Political and Social Sciences Degrees
Career summary: Political Scientists
National Average, Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
21% job growth by 2022, which is much faster than average
Earn a degree in political and social sciences from an accredited college
Why would I want a degree in political science?
Earning a degree in political science is not for the faint in heart, but the rewards for making it through may just be worth it. The job outlook for political science graduates is very good, and the salaries are surprisingly high. If you have an interest in public policy, in studying and learning about human society, or you would like to work for the Federal Government, then a degree in political science would be a good fit for you.
What do people with political science degrees do?
There are a variety of career options for people who get their degrees in political science. Many of them go on to law school (almost 20% of law school students did their undergraduate degree in political science), business school, or work for non-profit organizations. There are also many who choose political science as their careers. The most common jobs for those who stay in the political science arena are listed below.
- Political Scientists
- Public Policy Analysts
- Foreign Service Officers
- Polling Analysts
Of the five listed above, the vast majority become either sociologists or political scientists. Sociologists study society and human and social behavior by examining groups, cultures, organizations, and social institutions people form. They also study activities people participate in and social norms among social, religious, political, economic, and business organizations. They take this information and try to relate it to or explain things such as the spread of technology, crime, social movements, and epidemics of illness. They also trace the origin and growth of these groups and interactions. Their work and findings are utilized by educators, law makers, and administrators to try to resolve social problems and put into place relevant public policy.
Political scientists also study human behavior and interaction, but their focus is more toward interaction on a political level, such as relations between the United States and other countries, the institutions and political life of nations, the politics of small towns or major metropolises, and the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. They also analyze the structure and operation of government through studying public opinion, political decision making, ideology, and public policy. Law makers and other government officials use this information to help them make political decisions, write new bills, and make new laws.
How much do sociologists and political scientists make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for sociologists in 2008 was $68,570. The middle 50 percent earned between $51,110 and $92,220. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $40,720, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $122,130. The median annual salary for sociologists in scientific research and development services was $72,170.
The median annual salary for political scientists in 2008 was $104,130. The middle 50 percent earned between $74,040 and $124,490. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $47,220, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $146,880.
How popular are sociologist and political scientist jobs?
Jobs in sociology and political science are quite popular, and they will continue to be popular into the foreseeable future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in this field are expected to grow by 21%, which is much faster than the average growth rate among all jobs. This growth rate is largely due to the increased use of social and political research in a variety of fields, not just for government and public policy use.
How do I become a sociologist or a political scientist?
The best way to become a sociologist or political scientist is by getting a political science degree. Most applicants who have bachelor degrees qualify for entry-level positions as research assistants, market analysts, etc. Master degrees are usually required for those who want to conduct research and head up projects. Also, a background in mathematics and/or statistics would be highly recommended, as quantitative research methods are increasingly being used in this field.
Salary and career outlook data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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