Top 10 Jobs You Can Get With A Political Science Degree

From working in government to public opinion research, a political science degree is versatile. Learn about the best careers you can pursue.
(Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash)

(Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash)

A degree in political science may seem like one of those careers with a murky future, but that’s a misconception. Political science degrees offer a diverse career path in many different industries from law to education. Because the degree requires developing skills in data analysis, communication, and strategy, political science is marketable in a wide variety of settings.

Choosing a political science degree means you’ll study not only systems of government and political theory, but also develop communication, research, and analytical skills that can be the key to success in a competitive job market.

Below are the top ten most lucrative and influential careers for those who earn political science degrees.

Top Ten Political Science Jobs

1. Lawyer

Average job salary: $120,910
Required education: Bachelor’s degree, Law degree

Lawyers advise and represent both individuals and businesses in civil or criminal proceedings. Becoming a lawyer requires a bachelor’s degree and typically attending law school before taking the state bar exam to become a licensed attorney.

While many lawyers work in the private sector, some are employed by the government as public defenders or district attorneys. Typically, lawyers have a focus or specialty in the same way doctors do. Lawyers with a degree in political science may go on to work as legal advisors for various government entities.

2. Lobbyist

Average job salary: $113,304
Required education: Bachelor’s degree, internship, optional certification program available

At its essence, lobbying is about representing clients or advocating for causes with government officials or legislators. Lobbyists represent all sorts of organizations, from large corporations or industry interests to charities and grassroots movements. Lobbyists tend to put in long, irregular hours with lots of overtime. The career relies not only on having a thorough understanding of how government works but excellent communication skills and a talent for relationship building.

Because networking is such a pivotal part of being a successful lobbyist, the career requires a degree in a field like political science as well as an internship to create the necessary connections.

3. Diplomat

Average job salary: $89,078
Required education: Master’s degree, Ph.D. recommended

Diplomats, ambassadors, and foreign service officers are international relations specialists stationed in consulates and embassies around the world. They can fill a wide variety of roles such as economists, healthcare workers, or translators.

To become a diplomat, an advanced degree in political science or international relations is required, usually accompanied by fluency in other languages. Most diplomats and foreign service officers have a specialty that is useful for diplomatic missions such as financial or healthcare expertise.

4. Political Consultant

Average job salary: $77,368
Required education: Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s degree recommended

Political consultants usually work for either the government or advising political campaigns. This particular career path relies heavily upon making connections and volunteering for campaigns to build a reputation within the industry.

While a bachelor’s and a graduate degree in political science is recommended to demonstrate expertise, many political consultants also join the American Association of Political Consultants to gain access to their network of connections and job opportunities.

5. Political Science Professor

Average job salary: $83,370
Required education: Bachelor’s and Master’s degree required, Ph.D. recommended

Political science educators typically work in post-secondary settings at either high schools or colleges. Political science professors deliver lectures and lead classes on the political process. They educate students about how government works and encourage them to become engaged citizens.

Because the future of academia remains uncertain in many institutions of higher learning, it may make sense for political science educators to develop a specialty. Additional expertise in a field such as public administration, healthy policy, or urban planning can provide more opportunities in the face of uncertain job prospects.

6. Policy Analyst

Average job salary: $99,730
Required education: Bachelor’s degree required, master’s degree preferred

Analyzing policy usually lies within the realm of a particular kind of political scientist. These analysts may specialize in foreign relations, historical study, or domestic policy. Most policy analysts work at the federal or state government level advising legislators or agencies. A few may also be employed by lobbying organizations or think tanks.

Policy analysts require an in-depth understanding of not only how the government works but excellent oral and written communication skills. Internships may be required to build the relevant expertise needed for these kinds of positions.

7. Government Official

Average job salary: $61,314
Required education: Bachelor’s and Master’s degree preferred, not required

While you can go into government without a political science or other relevant degree, voters will find you more credible if you earn one. The best way to become involved in government is to begin volunteering and engaging at the local level so you can slowly build visibility within the community.

Becoming a government official or politician requires excellent public speaking skills and a natural talent for communicating and inspiring trust. Increasingly being involved in government also requires the ability to network and raise large sums of money for campaigning. Working in government doesn’t always provide monetary compensation on par with other careers but many find it personally meaningful and rewarding.

8. Legislative Aide

Average job salary: $38,887
Required education: Bachelor’s degree required

Many government officials, administrators, and politicians start out as government or legislative aides. While many aides have associates degrees in paralegal studies, some also have degrees in political science. Extensive knowledge of how government works coupled with exceptional written and oral communication skills are necessary to build a successful career as a legislative aide.

While paid positions are available, many aides start out as volunteers and work their way up to get hired as part of the staff for a government official or politician. Congressional legislative aides receive generous compensation while state or local level aides may be part-time or unpaid positions.

9. Public Opinion Researcher

Average job salary: $53,920
Required education: Bachelor’s degree required, master’s degree recommended

Public opinion researchers survey the public and analyze data regarding products, services, and a variety of issues. Political science degrees are particularly important for those who want a career in political public opinion polling. This field relies heavily on collecting and analyzing data in order to create forecasts, so additional study in mathematics and statistics is preferred.

Most public opinion researchers and pollsters who have political expertise also provide consulting services within the private sector for businesses and agencies looking to conduct marketing research

10. Political Scientist

Average job salary: $117,570
Required education: Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D. required

Political scientists can do a wide variety of work in various industries but are usually required to be highly qualified through earning a graduate or doctorate degree in political science. They may conduct research in international relations, government policy, or administration. Some political scientists work in the private sector conducting research for businesses but many are employed in the public sector either in education or government.

Political scientists may start out with a general political science degree at the undergraduate level, but usually focus their graduate studies on a specialty such as international relations, history, or public policy.

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What is a political science degree?

In a nutshell, political science is the study of government. It spans topics such as political theory, international relations, public policy, and more. A political science degree is a versatile one that has many applications not only in law and government but also in education. While political science is focused on government, it also can include the analysis of organizations, history, and a thorough understanding of administration and economics.

How long does it take to get a political science degree?

For most positions available in the political science field, candidates should have a four-year degree in political science. However, while earning that degree, many political science majors find it helpful to build relevant work experience by volunteering or through internship opportunities.

The more lucrative careers in political science require an advanced graduate, doctorate, or law degree which may add several years of education to the career path for political science graduates who pursue those positions.

The Rantt Rundown

A political science degree provides a versatile, valuable skill set to graduates who come into the field equipped with a thorough understanding of government, international relations, and public policy. Political science degrees are also attractive in many industries because they provide soft skills like superior written and oral communication, research, and advanced analytical capabilities that so many employers prize both in the public and private sectors.

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