Careers for Political Science Majors/Minors

A degree or extensive college-level coursework in political science offers a wide variety of career opportunities. Those opportunities can be divided into two main categories: government and non-government jobs. Within the category of government jobs, there are three subcategories: elected office, staff for elected leaders, and agency staff. Within the category of non-government jobs, there are three subcategories: advocacy/lobbying, government relations, and education. 

Government Jobs 

Elected Office
If you are a citizen of the United States, you are eligible to run for a number of elected positions at the local, state and federal level. Some of these positions come with additional requirements such as age and length of residency. 

Local Level Positions Include:
School Board, City Council, County Board of Supervisors, Sheriff 

State Level Positions Include:
California State Assembly and Senate, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Insurance Commissioner, Attorney General and Superintendent of Public Instruction 

Federal Level Positions Include
US House of Representatives and US Senate, US President and Vice President 

Staff for Elected Leaders
At all of these levels, elected leaders hire staff members to provide assistance and direction with everything from legislative/issue analysis, public and media relations, constituent representation and, separately, campaign management. 

Agency Staff
In addition to the offices of elected leadership, there is a great variety of jobs available at local, state, and federal government agencies. These agencies range from local services such as animal shelters and water districts to state agencies such as the California Department of Fish and Game to federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency. 

Other Government Jobs
There are many other government jobs that relate to political science. Many of them are in law, such as district attorneys and public defenders. 

Non-government Jobs 

Advocacy/Lobbying
Outside of government, a political science major can put his or her skills to work with an organization or industry that inspires or interests them. Virtually all segments of business, industry, and labor have “trade associations” or lobby groups that advocate for them with government leaders at all levels. This includes everything from the pharmaceutical industry to labor unions. In addition, there are many nonprofit interest groups working to influence policy on a wide range of issues: the environment, education, children’s welfare, animal rights, gun rights/laws, the justice system, worker’s rights, etc. 

Corporate Government Relations
Another option for a political science major is to work within a corporate environment representing that specific company’s political and policy interests. Most major corporations have government relations departments with staff members working at the local, state, and federal level on issues relating to the company. 

Education
Last, but certainly not least, a political science degree can be great preparation for a career in education at all levels and types of work, from K-12 to community colleges and four-year universities. Job opportunities exist not just for teaching, but also in program direction, public affairs, and educational administration. 

For some additional information on careers using a political science degree: 

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Nicki Snyder
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Last Modified Jun 30, 2017