What do Political Scientists Do?
The government and the political systems at work within it are the major topics political scientists analyze and discuss during the normal workday. You will study broad topics such as how governments operate and are structured, and the political groups at work within the government structure. More detailed courses will delve into how those groups and systems operate, originated and developed. On a more micro level, many political scientists conduct public opinion surveys, and might analyze such records as public documents or election results.
Political Scientists Skills and Abilities
To work effectively as a political scientist, you will need to have a thorough knowledge of law and government, history and archaeology, and sociology and anthropology. Your specific niche in the industry will determine which of these subjects are most important to your daily duties. Skills such as complex problem solving, reading comprehension and critical thinking are requirements when working in the field. The ability to communicate in writing and speech are key to a successful career, along with speaking clearly and using inductive reasoning.
Political Scientists Duties
Political scientists must be able to identify areas where research and analysis are needed, remain knowledgeable about current government policies, consult with and advise government officials, and provide forecasts of political and economic trends. If you enjoy sharing knowledge with others, a career in teaching on the secondary or college level might also be all or part of your workday. Other duties that some political scientists have are:Researching social issuesEvaluating civic projectsPreparing scientific reports or presentationsReviewing professional literatureInterpreting research or operational data
Political Scientists Tools and Technology
Because you will often be tasked with communicating with large groups and creating documents, it’s important to have a thorough knowledge of several common systems, including conference phones, desktop and laptop computers, and audio recorders. Researchers in this field regularly use software to retrieve or search for information, such as the popular JSTOR database and EBSCO Publishing Academic Search Premier. You should also familiarize yourself with analytical or scientific software and database management system software. As with many other fields, communication through email is of great importance.
Education and Training for Political Scientists
Most individuals who choose a career as a political scientist enter the workforce with a master’s degree, although about 13.8 percent of individuals also attain a doctorate before beginning work. If you want to teach as a professor at a college, it is advisable to enter the field with a doctoral degree. Almost as many people in this field have a bachelor’s degree as those who have completed a master’s degree.
Political Scientists Salary
Individuals who choose a career in this field can expect to make a livable wage that affords a comfortable life. The bottom 10 percent of political scientists make about $52,100 each year, while the median annual salary is $104,900. Greater experience and education lead to higher earnings, and that’s certainly true for the top pay bracket in this industry. Those individuals who work hard enough to enter the top 10 percent of wage earners as political scientists can expect to make around $154,000 or more each year.
Political Scientists Jobs by Geography
The largest growth by percentage for these jobs is expected in Montana, Texas, Colorado and Virginia. The largest number of political scientists employed in the United States can be found in Washington D.C., which isn’t a surprise, since it’s the country’s capital and the national center for government. The highest median wages can be found in Virginia, New York and Washington D.C., with each location showing higher yearly pay than the median wages for the United States.