How to Get an Online Associate’s Degree in Political Science

Have you always been intrigued by how the government works? If you are thinking about dedicating your career toward examining the development and function of governments, then getting a political science associate’s degree would be a great first step to take. Political science graduates usually go on to work for the government or in a public service field. You could be elected as a politician, a consulting analyst, or a support staffer.

At the associate’s level, political science students will get a basic overview of the subject and learn about the formal laws and traditions of ruling bodies. Additionally, they will also observe how everyday people influence each other. Some other interesting topics include lobbying, history and development of governmental rule, different types of political organizations that have ruled over prominent world cultures, and so much more. Students will gain an understanding of the evolution of democracy, and integrate modern practices into innovative ideas.

An associate’s degree in political science generally takes around two years to complete. It can be obtained at most accredited community colleges, but if you have other important responsibilities in life and require a flexible schedule for school, a distance learning program from an accredited college is a promising option to consider.

Online learning is a great alternative to traditional classroom learning because it can allow students to complete classes quicker, while taking advantage of many of the same resources as traditional classes, like tutoring or faculty assistance when needed. It does, however, requires potential students to be dedicated independent learners needing little to no hand-holding; after all, the material will be taught entirely online. With that said, you would be expected to keep track of class schedule and complete assignments on your own time. An advantage to studying online is that you can work comfortably in your pajamas, at whatever time and place is most convenient for you. Online learners must have reliable internet access, but from there, there’s plenty of freedom and flexibility. Earning an online degree can be a productive way to balance school with other obligations, such as employment.

Common Associate’s in Political Science Curriculum

Political science students will learn topics like political theory, global politics, and conflict resolution during the two years they are enrolled in the associate’s degree program. Upon graduating, they will be familiar with the differences between political systems in different countries. Some popular classes include:

  • Comparative politics
  • Women in politics
  • U.S. Native American relations
  • Introduction to politics
  • Introduction to government
  • Statistics
  • Environmental politics
  • Political philosophy

Just like any other subject, specific classes will vary depending on your school. Regardless, students will still be equipped with a good overview of the subject and get a quick glimpse of what they can expect working in this field. Those who find that they love what they’re learning at the associate’s level may want to consider pursuing the subject at the bachelor’s level to really dig deeper.

In addition to political science-related courses, students will also have general education requirements and electives to complete, which will vary from college to college. These classes are usually not directly political science related. They are designed to give students the opportunity to explore other fields while getting a well-rounded foundation of knowledge that will be useful in helping them understand real-life situations and succeed in whatever career they choose to be in. For example, students may have an introductory course in math, science, history, language, and fine arts, to name a few.

Associate’s in Political Science Careers

There are many career prospects for graduates to consider after getting their associate’s degree. They can choose to pursue the subject at the bachelor’s level and get another degree to remain competitive, or they can try to get an entry-level job. Political scientists often fill roles in nonprofit organizations, public think tanks, and businesses. Some job possibilities include:

  • High school teacher
  • College professor
  • State legislator
  • Legislative attorney
  • Agency specialist
  • Legislative aide
  • Campaign manager
  • Judge
  • Lobbyist
  • District attorney
  • Consultant
  • Press secretary

Some of these jobs may require higher education, so it never hurts to continue school and get that bachelor’s degree. However, this list should give you a pretty good idea of the job options you can consider after graduation.

Salary for this industry will differ depending on the position, education level, and where you work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, political scientists make a median annual salary of $104,920 on average.

Political science is a very versatile major, and students have a variety of career paths they can pursue after graduation. If you’re not entirely sure of what you want to do after school but are interested in public advocacy, journalism, law and public service, community organizing, and related fields, then getting started with an associate’s degree in political science can be a rewarding choice.