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High Paying Political Science Careers

Political science is a popular college major and one that is looked for by a variety of potential employers. There are many career opportunities available in the political science arena. Read on to learn about some of the more lucrative options.

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High Paying Political Science Career Options

Political science involves the study of how governments work, including how laws are made and how government policies affect society and the economy. This field encompasses a variety of careers, many of which focus on helping to shape society through political change and political policies. Below, find information regarding some of the higher paying jobs in the political science field:

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016 - 2026)*
Public Relations Manager $111,280 (for public relations and fundraising managers) 10% (for public relations and fundraising managers)
Political Scientist $115,110 3%
U.S. Congressperson $174,000** (2016) N/A
Attorney $119,250 8%
Urban and Regional Planner $71,490 13%

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **Senate.gov

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Information on High Paying Political Science Careers

Public Relations Manager

Although many types of businesses utilize public relations (PR) firms, many public relations careers can be found in the political arena, working directly on a politician's staff. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that public relations and fundraising managers, two positions that politicians utilize, made a median annual salary of $111,280 in 2017. Public relations managers are responsible for creating and maintaining their client's public image utilizing a variety of media tools to disseminate information. As managers, they may be responsible for supervising a staff of PR specialists who may be tasked with writing speeches and press releases, as well as scheduling public appearances and interviews. A minimum of a bachelor's degree along with relevant experience is required to reach management level, and majors such as journalism, public relations and communications would be relevant.

Political Scientist

Individuals with a political science degree interested in a career with a median annual salary of $115,110 (according to the BLS for 2017) could consider becoming a political scientist. Political scientists research various political data, such as election results or the results from consumer opinion surveys, as well as historical data. They then analyze the data in an attempt to predict economic and social trends, as well as to develop theories on the impact that specific political actions or policies may have. Political scientists will most often have to share their results, either in a written report or in some type of a presentation, so excellent oral and written communication skills are a must. A master's degree in political science, public policy or public administration is required.

U.S. Congressperson

U.S. Congresspersons are elected officials in the highest echelon of the legislative branch, and according to official Congressional reporting, their 2016 salary was $174,000. As members of the legislative branch, Congresspersons are responsible for making the laws that govern our country. Congresspersons are assigned to work on specific committees, such as the Appropriations Committee or the Ethics Committee, and each committee is responsible for examining and researching resolutions and bills that pertain to their specialty and providing their findings to the other Congress members. There are no educational requirements to becoming a member of Congress; however, the U.S. Constitution sets specific qualifications for U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators regarding age, citizenship and domicile.

Attorney

Political science deals with how government works, with the three branches of our government being responsible for making the laws, enforcing the laws and interpreting the laws, and attorneys comprise the main component of this legal system. Attorneys, whom the BLS reports earned a median annual salary of $119,250 in 2017, can work for either the government as prosecutors or public defenders or for private firms handling criminal or civil manners in a variety of specialties including contract law, family law and real estate law. The highest paid attorneys are going to be found in the private sector, with many senior partners in larger firms earning salaries in the high six figures. A law degree (J.D.) and successful passing of the bar exam are required.

Urban and Regional Planner

Urban and regional planners, who help determine how land can best be used to benefit communities, focusing on factors such as environmental and economic issues that residents may be facing, are well-compensated for their efforts, with the BLS reporting a 2017 median annual salary of $71,490. Not only do they help create and analyze plans for new developments, they also work with existing communities, determining what their needs may be and helping them manage various projects, such as revitalization initiatives. Planners work closely with a variety of public officials and must keep abreast of all zoning codes and other regulations. A master's degree from an accredited planning program is required and undergraduate majors in political science and environmental design are relevant.

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