Career Definition for Foreign Policy Professional
Foreign policy professionals are political scientists, lawyers, economists, and other social scientists with expertise in how countries relate to each other politically, socially, and economically. Foreign policy professionals conduct research and use their findings to advise the government and other institutions on international issues, such as trade, human rights, global food supply, energy, and the environment, according to the Foreign Policy Association. Other foreign policy professionals serve as foreign service officers and implement U.S. foreign policy in other countries.
|Education||Master's degree, doctorate, or law degree are most common; foreign service officers may find employment with only a bachelor's degree, usually with extra coursework|
|Job Skills||Collaboration with others, diplomacy, communication skills, foreign language proficiency, bravery|
|Median Salary 2017*|| $115,110 (political scientist)
|Career Outlook 2016-2026*|| 3% (political scientist)
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Most foreign policy professionals hold master's, doctorate or law degrees. Foreign service officers employed by the federal government may enter the field with bachelor's degrees, though additional education is typical. Some universities feature specialized programs, such as international affairs, international studies or international relations, specifically as preparation for careers in foreign policy. However, many foreign policy professionals choose to earn M.A., Ph.D. or J.D. degrees in the more general fields of political science, history, economics, sociology or law.
A successful career in foreign policy requires excellent written and communication skills for conveying research results and making recommendations to policy makers. Foreign policy professionals must be comfortable working alone and collaborating with other professionals. Diplomacy, knowledge of at least one foreign language and a willingness to serve in areas of conflict are desired of foreign service officers.
Career and Economic Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects that job openings for political scientists, a common position for foreign policy professionals, will increase at a pace of 3% from 2016-2026. Similarly, sociologists will see a 1% increase in positions; however, economists can expect positive average growth of 6%. Because foreign policy professionals come from a diversity of fields, salaries can vary. Political scientists earned a median salary of $115,110 in May 2017, economists earned a median of $102,490, and sociologists earned a median of $79,650, according to the BLS.
Alternate Career Options
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