For political science majors, identifying promising career paths after graduation can be challenging. While a political science degree builds valuable skills, the route to jobs directly within government and politics often requires years of experience.
Fortunately, political science grads are highly employable in a wide range of entry level roles across various fields. This article explores the top jobs for leveraging a political science major right out of college.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Common entry level jobs for political science majors include legislative assistant, campaign staffer, research assistant, paralegal, policy analyst, and roles in fields like journalism, education, business, and nonprofit/advocacy organizations.
Entry Level Jobs in Government and Politics
For political science majors, there are numerous entry level job opportunities in government and politics. These jobs offer a chance to apply the knowledge gained during their studies and make a tangible impact in the field.
Whether it’s working directly with legislators or analyzing policies, here are some top entry level jobs for political science majors.
As a legislative assistant, political science majors can work closely with legislators to help them draft legislation, conduct research, and analyze policy proposals. This role provides a unique opportunity to be involved in the lawmaking process and gain firsthand experience in policy development.
Legislative assistants often work in legislative offices at the local, state, or federal level. They play a crucial role in shaping and influencing policy decisions.
Working as a campaign staffer is an excellent way for political science majors to get involved in the electoral process. They can work on political campaigns at various levels, from local to national. As a campaign staffer, they may assist with organizing events, conducting voter outreach, managing social media accounts, and helping with fundraising efforts.
This hands-on experience provides a unique understanding of the political landscape and the mechanics of running a successful campaign.
Policy analysts play a vital role in government and politics by examining proposed policies and evaluating their potential impact. They conduct extensive research, analyze data, and provide recommendations to policymakers. Political science majors with strong analytical skills can excel in this role.
Policy analysts often work in government agencies, think tanks, or research organizations. They help shape public policy by providing evidence-based insights on various issues.
Political science majors can gain valuable experience by working as congressional aides. They support the daily operations of elected officials, handling constituent inquiries, scheduling meetings, and preparing briefings.
Congressional aides also assist with legislative research, drafting speeches, and monitoring the progress of bills. This role offers a unique perspective on the inner workings of Congress and provides an opportunity to contribute to the legislative process.
These are just a few examples of entry level jobs available for political science majors in government and politics. Each role offers a different avenue for political science graduates to apply their skills and make a meaningful impact.
By pursuing these opportunities, political science majors can gain valuable experience and lay the foundation for a successful career in the field.
Research and Think Tank Positions
For political science majors interested in delving deeper into research and analysis, there are several entry-level positions available in research and think tanks. These roles allow you to apply your knowledge of political science in a practical and impactful way.
Research Assistant at Universities
One popular option for political science majors is to work as a research assistant at universities. Many academic departments and research centers hire research assistants to assist faculty members and graduate students in conducting research.
As a research assistant, you will have the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects, from analyzing data to conducting literature reviews. This role not only allows you to deepen your understanding of political science but also provides valuable experience in research methodologies.
Junior Analyst at a Think Tank
Another exciting career path for political science majors is to work as a junior analyst at a think tank. Think tanks are organizations that conduct research and provide analysis on various policy issues.
As a junior analyst, you will be responsible for researching and analyzing political trends, policy proposals, and the impact of government decisions. This role often involves writing reports, presenting findings, and contributing to policy discussions.
Working at a think tank can be intellectually stimulating and give you the opportunity to contribute to shaping public policy.
According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, the demand for political science graduates in research and analysis positions is expected to grow by 5% in the next decade. This projected growth is attributed to the increasing need for data-driven decision-making in government and policy-related fields.
Whether you choose to work as a research assistant at a university or a junior analyst at a think tank, these positions offer valuable opportunities for political science majors to gain hands-on experience in research and analysis.
These roles not only allow you to apply your knowledge but also provide a pathway to further career advancement in the field of political science.
Law and Legal Jobs
A paralegal is a crucial member of a legal team, providing valuable support to lawyers and attorneys. They assist with legal research, drafting legal documents, and organizing case files. Paralegals often work in law firms, government agencies, or corporate legal departments.
This entry-level position is an excellent opportunity for political science majors to gain practical experience in the legal field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for paralegals was $52,920 in May 2020, with job growth projected at 10% from 2019 to 2029.
