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What Can You Do With a Bachelors in Political Science?

Political Science is generally offered at the bachelor's degree level. Continue reading for an overview of the major as well as career and salary info and some career options for graduates.

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Political science majors pursuing a bachelor's degree have the potential to find employment in a wide variety of governmental agencies and consulting firms. For those who want to work as a budget analyst, public relations expert or political scientist, exceptional skills in mathematics, statistics and communication are required.

Essential Information

Possessing a bachelor's degree in political science qualifies graduates to perform entry-level work for government agencies, research groups or consulting firms. This degree can qualify graduates for jobs in budget analysis, public relations, or political research. While in school, students may have opportunities to complete internships and volunteer research assistantships offered through government agencies and non-profit groups. Individuals with excellent mathematical and statistical skills may have the greatest opportunities to find meaningful employment.

Career Budget Analyst Public Relations and Fundraising Manager Political Scientist
Education Requirements Bachelor's Degree Bachelor's Degree Master's Degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 3%* 7%* -2%*
Median Salary (2015) 71,590* $95,450* $99,730*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

A bachelor's degree in political science can lead to employment as a research assistant, budget analyst or public relations/fundraising manager. Due to the versatility of this degree, candidates can also find themselves competing for jobs such as anthropologist, geographer, historian, market researcher and statistician and in industries such as banking, city planning and high school teaching. Although entry-level positions are available for those with bachelor's degrees, the majority of significant political science careers and research positions are available to those with graduate degrees only.

Budget Analyst

Budget analysts use excellent analytical and mathematical skills to advise businesses, local and federal government offices on how to organize their budgets. They also write and audit reports then use that data to make recommendations to organizational leaders. In the government sector, budget analysts sometimes assist with policy analysis and providing advice to law makers regarding budget regulation decisions.

To work as a budget analyst, a minimum of a bachelor's is required. Certification is not typically required but those working with the government could seek a Certified Government Financial Manager which is offered by the Association of Government Accountants. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) budget analysts made a median salary of $71,590 in 2015 and are expected to see a job growth of 3% between 2014 and 2024.

Public Relations and Fundraising Manager

Public relations and fund raising managers are essential to the organizations that they support. Public relations managers are responsible for trending social, economic, and political issues that will have a direct effect on their organization. They also make recommendations based on those trends that will positively enhance the public image of those organizations. Fundraising managers coordinate campaigns, formulate fundraising strategies and plan events that will generate donations towards those campaigns.

Fundraising managers and public relations managers must be comfortable with interfacing with all levels of the public as well as legal staff to ensure all laws are followed properly. Generally, a bachelor's degree is required for entry-level jobs for both positions.

As reported by the BLS, public relations and fundraising managers earned $95,450 in 2015. Employment for these jobs is expected to grow 7% between 2014 and 2024. As technology and social media usage expands, the need for these positions will become increasingly important in positively maintaining and growing an organization's image.

Political Scientist

Political scientists examine various aspects of the governmental system, including the ways towns, cities and countries operate, interact and make policy decisions. They research and analyze how government administrations and private organizations exercise power and react to change and then suggest possible solutions to problems and issues that arise. To help them make sound recommendations, political scientists evaluate public opinion polls, election results and how changes in legislation, can affect the political, social and economic climate. To be a successful political scientist requires exceptional computer and communication skills to investigate, write and present well-researched articles or reports. They also need to be methodical in their ability to analyze and summarize complicated social, governmental or international issues.

For foreign assignments, political scientists need to be adaptable to unfamiliar cultures, languages and climates. Most administrative and research positions are available to those who earn at least a master's degree. This degree also qualifies candidates to teach community college coursework. To teach at the university level, however, and to have the greatest research opportunities requires a doctoral degree.

The BLS reports political scientists held around 6,200 jobs in 2014, about half of which were with the scientific research and development services. Yearly median salaries for political scientists were reported as $99,730 as of May 2015. Employment opportunities for political scientists are expected to decline by 2% over the period of 2014-2024.

There is a wide assortment of entry-level positions that pertain to the political science field, some of which include a statistician, market researcher and anthropologist. Yet, while most of these positions require only a bachelor's degree in political science, many candidates have a better chance of qualifying for a position after obtaining a master's degree.

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