Political Scientist: Understanding the Job, Education and Progression

Political Scientist: Understanding the Job, Education and Progression

Political Scientists are professionals who study and analyze the workings of government, political systems, and how they impact society. They research, collect data, and interpret it to provide a prediction of how policies might affect social, economic, and political issues both nationally and internationally. They help and influence policymakers, political parties, and interest groups.

There are many varieties of political scientists today, and they can be involved in different areas of government, including but not limited to public policy, worldwide relations, public opinion, or political theory. Outside of academia, political scientists can work for interest groups, political parties, non-profits, or think thanks, among other organizations.

Examples of Political Science Jobs

  • Political analyst
  • Legislative assistant or agency staffer
  • Policy advocate or lobbyist
  • Political journalist or commentator
  • International relations officer
  • Government bureaucrat
  • University professor

Education and Training to Enter the Field

Pursuing a career in political science requires a solid education and strong research skills. A bachelor’s degree in political science, public policy, or related fields is the foundation. Some aspiring political analysts earn degrees in economics, sociology, or psychology as a preparation to enter politics or public service.

Graduate studies like a master’s degree or Ph.D. in a particular field of political science, such as international relations, comparative politics, or American government, can provide additional chances to specialize in a chosen field.

While formal academic qualification is essential, other skills are also needed to become an outstanding political scientist. It includes excellent researching, analytical, writing, and public-speaking skills. An individual must be able to handle complex information, pay attention to detail, and analyze trends in voting, public opinion, social pressures, economics, and foreign affairs.

Progression Between the Levels

After starting with an entry-level position in this field, an individual can move to mid-level positions like legislative analysts, which involve more responsibilities to create and analyze public policy. In time, the individual can move to senior-level positions like policy directors or managers, overseeing a team and developing and implementing policies.

The political science field provides excellent opportunities for personal growth and advancement. More ambitious individuals may start with a master’s degree and work to become political science professors or highly paid consultants to government or other organizations.

How to Get into the Field as a Newcomer

Political science is a competitive field because of the diverse career opportunities it presents. Young students should consider becoming involved in local politics or offering themselves for internship in their party or other political organizations.

Organizations like the American Political Science Association and the Association for Public Policy & Management provide websites and career resources that can be explored to find job openings and other relevant information.

Political scientists offer an essential perspective on the condition of the world’s political and social affairs. They are the creators of informed decision-making and position-takers. With an academic background and a unique set of skills, there’s a constant demand and a chance for personal and professional growth in this field.

Salary Data

According to salary data provided, the US national average salary for Political Scientists is approximately $110,406.40 per year. This salary data is consistent across all job levels and types, including nonunion, full-time, and time-based pay.

The effects of the union on this job are not mentioned in the provided data. However, political scientists who are union members may have additional job protections, benefits, and higher salaries compared to those who are not unionized.

Geographically, the occupation of Political Scientists is best paid on average in the District of Columbia and California. In the District of Columbia, Political Scientists earn an average salary of $127,900 per year, while in California, the average salary is $120,890 per year. On the other hand, Political Scientists are least paid on average in Oklahoma and Montana, where the average annual salary falls between $65,000 to $80,000.


Political scientists are an important part of society, offering a unique perspective on political and social affairs. With the right education and skills, there are various career opportunities available, from entry-level positions to highly paid consultants. As a highly competitive field, individuals can gain valuable experience through internships and involvement in local politics. Salary data shows that political scientists earn a consistent national average salary across job levels and types, with geographical variations in pay.