Careers In Political Science – What You Need To Know

Careers In Political Science – What You Need To Know

Do you want to evaluate a famous politician’s public opinion? Do you have an interest in studying politics and public policies? Do you have strong views about the political system of a country or government functions? Do you keenly follow political opinions to monitor elections and newly formed states? If you’ve responded in the affirmative to any of the above questions, then a career in political science may be the best vocation.

What Is Political Science? 

Political science is a study that focuses on governance at local, national, and international levels using scientific analysis methods. Some of the theories used include: 

  • History 
  • Economics 
  • Sociology 
  • Statistics 
  • Law 
  • Psychology

As a political science intern, you will learn to conduct research, assess public policies, analyze and interpret data and gain an in-depth understanding of political power. 

Qualifications 

1. Academic 

An individual interested in pursuing a career in political science should complete a degree in statistics, writing, humanities, or political science undergraduate program. Internship experience in related work is an added advantage. 

Usually, political scientists pursue a master’s degree in public administration, public policy, public affairs, international relations, or other related political science specialties. These programs integrate several disciplines allowing learners to select specific areas of interest. Most offer courses in: 

  • Research methods 
  • Policy formation 
  • Program evaluation

Still, other political scientists undertake Ph.D. programs that demand several years of coursework with independent research for their dissertation. Many Ph.D. learners choose to specialize in one of four primary subunits of political science, and they include: 

  • International relations.
  • National politics. 
  • Political theory. 
  • Comparative politics. 

2. Work-Related Qualification

Job applicants with a bachelor’s degree in political science usually qualify for entry-level vacancies in related fields such as research assistants for research organizations, policymaking, political campaigners, or volunteering for nonprofit organizations. Still, they may qualify for government positions or venture into fields outside politics, such as law or business. 

Entry-level job seekers can benefit from volunteer work or internship opportunities through political organizations, clubs, or school-related career programs. Students get a chance to apply theoretical knowledge in a professional setting while developing analytic, writing, or research skills needed for the field. 

Relevant Skills For A Political Scientist Career

What skills must a political science graduate possess to attract relevant opportunities?

1. Research Skills

To thrive as a political analyst, you need a passion for research, data analysis, and data interpretation. Also, you have to be comfortable with extensive reading. 

2. Communication Skills 

A political scientist has to learn to convincingly communicate research findings to various audiences. Learning to collaborate and interact with other researchers when compiling reports or giving presentations is an added advantage. You must be good at public speaking to effectively and persuasively communicate your findings and recommendations with interested stakeholders. 

3. Analytical Skills 

Political scientists collect data using qualitative and quantitative research methods. They need expertise and analytical skills to collect relevant data and evaluate and interpret it. 

4. Critical-Thinking Skills 

A political scientist needs the expertise to examine, process gathered information, and use logic to draw conclusions from these findings and make relevant recommendations. 

What Are The Pros Of Getting A Political Science Degree?

  • Wide range of job opportunities in government, consulting firms, and research groups. Even while still studying, students can get options working as interns on a part-time basis. After completion of their internship programs, they get hired by various governmental institutions as research assistants. 
  • The study of political science is very versatile, offering students the option to venture into many different career options. After completing this degree, there’s an opportunity to work in various industries, including banking, education, city planning, and many others.
  • Political scientists play a crucial role in economic, social, and political issues that directly impact governments. 
  • As a political student, you develop critical thinking skills that prepare you for comprehensive career options. Studying political science is not so that you can become a politician. This is a course that is broad with varied promising career options. 
  • Political science learners have the advantage of learning more about government policies, which increases their chances of getting hired in different sectors. 

Employment Opportunities For Political Scientists 

Job opportunities for political scientists will grow progressively over the coming years. An increase in demand for policy analysis will support employment growth for recruits. Most of these openings emerge from the need to replace retiring, transferring, or resigning workers in the labor force. Most political scientists work for the government to assess the impact of regime policies, such as the effects of budgetary alterations on public service, and suggest improvements. 

Labour unions, political organizations, and lobby groups depend on political scientists’ knowledge to manage complex legal and regulatory policies. There’s a demand for political scientists in policy and research institutions to deliberate on politics and political theory.  Organizations that advocate for specific courses in health, environment, or education rely on political scientists to analyze policies governing particular fields. 

Which Job Is Best For Political Scientist Students? 

