An undergraduate interested in pursuing a career in teaching political science at the pre-collegiate level would do well to take courses in several disciplines. Political science and American or world history would be useful areas of concentration, because most social studies programs emphasize these particular subjects. Most government courses at the secondary level focus on American government; therefore, training that deals with the national, state, and local levels of this country's government would be valuable in preparing for this type of teaching career.
Teaching at the pre-collegiate level normally requires certification. This means that undergraduates with political science specialization must take several basic education courses in order to qualify.
Market conditions for educational administrators generally are good, but the career requirements are also more extensive. While political science backgrounds may be somewhat more relevant than others for these careers, the emphasis is clearly on advanced training in educational administration.
Most school systems require both a bachelor's and a master's degree as preparation for a career in school administration. Aside from these degree requirements, most school administrators must be certified. In order to gain certification, at least three years of teaching or supervisory experience in schools and specialist degree in school administration are usually required.
University Education and Other Careers for those with Advanced Degrees in Political Science
For students who wish to pursue a career in the academic field of political science, most of the available jobs will continue to be in colleges and universities. An advanced degree in political science--virtually always a Ph.D.--is a prerequisite for these positions. Other job opportunities for professional political scientists in the public or private sphere also require the Ph.D. Such career openings may be found in professional research organizations or survey research institutes, or other funded organizations. In addition, there are opportunities for political scientists with advanced degrees in government to work on the staffs of committees of Congress and state legislatures, in agencies of the executive branches, and other governmental organizations.
Educational Preparation for Advanced Degrees in Political Science
Traditionally, graduate programs in political science require, or at least strongly prefer, students with an undergraduate degree in political science. Special skills acquired as an undergraduate in mathematics, statistics, languages, computers, economics, and/or demonstration of substantive expertise (urban planning, for example) may weigh strongly in the candidate's favor. Graduates seeking admission to the best graduate schools are expected to present outstanding undergraduate academic records. Admission to Graduate School: The American Political Science Association publishes annually A Guide to Graduate Study in Political Science, which is a useful source of information on the admission standards, programs, tuition, and financial assistance of most of the graduate programs in political science.
Regional Education / Political Science Departments