Career Options that Involve Politics
Beyond the obvious choice of becoming a local, state, or federal politician, there are several other career options that involve politics. You may be interested in studying different political theories and pursuing a career in research. Politicians often collaborate with experts in other fields, like economics, when they are proposing policies and new laws. Being one of these advisors to a politician may be of interest to you. Below, we discuss a few career options that involve politics.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)||Job Growth (2014-2024)*|
|Political Scientist||$114,290*||-2% (decline)|
|Urban and Regional Planner*||$70,020||6%|
|Senator or House Representative||$174,000**||NA|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **U.S. Senate
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Career Information for Jobs that Involve Politics
Many political scientists are employed by the government, as they are experts on the political system. Some of their responsibilities may include analyzing different laws and policies to see how effective they are or using public opinion surveys, questionnaires, and quantitative data to come up with conclusions and write reports. Some political scientists may focus on understanding a specific political relationship, like how two different countries interact with one another, or how different political parties in a county operate. To become a political scientist, you will at least a master's degree or a Ph.D. in political science or a related field.
Survey researchers can work in many fields, including politics. Politicians may employ these researchers to create surveys to test public opinion and to determine how much support they have within a community. They make sure the questions are clear, and they coordinate with a team in order to determine how to distribute the surveys. After data is collected, survey researchers use different statistical analysis methods to come up with results to present to politicians and employers. To become a survey researcher, you usually need either a master's or Ph.D. degree in a field like marketing, statistics, or survey research.
Urban and Regional Planner
Urban and regional planners are involved in the world of politics because they often work with government officials and politicians to develop plans for community spaces. These professionals often identify a need in the community, like a lack of sufficient roads or the need for new affordable housing. They then create plans to fix these problems, taking into account the cost and feasibility of their proposal. Urban and regional planners have to be aware of the different laws and policies in a city or state as they will affect what is possible. Sometimes, urban and regional planners work closely with a local politician to develop a plan that citizens must then vote on. Generally, you need a master's degree to find a job in urban and regional planning.
As an economist, you work in the world of analysis, specifically in relation to the production of goods and services. You may adhere to a certain economic theory and act as an advisor to a politician who is trying to develop a new set of economic policies for their city or state. Some economists may work as outside analysts, predicting trends in the stock market and helping people understand how different political policies will affect them personally. Most economists are employed by state and federal governments, though a fair number of them also work in consulting and research fields. You will generally need a master's or Ph.D. to become an economist, though some entry-level jobs only require a bachelor's degree.
Senator and House Representative
If you are interested in working in politics directly, you may want to consider a career as a politician. Many individuals begin a career in politics at the local level before running to represent their state as senators or house representatives. While senators and representatives have different responsibilities and duties, they are both charged with being the voice for the people of their home state. Many of them serve on different political committees in the Senate or the House, and all of them must participate in voting on proposed laws and policies. To become a senator or house representative, you must be elected by the citizens of your state.