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«Revised and expanded 6th edition Copyright © 2003 American Political Science Association All rights reserved. For noncommercial use only. No part of ...»

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Campaigns and Polling The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard’s Institute of Politics provides internships, speakers, fellows, study groups, and conferences www.ksg.harvard.edu/iop.

The Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, University of Akron, offers a Master of Applied Politics and Certificate of Applied Politics www.uakron.edu/polisci/bliss.html.

The Graduate Program in Political Campaigning at University of Florida has a Master’s in Political Science with a certificate in political campaigning www.polisci.ufl.edu/campaign.

The Graduate School of Political Management at the George Washington University offers a Master’s in Political Management, Master’s in Legislative Affairs, and the Semester in Washington programs, as well as short-term certificate programs www.gwu.edu/~gspm.

In addition, conferences and information about political consulting, polling, and campaign management may be found through the bipartisan association of 600 political professionals, the American Association of Political Consultants www.theaapc.org. Their membership consists of political consultants, media consultants, pollsters, campaign managers, corporate public affairs officers, professors, fundraisers, lobbyists, congressional staff members, and vendors. AAPC maintains a Code of Professional Ethics and has begun a professional mentoring program for undergraduate and graduate students.


In light of the number of elections in the United States, and the fact that campaigns are not indefinite, candidates need to hire new campaign workers for each campaign.

Consequently, campaign jobs are always available. Also keep in mind the importance of state, local, and regional firms. There is considerable demand for state polls and for specialists on state and regional practices. Finding jobs with consulting and polling firms is more difficult and generally requires firsthand campaign experience.

In general, you must also be aware that career paths in campaigns tend to be highly partisan; only rarely will a consultant or campaign worker be able to build a career working in more than one political camp. As indicated above, those interested in a career in campaign management generally must be willing to start at relatively lowpaying jobs or as volunteers, be prepared for periods of unemployment, and work their way up the campaign management hierarchy. Those wanting to make the transition into the political policy job market should use the same techniques discussed in the chapter on nonprofits.

Careers in Political Science


The best way to get a job on a campaign is to demonstrate campaign experience, and the best way to get experience, apart from taking one of the specialized seminars mentioned above, is to volunteer on a campaign. Volunteering is an excellent way both to obtain campaign experience and to make connections. Volunteers do not necessarily have to put in a lot of time; their contribution to the campaign can be putting up yard signs, Volunteering is an handing out fliers on a weekend, or making phone excellent way calls one evening a week. You may also join organizaboth to obtain tions, such as the Young Republicans or Young campaign Democrats; get involved in student governance, experience and to campus-based campaigning, or local, state, or make connections.

national party organizations; or work for Rock the Vote www.rockthevote.org.

In addition, working in interest groups that promote issues relevant to your party affiliation may also be a path to political consulting and campaign management and vice versa. For example, Republican consultants have emerged from religiousright or anti-abortion interest groups, and Democratic consultants have emerged from organized labor and pro-choice groups (see the chapter on interest groups for hints on finding these jobs).

The profession of political polling and campaign management is one that people tend to stay in, so, once initial connections are made, it becomes easier to find subsequent jobs. The party campaign committees may be sources of information on specific campaigns’ needs for workers. Jobs in consulting firms usually come after an individual has worked on one or more campaigns, although some consulting firms, particularly polling firms, hire people without campaign experience, particularly if they have statistical skills.

There are a number of national web sites that can help you in your job search


Democratic National Committee www.democrats.org Republican National Committee www.rnc.org Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee www.dccc.org National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee www.nrcc.org PollingReport.com job bank www.pollingreport.com/jobbank.

Precollegiate EducationPOSSIBLE CAREERS

Government and politics teacher in public, private, or faith-based school; curriculum developer or supervisor; educational researcher; public high school principal; private school headmaster or dean; content specialist for school systems and web collections; education reporter; textbook writer or editor; county or state social studies curriculum supervisor; chief state school officer;

superintendent of schools.


A career in precollegiate education is not confined to classroom teaching. The range of career opportunities in education is expanding, as is the demand for skilled teachers, educational administrators, educational researchers, and writers. Many public agencies, nonprofit associations, and businesses value the skills associated with knowledge and experience in education and in working with young people. Political science provides the content knowledge and skills for a career in education, and many political scientists consider precollege teaching to be a worthwhile profession, early or late in their careers.

In high school and middle school, political science shares its place with other social studies courses. Civics, law, and social studies courses are offered in middle schools and high school, and most high schools require a course in American Government. An increasing number of high schools offer advanced placement political science classes, which are the equivalent of introductory college courses in either or both U.S. Politics and Government, and Comparative Politics and Government.

