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Political Science Associate Degrees: Best Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Olga Melnyk - March 05, 2022


Political science associate degrees are college programs that cover the political institutions and organizational dynamics that govern states’ operations. Political science majors also improve their writing, communication, and statistics skills. After just two years of full-time study, students can earn their degree and move on to four-year programs or entry-level jobs.

This article aims to explain political science associate degree requirements and recommend some of the best colleges for political science programs at the associate degree level.

What Is Political Science?

Political science is a socio-humanitarian science that covers the role and functions of politics in society. It deals with political theory, political systems, political procedures, the nature of the state, and the problem of maintaining healthy international relations in global politics.

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What Is a Political Science Associate Degree?

An Associate Degree in Political Science is the first level of post-secondary education after getting a high school diploma or a Graduate Equivalency Degree (GED). Community colleges and technical institutions frequently provide this two-year, full-time post-secondary program.

There are many different types of political science degree programs . Two of the most common programs are associate degree and bachelor’s degree programs. Associate degrees are an early career option for adult learners and career-switchers who need a flexible way to attend classes while caring for their families or working full-time.

Political Science Associate Degree Requirements

An Associate Degree in Political Science is typically a 60-to-70-credit program, which can be completed in two years of full-time study. To be eligible, you need a high school diploma or a GED. You’ll also have to meet general or liberal arts education requirements, which means taking courses in math, science, and other disciplines unrelated to political science.

An Associate Degree in Political Science typically requires students to complete 35 credits’ worth of political science courses. Comparative government and politics, law and society, political economy, international relations, macroeconomic principles, and political theory are just a few of the courses that make up a typical curriculum.

How Much Does a Political Science Associate Degree Cost?

The cost of tuition for a two-year political science associate degree can vary significantly depending on the educational institution. According to the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES), the average annual cost of tuition, fees, room, and board for two-year programs is $11,391 at public schools and $26,749 at private schools.

Political Science Associate Degree Financing Options: How to Pay for Your Political Science Degree

Paying for a political science associate degree out of pocket is not an option for everyone. Fortunately, various forms of federal and state aid are available for students, including grants, scholarships, and loans. According to NCES, 76.9 percent of students enrolled at a two-year school were awarded some type of financial aid during the 2018-19 school year.

Best Political Science Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Bunker Hill Community College Associate Degree in Political Science New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
Casper College Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
East Georgia State College Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Folsom Lake College Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)
Foothill College Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)
Georgia Highlands College Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Inver Hills Community College Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Jefferson College Associate of Arts in Political Science Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Solano Community College Associate in Arts in Political Science for Transfer (ADT: A.A.-T) Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)
Valley Forge Military College Associate of Arts (AA) in Justice and Security Studies Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

Best Colleges for Political Science: Top Political Science Associate Degree Programs

It can be hard to conduct a school search for an Associate Degree in Political Science. You must examine your career goals, visit multiple colleges, and assess your financial needs. Consider the school’s accreditation, location, ranking, acceptance rate, and required tests when making your choice. Below is our guide to the best political science associate degrees.

Associate Degree in Political Science | Bunker Hill Community College

Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC), located in Boston, Massachusetts, is the state’s largest community college. The four core topics covered in the program are American politics, political philosophy, comparative politics, and international relations.

Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science | Casper College

Casper College is one of Wyoming’s largest and most diverse community institutions. Students from both inside and outside the region attend Casper College. Its political science course curriculum covers all of the organizations and procedures that constitute the political behavior of civil society.

Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science | East Georgia State College

East Georgia State College is a public college in Swainsboro, Georgia. This college program prepares students to think critically about politics, pursue subjects related to political science, participate intelligently in politics at all levels, and prosper in the workforce.

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Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science | Folsom Lake College

Folsom Lake College is a community college in California. It is part of the California College of Colleges and Los Angeles College. The political science curriculum investigates government agencies, structures, political systems, and how individuals and organizations interact.

Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science | Foothill College

Foothill College is a community college in Los Altos Hills, California. It is part of the District College of Public Districts De Anza. Its political science courses cover American history and politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, public policy, and political economy.

Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science | Inver Hills Community College

Inver Hills Community College is a public community college in Minnesota. The college was founded in 1970 and is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System (MnSCU). The program allows students to examine current affairs and today’s critical political debates from various perspectives and consider possible solutions.

Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science | Georgia Highlands College

Georgia Highlands College is a multi-campus state college that is part of the University System of Georgia. It was established in 1970 as Floyd Junior College. Students study the various layers of federal government, state and local government, foreign issues, historical political legends, and public rights within the American government.

Associate of Arts in Political Science | Jefferson College

Jefferson College is a community college in Jefferson County, Missouri Hillsboro. The core courses prepare students to function as citizens in their communities, serve as government employees or elected officials, or become civics or government teachers.

Associate in Arts in Political Science for Transfer (ADT: A.A.-T) | Solano Community College

Solano Community College has a long history in Solano County. Solano Junior College was founded in 1945 as Vallejo Junior College and was in the Vallejo Unified School District until 1967, when it became a countywide college. This program looks at the idea and practice of government and the high-profile political organizations that influence government choices.

Associate of Arts (AA) in Justice and Security Studies | Valley Forge Military College

Valley Forge Military College is a Wayne, Pennsylvania-based military junior college. The Associate of Arts in Justice and Security Studies gives students a broad understanding of security issues at the local, state, national, and worldwide levels.

Best Online Political Science Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Allen Community College Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Foothill College Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)
Front Range Community College Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Georgia State University Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Lansing Community College Associate of Arts (AA) in International Studies Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Liberty University Online Associate in Arts (AA) in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
South Texas College Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Truckee Meadows Community College Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
University of Management and Technology Associate of Science (AS) in Homeland Security Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
Volunteer State Community College
Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science (Transfer) Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Best Colleges for Political Science: Top Online Political Science Associate Degree Programs

If you aspire to work in politics, completing an Associate Degree in Political Science online can help you achieve your goals. Most significantly, an online associate degree will provide you with easy access to political science knowledge for a range of entry-level jobs.

Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science | Allen Community College

Allen County College has two campuses. The main campus is located in Aiola, Kansas, and the other is in Burlingame, Kansas. Allen offers both online and in-person courses. Public speaking, ethics, the American Civil War, and American history are just a few of the topics covered in Allen Community College’s online political science associate degree program.

Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science | Foothill College

Foothill College is a community college in California that is part of the De Anza District College of Public Districts. The college provides an online Associate Degree in Political Science in addition to its on-campus program. American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, public policy, and political economy are all included in the curriculum.

Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science | Front Range Community College

Front Range Community College is a Colorado community college with multiple campuses. After four semesters in Front Range Community College’s online AA in Political Science, students can enroll as juniors at one of eleven four-year universities in Colorado. Graduates can get jobs in government, education, political campaigns, and diplomatic organizations.

Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science | Georgia State University

The university’s seven campuses throughout metro Atlanta provide connectivity for its world-class teachers and more than 51,000 students. In its political science associate degree online program, students learn about the government and politics in the United States.

Associate of Arts (AA) in International Studies | Lansing Community College

Lansing Community College is one of Michigan’s major community colleges, with over 200 associate degree and certificate programs. The online AA in International Studies degree program explores the political processes, policies, and forms of government of countries other than the United States.

Associate of Arts (AA) in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) | Liberty University Online

Liberty University’s Helms Government School provides an AA in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, which can be completed in two years or less. The curriculum can assist you in gaining the information necessary to pursue a career in politics or the social sciences.

Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science | South Texas College

South Texas College is a community college in the Rio Grande Valley, South Texas. South Texas College’s online AA in Political Science is designed for students who want to transfer to a four-year college to pursue a baccalaureate degree in political science or a related discipline.

Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science | Truckee Meadows Community College

Truckee Meadows Community College is a public institution in Nevada with 10,861 students on campus. Truckee Meadows offers an online AA in Political Science, which can be used to transfer to a four-year degree program. The curriculum covers power, authority, representation, and ethics within governments.

Associate of Science (AS) in Homeland Security | University of Management and Technology

The University of Management and Technology was founded in Virginia in 1998. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission accredits it. The AS in Homeland Security program emphasizes general education courses to prepare students for admission to the Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security program.

Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science (Transfer) | Volunteer State Community College

Located 30 miles northeast of Nashville, this public, comprehensive community college in middle Tennessee offers more than 90 academic majors. The Tennessee Transfer (TT) pathway degree option affords AA in Political Science students a smooth transition into one of the state’s four-year colleges or universities.

What’s the Average Political Science Associate Degree Salary?

The Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas  Political Science Associate Degrees
An online degree in political science can open the door to join your state’s legislature.

The salary in political science positions varies depending on the role, level of education, and location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a political scientist earns a median pay of $125,350 per year . Most of these have a master’s degree or higher. According to PayScale, the average AA in Political Science is worth an annual salary of $55,000 per year.

Top Political Science Associate Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Allen Community College Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Foothill College Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)
Front Range Community College Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Georgia State University Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Lansing Community College Associate of Arts (AA) in International Studies Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Liberty University Online Associate in Arts (AA) in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
South Texas College Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Truckee Meadows Community College Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
University of Management and Technology Associate of Science (AS) in Homeland Security Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
Volunteer State Community College
Associate of Arts (AA) in Political Science (Transfer) Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Best Political Science Associate Degree Jobs Explained

Political Scientist

Political scientists are interested in the origins, evolution, and operation of political systems. They investigate political concepts and assess governments, policies, political trends, and other related concerns.

Political scientists’ duties include investigating political topics such as the United States’ political system and foreign affairs, collecting and evaluating data from public opinion polls and other sources, creating and testing political hypotheses, and examining how policies and regulations affect the government.

Policy Analyst

  • Average Salary: $74,335
  • Job Outlook: 9%
  • Number of Jobs: 937,578
  • Highest-Paying States: California, Virginia, Arkansas

Policy analysts, also known as researchers, scholars, and fellows, endeavor to improve the public understanding about social concerns like crime prevention, healthcare access, and environmental protection. Government analysts counsel decision-makers on the effects of various policies. Their job growth projection is the same as that of political scientists.

Public Relations Specialist

  • Average Salary: $62,810
  • Job Outlook: 11%
  • Number of Jobs : 272,300
  • Highest-Paying States : District of Columbia, New Jersey, Washington, California, and Maryland

Public relations specialists help individuals, groups, and organizations achieve and maintain a positive public image. They issue press releases and launch social media campaigns to sway public opinion and promote awareness of their client’s activities and goals.

Political Consultant

  • Average Salary: $54,525
  • Job Outlook: 9%
  • Number of Jobs: 13,968
  • Highest-Paying States: Massachusetts, Hawaii, Connecticut

Political consultants are political scientists who are in charge of managing politicians’ election campaigns and assisting them in becoming elected. They decide how best to communicate the candidate’s message to the public and devise media tactics to present them in the best light possible.

Political Campaign Staffer

  • Average Salary: $35,994
  • Job Outlook: 16%
  • Number of Jobs: 124
  • Highest-Paying States: California, Connecticut, Washington

Political campaign staff jobs range from campaign manager to fundraiser. They also include accountant, communications coordinator, and election staff administrator positions. Political campaign staffers endorse a candidate or contribute to fundraising efforts. Our job growth projection for this job is based on BLS data for fundraisers.

Should You Get an Associate Degree in Political Science?

An Associate Degree in Political Science is a great way to build a career in politics and gain access to government positions. With many accredited institutions offering online degrees in political science , you can easily find a flexible option to kickstart your career in politics.

Political Science Associate Degree FAQ

Is a political science associate degree always an AA degree?

Associate Degrees in Political Science can be either Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Science (AS) degrees. Either way, it requires two years of full-time study and the coursework prepares students for careers in government, nonprofits, and business.


Is a degree in political science worth it?

Yes, a degree in political science is worth it if you want to achieve outstanding political career prospects and access government positions. Lawyers, political scientists, and historians are among the professions that require undergraduate or graduate education in political science.

Can you get a good job with a political science degree?

Yes, a versatile undergraduate or graduate degree in political science can help you launch a career in politics, policy, charity work, business, or education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a political scientist with a master’s degree earns $125,350 per year.

What does a political science degree give you?

Political science graduates typically choose successful career paths to work in the public sector. You could be elected as a politician, a consulting analyst, or a support staffer.

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Olga Melnyk

About the author: Olga Melnyk is a freelance writer and translator from Ukraine. She has certificates in quality assurance, foreign languages, and diplomacy. Besides writing and translating, she has extensive experience teaching English. Her current goal is to help high-qualified English-speaking Ukrainians who lost their jobs due to the war find remote jobs at Career Karma and other international companies. Olga holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Political Science, both from the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and Friedrich Schiller University Jena.

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