Political Scientists

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About the Job

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.

It is also Called

  • Government Affairs Researcher
  • Government Affairs Specialist
  • International Affairs Vice President
  • Local Governance and Citizen Participation Specialist
  • Policy Officer
  • Political Advisor
  • Political Aide
  • Political Analyst
  • Political Consultant
  • Political Researcher

What They Do

  • Provide media commentary and/or criticism related to public policy and political issues and events.
  • Consult with and advise government officials, civic bodies, research agencies, the media, political parties, and others concerned with political issues.
  • Forecast political, economic, and social trends.
  • Write drafts of legislative proposals, and prepare speeches, correspondence, and policy papers for governmental use.
  • Evaluate programs and policies, and make related recommendations to institutions and organizations.
  • Interpret and analyze policies, public issues, legislation, and/or the operations of governments, businesses, and organizations.
  • Collect, analyze, and interpret data such as election results and public opinion surveys; report on findings, recommendations, and conclusions.
  • Maintain current knowledge of government policy decisions.
  • Develop and test theories, using information from interviews, newspapers, periodicals, case law, historical papers, polls, and/or statistical sources.
  • Identify issues for research and analysis.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: IAS.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Investigative interests, but also prefer Artistic and Social environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Achievement, but also value Working Conditions and Recognition in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • History and Archeology - Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • 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.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Education Required

Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).

LMI Region

Wages

In 2013, the average annual wage in United States was $100,900 with most people making between $50,520 and $148,510

Outlook

0.00%
avg. annual growth

During 2010, this occupation employed approximately 5,000 people in United States. It is projected that there will be 6,000 employed in 2020.

This occupation will have about 0 openings due to growth and about 2,000 replacement openings for approximately 2,000 total annual openings.