Non Profit and Community Service Careers

Career Overview

Political science degrees prepare students to enter a variety of careers including many in the non-profit and community service sector. A non-profit or community service organization relies on trained employees to oversee day-to-day affairs just as any private business would. Positions are offered in many areas including administration, legal aide, policy-making, management, and financial operations.

Specializations and Places of Work

Career choices and specialties largely depend on the focus of a student’s degree program. For instance, a student who studied political science with a concentration in pre-law would fit well in an advocacy position for a non-profit group. These types of jobs are often found in organizations that offer service to underserved or disadvantaged sectors of the population such as the elderly or disabled.

A student with a background in public administration, on the other hand, would be well suited for a career working with groups such as the World Health Organization or the Red Cross. These organizations benefit from job seekers with training in public administration and need managers to oversee and allocate resources.

Roles and Duties

Non-profit and community service roles and duties will vary depending on which field a student enters. Acting in the role of an administrative position includes duties such as overseeing the organizations resources, employees, and volunteers. It often requires directing their activities and allocating funds, workers, and equipment in order to meet a specific agenda. The goal can be as short-term as a one-day vaccine clinic at a school, to something long-term such as overseeing an ongoing medical clinic in a small village in Africa.

The roles and duties of an advocate will be entirely different. If the political science student obtained a law degree, for instance, being an advocate may mean representing a client in court. It also may mean hours of research, writing contracts, negotiating with interested parties, and ensuring a person’s rights are upheld. Duties may include fiduciary accountability as well as confidentiality and advisory responsibilities.

Education and Training

Education for the political science major starts with deciding which career tracks a student selects. Most political science degrees offer a focus or minor in particular subjects such as public policy, administration, finance, or government for instance. Along with theoretical coursework, the student will often participate in field trips, internships, and research for their programs. The political science degree general coursework may include topics such as:

  • Introduction to Research and Writing
  • History
  • American Government
  • Introduction to Political Science
  • International Relations
  • Comparative Politics

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Salary Information and Job Outlook

Graduates may find non-profit and community service opportunities with many organizations. These employers include public health clinics, religious groups, environmental organizations, public housing, and planning institutions. Because of the wide variety of jobs available, the salaries will range from the low $20,000 annually to over $100,000 or more.

Entry-level positions often start in the lower range. As an example, an administrator may start at $33,000 a year while a financial analyst entry pay is $38,000, according to Compensation will also increase with experience, factoring in perks such as bonuses, and paid leave, or vacation time.

General Resources


Career Specialties