Studying political science is a good career move, and not just for those seeking jobs in government or politics. The skills you build in this major are also transferable to great opportunities with private employers and nonprofits.
Here are some of the most interesting and challenging careers for political science graduates. Salary data is from April 2019.
Legislative or Congressional Aide (median annual salary $39,946)
Once elected, state legislators and members of congress need a lot of support as government officials. They must stay up to date on the issues and on top of their busy schedules, and a crack team of aides and assistants helps them do so.
Your role as a legislative or congressional aide may involve helping your boss navigate all of the meetings, committees, hearings, votes, public appearances and events that are part of his or her routine. You might also work in communications, responding to public emails and requests, or you might contribute to policy briefs or strategy sessions.
Cause Marketing Strategist (median annual salary $59,653)
If you have ever bought a product because a percent of your purchase would be donated to a worthy cause, you have participated in cause marketing. This growing career field is great for political science majors interested in business and social media.
Job candidates with strong research and analytical skills are valued in this branch of marketing, as are people who have their fingers on the pulse of social and political trends. Whether you work for an agency or as an independent consultant, this job is about matching products with organizations doing good works in their community and helping consumers support the causes they care about.
Policy Analyst (median annual salary $56,456)
If research and writing are your strong suit, policy work could be a great fit. Policy analysts study complex issues to better understand them and write about them for a range of audiences. This job requires critical thinking, attention to detail and the ability to make a persuasive argument.
Sometimes, analysts research conditions that impact people’s lives and suggest solutions to the problems they face. Other times they examine existing laws and policies to evaluate their effect on business or the environment. It’s a great career for people who like to learn new things and find solutions to complex problems.
Nonprofit Development Officer (median annual salary $52,698)
The nonprofit sector is a great destination for political science grads who want to use their writing, research and people skills to help others. Charitable organizations work with diverse populations and on diverse issues — fundraising is a constant challenge. Development officers take on this challenge to ensure that important programs and services continue to be available to those who need them.
In this position, you may write grants, meet with potential donors, hold fundraising events or build financial partnerships with business and government. Your success as a development officer will be measured not only in the dollars you raise, but also in the satisfaction you get from knowing how much your work matters.
City Planner (median annual salary $57,003)
Working for local government as a city planner is a great way to make a lasting impact on the place where you live. You can also learn a lot about how the decisions made by elected officials impact the citizens they serve.
City planning work involves research, writing and design as well as negotiation skills. You may have to use a bit of diplomacy to solve problems or move projects forward. Planners work on buildings and urban design for public lands, such as parks, courthouses, office complexes and fire stations. They also have a hand in shaping the city’s future, mapping out growth patterns to ensure it continues to meet the needs of its citizens.
Lobbyist (median annual salary $71,667)
Many industries hire lobbyists to represent their interests in conversations with politicians and governing bodies. Lobbyists are essentially advocates. They present the needs and concerns of businesses, nonprofits, trade groups and others to people with the power to make law or policy. Those who do well in this career have a way with people and the right contacts to ensure a client’s voice is heard by senators, representatives or other elected officials with a vote on the issue at stake. If you’re good at making a convincing argument and finding friends in high places, you may have a future as a lobbyist.
Learn more about A-State’s online Bachelor of Arts in Political Science program.