Political Science Career Paths
- Government Positions
- Law Enforcement Jobs
- Legal Careers
Finding political science jobs fresh out of college should not be daunting at all if you can highlight the specialized body of knowledge gained through four years of academic studies. Political science majors are typically effective communicators, logical analysts and systematic thinkers. These are all qualities that make an employee invaluable in most settings, but even more so in government, lobbying and cause-driven organizations, education and advocacy groups.
Positions are open at the at the municipal, town and city, state and federal levels of government for graduates who have a handle on government and political systems, organizational management, history and legislative initiatives. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 55 percent of political scientists were on the federal government payroll in 2015. You can prepare for these careers by seeking internships in government agencies as an undergraduate student.
You may choose to advocate on behalf of a cause or a community. Knowledge of government policies, legal issues and government systems is helpful in navigating the bureaucracy. Careers in intelligence, homeland security and many of the elective positions in government leadership are open to political science majors who have the stamina and personality that these jobs demand.
2. Law Enforcement Jobs
A political science graduate may be attracted to law enforcement as a lifetime career. Positions are available at the local, national and international levels in both public and private sectors. With your knowledge of laws and legal measures and understanding of security issues and management, you would qualify for any number of jobs, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other enforcement bureaus. In the private sector, joining a corporate security team would enhance your understanding of organizational systems and security issues in a connected world.
3. Legal Careers
You may want to proceed to law school after completing your bachelor's to pursue a career as a lawyer, a legal expert or a judge later on. Interpretation of political ideas and analysis of sociopolitical policies are some of the analytical skills you may have been required to master as an undergraduate, and these skills will serve you as an attorney in various capacities.
New graduates looking for political science jobs should consider a career in journalism especially if you are already proficient with audiovisual presentations and social media strategies. As a political science major, you may be interested in geopolitical issues, so you might enjoy researching and reporting on the news whether it is for mainstream newspapers and television or special-interest media such as blogs and podcasts. Some of the jobs may require additional training in broadcast communications, but your political science background will help you with content preparation.
Political science graduates are qualified to teach social studies in elementary schools, civics and history n middle schools, and government studies and world history in high schools. You may be asked to complete the requirements for teaching certifications if you want to work with the public school system. Typically, a master's degree is required for post-secondary teaching positions, but you may be able to clinch a teaching assistant position while working on your master's.
BLS numbers indicate a 2 percent decline in the demand for political scientists, but note that these statistics apply to pure political science positions. This is a field of study that can lead to divergent paths. You will find that there are various entry-level positions that will serve as stepping stones to the career you want to build for yourself. Take the time to understand your strengths and specific interests as a political science graduate, and choose the political science job that will help you reach your career goals.