expert. Some may recommend getting a law degree; while not a necessity, having one makes it easier to write proposed legislation bills.

Being a senator is largely about building relationships and about compromise. In addition to exceptional organizational and communication skills, the position demands some particular leadership traits:

Personality Management Working as an elected official exposes individuals to a lot of outgoing personalities. Staff members and colleagues in politics tend to fall into a single category: outspoken and extroverted. The versatility to understand what motivates and excites people can prove invaluable.

Fiscal Responsibility In politics, taxpayers’ dollars and the way they are spent are under constant scrutiny. Prioritizing and making sure there is a return on investment on each and every public dollar spent are parts of the senatorial mandate.

Collaboration Focus Promoting and passing legislation consistently requires getting people together and finding out what their pain points are. It invariably involves convincing government officials and private industry leaders to work together on solutions. Simply stated, a collaborative approach to problem solving is the norm for effective senators.

Competitive Spirit Senators need a competitive streak to push through political campaigns and win gains for their constituents.

Multi-task Mastery The role of senator calls for someone who is able and willing to juggle the interests of taxpayers, local business leaders, and government bureaucrats alike.

How long does it take to become a Senator?

The length of time required to become a senator can vary greatly because senators take many different paths to the role. It is, therefore, only possible to estimate the time track, based on one common factor among senators and two requirements to seek the position.

 Most senators have completed graduate level university studies. This would account for between six and eight years.  A U.S. senator must be at least thirty years of age.  A U.S. senator must have been a citizen of the United States for a minimum of nine years prior to running for Senate.

After completion of high school at the age of eighteen, it follows that the soonest an aspiring senator could be elected would be twelve years later.

What are Senators like?

To state what senators are like would presuppose that the path to becoming a senator is structured an invariable. It would suggest that all senators follow a similar educational track, designed specifically to prepare them to sit on committees; work on passing legislation; support their parties’ collective goals and agendas; regulate transportation, communications, and money supply; approve treaties; and nominate members of the Supreme Court, cabinet secretaries, ambassadors, and other federal officials.

Clearly, there is no formal or standard curriculum to train for this job. And therefore, there is no universally applicable adjective to describe a senator. Perhaps the only answer to the question, ‘What are senators like?’ is this: They are a diverse, eclectic mix of educated professionals with a diverse, eclectic mix of skills and experience.

Senators are also known as:
State Senator Federal Senator