Political Scientists: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Job description

Political Scientists 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.

  • Disseminate research results through academic publications, written reports, or public presentations.
  • Teach political science.
  • Develop and test theories, using information from interviews, newspapers, periodicals, case law, historical papers, polls, or statistical sources.
  • Identify issues for research and analysis.
Read more about what does a Political Scientist really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

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Average salary
$115300 per year

Average hourly wage
$55 per hour

Political Scientists with little to no experience tend to make between $59300 and $86220 while the more experienced ones can earn over $148950 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
VA $62 $128,590
MD $59 $123,150
NY $59 $122,440
DC $58 $120,610
PA $49 $102,110

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Political Scientist is to move to a higher paying state like VA. Right now, the highest paying states for Political Scientists are VA, MD, NY, DC and PA.

However, a higher pay at VA doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at VA might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Political Scientist is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
Doctoral degree

We asked other Political Scientists what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a PhD followed by a Master’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

International/Global Studies
Public Policy Analysis, General
International Policy Analysis
International Relations and Affairs
National Security Policy Studies
Read more about how to become a Political Scientist and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Political Scientist.

Suitable for people who likes to solve problems mentally
Suitable for people who values achievements and are results-oriented
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
One of the highest paid careers in the world
Not suitable for people who likes practical and hands-on work
It is very hard to get into this career. Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience is required for this career.
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

69% of Political Scientists said they were satisfied with their job and 65% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Thinkers and The Artists

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally..

They also like working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Learn more about Political Scientists

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