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growing with the keen competition for qualified new teachers. Also, look not only at salaries, but also at benefits packages. State and local governments are initiating programs to supplement teachers’ salaries with housing allowances or even special housing in affluent neighborhoods. In many well-to-do districts, the salary ranges for well-trained high school teachers are competitive with those for faculty in colleges and for recent graduates hired by nonprofit associations. Graduate credentials, which may be acquired while working, qualify teachers and administrators for higher salaries. In large part, principals, school superintendents, and other educational administrators are recruited from among the ranks of teachers and receive subsequent training.
It is also possible to get international jobs teaching in English at Department of Defense or private schools abroad. The State Department maintains a list of schools and recruiters for DoD schools and private ones for the convenience of people looking for such jobs, but international schools are not run by the State Department and do their own hiring. For more information, see: www.state.gov/www/ about_state/schools/oteaching.html. In addition, there are many programs through which you can teach abroad as a volunteer, although some of them pay.
Among many programs are World Teach at Harvard www.worldteach.org/.
THE MECHANICS OF JOB PLACEMENTMany school systems organize recruitment fairs and publicize vacant positions. You should check web sites of boards of education, certifying offices, and public school human resource departments. Address e-mail and postal inquiries to private schools.
Of course, some web site portals for schools are organized by location. Some schools and nearly all school districts have home pages describing objectives and programs.
Always read these and find additional information about a school, so that you are prepared to address their mission and course offerings. You should also contact your own former teachers and teachers recommended by family and friends to learn more about the specific placement procedures of a school system and how to prepare an application, target a resume, and anticipate interview questions. Often, students will be asked to demonstrate their skills and enthusiasm by teaching a class in the school.
Moffatt, Courtney W. and Thomas L. Moffat. 2000. How to Get a Teaching Job.
Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
APSA Teaching Page www.apsanet.org/teach/ APSA Civic Education Page www.apsanet.org/CENnet/ National Alliance for Civic Education www.apsanet.org/teach/nace.cfm American Federation of Teachers www.aft.org/ National Council for the Social Studies www.ncss.org/ National Center on Education and the Economy www.ncee.org/ ERIC Clearinghouse on Social Studies/Social Sciences Education www.indiana.edu/~ssdc/eric_chess.htm Social Sciences Education Consortium www.ssecinc.org American Bar Associations-Law Student Division www.abanet.org/lsd Center for Civic Education www.civiced.org Close-Up Foundation www.closeup.org Constitutional Rights Foundation www.crf-usa.org The American Educational Research Association www.aera.net Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development www.ascd.org/ National Association of State Boards of Education www.nasbe.org National Association of Independent Schools www.nais.org Overseas teaching: www.state.gov/www/about_state/schools/oteaching.
MA/Ph.D. CareersPOSSIBLE CAREERS
Professor; researcher; analyst; management position at the Educational Testing Service;
National Security Advisor, White House; marketing research manager; State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research; program director for the Ford Foundation or Washington Center; legislative assistant for a senator; political polling and campaign management;
university administration; program director at the American Political Science Association;
analyst with the RAND Corporation; program officer for the International Research and Exchanges Board; director of the National Association of State Legislatures; fellow of the Brookings Institution; statistical analyst in the General Accounting Office; political columnist.
THE NATURE OF THE CAREER
Many political science scholars started out the same way you probably have. They did not begin undergraduate programs with eyes toward earning a Ph.D. or becoming a political scientist. Instead, they gradually discovered that they had a love of learning, a knack for intellectual pursuits, and a special interest in government, politics, theory, the international community, or public policy.
In political science, there are job opportunities as college or university professors as well as many other opportunities, some of which are mentioned above. A Ph.D. is necessary for some positions, whereas a master’s is sufficient for others. For more detailed information on the opportunities and advantages of a career in political science, the American Political Science Association also has a brochure entitled “Earning a Ph.D. in Political Science.” Graduate degrees in political science are valued by all employment sectors discussed in earlier chapters. The Ph.D. is the most advanced degree and is awarded in a variety of fields, among them, government and politics, public administration, Careers in Political Science public affairs, international relations, international studies, and political science. A Ph.D. is a prerequisite for a career in higher education as a college or university professor or administrator, and many provosts and university presidents also have doctorates. People with doctorates in political science also have rewarding careers in government at all levels, nonprofit associations, business, law, and the international arena. There are many political scientists who also hold a J.D. (juris doctor–law degree) who practice law, teach in a law school, teach political science at a college or university, or work in business. Some graduate programs allow you to pursue both degrees at the same time.
Master’s degrees in political science Master’s degrees in and especially its specialized subfields of political science... are public administration, public policy, and valued by public and international affairs are valued by public private agencies alike and and private agencies alike and by a growing by a growing number of number of nonprofit associations or NGOs.
nonprofit associations or A master’s degree is excellent training for NGOs. public policy analysis, county or city manager work, program direction at NGOs and interest groups, campaign management, and various jobs at the management level in all sectors.
