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Political Scientist

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What Do Political Scientist Do?

Job Description: Study the origin, development, and operation of political systems. May study topics, such as public opinion, political decision-making, and ideology. May analyze the structure and operation of governments, as well as various political entities. May conduct public opinion surveys, analyze election results, or analyze public documents.

A Day in the Life of a Political Scientist

  • Collect, analyze, and interpret data such as election results and public opinion surveys, reporting on findings, recommendations, and conclusions.
  • Develop and test theories, using information from interviews, newspapers, periodicals, case law, historical papers, polls, or statistical sources.
  • Forecast political, economic, and social trends.
  • Evaluate programs and policies, and make related recommendations to institutions and organizations.
  • Provide media commentary or criticism related to public policy and political issues and events.
  • Identify issues for research and analysis.

Skills Needed to be a Political Scientist

When polled, Political Scientists say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Types of Political Scientist Jobs

  • Policy Officer
  • State-Federal Relations Deputy Director
  • Policy Analyst
  • Political Aide
  • Deputy Director

Job Opportunities for Political Scientists

In the United States, there were 7,300 jobs for Political Scientist in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 2.7% which is below the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 200 new jobs for Political Scientist by 2026. There will be an estimated 700 positions for Political Scientist per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Political Scientists in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Political Scientist are North Carolina, Ohio, and Washington. Watch out if you plan on working in Texas, Pennsylvania, or Maryland. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Average Political Scientists Salary

The salary for Political Scientists ranges between about $59,300 and $164,200 a year.

Salary Ranges for Political Scientists

Political Scientists who work in Virginia, Maryland, or New York, make the highest salaries.

How much do Political Scientists make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
California $74,060
District of Columbia $120,610
Florida $95,120
Illinois $80,520
Maine $72,850
Maryland $123,150
Massachusetts $88,120
Michigan $95,570
New York $122,440
Pennsylvania $102,110
Texas $87,610
Virginia $128,590
Washington $84,480

What Tools do Political Scientists Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Political Scientists:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software
  • SAP
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • SAS
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • IBM SPSS Statistics
  • R
  • StataCorp Stata
  • WinBUGS
  • Bare Bones Software BBEdit

Becoming a Political Scientist

Individuals working as a Political Scientist have obtained the following education levels:

Political Scientist Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Political Scientist Work Experience

Where do Political Scientists Work?

Political Scientist Sectors

The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

Political Scientist Industries

Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those interested in being a Political Scientist may also be interested in:

Career changers with experience as a Political Scientist sometimes find work in one of the following fields:


Image Credit: UKWiki at English Wikipedia via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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