What You Need to Know About Political ScienceIf you are a person who is intrigued and fascinated by current events, wants to make a difference and shape public policies, and feels a great need to serve the people, then a political science major is an ideal choice for you. The best thing about it is that even if you don’t want to be involved in politics, you can consider numerous other careers with a political science degree. This is a field that comprises various subfields, including international relations, public administration, and law. If you do want to be involved in politics, though, you’ll have the opportunity to hone your research and writing skills, learn how comparative structures of governments are built around the world, how campaigns are being waged, how to influence public opinion, and many other valuable and interesting things.
What is Political Science?Let’s start with a simple clarification. Political science, by definition, is a social science that deals with political thoughts, activities, analysis of political behavior, and systems of governance. This social science studies exactly how laws are made, how governments work, and how their policies affect the community, society, and the economy. It’s a vast field that focuses on shaping society through political policies and changes. There’s a wide variety of careers for political science majors, should you consider going down this path. Depending on your preferences, qualities, and which major you choose to study, lots of career options are available. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones:
Types of Political Science CareersDue to this social science degree’s versatility, graduates can choose from a range of prospective careers in political science. Not only can students learn laws and politics from these programs, but they can also attain valuable knowledge, as well as communicational and analytical skills. A political science degree unlocks opportunities within local, state, and federal governments, including judicial, legislative, and executive branches, civil society organizations, or work in the private sector. Graduates also have the opportunity for internships and entry-level work, and there are a lot of jobs for political science majors right out of college. We’re going to show you a handful of the best jobs you can get with this social science degree after you graduate:
6 Top Jobs for Political Science MajorsThe final decision about your career path and which major to choose to take will ultimately depend on your qualities, personality traits, interests, and what you aspire to become. The following six political science major jobs are perfect for college graduates:
1. Legislative AssistantLegislative assistants carry out duties of senators, representatives, and other elected government officials. Their job is to respond to inquiries made by constituents, assess their interests, and help with citizen’s problems as much as their jurisdiction allows. The median annual salary for this political science job stands at $40,488, not including additional compensation.
2. Policy AnalystA policy analyst’s role is to formulate statements about public policy by using their research, writing, and critical-thinking skills. Part of the description for these political jobs is presenting persuasive arguments against or for a specific policy initiative. They can also use their knowledge of legislative processes to seek support from people who can help with their initiatives. For their work, they can expect a yearly median wage of $59,312, and may also receive bonuses or other various forms of compensation.
3. Intelligence AnalystIntelligence analysts generally work within government agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or the National Security Agency (NSA), but they sometimes apply their skills in the private sector. People working at these political science government jobs use their knowledge and understanding of data analysis, businesses, and political groups and climates to assess and evaluate threats and opportunities around for their employers. This information is then used to formulate appropriate responses and give recommendations to policy makers. Knowledge of foreign languages helps in their daily duties, and for their efforts, they receive a generous median salary of about $69,854 per year.
4. Public Relations SpecialistPublic relations specialists, or representatives, are responsible for influencing the public’s opinion about their clients. The duties of people working on these jobs in political science are to create, nurture, and preserve the public image of the individual or the organization they represent. This is one of the common entry-level political science jobs. With entry-level work, you can develop writing skills, form opinions, learn the role of the media, and how to organize and manage press conferences. Public relations specialists earn a median annual salary of $61,150.
5. Political ConsultantPolitical consultants use their knowledge to understand political processes in order to develop strategies for their candidates. Their task is to help brand their candidate’s image and repair it if necessary. These jobs for political science professionals may also be found within public interests groups where they help their cause by creating strategies. For their work, they earn a median annual salary of $77,368, not including any performance-related bonuses.
6. Political Campaign StaffMembers of a political campaign staff are in charge of creating campaign strategies and overseeing their implementation. They first study trending political issues and then assess how voters react to their candidate’s program. Part of the job description for these political campaign jobs is to draft languages and write press releases. They are also tasked to raise money via fundraising campaigns, train and recruit volunteers, and organize events for media exposure. Due to numerous obligations, these professionals are perhaps underpaid, earning a median annual salary of $59,101. Now, let’s turn our attention toward the highest paying political science careers, what it takes to get employed, and what the future holds for these occupations.
