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How Much Does a Political Scientist Make?

January 28, 2023 · 3 min read

A political scientist is a professional who studies the theory and practice of politics and government. They typically conduct research on topics such as political behavior, political institutions, public policy, and international relations. They use a variety of methods, including statistical analysis and field research, to study these topics. Political scientists may work in academia, government, international organizations, or private think tanks. They may also be involved in public policy or advocacy work.

The salary for a political scientist can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and the type of employer. According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for political scientists was $126,830 in May 2020. However, the top 10 percent earned more than $184,130, and the bottom 10 percent earned less than $65,710.

The salary of a political scientist can vary depending on several factors. Here are a few examples:

  • Location: Salaries can vary depending on the location of the employer. For example, political scientists working in metropolitan areas tend to earn more than those working in rural areas.
  • Experience: A political scientist's salary can increase with experience. Entry-level political scientists may earn less than more experienced professionals, but can expect to see their salaries increase as they gain more experience and take on more responsibilities.
  • Type of employer: The type of employer can also have an impact on a political scientist's salary. Political scientists working for the government tend to earn more than those working in academia or non-profit organizations.
  • Level of education: A political scientist with a doctorate degree tends to earn more than one with a master's degree.

It's also important to note that salaries can vary depending on the specific field of study within political science. Some subfields like international relations, political economy, and security studies may have higher earning potential than others.

These figures are just a general idea and they can change depending on the state, city, and even the organization. Here is a breakdown of the median annual salary for political scientists in different industries:

  • Federal government: $126,190
  • Scientific research and development services: $116,660
  • Management, scientific, and technical consulting services: $104,200
  • State government (excluding education and hospitals): $92,950
  • Local government (excluding education and hospitals): $87,510

The salary for a political scientist can vary depending on the state. Here are a few examples of how salaries for political scientists might differ based on state:

  • California: $100,000 - $120,000.
  • Washington D.C: $110,000 - $130,000.
  • New York: $90,000 - $120,000.
  • Virginia: $95,000 - $120,000.
  • Texas: $80,000 - $110,000.

The salary for a political scientist can vary significantly depending on a variety of factors such as level of education, years of experience, specialization, location, and employer. The average salary for a political scientist ranges from $70,000 to $120,000 per year. The federal government and scientific research and development services tend to offer the highest paying jobs for political scientists, while the lowest paying jobs are typically found in rural areas and state governments. It's important to keep in mind that these figures are averages and the salary rate can vary depending on the specific location, level of education and years of experience. The political science field is relatively small, with only about 6,000 jobs in the US in 2020 (according to BLS) and the numbers may fluctuate depending on the political and economic environment.

by Liza Sushko

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