Updated: Jun 23
The 2022 midterm elections have the ability to make a big impact on the United States political landscape, especially in the areas of Nonprofits, Environmental, Finance, and Foreign Policy. In the spirit of the 2022 midterm elections, our goal will be to highlight how an industry issue can translate into a job opportunity.
Working in the nonprofit sector allows you to focus on public good causes such as promoting the arts, inspiring kids via education, and assisting the poor. You can find a career in the nonprofit sector that suits your skillset and interests if you have a mix of enthusiasm, motivation, education, and expertise. Working for a nonprofit organization (NPO) is a terrific way to make a difference in your community while also knowing that the work you perform is important, fulfilling, and priceless.
Many people think that nonprofit organizations do not have paid staff, however, this is not the case. While it’s true that some nonprofits rely purely on volunteer labor, the majority of nonprofits employ paid, professional employees to carry out day-to-day management, activities, and projects. If you know how to seek proper employment, the nonprofit sector is one of the fastest-growing job sectors in the United States, and it offers a wide array of career prospects. It might surprise you to hear that when it comes to job titles, organizations follow the same structure as other businesses.
Working with nonprofits also allows you to explore new responsibilities, roles, and possibilities, especially with smaller organizations with fewer employees. Taking on new jobs or responsibilities can expand your skillset, competence, and knowledge in ways that traditional roles can't always do.
Nonprofits operate in a variety of entities such as private foundations, social clubs, veteran organizations, business leagues, and charities.
Below are the possible job titles in the nonprofit industry:
1. Outreach coordinator
National average salary: $41,343 per year
An outreach coordinator is the organization's contact person within the community it serves. They assist nonprofits with their programs and fundraising activities, as well as community engagement, interest, and volunteer recruitment. Outreach coordinators are frequently employed by nonprofit organizations that provide assistance to certain populations, such as the homeless, at-risk kids, veterans, and the aged.
2. Administrative assistant
National average salary: $42,396 per year
An administrative assistant helps an organization's leaders with day-to-day tasks, communication, and other responsibilities. Meetings are scheduled, emails are responded to, phones are answered, and travel and itineraries are coordinated. Administrative assistants can also proofread papers, take minutes at meetings, and place office supply orders.
3. Grant writer
National average salary: $42,837 per year
A grant writer conducts research, writes proposals, and submits them to organizations seeking financial assistance from institutions, charities, government funds, and other sources. They make sure the grant's requirements correspond with the organization or agency in order to be funded, and they devise techniques for writing compelling and competitive proposals.
4. Fundraising manager
National average salary: $51,033 per year
A fundraising manager is in charge of planning, directing, and coordinating an organization's fundraising activities and operations. They collaborate closely with executives and teams to create campaigns that are effective, efficient, and cost-effective. External clients, sponsors, industry organizations, and community members are also fostered and built upon by fundraising managers.
National average salary: $54,201 per year
Nonprofit accountants assist in the creation of a budget as well as the tracking of expenses, salaries, income, and fundraising money. They prepare financial reports for the organization on a weekly, quarterly, and annual basis, as needed. Accountants can assist teams in identifying cost-cutting opportunities and making forecasts for future expenditure and fundraising in order to best accomplish financial objectives.
6. Communications manager
National average salary: $68, 012 per year
A communications manager creates, writes, designs, and oversees all types of communication, such as email campaigns, social media posts, online websites, press releases, and interactions with media sources. They also help with fundraising and engagement activities, and they collaborate with other leaders throughout the organization on a regular basis.
7. Executive director
National average salary: $83,700 per year
A nonprofit organization's executive director is in charge of hiring employees, approving budgets and expenditures, keeping records, setting fundraising targets, assuring proper financial procedures, and other managerial responsibilities. They advertise the nonprofit, conduct interviews, and develop and maintain relationships in the community and nonprofit sector.
Given its vast range of jobs and continuous expansion, the environmental industry is a promising industry. If you're a nature lover or want to aid your community's environment, it's a good idea to learn about the different types of environmental professions and the advantages of working in this industry.
Why get an environmental job? Getting a job in the environmental sector may be quite rewarding when you recognize the good impact of your work on society and the world around you.
Because the environmental sector is so extensive, it's critical to research your alternatives and learn more about each position. Here is a list of possible job opportunities in this industry:
1. Adventure guide
National average salary: $27,435 per year
Adventure guides plan and lead trips for a wide range of people and groups, including tourists and resort visitors. Adventure guides, sometimes known as tour guides, accompany their guests on various activities such as hunting, mountain climbing, and rafting. They also provide great experiences, offer food, and teach proper environmental skills to the guests.
2. Environmental specialist
National average salary: $29,952 per year
Environmental specialists study and analyze how a population affects the environment. They make recommendations to help the environment in troubled regions based on their findings. Environmental specialists also guarantee that society complies with a number of water, soil, and air restrictions.
3. Environmental technician
National average salary: $35,776 per year
Environmental technicians, who are frequently monitored by environmental scientists, assist in the prevention of environmental contamination. They identify probable contaminants and analyze environmental damage through their numerous tasks. Maintaining equipment, managing hazardous waste, and collecting a range of samples to aid in contamination analyses are all part of an environmental technician's work responsibilities.