Highest Paying Political Science JobsA degree in political sciences is one of the most varied and promising educational opportunities out there. Even though career paths aren’t always precise and well-defined, political science degree jobs are still quite popular among college students. Securing a high-paying position in this field isn’t easy at all. It will depend on the major you select to study, what type of degree you possess after graduating, and which useful skills you have for that particular job. Here’s a list of the most lucrative jobs and their requirements:
1. LawyersLawyers, also called attorneys, represent their clients on disputes and legal issues. They give advice and counsel individuals or businesses about their obligations and legal rights. Going down this political science career path, you need to be an outstanding interlocutor with incredible communication and interpersonal skills. Other than that, lawyers need strong analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as excellent writing and researching skills to aid them in legal matters. Becoming a lawyer is not easy. It usually takes about 7 years of studying—4 years of undergraduate studying, which are followed by an additional 3 years at a law school. Every lawyer must have a law degree and pass a written bar examination in order to receive a license to practice law. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 6% growth for these political science jobs for the next eight years. This means that 50,100 new jobs will be added to the already present 823,900. Lawyers are one of the highest-paid occupations in this field, earning a median hourly pay of $59,11.
- Educational Requirements: Doctoral or Professional Degree
- Employment Growth Outlook: 6% by 2028
- Median Annual Salary: $122,960
2. Political ScientistsThese professionals study the origins, operations, and development of political systems. They also conduct research on political ideas and analyze various government establishments, political trends, policies, and other related issues. To work as a political scientist, you need to have magnificent analytical and critical-thinking skills, while also being able to communicate well and present your findings. Before deciding to go for a political scientist career, take note of the fact that you would need a Master’s degree or a PhD in political sciences, public administration, or a related field. It’s an incredibly demanding occupation in terms of education, but the rewards are more than worth the effort, as the political scientist median hourly salary stands at $58,76. The BLS estimates a 5% increase, meaning there will be about 300 new positions available within the next eight years.
- Educational Requirements: Master’s Degree or PhD
- Employment Growth Outlook: 5% by 2028
- Median Annual Salary: $122,220
3. Judges and Hearing OfficersJudges and hearing officers oversee legal processes in a court, settle administrative disputes, issue legal decisions, handle pretrial hearings, and smooth out opposing parties’ negotiations. These political science careers entail closely listening to the facts that are provided by both parties. Therefore, the most essential skills and qualities that judges and hearing officers need to have are formidable writing, reading, and listening skills, as well as excellent critical-thinking and decision-making abilities. Furthermore, a law degree is a necessity, as is previous working experience as a lawyer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this occupation projects the lowest growth rate on this list, with a 3% increase over the next eight years. This slower than average growth will add about 1,200 new jobs to the already present 45,000 at a median hourly political science salary of $57,74.
- Educational Requirements: Doctoral or Professional Degree
- Employment Growth Outlook: 3% by 2028
- Median Annual Salary: $120,090
4. Urban and Regional PlannersUrban and regional planners develop programs and plans for land use to help accommodate the population, create and shape communities, and revitalize facilities in counties, towns, and cities. These political science career options are fascinating since urban and regional planners help improve communities by addressing economic, environmental, and social issues. They also help with sheltering homeless people, plan the creation of new parks, and strive to make the region attractive to businesses. Leadership qualities are of the utmost importance for this occupation. Other notable qualities include strong decision-making and outstanding communication skills. To become an urban or regional planner, you need to have at least a Master’s degree from an accredited program. Experience is not a necessary requirement, although many students might want to consider political science internships to increase their chances of a successful application. This occupation has one of the best-projected growth rates, with the BLS estimating an 11% increase. For the next eight years, there will be about 4,200 new political science job opportunities for those who want to work on urban or regional planning. What’s more, you’ll get paid handsomely, as the median hourly rate currently stands at $35,75.
- Educational Requirements: Master’s Degree
- Employment Growth Outlook: 11% by 2028
- Median Annual Salary: $74,350
5. Arbitrators, Mediators, and ConciliatorsPeople doing these political science jobs act as mediators between disputing parties and facilitate negotiations to help resolve their conflicts without involving the court system. To be able to do your job well, you’d need to be a skillful communicator above all else. This means that you’d need to listen, read, and write with impeccable focus and understanding. Critical-thinking and decision-making abilities are also high on the list of the necessary minimum requirements for people who want to pursue this political science career. Previous related working experience, alongside a Bachelor’s degree in political science, is sufficient to land you one of these jobs. On-the-job training is also available by experienced mentors. There are currently 7,700 arbitrator, mediator, and conciliator positions in the US and about 600 more will become available within the next eight years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth rate will see an 8% increase, with professionals earning a median hourly pay of $30,74.
- Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree
- Employment Growth Outlook: 8% by 2028
- Median Annual Salary: $63,930
6. Paralegals and Legal AssistantsParalegals and legal assistants support lawyers by performing a variety of tasks. These tasks may include organization and maintenance of files and archives, document drafting, and performing legal research. Interpersonal and communication skills are the essential qualities for this occupation. Other than that, candidates need to possess strong organizational and research skills, as well as be skillful with computers. To start your career in political science and work as a paralegal or legal assistant, you only need an Associate’s degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the highest increase of all occupations in this list. Namely, with a projected 12% growth rate, there will be an additional 39,000 new jobs at a median hourly rate of $24,87.
- Educational Requirements: Associate’s Degree
- Employment Growth Outlook: 12% by 2028
- Median Annual Salary: $51,740
Political Science Job OutlookThe job outlook for political sciences jobs looks excellent, with all occupations projecting a steady growth rate by 2028. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations in this field are expected to see a 7% increase within the next eight years. This growth will add about 93,300 new jobs for people with political science degrees. Paralegals and legal assistants project the largest increase, with a 12% growth, or about 39,000 additional jobs. However, lawyers are expected to experience the largest growth, with 50,100 new positions even though this occupation projects only a 6% increase. Competition will be fierce due to the fact that there are more student graduates than there are positions available. On the other end of the spectrum, the lowest increase is noticeable in judges and hearing officers, with only a 3% increase, or about 1,200 new positions. Political scientists can expect the lowest amount of new jobs is expected with only 300 new opportunities. To sum up, the future is bright for graduates who are seeking jobs in politics or otherwise jobs that require a political sciences degree.
Political Sciences Work EnvironmentAlmost all of the occupations mentioned above work the standard business days and hours: Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Overtime work, evening, or weekend hours are rare occurrences, and only specific occupations may require availability during these periods. The largest and most common employers are local, state and federal governments, legal services agencies, and corporate legal offices. Political science entry level jobs are also quite frequent, as employers tend to gauge the quality of their employees for further career advancement. Moreover, there are also self-employment options if you are looking at the private sector and want to be your own boss.
Wrap UpDeciding to study political sciences is not an easy choice to make. You need to be willing to spend years studying and honing your skills and putting in a lot of effort to graduate. However, just having a degree may not be enough to succeed in this field. Your resume needs to be sound too, so that you can stand out from the competition. The BLS projects a 7% increase in political science jobs, which means there will be plenty of opportunities available, but also countless other graduates and individuals who are all looking for the same. Luckily, you can get a head start, as we have attached a filtered list of the finest jobs currently available. Simply scroll back to the beginning of this article and apply for the job that suits your needs!
Frequently Asked Questions
A political sciences degree offers a great many possibilities. A major in this field allows students to hone different skill-sets and identify their interests. Not only will you be able to attract top jobs, but this field also offers some highly lucrative salaries.Speaking of which, depending on each person’s preferences, characteristics, and career goals, a wide variety of political science careers options are available. Here’s a list of the best jobs you can apply for immediately after you graduate: Legislative Assistant Policy Analyst Intelligence Analyst Public Relations Specialist Political Consultant Political Campaign Staff
To determine if this is genuinely a good degree, we have to take into account several factors, such as difficulty levels of studying, the time it takes to complete the degree, employment options, and earning potential.Every degree has its own difficulty levels. However, not every degree has as many career options and immediate employment opportunities as a political science degree. There are different career paths graduates can take, and the earning potential is also impressive. So to sum up, if you’re hesitating about choosing political sciences, rest assured you will reap the benefits of having a political sciences degree.
According to the latest data, the highest-paying job in this field is a lawyer.Namely, a lawyer’s median hourly pay amounts to $59,11. The lowest 10% earn as little as $59,670 per year, while the top 10% earn a whopping $208,000 per year. And, as we have reiterated before, the median annual salary of lawyers stands at $122,960. Political scientists are also high on this list, recording a median hourly pay of $58,76. The lowest 10% earn $60,960 per year, while the top 10% record earnings of about $164,210 annually. Their median yearly salary amounts to $122,220, placing them among the best-paying occupations.
This will depend entirely on your qualities and the field or the industry you choose to work in. With that in mind, you can take a couple of routes to secure yourself a remarkable income.1. Campaign Manager for a Political Campaign: This may take several years, though, and you’re likely to start with the most basic position before you work your way up to secure a promotion as a campaign manager. 2. Government Public Sector: These positions require a specific area of specialization and a graduate school degree. A Master’s in political science is sufficient to apply for jobs in the public sector. The paycheck issued by these institutions is outstanding. 3. Private Sector: This type of work requires extensive experience and a formidable network. You can work as a political consultant, in government relations, or within a special interests group. This option is probably the most financially rewarding on this list.