Careers in political science are accessible at various levels of expertise and let you concentrate on areas that appeal to you. Certain jobs may call for further training or education, but others are entry-level and open to recent university graduates or people with no work experience.
Students studying politics should be happy about the job market! Graduates of political science programs at Western University are generally successful in finding employment after graduation, according to the university’s 2017–2018 Graduation Outcomes Report. According to statistics collected within six months following graduation:
- 73% of graduates of political science become employed, and their average annual salary is $29.538.
- Graduates in economics and political science have a 71% employment rate and an average salary of $30,874.
- Graduates in politics, philosophy, and economics had a 75% employment rate and an average salary of $35,161.
- Graduates in political science and social studies have a 100% employment rate and an average salary of $45,281
A large portion of the unemployed students was seeking additional education or “other options” (a group of people whose earnings aren’t recorded in the data because they found work outside of Washington state).
It’s interesting to note that students who had finished an internship had a 9% higher employment rate and 20% increased earnings.
According to PayScale.com data from 2016, the average wage for graduates with a BA in Political Science was $63,312 at five to nine years and above $99,996 at more than 20 years. (Refer to Study.com)
Political science: What is it?
What exactly is political science, and what are the subjects covered by those pursuing degrees in it?
Although the area relates to politics, it also covers a wide range of issues, including research and communications as well as cooperative management and administration, thereby making it suitable for a plethora of positions. Political science is essentially a branch of social science. The primary responsibility of political scientists is to outline and evaluate political institutions and procedures.
Political science studies everything from small-town city councils to global institutions like the United Nations. Students who get degrees in political science are knowledgeable about political structures and organizations, in addition to their policies and how they affect the private and public sectors, people, etc.
A liberal arts political science degree may contain courses in current affairs, government policies, parliamentary research, research methodology, international relations, and constitutional principles, though each curriculum is unique.
How to Start a Career in Political Science
Political science careers are numerous, but there are specific procedures to follow to break into the area. To pursue a career in political science, this article suggests the following steps:
- Get an education in political science or a similar discipline, such as an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree;
- Get a job in your field of competence; for instance, if you have an associate’s degree in political science, you may work as a legal assistant. Study public relations while earning your bachelor’s.
- A master’s degree could help you advance to leadership roles in your industry. You can further your education by building your professional network, getting political science credentials, and more.
The Skill for Majors in Political Science
What abilities will political science majors most frequently use in the field, in the end? What more can they do to benefit both the private and public sectors besides comprehending the complex features of government? It turns out that finishing, for example, a bachelor’s degree in political science results in the acquisition of numerous useful talents.
Basic comprehension of how to scrutinize written materials and other types of communication and conduct a thoughtful evaluation of this information is one of the most crucial abilities and among the most widely employed. This applies to almost every company or group, but political groups and private businesses should pay particular attention.
A political science bachelor’s degree teaches students how to connect with social issues and develop all-encompassing solutions to these problems. This frequently entails collecting survey data to gain an understanding of policies (when it comes to politics) or products (when it comes to businesses), then using that data to improve organizational success tactics.
For improved curriculum customization and alignment with students’ career objectives, political science degrees may provide concentrations and specializations. Some specializations in political science include:
- Dual-language journalism
- International relations
- Criminal justice
- Urban Research
Employers and Career Advice
Below is a list of potential jobs and career options for graduates of political science. The American Political Science Association website’s article on careers in political science is another helpful source. Visit the Western Career Services Center and register for Viking CareerLink, a free online internship and job posting database accessible to students, alumni, and businesses, if you’re a student looking to find out more about career options in political science. Western has also introduced a platform called WE Connect. The platform was developed to link graduates who are getting ready for the workforce with those who are currently employed.
Top careers for political science graduates
Spend some time thinking about the technical and soft skills you acquired while pursuing your degree in political science as you get ready for a job. Finding a mentor with a job you’d like to have a day can be useful for guidance as you start applying for and attending interviews for jobs.
There are plenty more professions to think about besides positions in politics. Students who major in politics acquire superior research and writing techniques. They learn how to construct a solid case and support it with evidence. As they present their work to instructors and fellow students, political science students develop their oral communication and presenting skills.
