There are certain majors at college that chart a clear trajectory into the workforce. Major in civil engineering, chances are you’re going to be a civil engineer. Do your work in early childhood development and you are probably headed towards teaching or something similar. But what about political science? If you’re interested in political science, most people probably think you want to be a politician or work in the government. There is a certain amount of truth in this. Political science is a branch of social sciences that looks specifically at politics and how governments operate. The other obvious connection is law school. Many lawyers get their undergraduate degree in political science and then go on to very distinguished careers. But again, the legal system may not be appealing for you. So if you love poly-sci but don’t want to follow those traditional paths, what’s left for you? Here are some of the best jobs for political science majors that might not immediately come to mind.
One incredible option for the political science major is working as a foreign service officer. This is a great career for people who study international relations, who love to travel and want to interact with politics or governments around the world. There are tons of different jobs in foreign service, and they are all challenging and rewarding. You can work in a foreign consulate, protecting American travelers or those living abroad. You could work in management at an embassy, devising budgets and organizing operations. You could act as a political officer on behalf of the current administration, connecting with your foreign counterparts to help promote United States policies. Or you could work in diplomacy, bringing together disparate cultures and interacting with the media. Regardless of your focus, you’ll have the opportunity to travel the world and do important work on behalf of the country. And if you rise in the ranks, you’ll find yourself making well over six figures a year.
Although not quite as glamorous, working as an intelligence analyst is also an incredible opportunity for political science majors. You’ll work for one of the major security agencies in the country, such as the CIA or the FBI, gathering information from all over the world and analyzing how that data could affect safety and security at the local, regional or national levels. Depending on your employer, you’ll sort through various intelligence databases to keep tabs on potential threats at home and abroad. You’ll interact with various law enforcement agencies and possibly even have a hand in crafting intelligence policies. You’ll have to have a good knowledge of at least one foreign language, and will spend time monitoring various media outlets for helpful clues. It’s serious work, but also comes with a serious paycheck: around $80,000 a year.
Finally, don’t forget about the opportunities available to work in higher education with that political science degree. This is actually the path the majority of poly-sci graduates take. You’ll start as a professor’s assistant, often while continuing your education with a masters or doctorate. You could continue your studies by specializing in local government, political management or Middle East policies for example, and will teach within those subjects. Once you become an assistant professor you’ll earn around $70,000 a year, and full professors make over $100,000 a year. Not too shabby an alternative for the poly-sci major!