The Federal Government
The federal government is so large and varied that it is impossible to catalog briefly the types of job opportunities available. A federal government job can be almost anything: a teacher of government in an overseas school for military or diplomatic dependents; a budget analyst in the Department of Transportation; an intelligence specialist in the CIA; a program analyst in the Environmental Protection Agency; a staff aide in a Congressional committee or a Congress member's office, and, of course, much more.
Educational Preparation for Federal Employment
The political science major aspiring to federal government employment should be aware that substantial skills in statistics and data analysis provide a boost in his or her employability.
Undergraduate education is more than preparation for obtaining a job, however. It is also background preparation for performing the job in a way that is satisfying both to the employer and employee, and enhancement of qualifications for advancement to higher decision making levels. In this regard, an undergraduate major in political science can prove most useful to a federal government employee; it is invaluable both in terms of the acquisition of specific skills, and in terms of the insight it enables into the over-all political structure and environment in which he or she must operate.
State and Local Government
One American worker in six is on the public payroll. State and local government is a promising employment area which political science majors might wish to consider in their search for potential careers.
State and local governments are hiring more persons because they are being asked to deal with a wider range of problems. The states are taking increased responsibility in such areas as equal opportunity, consumer protection, highway safety, water pollution, soil conservation, strip mining, the rehabilitation of addicts, industrial development, and manpower training. The attempt to deal with these problems has led to a large expansion of both the executive and legislative branches of state government. In turn, this expansion has opened new job opportunities for political science students.
Educational Preparation for a Career in State and Local Government
It is difficult to generalize about the relationship of specific courses to specific jobs in state and local government. No one interested in a career in state and local government could fail to benefit from courses in American politics, public policy, and urban politics. Beyond this, various courses enhance a student's background for various specific jobs.
Undergraduates planning to seek careers in state and local government should also seriously consider seeking a master's degree in a policy-studies area. These master's programs, usually interdepartmental in nature, train students in specific fields of public administration. A master¡¯s degree is extremely valuable in the state and local government marketplace.
Public and Private Interest Groups
In the United States there are hundreds of public and private interest groups which work to influence governmental policy decisions. These interest groups are recognized powers in the United States; they function to transmit the demands of organized persons into the decision-making centers of the political system and to monitor governmental activities of potential concern to the groups. Most of the persons employed by these interest groups collect and analyze data before these data are relayed to governmental agents and agencies. Positions with interest groups can provide excellent learning experiences, and an internship with any of these organizations would bolster the student's resume when applying for employment.