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Political Scientist

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What Do Political Scientist Do?

Occupation 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.

What Do Political Scientists Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Maintain current knowledge of government policy decisions.
  • Identify issues for research and analysis.
  • Provide media commentary or criticism related to public policy and political issues and events.
  • Teach political science.
  • Collect, analyze, and interpret data such as election results and public opinion surveys, reporting on findings, recommendations, and conclusions.
  • Write drafts of legislative proposals, and prepare speeches, correspondence, and policy papers for governmental use.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as 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

  • Deputy Director
  • Program Analyst
  • Government Affairs Specialist
  • Policy Advisor
  • International Affairs Vice President

Are There Job Opportunities for Political Scientists?

There were about 7,300 jobs for Political Scientist in 2016 (in the United States). 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. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 700 job openings in this field each year.


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.

Political Scientist Average Salary

The average yearly salary of a Political Scientist ranges between $59,300 and $164,200.


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 & Technology 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

How to Become a Political Scientist

What education is needed to be a Political Scientist?


How Long Does it Take to Become a Political Scientist?


Where do Political Scientists Work?


The table below shows the approximate number of Political Scientists employed by various industries.


Similar Careers

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

Those who work as a Political Scientist sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:


Image Credit: UKWiki at English Wikipedia via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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