Political Science and Liberal Arts Education in California

Political science degree programs in California teach a variety of skills that are invaluable to any career. In addition to learning the basic fundamentals of government and politics, political science students also learn better reading comprehension skills, proficiency in critical thinking, competent public speaking, complex problem solving skills, writing ability, how to become active listeners, social perceptiveness, good judgment and decision making skills, and how to use scientific rules to solve problems. For students who are interested in a law career, either in an assistant position or as an attorney or judge, other skills necessary include persuasion, negotiation, deductive and inductive reasoning, and problem sensitivity.

Coursework in an undergraduate political science program in California will include classes in government, politics, international relations, global studies, communication, economics and history. If you choose a specialized concentration (such as legal studies), you may have additional classes in topics such as judicial law; international business, trade and tax law; Constitutional law; and legal research. No matter what your eventual career goal, as a political science student you will learn valuable skills and knowledge to help you achieve later success in a variety of careers.

California Political Science

Political Science Careers in California

California Labor Market Info says that in 2010, political scientists in the state were earning a median annual wage of $69,908. Other political science careers also pay well in California. In 2010, public relations specialists made $67,288 annually. Postsecondary political science teachers in California earned an average of $88,128 per year. Administrative law judges and hearing officers made an average of $111,342 each year. Lawyers in the state earned approximately $153,316 annually. Paralegals and legal assistants had an annual income equivalent to $59,800.

Political scientists are considered to be part of the scientific, research and development industry, which currently makes up 84.6 percent of California's work force. Philanthropic research foundations such as the AE Foundation in Los Angeles typically employ political scientists, as does biotechnology research company Sandia National Labs Library in Livermore and educational research company Pimco Advisors in Newport Beach. The legal services industry, including lawyers, law judges and legal assistants, currently comprises 47 percent of the work force in California. Employment for these professionals is possible in the many law offices across the state, as well as within state and county government, mediation groups, tax services, marketing companies and law libraries. Political science instructors and professors are employed at the many California colleges and universities throughout the state that house political science departments.

How to Become a Politician in California

In California, each county's Elections Department publishes its own requirements and qualifications to run for elected office. If you are interested in pursuing a political office, check with your local Elections Department for its requirements and for a list of available positions in the upcoming election. A comprehensive list of all county elections offices in California can be found at the Secretary of State's website. As of August 2011, there are six qualified political parties in California for the June 5, 2012 Presidential Primary Election:

California voters approved Proposition 14 in 2010. This proposition created the Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act. Under this proposition, all candidates running in a primary election will appear on the ballot, regardless of party preference. The top two candidates in terms of number of votes received move on to the General Election (rather than the top candidate from each qualified party).

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Career Specialties