Political Science and Liberal Arts Education in Illinois

Political science departments at Illinois universities and colleges teach students skills necessary in their personal and professional lives, regardless of the career path they choose after graduation. New ways of thinking, critical analysis skills, analytical reasoning skills, excellent written and oral communication skills, and questions about authority and power are just a few of the many vital lessons learned in a political science degree program.

These skills are combined with knowledge from classroom lectures and textbooks, as well as with field internships and experiences in some political science programs in Illinois. Field placements may be within state government, local/county government, federal government, political campaigns, or in private industry. Political action committees often hire college interns, as do nonprofit organizations, public affairs committees, corporations, election campaigns and political science departments within colleges and universities. Your eventual career goal will help to determine which type of internship you and your faculty advisor decide is right for you.

Illinois Political Science

Political Science Careers in Illinois

Occupations that are currently in high demand in Illinois and can be entered into with a political science degree, according to the Illinois WorkNet, include economists, management analysts, marketing managers, news reporters, public relations specialists, regulatory affairs managers and specialists, college and university teachers, and urban and regional planners. By the year 2018, the Illinois Labor Market Information projections show that the following positions that may be attained with a political science background will experience a significant increase:

Position Percent Increase 08-18 Total Jobs Increase 08-18
Legislator 7.52 400
Public Relations Mgr 13.65 2581
Marketing Mgr 7.83 676
Management Analysts 18.08 5525
Urban and Regional Planners 12.46 104
Lawyers 11.05 4209
Legal Assistants 24.99 2447
Postsecondary Pol. Sci. Teachers 10.57 59

Illinois Labor Market Services quotes the average lawyer's salary in the state as of 2010 as $132,620 per year. Legal assistants averaged $52,700 per year. Postsecondary political science teachers made $55,510 on average yearly. Political scientists in the state averaged $51,970 annually. Budget analysts made $72,930. Management analysts earned an average of $86,650 annually. Public relations specialists earned an average annual income of $57,120 in Illinois in 2010.

How to Become a Politician in Illinois

The Illinois State Board of Elections has published a Candidate's Guide for 2010 listing the qualifications for various elected offices. Detailed information on how to become a candidate is included in this publication. Illinois has 19 congressional districts and 118 General Assembly districts. Other elected offices in Illinois include sanitary district commissioner, regional superintendent of schools, county members of Boards of Review, county assessors, county sheriffs, county treasurers, county clerks, township committeemen, precinct committeemen, and state central committeemen.

Political parties that are currently active in Illinois are numerous. They include the Democratic Party of Illinois (of which President Barack Obama is a member), America First Party of Illinois (with the motto "fighting for faith, freedom and the Constitution to put America first"), Republican Party of Illinois (which recently gained Obama's former Senate seat in the U.S. Congress), Constitution Party of Illinois (which focuses on running government strictly by the Constitution), Libertarian Party of Illinois (which quotes Frederic Bastiat, who said, "Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else"), Illinois Green Party (which espouses 10 key values, having to do with the economy, workers' rights and environmental policy, among other things), Chicago Socialist Party (an independent, democratic socialist organization representing the state of Illinois), US Marijuana Party of Illinois (which promotes the legalization of medical marijuana in the state), and the Reform Party of Illinois (espousing "honest leadership and real solutions").

General Resources


Career Specialties