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How Do I Become a Governor?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 12 March 2014
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A governor is the elected executive head of a particular state, region, or territory. The requirements you'll have to meet to become a governor depend on where you live, but at minimum, you'll typically have to meet citizenship, residency, and minimum age requirements. You'll likely need to be a high school graduate, and many aspiring governors earn a college degree as well. Experience working in a government position or serving as a government official will likely help you to gain the confidence of voters, and volunteer work or activism may help you to gain public recognition as well. You’ll likely need to run an effective campaign as well and convince people to elect you as governor.

Most places have a basic list of criteria for new governors. The requirements depend on where you live and plan to run for governor. Typically, however, you'll have to be a citizen and resident of the country, state, or territory in which you want to run. You may also have to meet minimum age requirements.

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In most places, you’ll need to earn a high school diploma or its equivalent to become a governor. Since voters may feel that a candidate is less prepared for this job without higher education, most governors also go to college and earn bachelor’s degrees. In fact, they often choose colleges that have good reputations in order to show voters that they are well qualified. While there is no single major you have to choose when you want to become a governor, choosing a political- or legal-related major may help you prepare for office.

You’ll typically need to gain experience and above-average understanding of your state’s or territory’s laws and issues before you run for governor. Securing a job that gives you exposure to such laws and issues may help, especially if it is a government position. You may also serve in lower government offices in order to prepare to become governor. For example, you may serve on the city council, in congress, or as mayor as you work your way up to becoming governor.

Volunteering in a capacity that helps you serve your state or territory and its residents may also help you as you work to become a governor. This is particularly true if your volunteer work helps you gain the attention of the public. You may also gain experience and public recognition as an activist.

Once you’ve secured the experience you need to become governor and reached the minimum age required in your jurisdiction, you may develop a campaign plan. You’ll likely need to recruit people to help you to get your name and message out to the voters you hope to influence. If you mount a successful campaign and convince the voters that you are the right person for this elected position, you may be chosen as a governor.

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