It is never too soon nor too late to think about what you value, what you are good at, the things that interest you, and situations where you are most productive—in general, and in the context of possible career opportunities. If the answer to any of those questions is related to understanding the exercise of power in various settings, you might want to consider pursuing a political science degree. Political science is a diverse and dynamic discipline with many jobs for political science majors, such as the option to become a professor, scholar, researcher, diplomat, business executive, public servant, journalist, and many others.
You may begin to plan for suitable career options by analyzing yourself and the characteristics of different careers, including the salaries that come with those positions. So read on and find out what political science is, its job outlook, and the highest paying political science jobs you could qualify for if you decide to go down this road.
What Is Political Science?
Political science is a field that focuses on the study of governments, public policies and processes, systems, and political behavior. It is a social science that uses humanistic and scientific skills to examine countries and regions. As an academic discipline, political science was established in the mid-nineteenth century in the United States and across Europe, primarily shaped by the desire to uncover conditions for enduring peace.
Political science degrees focus on national and international issues, such as social justice, climate change, ecological collapse, and the more current subject of COVID-19. Furthermore, they explore how these matters relate to the current political systems and to those of the past and future. Pursuing a degree in this discipline can help open many doors in business, government, and public service settings.
Political Science Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), political science is expected to have a positive job outlook in the next decade. Employment in this field is forecasted to grow about 9% between 2020 and 2030, and each year, there are projected to be around 700 job openings for political scientists.
Highest Paying Jobs in Political Science
So, what jobs can you get with a political science degree? Well, the opportunities are countless. By the time you complete your degree, you should have a good understanding of political issues and theories and have developed some crucial and transferable skills that can open careers in various fields. Below we have gathered some of the highest paying political science degree jobs you might want to keep in mind while choosing your degree, major, and minor.
Lawyers are professionals who have completed law school, passed a bar exam, and are licensed by the state to help solve legal problems. Obtaining a political science degree can help prepare you for a career as a lawyer since you will learn about government policies, laws, and how they function within the country.
The average salary for lawyers in the United States is $125,675 per year. Depending on the organization you work for and the position you have, the lowest reported salary is $59,436 per year, whereas the highest reaches $250,338 per year.
2. Postsecondary Political Science Teachers
Upon graduating in political science, you will be qualified to teach political science, social studies, government studies, and world history in postsecondary schools. Depending on the region, especially if you pursue a job in public school systems, you might be required to complete a teaching certification in addition to your degree.
The average salary for political science teachers in the United States is $58,806 per year. Depending on the school you work for, the lowest reported salary is $39,254 per year, whereas the highest reaches $77,096 per year.
3. Political scientists
Naturally, after graduating in political science, you will be qualified as a political scientist. This position includes research, analysis, and forecasting by looking back at history and modern trends to better understand the current policies and laws that affect the government, business, and people in general.
The average salary for political scientists in the United States is $80,937 per year. Depending on the company you work for, the lowest reported salary is $53,239 per year, whereas the highest reaches $153,384 per year.
4. Judges and hearing officers
In the United States, the legal system and American political organizations are tightly intertwined. That is why after finishing political science studies and closely studying law, you can be qualified for jobs positions of judges and hearing officers. You would be responsible for overseeing the legal process in courts, leading pretrial hearings, resolving administrative conflicts, and issuing legal decisions, among other things.
The average salary for judges in the United States is $113,681 per year. There are significant fluctuations regarding compensation, with the lowest reported salary being $19,507 per year, whereas the highest reaches $201,613 per year.
On the other hand, the average salary for hearing officers in the United States is $107,818 per year. The lowest reported salary is $29,854 per year, whereas the highest reaches $75,451 per year.
5. Urban and regional planners
Your political science degree will help you land positions as urban and regional planner, responsible for examining site plans that developers submit and then developing different strategies and programs to help create and accommodate communities in various areas. They apply the appropriate principles of planning, analysis, and architecture to the development of spaces.
The average salary for urban and regional planners in the United States is $119,284 per year. The lowest reported salary is $48,098 per year, whereas the highest reaches $261,000 per year.
6. Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators
Your political science studies will help develop your communication, analytical, and negotiation skills, all crucial to the jobs of arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators. In these positions, you would be responsible for helping facilitate negotiation and dialogue between parties, helping resolve the conflicts they have, and reaching a compromise.
The average salary for arbitrators in the United States is $112,970 per year. The lowest reported salary is $26,102 per year, whereas the highest reaches $221,000 per year.
The average salary for mediators in the United States is $75,990 per year. The lowest reported salary is $57,970 per year, whereas the highest reaches $173,225 per year.
The average salary for conciliators in the United States is $87,626 per year. The lowest reported salary is $33,240 per year, whereas the highest reaches $$155,000 per year.
7. Paralegals and legal assistants
Paralegals and legal assistants deal with various tasks to support lawyers, from researching laws and cases to maintaining and organizing files, drafting documents, and gathering evidence to be used in court. They help lawyers prepare for trial by formulating reports, explaining evidence, and filing appeals with the opposing counsel. In general, paralegals are more involved with the technicalities of the law, whereas legal assistants engage with broader tasks.
The average salary for paralegals in the United States is $52,150 per year. The lowest reported salary is $34,841 per year, whereas the highest reaches $88,000 per year.
The average salary for legal assistants in the United States is $48,612 per year. The lowest reported salary is $30,317 per year, whereas the highest reaches $65,470 per year.
8. Public relations manager
Public relations managers use press releases, sponsor corporate events, and interviews to explain their client’s opinions to the public. They also monitor current social, economic, and political trends that might affect their customer and then, based on those trends, recommend ways to improve the client’s image.
The average salary for public relations managers in the United States is $75,409 per year. The lowest reported salary is $47,089 per year, whereas the highest reaches $127,363 per year.
Hopefully, this article encourages you to pursue political science as a field of study and helps you find a specific position that fulfills your aspirations and satisfies your financial needs. Law is said to be reason, and then reason the source of knowledge. So, if you genuinely want to understand our society, culture, political institutions, and human relations, political science will give you the key to do so.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
What job opportunities are available for political science graduates?
Political science graduates can pursue a wide range of career paths. Common job opportunities include roles in government, such as working as a policy analyst, political consultant, or public affairs specialist. They can also enter fields like law, academia, international relations, non-profit organizations, and journalism.
Do I need a graduate degree in political science to find good job prospects?
While a bachelor’s degree in political science can open up entry-level positions in various fields, some advanced roles may require a master’s or even a doctoral degree in political science. The level of education needed often depends on your career goals and the specific job you’re interested in.
What skills are essential for a successful career in political science?
Political science professionals should possess strong analytical and research skills and the ability to evaluate information and data critically. Effective written and verbal communication skills are crucial for roles that involve public speaking, policy writing, or diplomacy. Additionally, a good understanding of government structures and political processes is essential.
How competitive is the job market for political science graduates?
The competitiveness of the job market for political science graduates can vary depending on factors such as location, specialization, and the current political climate. Generally, it can be competitive, but networking, gaining relevant experience through internships, and staying up-to-date with current events and trends can improve job prospects.