Political Consultant Education Requirements

Discover how to become a political consultant. Learn about the job duties, training requirements, salary, and job outlook to determine if a job as a political consultant is a good fit for you. Schools offering Political Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Political consultants conduct research on political systems by analyzing how they began, how they developed, and the fundamental tenants of those systems. Generally, political consultants specialize in a specific area of study. Often their research includes looking at the impact various policies have on people or geographic locations. Their research plays a significant role in the planning, development, and carrying out of policies. Check out the table below for quick info on the requirements and responsibilities of this career.

Degree Required Master's at minimum; Ph.D preferred
Educational Field of Study Political science, public administration, or a similar field
Key Responsibilities Analytical skills, critical thinking skills, and communication skills
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 3% (political scientists)
Median Salary (2017)* $115,110 (political scientists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Political Consultant Do?

The work of political consultants, also called political scientists, involves the detailed study of political systems. Most political consultants focus solely on one of the following areas: political theory, comparative politics, national politics, or international relations. Their studies involve the collection and careful analysis of data from various sources. They analyze things such as how communities or regions are impacted by political parties and policies. Additionally, political consultants are often required to forecast trends and present their findings via published reports and oral presentations.

What Are the Educational Requirements?

Political consultants are required to complete a graduate program at minimum. Acceptable fields of study include political science, public administration, public policy, public affairs, or a similar field. Many political consultants also complete a Ph. D. program. The completion of a Ph. D. program requires several years of intense study and an independent research study which students use to complete a dissertation.

What Are the Skill Requirements?

Much of the work political consultants do involves thorough research and analysis of data and information. Thus, analytical skills and critical thinking skills are must-haves for connections to be made and conclusions to be drawn. Additionally, strong communication skills would be an asset since political consultants routinely work alongside other researchers to obtain information and are frequently called on to present their findings via presentations.

How Much Can I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median annual salary of $115,110 as of May 2017 for political scientists. The top-paying industries political consultants worked in were federal government; professional, scientific, and technical services; and religious, civic, and similar organizations. Most political consultants worked full-time in an office setting, with some working overtime to complete reports within given deadlines.

What Is the Job Outlook?

The BLS projects a growth rate of just 3% for political scientists between 2016 and 2026, which is slower than the average growth rate among all occupations. Despite the slow growth rate, political consultants will still be in demand in the government sector as well as by companies that advocate for specific causes such as the environment or immigration. It's important to note that there will be high competition for this job. As the interest in political science programs surges there will be an increase in the number of qualified candidates for this role. Those with advanced degrees, specialized knowledge in politics, and a history of experience in the field have the best prospects.

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