What Is the Salary of a Graduate with a Political Science Major?
If the complexities of our government and political system fascinate you, you may want to consider majoring in political science. In addition to pursuing a career in politics and government, a political science degree can prepare you to become a legal assistant or public relations specialist. Read on to learn about potential careers and their average salaries.
Career Opportunities and Salary Info
As a recent college graduate of a political science program, your starting salary will vary depending on the kind of job you choose to pursue. You can find work in public, private and non-profit sectors. A political science program helps you develop strong communication, analytical and administrative skills. You are prepared for a wide array of jobs within government, business, law, campaign management and research. Although a variety of employment opportunities are available for those with an undergraduate degree, some career opportunities in law and government require graduate-level coursework.
According to June 2019 data from PayScale.com, professionals with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Political Science and less than a year of experience earned an average wage of $43,940. Those with a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Political Science and less than a year of experience earned a higher average salary of $45,337.
Important Facts About This Occupation
|Legal Assistants and Paralegals||Public Relations Specialists||Political Scientists|
|Median Salary (2018)||$50,940||$60,000||$117,570|
|Entry-Level Education||Associate's degree or certificate in paralegal studies||Bachelor's degree in public relations or similar field||Master's degree in political science or similar field|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||15%||9%||3%|
|Work Environment||Office setting||Office setting||Office setting|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale.com
Legal Assistants and Paralegals
Paralegals assist attorneys with preparing paperwork, researching facts for cases and writing reports. You can find job opportunities with corporate legal departments, law firms, government agencies and non-profit organizations.
Public Relations Specialists
Also referred to as press secretaries or public affairs specialists, public relations professionals communicate information about their company or organization to the public. With a background in political science, you may handle government relations, political campaigns or represent political interest groups.
As a political scientist, you may research political and social trends, such as political relations between the U.S. and other countries, public policy within the U.S., or major decisions made by the Supreme Court. You will also use your analytical skills to assess and conduct public opinion polls, analyze election results, and compile reports to present your opinions and research findings. Some entry-level positions are available if you have a bachelor's degree, others may require a graduate-level degree.
PayScale.com reported average salaries of $47,706 for paralegals with a BA degree in political science and $47,272 for those with a BS degree in political science, as of June 2019.
According to the BLS, most of these professionals worked in legal services; this industry paid its paralegals an average wage of $52,410 as of May 2018. Grantmaking and giving services, which only employed 90 of these workers as of May 2018, offered the highest average salary of $94,710. California had the highest paralegal and legal assistant employment level and the District of Columbia offered the highest average salaries of $80,470.
PayScale.com reported in May 2019 that campaign managers earned between $39,000 and $86,000 a year.
The advertising, public relations and related services industry reported the highest number of workers, according to BLS data. Public relations specialists in this industry earned an average wage of $79,500 as of May 2018. Specialists who worked for business, professional, labor, political and similar organizations earned an average wage of $72,620. The federal executive branch, which offered these professionals an average wage of $95,980, had the top pay of any industry.
Texas, which had the highest public relations specialist employment level, offered an average wage of $60,600 as of May 2018, the BLS reported. The District of Columbia, which paid these professionals $107,490 a year on average, had the highest pay of any state.
The BLS noted that most political scientists worked for the federal executive branch of the government where they earned an average wage of $126,770. Scientific research and development services, which employed 970 of these professionals as of May 2018, offered an average wage of $117,070.
The District of Columbia had the highest political scientist employment level, however Virginia offered the highest average wage of $128,590, according to May 2018 BLS data. Many of these professionals also worked in the District of Columbia and California, where they earned average wages of $120,610 and $74,060, respectively.