Students majoring in political science hone their analytical abilities while researching policy proposals and analyzing the effects of governmental acts. Analyzing political party agendas and the effects of leadership transitions critically is essential.
Politics students learn how to win elections, run effective campaigns, and sway the public during their education. They examine various leadership philosophies and get historical context on the relative efficacy of various strategies.
These are the top careers in political science, listed from smallest to highest national average wage:
1. Political advisor
National average yearly salary: $41,586
Primary responsibilities: Political strategists in careers in political science help candidates run effective campaigns for positions at all levels of government. They could contribute to the creation of public communications, public relations plans, speeches, and more.
2. A legislative assistant or aide
National average yearly salary: $44,878
Primary responsibilities: Legislative aides and assistants in careers in political science support legislators in passing legislation and achieving their political objectives. They serve politicians at the federal and state levels with administrative, messaging, and research needs.
3. Political campaign workers
National average yearly salary: Campaign field organizers make an average of $46,316 annually, while campaign managers make an average of $59,757 annually.
Primary responsibilities: The task of creating and carrying out numerous strategies to elect a political figure falls on campaign workers in careers in political science. This can entail creating a social media strategy, planning speeches, finding and preparing volunteers, and more.
4. Intelligence analyst
National average yearly salary: $49.5812 plus a bonus of $5,000
Primary responsibilities: Intelligence analysts in careers in political science are in charge of spotting and keeping an eye on prospective dangers to stop and defend against internal or foreign attacks. To gather and analyze data from numerous sources, they collaborate with a range of organizations, including the FBI.
5. Public relations supervisor
National average yearly salary: $55,280
Primary responsibilities: The reputation of a business, division, or organization must be owned, adjusted, and maintained by public relations managers in careers in political science. They might carry out activities like corresponding with important news sources, creating press releases, monitoring social networks, and producing blog articles to achieve this.
6. Research analyst
National average yearly salary: $58,544
Primary responsibilities: In addition to researching industry trends, research analysts in careers in political science offer vital financial data to the businesses and clients they serve. Their study may contribute to the development of new goods for businesses, the formulation of sound economic policy, or the targeting of audiences via social media and advertising.
7. A mediator
National average yearly salary: $62,368
Primary responsibilities: Mediators in careers in political science, usually referred to as arbitrators, are unbiased attorneys who settle legal disputes on behalf of parties who prefer not to go to court. They seek to make sure that a legally binding agreement is signed by both parties.
8. An urban planner
National average yearly salary: $64,365
Primary responsibilities: Urban planners in careers in political science create comprehensive strategies to accommodate growing populations, rejuvenate towns, and improve the efficiency of existing urban regions. They might also examine and concur with development plans made by less experienced planners. This job is frequently filled by local administrations.
9. Policy expert
National average yearly salary: $76,424
Primary responsibilities: Research on national patterns related to social, economic, global, and other political topics is done by policy analysts in careers in political science. They also provide advice on policies addressing particular concerns and collaborate with groups and stakeholders to establish policies, among other things, as part of their major responsibilities.
10. Business analyst
National average yearly salary: $81,871
Primary responsibilities: Business analysts in careers in political science are in charge of researching and analyzing the requirements of diverse businesses to provide business system solutions. To respond to complicated business concerns, they compile data from numerous sources and employ mathematical and statistical techniques.
11. Management analyst
National average yearly salary: $81,871
Primary responsibilities: Management analysts in careers in political science evaluate businesses and identify areas for development and enhanced efficiency. Profit growth, employee morale enhancement, and process improvement are some objectives for management analysts.
National average yearly salary: $97,285
Primary responsibilities: Economists in careers in political science conduct financial pattern research and offer projections and suggestions based on their findings. They could guide lawmakers when crafting new financial legislation, firms when forecasting future sales, and more.
13. A regulatory affairs director
National average yearly salary: $99,452
Primary responsibilities: Regulatory affairs in careers in political science directors frequently work with the public relations department of a company. They are in charge of managing and keeping a connection with the relevant government officials. They work for businesses, charities, hospitals, and other institutions.
