Political Scientist

Part of the stability and growth in public health careers comes from the sector of policy making and social trends.  This aspect of public health both helps to sustain medical services and treatment options, and create positions for individuals who like to study and initiate population changes.

Political scientists play an integral role in public health, as they monitor legislative trends and propose solutions to healthcare shortages and lack of access.  This position can offer good advancement opportunities and job stability as well.  If you are interested in a position that can better you and your community, then learning how to become a political scientist can be a positive start.

What Is A Political Scientist?

Political scientists study how governmental systems operate, develop, and grow.  This can then be applied to the provision of public services such as healthcare, and an evaluation of the trends of government versus the needs of the population may be used to create strategies that can change the legislative system to work for the greater benefit of the people. 

Political scientists would perform the following tasks as part of the job:

  •   Research political systems within the nation and in foreign countries.
  •   Compare the population health and wellness outcomes of these systems.
  •   Evaluate efficacy of practice in relation to providing public services.
  •   Develop predictive theories based on the research data.
  •   Suggest strategies and protocols to provide better outcomes.
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Professional and personal skills that are also required as a political scientist would include:

  •   Critical thinking:  You will need to be able to identify trends as they relate to specific political movements and systems.  This analysis will allow you to generate projections and predict outcomes.
  •   Communication:  You will need to be able to convey your theories and finding in both written and verbal formats.  This will require clarity and precision, as well as evidentiary support for you proposals. 
  •   Innovation:  You will also need to be able to envision alternatives within present political systems and social trends.
  •   Problem solving skills:  Coming up with viable solutions to promote public welfare within the parameters of the current political system will be a challenging part of your job. 

Nature Of The Work

Political scientists will generally perform office work.  This will include research and evaluating data, as well as writing reports on political theories and possible outcomes for current situations.  They will also create strategies based on these theories and the data, which are presented to governing agencies as possible new legislature.

Political scientist will often act as consultants to government officials.  This may be on a local, state, or federal level, and can also be across a number of different public departments.  For political scientist who work with public health, suggestions may include better allocation of federal funding, or even creation of laws that ensure better health services access and intervention programs within specific populations.  You may have to attend rallies to lobby certain politicians, or present suggestions at legislative hearings.

Education And Training

Careers in political science can accommodate a number of educational backgrounds.  With a Bachelor’s degree, you will be able to gain an entry level position in this field.  With a background in law, ethics, and social policies, you would be able to work as a research assistant or for non-profit community organization and even local government.

Many political scientists do hold Master’s degrees or PhD.s, and this will open up the job opportunities considerably.  Most Master’s programs will prepare you for more specialized field and also provide you with experiential training.  This may allow you conduct your own research and be directly involved with policy making.  Candidates with doctorates will often work in politics and international relations.

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Since there are a number of subfields and levels that political scientists may work in, the pay range varies considerably.  For an entry level applicant with a four year degree, you may start out at around $50,000 per year.  Applicants with higher degrees and more experience average just under $100,000, while applicants with a doctorate degree may make over $125,000 per year.  This offers you financially sound employment regardless of your educational level.

This field is experiencing higher than average growth expectations.  Over the next ten years, it is projected that a 21% increase in employment will occur for political scientists.  Since this covers all levels of employment, the prospects for new hires are quite good.  If you are considering political science as a career choice, you will be able to find employment, as well as a job that offers you good advancement opportunities.

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