American Institutes for Research

American Institutes for Research – Why Work For Us?

The American Institutes for Research (AIR), founded in 1946 as a nonprofit organization, is one of the largest behavioral and social science research organizations in the world. Our overriding goal is to use the best science available to bring the most effective ideas and approaches to enhancing everyday life.

Our work spans a wide range of substantive areas: education, student assessment, international education, individual and organizational performance, health research and communication, human development, usability design and testing, employment equity, and statistical and research methods. The intellectual diversity of our more than 1,500 employees enables us to bring together experts in many fields, including education, psychology, sociology, economics, psychometrics, statistics, public health, usability engineering, software design, graphics and video communications—all in the search for innovative answers to any challenge.

We are a thriving and diverse, mission driven organization where many of the brightest people in their fields have built successful careers. We conduct our work within a culture and philosophy of strict independence, objectivity, and non-partisanship, as we tackle society’s most important issues.


AIR Logo ImageAIR’s mission is to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation towards improving peoples’ lives, with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged.


Within the United States and internationally, AIR will be the preeminent organization that

  • produces improvements in education, health, and the workforce;
  • addresses the needs of individuals, organizations, and communities;
  • designs and advances statistical and research methods;
  • causes practitioners and organizations to adopt evidence-based practices; and
  • informs public understanding and policymaking by the best evidence.

Join Us In Making a Difference

AIR offers an innovative, collaborative environment where motivated people can apply their talent, education and curiosity. At AIR, every staff member's contribution is vital.

AIR is a large and diverse organization, with a staff of more than 1,600, where many of the brightest people in their fields have built successful careers. Some join AIR directly after completing their training and find many opportunities for professional growth; others come to AIR after building a distinguished career to pursue a more fulfilling work life.

AIR offers a comprehensive Total Compensation package. We provide our employees with competitive base salaries, a generous benefit package, and a workplace that promotes growth, development, and creativity.


AIR strives for external and internal equity for all our salaries. We define our external market as the competitor organizations for our talent. Individual performance and growth is rewarded during our merit and promotion cycles.

Family Friendly Benefits

  • Domestic Partner Benefits – Qualifying employees may include their domestic partner in AIR benefits.
  • Adoption Leave – Employees who adopt a child may receive an additional 4 weeks of Paid Time Off leave (PTO).
  • Family Events – Include Bring Your Daughter or Son to Work Day, sports outings, and the annual Halloween Party.
  • Nursing Mother’s Room – Provided for returning mothers who are nursing their children.
  • Child/Elder Care Referral – Advice and referrals are available from our Employee Assistance Program provider.


  • Medical Benefits – AIR offers a national POS Open Access health care plan including prescription drug coverage. HMO options also are offered at our larger sites. Spouses, domestic partners, and dependent children under 19 (or full-time students up to age 25) may be covered under these plans.
  • Dental Benefits – Employees can choose to participate in one of two dental PPO plans.
  • Vision Benefits – Employees are eligible to participate in one of two vision insurance plans.
  • Flexible Spending Accounts – In addition to offering the medical and dental benefits on a pre-tax basis, employees can also elect to participate in the AIR Health or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts.
  • FreshAir Wellness – Through our freshAIR wellness initiatives Employees can participate in annual Wellness Fairs, Health Assessments, our 10,000 step challenge, and many more healthy activities. A large library of educational materials is available to all Employees.
  • Flu Shot Clinics – Offered at our larger sites and employees may submit for shot reimbursement if a clinic is not offered at their AIR location.
  • Weight Watchers – On-site programs are offered every 10 weeks at many of our sites. Participation is voluntary.
  • EAP – Our Employee Assistance Program provides online products and managed behavioral health care services to help our employees manage their work, life, financial and emotional health challenges.


  • Supplement Retirement Annuity Plan (403(b)) – Employees may defer up to 50% of their pay (subject to IRS limits) into investments with TIAA-CREF.
  • AIR Retirement Plan – AIR contributes to a retirement plan on behalf of all eligible employees. Contributions are based on the employee’s age and length of service.
  • Banking – Credit Union membership is available at many of the AIR sites.
  • Life Insurance – Employees are eligible for two or three times their base salary in life and AD&D insurance.
  • Supplemental Life Insurance – In addition to the employer-sponsored Basic Life Insurance, employees may elect Supplemental Life Insurance for themselves and/or a spouse, domestic partner or dependent child.
  • Long-Term Disability – AIR pays the full cost of this insurance for all eligible employees.
  • Supplemental Long-Term Disability – This benefit allows employees to purchase an additional10% of LTD coverage above the employer-sponsored Basic LTD Insurance.
  • Long-Term Care – Insurance is available as a voluntary benefit to all employees.
  • Legal Services – Discounted legal services, including unlimited telephone advice is offered via our voluntary legal services plan.

Education and Training

  • Tuition Aid Program – Eligible employees may receive up to $5,250 per year to help defray the cost of tuition, fees, and books for educational courses relevant to their work at AIR, or that are required for a job-related degree.
  • Ph.D. Publication Support – All new employees who have earned a Ph.D. within the previous 12 months of their hire date may apply to be given up to 12 weeks to write articles for peer-reviewed journals or to produce other publishable materials.

Time Off

  • Holidays – AIR has 10 paid holidays each year.
  • Paid Time Off – Based on length of service, employees accrue 17 – 29 days per year. Time off may be used for vacation, when you or your family members are sick or when you need personal time off.
  • Wage Replacement Program – This benefit is available to all employees whose illness or injury keeps them out of work for more than 14 days.
  • Compassionate Leave – A maximum of 3 days is available for employees to care for a critically ill close family member, to attend a funeral of a close relative, or in the case of extreme personal hardship.
  • Jury Duty and Military Leave – Paid time is available for employees on jury duty or temporary military duty for up to two weeks.
  • Leave of Absence – Unpaid leave may be available for one to 12 months to pursue professional interests such as completing an advance degree or visiting professorship. Generally these leaves are without pay.


