Political Science and Liberal Arts Education in Alaska

While political science might not be the first career choice one thinks of when speaking of Alaska, it is a recommended course of study for Alaskan college students. The government is one of the biggest employers in Alaska, at all three levels (local, state and federal). In addition, Alaska's unique geographical situation gives the political science student even more impetus to study international relations, world politics and the history of political thought. The student of political science in Alaska will take classes in American government, international affairs, economics, history, communications, state politics and constitutional law, among others.

Internships in political science abound for Alaska college students. The capital city of Juneau provides many opportunities for students to work in legislature, with public and private lobbyist groups, on political campaigns, and with various government agencies. Not only is working in a practical environment great experience for the student, it can also be a networking tool for future employment after graduation.

Alaska Political Science

Political Science Careers in Alaska

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development Research and Analysis Section expects an increase of 8.4 percent in government jobs in the state by 2018, with local government jobs leading the pack at a 7.8 percent expected growth. Additionally, a 17.9 percent growth is expected in educational services (of which political science grads might be a part) as well as an increase of 11.5 in the professional and business services industry (again, an industry in which political science graduates may figure largely). Professional, scientific and technical services are expected to grow by 12.3 percent during this period.

Currently, one third of all jobs in Alaska are with federal, state or local government, according to the University of Alaska Southeast. Other jobs within the realm of political science offer favorable wages in the state. These include lawyers, who, according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development Research and Analysis Section earned a mean salary of $107,411 in May 2010; public relations specialists, who earned $61,068 annually; postsecondary teachers, who earned $59,450; legal assistants, who earned $50,897; and political scientists, who earned $59,820 in May 2010.

How to Become a Politician in Alaska

If you are interested in getting into Alaskan politics but don't know where to start, the best idea is to run for a local municipal office. These include offices such as school board and mayor. Most municipalities in Alaska require that you have been a resident of the district for at least one year, that you are registered to vote, and that you obtain the names of at least 25 registered voters in your district on a petition to add your name to the ballot. This petition must be turned in to the municipal election clerk along with a Declaration of Candidacy by a certain deadline (usually in August before a November election). Then, you must get a financial disclosure form and file that with the clerk. The Alaska Public Offices Commission provides a web page that lists the various forms each candidate for public office must file. It also lists detailed instructions for running for municipal office.

Election campaigns can be costly but they don't have to put you in debt. While many marketing tools and campaign advertisements cost money, there are other ways to campaign that are low-cost or even free. These include making appearances and speaking in front of local community groups, volunteering your time to make your municipality a better place, and attending local public forums.

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