Politics is about more than just choosing people to lead a country or reading about policies. Politics is an integral part of society and understanding how government works takes years of study and dedication. After graduating, there are many jobs for political science majors.
If you love current events, public policy, and have an interest in the world of politics and how it works, then a political science major is the first step toward a lucrative career. Below is a guide to the best-paying political science jobs.
What Is Political Science?
Political science is the study of practices and theories of government. The study covers every level of government, from local councils to international organizations. Political science students gain a stronger understanding of the way state institutions work.
Upon completing a political science degree program, students will have developed their research, writing, and communication skills to a professional level. Even with a bachelor’s degree, political science graduates often work in career fields with high salaries with several opportunities for advancement.
Highest-Paying Jobs for Political Science Majors
A political science major gives you the skills necessary to explore several career paths. In a political science degree program, students develop stronger research, analytical, and communication skills. The more advanced the study, the better students become at writing papers, conducting research, and discussing government and politics.
Below are the highest-paying positions for political science majors and just a few of the career paths available to those with this degree.
Political science isn’t just a field of study. Many people go on to work as a political scientist, oftentimes for the state. This government position involves researching political subjects, evaluating the effectiveness of certain policies, and collecting data.
It is perhaps one of the easier careers to transition into for a political science major. However, there are some details to keep in mind. You generally need a master’s degree to work in this field and there isn’t a significant amount of job growth in this position.
The median salary for a political scientist working with the state is $122,220 per year, which makes it one of the highest-paying political science jobs.
Urban and Regional Planner
An urban and regional planner is a lucrative job position for political science professionals. In this career path, professionals help decide the best ways to utilize land. The decisions made here aid in community development initiatives and the growth of a local economy.
There are several responsibilities associated with this position, such as conducting research on the environmental and economic issues in the area, holding meetings with public officials, developing and presenting plans to use the land, analyzing environmental regulations, and ensuring buildings are up to code.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that urban and regional planners earn about $74,350 per year on average. However, the highest 10 percent of workers in this field earn over $116,280 per year.
A benefit of this position is that you do not need work experience in a related field. However, you will need to have a master’s degree to work in this position.
An economist’s job is to study the distribution of money. They analyze several aspects of this, such as goods and services, production, demand, and government policy. In addition to analyzing the way money moves, economists also spend a great deal of time analyzing financial data, making market trend forecasts, and conducting surveys.
The duties of an economist strongly align with the efforts of a political scientist. From the government policies to analyzing the way money moves in current market situations, the skills a student earns when majoring in political science come in handy.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states the average median income for an economist is $105,020 per year, which makes it one of the highest-paying positions available to political science majors. The entry-level degree requirement for this position is a master’s degree.
An arbitrator is a highly-paid political science professional serving as a third party in a legal dispute. Arbitrators help individuals and organizations resolve legal issues without the need of going to court.
Due to the varying nature of each dispute case, the specific duties and responsibilities of an arbitrator can change. Arbitrators typically aid parties with communicating their concerns, interviewing witnesses related to the dispute, preparing legal documentation, and performing negotiations.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the average median income for an arbitrator is $63,930. However, you can earn upwards of $123,730 per year.
With a political science major, there are several entry-level and advanced positions in politics and government available to you. One such position is as a legislative assistant. From aiding senators to representatives and assembly members, legislative assistants work with civil servants at all levels of government.
The duties of a legislative assistant vary wildly based on their employer, but some of the common tasks for an assistant include assessing the interest of constituents. Legislative assistants also answer constituent questions and aid in resolving issues with voters in their jurisdiction.
Other duties of legislative assistants include tracking bills, researching policy issues, and surveying the political opinions of legislators. Know that a legislative assistant also prepares briefings for office staff and their legislator.
The average salary for a legislative assistant is $40,626 per year.
Working in politics is no easy task. Being able to appeal to thousands – if not millions – of people requires charisma, knowledge, and strong communication skills. A politician is only as successful as their staff, which is why political consultants are important in the field.
Political consultants use their knowledge and understanding of government to come up with political strategies for the candidates they work for. These strategies can influence votes and make a candidate more appealing to voters.
Political consultants must have a strong understanding of how people view a candidate, what the media says about the person, and what policies the candidate must focus on to successfully win office.
Graduates with a political science degree have the potential to excel in this field due to the extensive amount of studying and analyzing done on politics, campaigns, government policies, and opinion polls.
According to Glassdoor.com, the average base pay for a political consultant is $77,368 per year. Those in the higher-paying bracket earn upwards of $113,000 per year.
Among the highest-paying careers for political science majors is that of a lawyer. While political science majors must attend law school to work in this field, the lifelong career path and high salary potential make it worth it.
As a lawyer, your knowledge of the law is used to represent clients in criminal and civil cases. A lawyer’s job is varied and multifaceted. Most legal professionals specialize in a type of law practice, such as corporate, family, or tax.
No matter what their specialty may be, a lawyer’s job is to gather facts for each case, perform legal research, write legal briefs, advise clients, and provide representation in court.
There is strong competition for lawyers and while the field is growing at a steady pace, the number of law students is growing at a faster rate than there are available positions. The average median salary of a lawyer is $122,960, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Market Research Analyst
A market research analyst has the responsibility of analyzing how consumers respond to a new service or product. This is similar to how political science majors examine the way voters react to new policies and candidates running for office.
Market research analysts must analyze data and use current research standards to come up with viable studies that allow them to accurately predict marketing trends. The communication skills of political science majors also support an analyst’s ability to communicate their findings accurately to clients.
The strong analytical skills political science majors develop in school make them candidates for positions in marketing.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a market research analyst is $63,790 per year. Political science majors only need a bachelor’s degree to get this position.
Should You Major in Political Science?
As you can see, there are several jobs for political science graduates. These positions aren’t all about politics or government, either. While political science degree programs do prepare you for a position in government and politics, the skills you obtain throughout the program can be used in other fields.
If you have an interest in politics, government policy, and analyzing the way people respond to these things, then a political science major is right for you. You’ll be happy to know that several career opportunities are waiting for you upon earning your degree.