14. Political scientist
National average yearly salary: $122,510
Primary responsibilities: Political scientists in careers in political science research the evolution, organization, and functioning of political tendencies and governments. The approaches and operational plans that result from their study are used by numerous government agencies and programs. Professorships in universities and colleges are frequently available for political scientists.
National median yearly salary: $127,990
Primary responsibilities: Counseling and assisting clients in all legal situations is the responsibility of attorneys or lawyers in careers in political science. They ought to inform their customers of legal choices and suggest the most appropriate action to take. A lot of lawyers go on to work in politics because they have legal expertise.
16. Policy Analyst
National median yearly salary: £38,484
Primary responsibilities: The position of a policy analyst in careers in political science is a logical extension of the work done as a student because political science majors learn the process of developing public policy. To make judgments regarding the nature and effects of public policy ideas, policy analysts rely heavily on their writing, research, and critical thinking abilities.
Policy analysts, similar to political science majors, must develop a solid thesis and create a compelling case for or against the approval of a specific policy proposal. Additionally, analysts recruit the support of people who can aid in the advancement of projects using their knowledge of the legislative and political process.
17. Legislative Assistant
National median yearly salary: £24351
Primary responsibilities: All tiers of government’s elected delegates, including senators, parliament officials, representatives, and others, employ assistants to help them carry out their tasks. The writing and communication abilities acquired by political science majors are used by legislative assistants to coordinate communications with constituents and update them on events in their district.
They gauge voter interest in current political topics and present elected officials’ viewpoints within a supportive framework. Legislative assistants react to constituent questions and aid in finding solutions to issues affecting residents in their district.
Legislative aides in careers in political science conduct policy research, follow legislation, and asses other politicians’ stances on proposed legislation. They provide presentations for the personnel of their office and their legislator.
18. Public Relations Specialist
National median yearly salary: £40,242
Primary responsibilities: Public relations professionals in careers in political science primarily use media placement to sway the public perception of their clients.
Students majoring in political science acquire the writing skills necessary to create engaging press releases as well as the persuasive abilities to argue for the advantages of covering a certain story. When conducting research for their studies, they also gain knowledge about how opinions are created and the function of the media.
Press conferences and such events are frequently planned and advertised by public relations professionals to grab the media’s attention and spread the word about their customers. Students majoring in political science learn about the mechanics of setting up campaign rallies and media appearances by government leaders, which gives them some perspective into this procedure.
19. Social Media Manager
National median yearly salary: £34671
Primary responsibilities: Social media is rapidly influencing public opinion. Social media managers in careers in political science are essential for tracking constituent opinions of democratic politicians, executives, parties, and lobby groups regarding their management and present issues.
To sway the opinions of their consumers, social media managers need to comprehend the numerous social media sites and plan campaigns. Political science majors can play a key role in developing and carrying out these plans since they are knowledgeable about how attitudes are created and shaped by different media.
20. Marketing Research Analyst
National median yearly salary: $47461
Primary responsibilities: Market researchers in careers in political science examine how customers will react to services or products in the same way that political science students examine how prospective voters would respond to candidates. Majors in political science research how surveys and polls are used in campaigns. Surveying consumer opinions about new or existing goods and services is a common task for market researchers.
While creating scientifically sound studies, market research analysts might benefit from the political science major’s expertise in research standards. They must communicate their results to colleagues and customers and provide evidence to support their recommendations.
21. Political Consultant
National median yearly salary: £41055
Primary responsibilities: Political consultants with careers in political science create plans for politicians to sway people and win backing in their campaigns for office using the understanding of the political system acquired by political science students. Political branding specialists aid in restoring candidates’ tarnished reputations.
By providing uplifting anecdotes and optimistic assessments of the candidate’s prior achievements, they try to sway how candidates are covered in the media. These workers may interview prospective voters to learn how they feel about a candidate and the factors influencing their decision.
22. Director of College-Student Leadership and Activities
National median yearly salary: $55,123 to $79,931
Primary responsibilities: The organization of student ballots and leadership initiatives can benefit from the use of political science knowledge by activity directors. They assist in establishing electoral norms and oversee elections to ensure that students’ rights are maintained.
