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Careers with a Political Science Degree

Degrees in political science typically cover law, politics and international relations. Find out about career options, job growth and salary info for political science graduates.

A political science degree can be applied to several careers. This article outlines education requirements, job growth projections and salary expectations for three such careers: management analysts, public relations specialist and political scientists.

Essential Information

Political scientists research political issues in international relations, political life and the legal system, among other areas. A bachelor's degree is acceptable in many political science-related fields, although a master's degree may be required for upper-level positions.

Career Management Analyst Public Relations Specialist Political Scientist
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Master's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 14% 6% -2%
Average Salary (2015)* $81,320 $56,770 $99,730

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Political science degree-holders have employment opportunities in both business and public affairs. Read on to learn more about career options for graduates.

Federally Employed Political Scientist

Because of the field's focus on politics, international politics and the justice system, many political science graduates look for jobs as political scientists with the federal government. Graduates who hold these positions use their analytical and research skills in roles that affect public policy and raise awareness of issues such as healthcare or crime prevention.

Those interested in jobs with the government are required to possess at least a bachelor's degree; however, a master's degree or even a doctorate may be necessary for some positions. Political science graduates who work for the federal government can work as analysts, foreign service officers and international relations specialists.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of political scientists is expected to decrease by 2% between 2014 and 2024. As of May 2015, the average annual salary of a political scientist was $99,730.

Management Analyst

Management analysts, also known as management consultants, improve an organization's or company's efficiency, structure and overall profitability. These improvements are made by examining company data, observing workers and learning the organization's logistics. Management analysts use this information to improve efficiency, trim budgets and increase productivity.

Some management analysts specialize in a particular area, such as healthcare or banking. According to the BLS, most employers prefer to hire management analysts with at least a master's degree, although some small firms and certain government jobs require only a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions.

Management analysts may go on to work in a variety of industries, such as healthcare, defense, education and government. The BLS indicates that employment of management analysts will grow by 14% between 2014 and 2024, which is faster than the average for all jobs. As of May 2015, the average salary for management analysts was $81,320 annually, per the BLS.

Public Relations Specialist

U.S. Government public relations specialists may act as advocates for the federal government, particularly in the area of foreign affairs. These specialists organize relationship-building events such as fundraisers, meet-and-greets or press conferences. They may also write press releases and news articles, maintain websites, manage charitable efforts and organize outreach or educational programs.

Some public relations specialists have backgrounds in journalism or marketing. Those seeking careers as public affairs specialists with the U.S. government may be hired by a variety of government organizations, including the Department of State. According to the BLS, most public relations manager and specialist positions require a bachelor's degree.

The BLS states that employment of public relations specialists, the larger group to which public affairs specialists belong, is expected to increase by 6% from 2014-2024, which is roughly equal to the average for all jobs. The average annual salary for public relations specialists was $56,770 as of May 2015, per the BLS.

A bachelor's degree in political science is the first step in entering a career in management analysis, public relations or political science. Political science majors may need to pursue further education and obtain a master's degree to find employment. Job growth will vary, depending on the positions, with management analysis being the fastest growing field.

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