How to Become a Political Scientist

Written by

Beatrice Harrison


August 14, 2014


Politics are very important and shape the United States and other nations as a society. Political scientists are essential to study political systems and conduct research. They influence the world in indirect ways by educating political leaders and the public and encouraging people to look at the world in different ways.

What does a political scientist do?

Political scientists study how politics are used in governments. They study every angle of political systems and public policy including the beginning, development, and function. They conduct research on a broad range of subjects including the decisions of the United States Supreme Court, relations between the U.S. and other countries, the politics of major cities or small towns, and the institutions and political life of different countries. Political scientists also study topics such as public policy, public opinion, ideology, and political decision making. Using these topics, they examine the structure and function of governments and many other political entities. Depending on the issue, some political scientists interview public officials, analyze results from elections or other public documents, or conduct public-opinion surveys.

What kind of training does a political scientist need?

Most political scientist positions require a master or doctoral degree. Doctoral degrees are usually required for higher-level positions. Sufficient training in mathematics and statistics is also required to excel. Being competent in using computers for research purposes is also essential. Political scientists must also be up to date on the latest technology advances to improve their research and discipline. Many political scientists complete internships or other field experience opportunities.

What are the prospects for a career in political science?

Employment of political scientists is expected to grow more slowly than average for all occupations, only increasing 5% through 2016 (1).

Many job opportunities will arise in Federal Government, research, and policy positions. The demand for political science research is increasing due to the growing interest in politics and foreign affairs such as immigration and environmental policy topics. Political scientists will use their know-how of political entities to further increase interests.

The best prospects will be for political scientists who have advanced education and extensive experience. Job opportunities will also stem from the need to replace individuals who retire or leave the field.

How much do political scientists make?

As of 2014, political scientists will less than 1 year experience made an average of $48,454 a year. Those with 1 to 4 years experience made an average of $47,500 and those with 5 to 9 years experience made an average of $78,100 (2).

For anyone considering whether and how to become a political scientist, this can be a great career choice for individuals who have a genuine interest in politics and leadership, and who care about serving the community. They must have an intellection curiosity and creativity to continuously obtain information about places, people, ideas, and things. Candidates must also have excellent oral and written communication skills and be able to think methodically and logically to examine complicated issues.

Becoming a Political Scientist Requires Skills & Training, Start Today

Are you serious about becoming a Political Scientist? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Degree Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  Beatrice Harrison

Educated at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Beatrice Harrison has extensive professional experience in career counseling, having helped a growing number of job seekers find fulfilling and meaningful careers in a variety of fields and disciplines.

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