A legal assistant, also known as a legal secretary, plays a crucial role in supporting lawyers and ensuring the smooth functioning of a law office. They perform administrative tasks such as managing schedules, preparing legal documents, and maintaining client files.
A strong attention to detail and excellent organizational skills are essential for this role. The median annual wage for legal assistants was $50,940 in May 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
With law firms and legal departments in constant need of skilled professionals, the demand for legal assistants remains steady.
Political science majors with a keen interest in law and a strong understanding of regulations may find a career as a compliance officer rewarding. Compliance officers ensure that organizations and individuals adhere to legal and regulatory requirements.
They develop and implement compliance programs, conduct audits, and provide guidance to ensure compliance with laws and policies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for compliance officers was $70,480 in May 2020.
With the increasing complexity of laws and regulations, the demand for compliance officers is expected to grow in various industries.
Journalism, Media, and Communications
A journalism internship is an excellent entry-level job opportunity for political science majors interested in pursuing a career in journalism, media, and communications. As a journalism intern, you will have the chance to work closely with experienced journalists, gaining practical hands-on experience in researching, writing, and reporting news stories.
This internship will provide you with an inside look into the world of journalism and help you develop essential skills such as interviewing, fact-checking, and news writing. By working on various assignments and assisting with day-to-day tasks, you will gain valuable insight into the workings of a newsroom and the media industry as a whole.
Some well-known media organizations offer internship programs for aspiring journalists. For instance, The New York Times and BBC have renowned internship programs that provide valuable learning opportunities for interns.
Another entry-level job option for political science majors interested in journalism, media, and communications is working as an editorial assistant. As an editorial assistant, you will provide support to editors and writers by performing various tasks such as proofreading, fact-checking, and organizing content.
This role will give you exposure to the editorial process and allow you to refine your writing and editing skills. You will work closely with a team of professionals, assisting in the production of high-quality content for print or digital publications.
Social Media Manager
With the rise of social media platforms, the role of a social media manager has become increasingly important in the field of journalism, media, and communications. Political science majors with a knack for social media and digital marketing can consider this entry-level job option.
As a social media manager, you will be responsible for managing and creating content for various social media platforms, engaging with the audience, and monitoring analytics to track the success of social media campaigns.
You will play a crucial role in building and maintaining the online presence of media organizations.
These entry-level jobs in journalism, media, and communications provide political science majors with a solid foundation to kickstart their careers. Whether you choose to intern, work as an editorial assistant, or become a social media manager, these roles offer valuable experience and opportunities for growth in the exciting world of media and communications.
Nonprofit and Advocacy Organizations
For political science majors interested in making a difference in the world, working for nonprofit and advocacy organizations can be an excellent entry-level career path. These organizations focus on promoting social causes, advocating for policy changes, and providing assistance to communities in need.
Here are some top entry-level jobs in this field:
A program coordinator plays a crucial role in the daily operations of a nonprofit or advocacy organization. They are responsible for managing and coordinating various projects and initiatives. This includes planning events, overseeing volunteers, developing and implementing programs, and monitoring their effectiveness.
Program coordinators often work closely with stakeholders, such as government agencies, community partners, and donors, to ensure the success of their programs.
An outreach associate focuses on building relationships and raising awareness for the organization’s cause. They are responsible for reaching out to potential supporters, partners, and the general public through various channels, such as social media, email campaigns, and community events.
Outreach associates also collaborate with other team members to develop strategies to engage and educate the public about the organization’s mission and goals. Their work is crucial in expanding the organization’s reach and impact.
A donor liaison plays a vital role in securing and maintaining financial support for the organization. They are responsible for cultivating relationships with individual donors, corporate sponsors, and grant-making foundations.
This includes researching potential donors, preparing grant proposals, organizing fundraising events, and expressing gratitude to donors. Donor liaisons play a key role in ensuring the financial stability and sustainability of the organization.
Working for nonprofit and advocacy organizations allows political science majors to apply their knowledge and skills to effect positive change in society. These entry-level positions provide valuable experience and opportunities for growth in the field.
Additionally, the work can be highly rewarding and fulfilling, knowing that you are making a difference in people’s lives and contributing to social progress.
In summary, while securing a political science job right after graduation can be competitive, there are many exciting entry level opportunities in government, research, law, media, nonprofits, and other fields.
With their analytical skills and political awareness, political science grads can thrive in diverse roles and career paths.