What Is Required to Become a Member of Congress?

Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 10972

Do you want to work to better citizens' lives? Congress is where laws are created, and you may qualify as a representative or senator when you get older. Read the Constitution's requirements online!

categories

United States

subject
Government
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Beaver, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio:

In the first Related Lesson of our So, You Want to Run for Political Office? series, found in the right-hand sidebar, you learned the Constitution's three requirements for running for president. Today, you will explore the requirements for taking office within the legislative branch.

Since there can only be one president every four years, very few people actually get to become the U.S. president. But, the legislative branch offers more than 500 positions as representatives and senators. This means that those wishing to run for political office are far more likely to find a seat on the legislative branch than the executive branch. Let's explore the requirements for becoming a member of the House of Representatives or Senate!

In the previous Related Lesson, you learned the three Constitutional requirements for becoming the president of the United States.

Review those three requirements now and share them with someone close to you.

Just like the presidency, the U.S. Constitution outlines requirements for becoming a member of Congress. Article 1, Section 2 describes three requirements for being a member of the House of Representatives and Article 1, Section 3 describes three requirements for being a member of the Senate. The requirements for each house varies slightly.

Using the U.S. Archives The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription, read Article 1, Sections 2 and 3 of the Constitution and identity the requirements for becoming a member of the House of Representatives or Senate. When you get to the site, click "read transcript" to begin reading the Constitution.

What qualifications must a person possess to become a representative or senator?

You should have found that, to be a senator, a person must be at least 30 years old, have lived in the United States for at least 9 years, and be a resident of the state that he or she wishes to represent.

To be a member of the House of Representatives, a person must be at least 25 years old, have lived in the United States for at least 7 years, and be a resident of the state that he or she wishes to represent.

Why do you think the founding fathers established different requirements for each half of the legislative branch?

Elephango's Philosophy

We help prepare learners for a future that cannot yet be defined. They must be ready for change, willing to learn and able to think critically. Elephango is designed to create lifelong learners who are ready for that rapidly changing future.