Political Scientists

Annual Earnings Percentiles

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  • Creative: 92
  • Social: 66
  • Analytical: 52
  • Purpose: 40
  • Supported: 37

What Political Scientists Do

Political scientists study the origin, development, and operation of political systems. They research political ideas and analyze governments, policies, political trends, and related issues.

Work Environment

Political scientists typically work full time in an office. They sometimes work additional hours to finish reports and meet deadlines. More than half worked in the federal government in 2014.

How to Become a Political Scientist

Political scientists need a master’s degree or Ph.D. in political science, public administration, or a related field.

College Majors

Showing data from the American Community Survey for the following US Census occupation categories:

  • Miscellaneous social scientists, including survey researchers and sociologists

Bachelor's degree majors are shown.

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    Job Outlook

    Employment of political scientists is projected to decline 2 percent from 2014 to 2024. Political scientists should face strong competition for jobs as the number of candidates is expected to exceed the number of available positions.

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    Job Trends for Political Scientists

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    This occupation supported 6,600 jobs in 2012 and 6,200 jobs in 2014, reflecting a decline of 6.1%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 21.2% in 2022 to 8,000 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 6,800, compared with an observed value of 6,200, 8.8% lower than expected. This indicates current employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to decrease by 3.0% in 2024 to 6,000 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 8,200 jobs for 2024, 36.7% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation.

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