Become a Political Campaign Manager: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Find out how to become a political campaign manager. Learn about the education requirements and real-life experience you'll need to begin and advance your career as a political campaign manager. View article »

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  • 0:01 Political Campaign Managers
  • 0:42 Career Information
  • 1:18 Step 1: Earn a…
  • 2:20 Step 2: Intern or Volunteer
  • 2:41 Step 3: Get an Entry-Level job

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Video Transcript

Political Campaign Managers

Political campaign managers oversee politicians' bids for public office. They provide a variety of services, including political consultation, marketing, fundraising and public relations. People in this position often hire, train, and coordinate the activities of staff members and volunteers in all aspects of a campaign.

Like many public relations and fundraising managers, political campaign managers often work long hours in an office atmosphere. They might have the rewarding experience of helping a political candidate win an election, but they also have to deal with the stress of such responsibility.

Career Information

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Fields Campaign management, political science, or a related field
Experience Several years of campaign experience
Key Skills Excellent organizational, written and oral communication skills; ability to manage stressful situations, to multi-task, to work on a team, and to work long hours, nights and weekends
Median Salary (2016)* $53,000

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics (May 2014), PayScale.com*

A bachelor's degree in political science or a related field and several years of campaign experience is usually required to obtain a job as a political campaign manager. Campaign managers should also have excellent oral and written communication skills, and be able to multitask and manage stressful situations. They should also be organized and able to work as a member of a team, which may include night and weekend hours. According to Payscale.com in August 2016, campaign managers in general earned a median annual salary of $53,000.

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Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

As we said earlier, aspiring political campaign managers can pursue an undergraduate degree in political science or a closely related major. Classes in these programs can provide students with vital insights into the inner workings of the American political systems and cover topics in political parties, political analysis, and politics in the media. Advanced political science or campaign management courses might teach students how to interpret voter behavior, decipher polls, and execute campaign strategies.

Become a Campus Leader

By heading a student organization, aspiring campaign managers can develop their leadership skills and learn about delegating tasks, operating on a budget, and communicating with outside groups.

Consider a Graduate Program

Graduate programs in political management are also available. Courses typically focus on skills specific to the role, such as running a campaign office, advertising for candidates, and understanding legislative affairs.

Step 2: Intern or Volunteer

While some degree programs may offer internships in a campaign office, all students can start their careers by volunteering for a campaign. Interns and volunteers may contact voters, assist with fundraising, and perform office duties. These jobs can help students find paid positions, build their skills, and make political contacts.

Step 3: Get an Entry-Level Job

Political campaigns typically have several entry-level positions available, such as volunteer coordinator, fundraiser or scheduler. Campaign workers who demonstrate an ability to handle demanding assignments may be promoted to supervisory or consultant positions, eventually advancing to the role of campaign manager.

Join a Professional Organization

Groups like the American Association of Political Consultants provide networking opportunities, continuing education, award programs, and other services for political workers.

Remember, you'll need a bachelor's degree in political science or a related major and some intern or volunteer experience to fulfill your dream of working as a political campaign manager, who earned a median annual salary of $53,000 in August 2016.

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