If you’re passionate about current events, want to shape public policy, and feel the burden to serve and make an impact in this area, then political science is a field worth exploring. If you do not work in the political arena, political science can be a solid foundation for many other career options.  Political science majors explore law formation and the relative government structures worldwide. Students learn public policy formulation and its social impact. 

Careers Opportunities For Political Scientists 

1. Political Analyst 

Since political science majors study the intricacies of generating public policy, they have an easier task of practically applying their theoretical knowledge. Policy analysts rely on writing, research, and strong critical thinking skills as they formulate reports for public policy.  Policy analysts are responsible for developing a sound thesis and creating plausible arguments for or against implementing particular policy initiatives. Analysts incorporate their understanding of the political and legislative process to solicit the support of influencers who can help advance their cause. 

2. Public Relations Experts 

Political relations specialists influence public opinion about their candidates primarily by forwarding stories to the media. It is an individual with a political background and knowledge who utilizes their writing skills to draft compelling and persuasive press releases. These experts research current happenings, master opinion formation, and the role of media and use it to their advantage. 

Public relations gurus publicize press conferences and other events to attract media attention and market their clients. Political science students gain insights into these processes as they research mechanisms of organizing campaigns and public appearances by government officials. 

3. Political Consultants 

Political consultants use knowledge from political scientists to generate strategies for candidates to sway voters and gain support for their campaigns. A political consultant helps in branding candidates while repairing damaged reputations. 

Political consultants find ways to influence media coverage for political hopefuls by volunteering good stories and positive views on their candidate’s past performance. They survey potential voters to ascertain their reception of a contender based on their opinions.  

4. Legislative Assistant 

Government elected officials, including members of parliament, senators, assembly representatives, members of the county assembly, and other elected officials, hire legislative assistants to carry out official duties. 

Legislative assistants play a crucial role as they assess the constituents’ interests in connection to political issues and forward the findings to elected officials. They respond to concerns raised in the constituency and help resolve problems within their jurisdiction. Legislative assistants track legislation, research policy issues, and compile findings while suggesting recommendations. 

5. Market Research Analysts 

While market researchers analyze how consumers will respond to certain products or services, political science experts assess potential voters’ reactions to candidates. Political scientists study opinion polls and compile findings that market researchers analysts can use. 

6. Intelligence Analyst 

Intelligence analysts work for agencies linked to the government, like the national security agency, where they tap knowledge from political science to help understand political groupings and assess their role in volatile areas. Intelligence analysts study groups that threaten security and compile reports with their findings. 

7. Chief Campaign Executives 

Political campaign staff heavily rely on political scientists’ guidance to formulate and execute campaign strategies. A political scientist helps analyze political factors and assess voters’ responses to candidates. They write press releases and help draft speeches and manifestos to woo potential voters. 

8. Social Media Manager 

Currently, public opinion is primarily shaped by social media. Government officials, political contenders, parties, and interested groups rely on social media experts to monitor public views about their interests, governance, and other related issues. 

A social media manager must have comprehensive knowledge of different social media platforms and create campaigns that influence public perceptions. A social media influencer with political science background is instrumental in formulating, implementing, and pushing specific agendas and ideologies. 

9. Lawyers 

Attorneys representing interest groups, lobby organizations, and political figures, rely on legal research such as legislation and policy issues developed by political scientists. They assist in drafting and editing wordings for bills and pending legislation. 

In turn, lawyers formulate and deliver arguments for their clients by attempting to influence decisions by framing their cases to gain sympathy. Most lawyers working for the government need a political science background to represent the government’s interests effectively. Also, a good number of politicians are practicing lawyers. 

10. Political Science Career

If you’re thinking about a career in politics, these tips will help you get the most out of your political science degree. 

How Can I Utilize My Degree In Political Science? 

1. Acquire Relevant Skills 

When eyeing a position within a political organization, you must acquire skills and knowledge and apply for jobs that align with your education. It would help if you strategically positioned yourself to grab any opportunity. By identifying a career path that aligns with your education, you can settle for a niche within a political organization and gain experience in your preferred specialty. 

2. Join Local Political Groups 

Build connections within political circles by joining political parties, organizations, and other political interest groups that advocate for human rights. By becoming a political party member, you have a better chance of being considered anytime a position falls vacant. You also get to introduce yourself to political mentors who can help you polish your career.

3. Have A Strategy 

If you’re working for a political organization and are interested in running for office and not as a staff member, you must start building your resume early. Pursuing elective positions while still in college can help you gain experience early and improve your chances for political success. You can also select a career path that’s a popular choice among politicians, such as becoming a lawyer or a career in the military. 

