Jobs Involving International Relations

There are so many options for individuals who want to pursue a career in international relations. From the law field, to teaching, to language, there is sure to be an option that is the right fit.

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Career Options in International Relations

The field of international relations is extremely broad and varied. There are many job opportunities within this field. For individuals to narrow down the options, they should consider their skills, their interests, and what type of education they want to pursue. We will discuss a few different possible careers within the field of international relations below.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Political Scientist $114,290 -2%
Political Science Teacher $79,210 10%
Lawyer $118,160 6%
Arbitrator, Mediator, & Conciliator $59,770 9%
Interpreter & Translator $46,120 29%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Jobs in International Relations

Political Scientist

Political scientists are experts in the study of political systems. These professionals may specialize in a particular topic or area, like relations between the United State and another foreign country. These people may act as advisors to governments that need to understand complex political histories and relationships. Political scientists who work in international relations may also be heavily involved in studying the effect that different policies will have on the relationship between countries. To become a political scientist, you will usually need at least a master's, if not a Ph.D., in political science or public administration.

Political Science Teacher

Some political science experts choose to pursue a career in postsecondary teaching. In this role, they may teach courses in international relations, global political economics, or any number of other related courses. They are in charge of developing lesson plans, lecturing, giving out homework, and writing exams. They may also provide guidance and support to students who are struggling in class or have questions about career paths. To become a postsecondary political science teacher, you will need to have at least a master's degree in the field.


Lawyers provide legal advice and representation for both individuals and companies. Lawyers typically specialize in a particular area of law, like taxation law, family and divorce law, or intellectual property law. Some lawyers work in an area of international relations, like international trade. These lawyers are experts in understanding not only American laws regulating trade, but also foreign laws. They may be employed by private companies or by the federal government. To become a lawyer, you will need to get a bachelor's degree and then attend law school and pass the bar exam in the state in which you will practice law.

Arbitrator, Mediator, or Conciliator

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators all perform similar roles in that they act as the go-between for two parties attempting to resolve a conflict without resorting to litigation. These professionals may work in the field of international relations by helping opposing governments and commercial organizations come to agreements without having to involve international court systems. To become one of these professionals, there are several paths you could follow. You could pursue a master's or doctoral degree in dispute resolution, or you might obtain a law degree and then work as a mediator. Another option is to transition from a career in international business to work as an arbitrator, mediator, or conciliator.

Interpreter & Translator

Interpreters and translators can play a very key role in international relations, as they provide a link between two parties who otherwise wouldn't be able to understand each other due to language barriers. While some international relations professionals may speak multiple languages, the need for translators and interpreters still remains, especially for languages that are spoken in Africa and Asia. Interpreters work to translate the spoken word, including conversations between people, while translators usually translate written documents from one language to another. To become an interpreter or translator, you normally need a bachelor's degree, and you must be fluent two languages.

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