Employees located in the Washington, DC offices may elect to receive either Metrocheck benefits or subsidized parking on a monthly basis. AIR’s other locations offer free parking.

Other Benefits

  • Refreshments – Free beverages from coffee and tea to soda are available at most AIR sites.
  • Longevity Awards – Employees are rewarded for their loyalty to AIR. Starting with 5 years of service, employees are recognized with a certificate and gift commensurate with their service milestone.

Our Culture: Social and Behavioral Science that Changes the World

AIR staff meeting

AIR places a strong emphasis on creating a collegial atmosphere that encourages staff to be creative and supportive of each other. We believe that intellectual diversity and respect for the contributions of each individual is central to our success.

We produce good work because we are a good place to work. Our staff care about the work they perform, they care about the colleagues they work with, and they care about the clients they serve.

AIR conducts and applies behavioral and social science research to improve people’s lives and well-being, with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged. That ideal is the driving force that motivates our staff.

AIR staff meeting

AIR is proud of its tradition of maintaining a work environment that values diversity and nourishes respect for the dignity of each individual. We are committed to continuing our efforts in creating and maintaining a diverse workforce through our recruitment and employment practices.

American Institutes for Research Photos

AIR Nationals Day

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American Institutes for Research Reviews

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117 Reviews
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American Institutes for Research President, CEO and Director David Myers
David Myers
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    Great people

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    Current Employee - Test Developer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Test Developer in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at American Institutes for Research


    Driven employees, teamwork, supportive management, employee perks


    Inconsistent practices, heavy workload at times, office is on 3 different floors. All other cons are common to any office environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Create documentation for best practices and make sure that it is reviewed and approved by all managers.

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American Institutes for Research Interviews

Updated Jan 8, 2015
Updated Jan 8, 2015

Interview Experience

Interview Experience


Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview


Interview Difficulty


Interview Difficulty




    Psychometric Support/Research Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Anonymous Employee
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at American Institutes for Research in November 2014.

    Interview Details

    I applied for the research assistant position through the AIR website and was contacted by HR via phone. The interview process started with a phone screening, where I was told about the company, what the position entailed, and asked about my expectations (what I wanted, salary, etc.). Very very basic stuff just to make sure I was interested.

    After the phone screening, I was invited for an in-person interview at the office in D.C. I met with NINE people. First, the HR rep that I had spoken with on the phone, then I was shuffled from office to office to meet almost everyone on the team that held the same or similar job role as I was interviewing for. It was really unorganized. These people were NOT trained interviewers. They were literally just told that I was coming in and given a list of generic interview questions (i.e. What is your greatest strength? Weakness?) to ask me. They were really cool, and I enjoyed talking to them, but they were definitely uncomfortable "interviewing" me. It struck me as really odd. Especially, when I asked them how conflicts were managed in the workplace and they responded with, "Oh, we don't really have conflicts here..." Come on. There is ALWAYS some amount of conflict. But the layout of the office was pretty sequestered (two to an office room), so it seems like they have very little interaction with each other. And most communication seems to be through email. So, perhaps they do have little conflict.

    After meeting a whole string of people, I met with the final HR liaison who went over salary and benefits, like parking. The starting salary was REALLY low, $38,000. I asked for higher, and I have a year's worth of experience in education. I asked when I would be hearing about a decision, and was told that I should know by the end of the following week.

    Two weeks went by and I heard nothing. So, I emailed my HR rep from the very beginning. He said that they had to schedule two interviews for the following week, so I should know the week following. I waited some more... Waited two weeks after the second deadline and heard NOTHING. Now, it's MONTHS after my interview and I've just GIVEN UP. It is SO INCREDIBLY RUDE for them to just ignore me after all the effort I went through during the interview process. DO NOT WORK HERE. THE PAY IS LOW AND THEY TREAT YOU LIKE CRAP DURING THE INTERVIEW PROCESS. NO WONDER THEY DON'T HAVE CONFLICT MANAGEMENT BECAUSE THEY AVOID CONFLICT LIKE THE PLAGUE. A simple, "I'm sorry but we've decided to hire someone else" would have been nice. SO RUDE.

    Online app submitted - 9/29/14
    Phone screening - 11/3/14
    In-person interview - 11/12/14 (first expected hiring decision deadline given: 11/21/14)
    Follow up - 11/26/14 (new hiring decision deadline given: week of 12/8/14)
    No response since.

    Interview Questions
    • None. Super easy interview... if you can call it that.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview

American Institutes for Research Awards & Accolades

Something missing? Add an award
The Post 200, Washington Post, 2011
J.E. Wallace Wallin Lifetime Achievement Award, Council for Exceptional Children, 2012
Elected President of the Association for Education Finance and Policy,, 2012
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Additional Info

Headquarters Washington, DC
Size 1000 to 5000 Employees
Founded 1946
Type Nonprofit Organization
Industry Education
Revenue $100 to $500 million (USD) per year

The American Institutes for Research (AIR) lives and breathes to enhance human performance. The not-for-profit organization conducts behavioral and social science research on topics related to education and educational assessment, health, international development, and work and training. Clients, including several federal agencies, use AIR's research to help develop policies. The organization has an ongoing major initiative to provide tools to improve education both in the US and internationally, particularly in disadvantaged areas. John Flanagan, who developed the... More

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