4. Seek Internship Opportunities 

Getting an internship at a political party can help you launch your political career, regardless of your college major. Participating in training gives you experience that you can use to apply for more significant job opportunities. An internship opens doors, allowing you to connect with potential recruiters scouting for raw talent. 

You have a better opportunity of getting jobs as a volunteer than applying for a paid opportunity that will attract hundreds of applicants. Volunteering is significant because the human resource manager already knows your capabilities and the benefits they can get from your expertise if they hire you. Volunteering as an intern allows you to gain and develop relevant skills that you can use to apply for better opportunities elsewhere. 

Faqs About Political Science As A Career Option

1. What Are The Benefits Of Acquiring A Political Science Degree?

Education in political science allows you to develop critical thinking skills, expand your knowledge and learn how to advocate for specific causes. You can grow your career in law, manufacturing, marketing, and public relations. 

2. What Knowledge Do You Gain From A Political Science Degree? 

Political science education teaches political systems, theories, psychology, and behavioral patterns. Political science education helps learners gain information on how political systems work and how politicians and members of the public perceive them. Students learn more about concepts at a local, national and international level. They also analyze factors influencing politics.

3. Which Career Path Is Best For A Political Science Student?

You can acquire a political science degree either at the associate, bachelor’s, master or doctoral levels. More advanced certification offers you an opportunity to specialize in any field of political science that includes:- 

  • Global politics
  • Understanding political concepts. 
  • Political psychology. 
  • Voting and participation 
  • Comparative politics 
  • Public opinion 
  • Political parties. 
  • International affairs. 
  • Public service.
  • Disruptive politics.
  • Political theory.
  • Political methodology 
  • Campaigns and election  

4. Apart From Politics, What Can A Political Scientist Do?

Knowing that a political scientist can work in other related fields is encouraging. Political science is multifaceted, with scientists lending their specialized knowledge in one or more subfields, including: 

  • International relations. 
  • Political economy. 
  • Political philosophy. 
  • Comparative politics. 

Below are some subfields to which political scientists can lend their expertise and make an impactful contribution. 

Government Administration

Most government officials have a background in political science, which is an added advantage in gaining party and public support. 

Activist 

Activists or lobbyists seek to persuade government officials to enact legislation to benefit a specific sector. The lobbying process involves research, analysis, awareness, attending relevant meetings, and educating relevant government sectors. Lobbyists work towards changing public perceptions through publicity campaigns and advertising. 

Campaign Manager 

A political campaign manager plays a significant role in seeing a political candidate get elected. 

Political Economy Specialist 

A political economy specialist is hired as a campaign manager to positively present the political aspirant’s fiscal policies and stand concerning regulation on specific industries. 

Government Consultants 

Government representatives seek expert advice to shape policies and gauge public opinions and reactions. Political scientists with an economic specialty can advise on the feasibility and economic reforms to implement by an incoming regime. 

Law 

A political scientist understands how international law influences government policies. They are aware of the rules politicians use. They can distinguish between different regimes and how they interact globally. Law and political science complement each other. And a student with knowledge of both becomes very marketable and can quickly get good job opportunities.

International Business Specialist 

With their experience in national and international policies, international business specialists offer valuable insights into consumer behavior. A political scientist with international relations background is great at defending company interests, lobbying, conducting discussions, and negotiating contracts that benefit the organization.

Market Research 

A market researcher with political science background is an asset as they are familiar with various political systems, economic structures, and governance. 

Public Relations 

A political scientist has much to offer and brings invaluable experience to a PR role heading a political candidate. This is because political scientists work with understanding perceptions and dynamics of political parties, their economic impact, and voter opinion. 

Journalism 

A journalist, media personality, or reporter covering political events benefits if they have a political science background, while media houses benefit from understanding the political situation.

Political scientists get employment opportunities as writers and commentators for newspapers or work in television studios offering priceless advice on political situations. 

Education 

Political science graduates can pursue opportunities in the education sector by lecturing at the university level. Professors impart knowledge and conduct research within the confines of universities.

5. Is Political Science A Good Career Option? 

A certificate in political science can lead to successful career progression in local government, law, commerce, global organizations, and NGOs.  How does studying political science benefit my career options?  Studying political science prepares you for the job market in foreign affairs, law, government, nonprofit firms, or non-governmental organizations.

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