Is A Political Science Degree Worthless?
Political science might be one of the most interesting topics in the world at this time. However, it’s increasingly important to find a plan that will make you money after you graduate. Is political science a degree with a successful future?
Political science is one of the fastest-growing fields in the United States. Right out of college, PoliSci majors can make between $50,000 and $70,000 per year. More importantly, they have a variety of well-paying careers to choose from, including law and politics.
In short, a political science degree is anything but useless. But what exactly do PoliSci majors learn that puts them in such a good position? Let’s find out.
PoliSci is a Very Useful Major
Before you say anything, you have to realize that a bachelor’s in Political Science is only meant to be the first step in your career.
Most PoliSci majors will either go on to take a relatively low-paying position adjacent to the career that they’re looking for (campaign aid, legislative assistant, etc.) or else get more advanced education before entering the workforce.
This is one of the reasons that Political Science is such a useful course of study. It’s a flexible major that gives you a number of lucrative options upon graduation. While flexibility is no replacement for having a good plan, it does mean that you can have several backup ideas in case the thing you really want to do falls through.
But flexibility isn’t even close to being the most important part of a major. You also probably want to be sure that those various careers will actually pay a good amount of money. Fortunately for PoliSci majors, in their case, they absolutely do.
On the high end, political scientists, research analysts, and lawyers all make over $100,000 a year on average.
On the low end, high school teachers and journalists tend to make between $40,000-$60,000 per year. While these fields might not be especially lucrative, these are livable salaries if you don’t have a ton of student loan debt to overcome.
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What Makes A Major Worth It?
Common internet advice is that the worth of a major is determined by whether or not it warrants the amount of debt you go into to get it. This is partially accurate but doesn’t quite capture the whole picture.
After all, PoliSci majors make a huge range of different salaries.
And as much as we like to think that we can plan out our careers, that isn’t necessarily true. While you might be certain that you’ll never become a journalist, you never know whether you’ll actually like a certain job until you’ve tried it.
Then if you hate it you may be stuck between a rock and a hard place when you face piling student debt on the one hand and switching to a lower-paying career that won’t be able to pay off that debt on the other.
This can happen with pretty much any major just because of the nature of our economic system. The question is less about how much you plan on making and more about how much control you can get over your future using the skills you learn through your studies.
And for political science majors, this factor becomes a fantastic edge. Political science covers a huge variety of fields including philosophy, psychology, economics, and physical sciences.
This may not seem important while you’re studying, but in reality, it means that you will be prepared for a great number of different positions that might be only tangentially related to your original plan.
This means that if you need to fall on your backup plan for any reason, you won’t be stuck switching to a low-paying job with no potential for advancement. You could even choose to go back to school and switch courses entirely, as PoliSci prepares you for several potential graduate education opportunities.
Because of this, even if you’re looking at a couple of different possible majors and the others seem to have higher-paying prospects that are easier to reach, PoliSci might still be better for its sheer flexibility.
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Common Jobs For PoliSci Majors
It isn’t exactly news that lots of lawyers get paid very well. Depending on the kind of law that you go into, you can expect to be very well off for the majority of your life.
On the other hand, lawyers have to work incredibly hard to get that money, and they might not actually have the time to enjoy it depending on where they work.
But you already knew that the field of law was difficult, and it’s only one option among many for PoliSci majors who are looking for an affluent lifestyle.
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Another incredibly well-paying field, research analysts gather and work through large amounts of data in order to find market trends. They also search for ways to improve messaging and planning for both political campaigns and private companies.
Either way, this job pays extremely well in exchange for the broad range of knowledge that you need to even start working in the field.
As you get higher up on the campaign staff ladder, you’ll make more and more money, and campaign staffers are worth good money to politicians. Having a good campaign staff can be the difference between winning and losing a competitive race
That means that good staffers are always in demand all across the country in pretty big numbers all the way from low-level local government positions to large-scale campaigns for senator or even president. This means that a good campaign staffer or manager will usually be able to find work wherever they go.
High School Teacher
Most high schools require that their students take some kind of civics class. If you have a major in political science and you’ve taken the necessary classes to get registered as a teacher, you can be the one to teach that class.
As the population grows and there’s more pressure to decrease class sizes, more high school civics teachers will be needed.
However, teaching jobs are surprisingly competitive because the number of people who want to be teachers in specific fields like politics and theatre is much larger than the number of jobs that are available.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.