Private schools and larger high schools offer more elective courses in public and world affairs. Political science majors are well-trained to teach all of these courses, as are other social science majors who have taken political science courses. Education research evaluation and administration also accommodate the research and analytical Careers in Political Science skills of political science, whose coverage of institutions, processes, law, behavior, and democratic theory is valuable.

In addition, there is a fundamental need for education about democracy. Knowledge of civic engagement and public affairs prepares younger Americans to pursue their own interests and participate in a technologically advanced and globally linked society. Students interested in contributing to society and working with young people should seriously consider careers in precollege education.

The qualifications of teachers are increasingly important. Educators must have Students interested in “field-specific” training and skills, and their contributing to society students must be able to use new technoloand working with young gies. Both of these objectives contribute to people should seriously the greater attention being paid to hiring consider careers in liberal arts undergraduates who major in a precollege education. discipline and are experienced using the Internet for research and communication.

Also, precollegiate education encompasses a variety schools—public, private nonsectarian, and religious-affiliated—each of which may seek different combinations of training and skills.

Teaching and educational administration are demanding professions. However, teaching commitments typically extend for only 10 months of the year, offering annual opportunities to pursue additional education or other interests or to spend time with family and community. Also such jobs offer tenure and job stability, pensions, and flexibility in the late afternoon to attend to family obligations. Although teachers are licensed for a specific state, there are degrees of flexibility and mobility that allow educators to seek jobs throughout the United States. There are also opportunities in other countries. The U.S. Department of Defense schools— affiliated with military bases abroad—constitute a large school system. In addition, there are private schools throughout the world that offer attractive opportunities for students interested in living and traveling in other countries and experiencing other cultures. Political science students with language skills and knowledge of another country or region should consider international teaching positions useful to enhancing and building skills in other languages and in working in a global context.


Teachers are typically hired to teach more than one course, except in a very large school. Government, politics, and civics specialists might be asked to teach other social studies courses such as economics, geography, law and society, or history.

Graduates with computer skills might be attractive job candidates as they could Precollegiate Education conceivably teach computer classes. Although the dual responsibilities of teaching social studies and coaching an athletic team may be mocked, activities and sports are important contributors to civic skills, and the ability to take a coaching position as well as use expertise in politics and government may increase job offers, especially at smaller private schools.

Certifying agencies require public educators to have taken professional education courses. When well-designed and well-taught, such courses give the new teacher an understanding of the philosophy, context, and objectives of teaching, as well as the learning styles of younger students and expose them to alternative teaching strategies and experienced educators. An internship or practice in education is another preprofessional requirement for public school certification. There has been a recent movement by many public universities to offer master’s degrees in education or in an educational specialty. School administrators are attentive to the professional development of teachers, and many school systems offer summer programs and in-service workshops during the school year.

Private and religion-affiliated schools often do not require their teachers to have educational practice courses. Nonetheless, these schools are very attentive to teaching ability and evidence of previous experience working with youth.

Because there is such a great demand for qualified teachers, several states have programs that assist new teachers to obtain the training needed for public school certification. Political science majors and minors interested in teaching should inquire about such opportunities. A prominent competitive program for recent college graduates interested in teaching in underresourced schools is Teach for America www.teachforamerica.org/.

Information about teaching resources and professional associations and the many nonprofit organizations that work on behalf of precollege education in government, law, and civic engagement may be found on the APSA’s web sites for teaching www.apsanet.org/teach/index.cfm and for civic education www.apsanet.org/ CENnet. Look at the statement for the National Alliance for Civic Education www.apsanet.org/teach/nace.cfm, which is devoted to enhancing civic education in schools, youth groups, and communities.

There are specialized undergraduate courses in educational administration, curricular development, and research on education programs and outcomes. Graduate degrees are required now for most administrative positions in education. Contact the universities that interest you to learn whether they offer specialized education degrees, and be careful not to select any professional program strictly on the basis of the rankings given it by outside organizations (such as U.S. News and World Report).

Students have to find the right program for themselves. Moreover, as specialization increases, many low-profile universities have become highly regarded in professional circles for specific programs.

Careers in Political Science


The market for qualified teachers and education administrators, researchers, and curriculum specialists will continue to grow in the first decade of the twenty-first century. The U.S. needs over one million new teachers. Moreover, as all political science students know, education is one of the top issues in America, with the public demanding better schools and more educational opportunities. Education is the most important factor associated with mobility and equality of opportunity.

The demand for teachers now and in the next several years varies by state and region, following population growth and demographic changes. Check out data from the 2000 census as well as from the National Center for Educational Statistics for projections on the rate of growth (or decline) in state and urban populations, numbers of households, and numbers of precollege students and schools.

Precollege teachers’ salaries are not as high as those offered to other professionals The market for qualified or to bachelor’s degree graduates entering teachers and education business. However, signing bonuses from administrators, several states and school systems, support researchers, and for continuing professional education, and curriculum specialists education loan forgiveness programs are will continue to grow...

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