Many people enter graduate school immediately after they finish their undergraduate degree. But some people choose to work and gain job experience; others volunteer through the Peace Corps, CARE, or other programs; and some travel.
These experiences can be valuable in deciding whether to earn another degree and in making career decisions. Trying different things and figuring out your aptitudes and preferences is rarely time wasted.
PREPARATION FOR A POLITICAL SCIENCE CAREER
You should carefully research graduate programs on the web and through campus visits, if possible. There are many different types of programs that offer graduate work in political science and related fields so it is also highly advisable to check out each program’s web site for the most current information. Web addresses may be found through APSA’s Department Search on the web www.apsanet.org or through any search engine. Beyond this, if you are seriously considering application to graduate school you should seek extensive faculty counseling and do so by the second semester of your junior year. You need to learn how to apply to graduate school and what sources of financial support exist. In addition, before applying, you will want advice about which graduate political science department is particularly well regarded in the subfields of the discipline of interest to you or which programs M.A./Ph.D. Careers are most appropriate given your interests and situation. You will also need to know how each graduate school may influence your chances of future employment. A faculty advisor whom you trust is the best source of aid and comfort as you contemplate the next stage of your career.
For funding, many Ph.D. programs provide tuition waivers and stipends. Most master’s programs do not. Your college or university library or career office should have copies of the many useful guides on finding funding for graduate school. There are many grants, scholarships, and fellowships out there, but you often have to invest a lot of time looking and applying for them.The APSA web site has current information on many issues related to graduate school and the job market www.apsanet.org.
Students interested in learning more about master’s and doctoral programs in the fields of public administration, public policy, international relations, and international policy should contact the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) www.naspaa.org and the Association of Schools of International and Public Affairs (ASPIA) www.apsia.org for information on these programs.
THE JOB MARKET IN POLITICAL SCIENCE
The job outlook for professional political scientists has been mixed in the past few years. There has been a trend in academe, although not yet in political science, toward hiring part-time and nontenure track faculty; the retirements predicted in the 1990s have failed to fully materialize, so jobs have not been as plentiful as once anticipated. Overall, about 65 percent of Ph.D. holders on the market find employment within a year, although some of these jobs are temporary positions; almost half of job seekers spend more than one year on the market. It is important to note that employment opportunities vary by field of specialization, so graduate students should keep an eye on job trends as they choose their field of specialization and as they come closer to receiving their degrees. For those who persist, however, the unemployment rate is quite low and the rewards are considerable.
THE REWARDS OF AN ACADEMIC CAREER
Many people who earn a Ph.D. in political science work as professors in colleges and universities—teaching and writing about politics. These positions often lead to important service in schools, communities, the nation, and the international community as advisors, theorists, commentators, and decision makers. The political science faculty in your undergraduate institution have already opted for this career, and you should ask them to describe it to you in detail.
Careers in Political Science Political scientists, like people in any other profession, have their own private reasons for choosing their career. But there are shared reasons as well that single out an academic career from other professions, such as law. Consider, for example, how research on the theory of political representation has advanced voting rights and legislative districting; how research about the courts and who uses them has transformed legal services and legal education; or how theory building about international conflict underpins national security policy. The general public’s understanding of their political world—for example, ideas about what issues are on the public agenda, what programs to finance, or how to respond to international conflicts—is continuously shaped by the work of political scientists. Academic achievements have significant impacts.
CAREERS IN POLITICAL SCIENCE OUTSIDE ACADEME
For people with a Ph.D. in political science, there are many rewarding careers outside academe, such as in government, research institutes addressing public policy and foreign affairs, survey research centers, congressional staff, state and local government, and the media. Campaign management and electoral polling in the United States and around the world are fascinating and rapidly growing careers for political scientists. Business, international banking, nonprofit and international organizations, foundations, nongovernmental organizations, and independent consulting also offer exciting opportunities.
Pursuing these careers with a Ph.D. allows a special status and independence that will lead to important roles in policymaking and public affairs. Your career could also span both academic and nonacademic positions, although in this case it is usually advisable that you establish your credentials in an academic position early in your career.
To learn more about what political scientists do, you might attend political science conferences as an undergraduate to hear about the most recent scholarship in political science and to see an important way in which political scientists develop and share their work. APSA hosts the largest national political science conference, which is held on the Thursday through Sunday before Labor Day each year. Students are most welcome to attend. You may find out about upcoming APSA conferences by consulting APSA’s web site www.apsanet.org/mtgs. The July issue of PS provides the preliminary program of the APSA meeting. The APSA website www.apsanet.org/ps/conferences also reports the date and location of other political science conventions. Many regional and state political science meetings held throughout the year also encourage student attendance. It is not unsusal for students to accompany professors to these conferences.