Student leadership and activity at colleges Officers create leadership development exercises and counsel leaders on how to use their authority morally and successfully. They monitor how money is spent and look into any inconsistencies in organizations and initiatives organized by students. These staff members arbitrate conflicts between student leaders and make sure that minorities’ concerns are taken into account in plans and programs.
National median yearly salary: $66,130
Primary responsibilities: It might be challenging to engage in negotiations and communication between groups, but mediators, arbitrators, and conciliators are skilled at resolving disagreements outside of the courtroom. You’ll be able to bring together disparate, frequently at odds parties with a degree in political science and do so in a way that benefits both groups. This may just entail setting the appointment or managing the ongoing communication. The median pay for these occupations for political science majors is $66,130, but if you advance your way to the highest 10 percent, you might make nearly $131,000 a year. The best part is that you only require a bachelor’s degree to obtain one of these political science positions, and the field is predicted to grow by 11%.
24. Law assistant or paralegal
National median yearly salary: $52,920
Primary responsibilities: Paralegals in careers in political science support the legal system by managing case files, doing research, and putting their skills to use in document creation. They could be assigned with obtaining data, acquiring facts, or organizing data for it to be used by attorneys. They can even be required to write letters to court personnel and legal entities. A political science degree can assist with any of these duties. In 2020, the median pay for paralegals was $52,920; however, the top 10% of these positions might pay over $85,000 to political science graduates. Even though only an associate’s degree is typically needed, a bachelor’s in political science can advance your career. You will eventually need instruction in paralegal areas, though. Future chances for the career should be plentiful with the predicted 12% increase.
25. Survey Researcher
National median yearly salary: $59,870
Primary responsibilities: These careers in political science degrees require you to plan and carry out research surveys for a variety of purposes. Surveys can be employed for opinion polls as well as for gathering factual data on things like income levels and employment statistics. Your duties will also include data analysis and, based on your role, recommending actions to the organization or body that provided the research funding. As of May 2020, individuals working in these political science positions made an average yearly salary of $59,000, while the highest 10 percent made over $110,000. The salary is high, but the predicted job growth is only 4%, which represents a drop when compared to the rates of national growth. Along with a BA in political science, a master’s degree in a subject like research or statistics may frequently be needed.
26. Management Analyst
National median yearly salary: $87,660
Primary responsibilities: Management analysts in careers in political science suggest strategies to boost organizational effectiveness and efficiency, frequently advising managers on how to increase profits by cutting expenses or seizing financial opportunities. Political science education involves a variety of tasks, including data collection, concept communication, and group fusion. While the top ten percent of earners command earnings above $156,000, the median pay for this career is $87,660. And if that wasn’t enough, there will likely be plenty of opportunities in the future thanks to the predicted 14% increase in these careers in political science. Typically, a management analyst needs to have a couple of years of on-the-job training.
27. Manager of Community Services
National median yearly salary: $69,600
Primary responsibilities: The coordination and management of social services and neighborhood groups are tasks associated with this political science career. As part of the job, you might supervise personnel, look over data, analyze trends, and write proposals for fresh social and community activities while also collaborating with community people to identify new programs to target. Managers of community services must be honest in their evaluation of current initiatives. With a great median income of more than $69,000, this position is among the finest for political science degrees. The average compensation for those in the highest ten percent of earnings is over $115,000, and this field is predicted to expand by 15%. Even though only a bachelor’s degree is necessary, this position requires managerial skills, thus up to five years of firsthand knowledge may be required.
These fantastic careers in political science are open to you. These rewarding careers can put your degree to great use, whether you may start immediately with an online bachelor’s or master’s degree course in political science.
Frequently Asked Questions careers in political science
- What political science position has the greatest salary?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical annual wage for lawyers is six figures, making it one of the most earning professions in political science. Nonetheless, remuneration varies by position, employer, and legal specialty. 4
- Is a political science major worthwhile?
Political science is a great major to pick if you want to learn more about how politics, law, and policy are implemented. Just remember that developing a career in political science can include further study, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training in menial entry-level positions.
Elizabeth is a seasoned content writer with multiple years of experience writing on different topics under the general terms of scholarship, academics, business management, and human resource management and development.
She has a degree in Mass Communication and other relevant certifications.