4. Park ranger
National average salary: $36,760 per year
Also known as a "forest ranger", park rangers aim to preserve various outdoor areas, such as national or local parks. They patrol these parks and ensure all visitors adhere to rules to keep them from interfering and disrupting the natural environment.
5. Environment health and safety assistant
National average salary: $37,710 per year
Assistants in safety, health, and the environment carry out environmental processes, evaluate complaints, and keep track of potential dangers. They also have a range of administrative responsibilities, such as planning meetings, keeping records, and completing tasks assigned to them by superiors.
6. Solar installer
National average salary: $40,830 per year
Solar installers put solar panels on buildings, residences, and property. Throughout the installation process, they also repair or replace panels as needed, guarantee that safety measures are followed, and adhere to site schematics. Solar installers measure, cut, and construct framework and modules using their technical expertise.
7. Wildlife specialist
National average salary: $43,915 per year
Wildlife specialists work for organizations with objectives to modify wildlife through various ways, such as the construction of new buildings. They make sure that any changes are compliant with environmental standards and that the necessary permissions are obtained.
8. Wind turbine technician
National average salary: $47,632 per year
Technicians that work on wind turbines install and maintain them, ensuring that all of the equipment is in working order. Routine examinations of the turbine's appearance and the tower's physical integrity are performed to maintain wind turbines. They also gather information for future studies.
9. Marine biologist
National average salary: $50,590 per year
Marine biologists study ocean animals and life in order to protect and preserve them. They gather information and samples and present their results in order to gain a better understanding of how society affects marine life. Collecting ocean samples, monitoring marine creatures, and mapping the distribution and motions of varied ocean species are all part of this process.
10. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist
National average salary: $57,787 per year
GIS specialists design and build systems for storing and retrieving geospatial data. They also employ GIS software and data collecting equipment to make maps and graphs, as well as collect, analyze, and present geographic and spatial data from various sources.
11. Environmental compliance specialist
National average salary: $62,188 per year
Environmental compliance specialists keep an eye on reports of pollution control law violations and investigate them. To assist their investigation, they collect varied evidence that is analyzed in labs. Environmental compliance experts also do research on hazardous materials that could endanger the environment and oversee special waste approvals. Their purpose is to ensure that environmental actions are in accordance with laws and regulations.
12. Urban planner
National average salary: $63,844 per year
Urban planners, sometimes known as "urban planning engineers," construct land use plans and strategies. These plans and programs help in the formation of communities, population management, and the restoration of diverse regions in towns and cities. Officials and developers meet with urban planners to address these issues and study numerous studies and market data.
13. Landscape architect
National average salary: $65,543 per year
Landscape architects are experts in the design of structures, buildings, and outdoor spaces. They consult with clients and understand project objectives, then develop site plans and cost estimates using their creative and strategic thinking talents. Landscape architects also consider environmental data that may have an impact on their projects when choosing materials for landscape design.
14. Environmental scientist
National average salary: $66,130 per year
Environmental scientists conduct a wide range of research to identify environmental concerns. By studying samples and establishing strategic measures to battle the negative effects, they hope to control or eliminate dangers. They deal with a variety of environmental challenges, including water and land pollution.
National average salary: $67,923 per year
Geographers examine the planet and the human population's relationship with the natural environment. These social scientists use maps and systems, and they can specialize in various fields of research. A human geographer analyzes human activities, whereas a physical geographer studies the physical characteristics of a region.
16. Environmental consultant
National average salary: $68,685 per year
Environmental consultants conduct assessments and report back to their clients on their results. They make sure that policies and procedures follow all applicable environmental laws and regulations. Environmental consultants work on a contract basis for their clients, assisting them with hazards to the air, water, and soil.
National average salary: $69,387 per year
Microbiologists examine bacteria and algae, among other microbes. They also look at how these minuscule living forms exist, grow, and interact with their surroundings.
National average salary: $69,899 per year
Geologists study liquid, solid and gaseous matter on the Earth and other planets. They also look at earthquakes, floods, and landslides to see how these natural disasters and organisms affect the Earth as a whole.
19. Wildlife biologist
National average salary: $70,116 per year
Wildlife biologists research animals and their interactions with their environment and habitat. To avoid challenges to the natural habitat and resources, they conduct studies and establish wildlife management and conservation programs.
20. Natural resource technician
National average salary: $71,151 per year
Natural resource technicians, often known as "forest and conservation technicians", work to safeguard wildlife habitats. To manage, improve, and conserve these sites, they collaborate with conservation scientists. They also operate in a variety of environments, doing vegetation surveys and air and water quality monitoring.
21. Environmental planner
National average salary: $72,721 per year
An environmental planner evaluates the environmental consequences of various construction projects. They also keep track of environmental permitting processes, create reports, and assist in minimizing environmental impacts from development projects.
National average salary: $74,011 per year
Ecologists study species and the habitats in which they live. These specialists do research and collect data in order to better comprehend the relationship between the two. Ecologists can work for a wide range of organizations, including government agencies and research institutes.
23. Environmental engineer
National average salary: $80,472 per year
Environmental engineers write and assess environmental investigation reports as well as plan and implement environmental protection programs. They apply their understanding of a variety of subjects, such as biology and soil science, to their environmental activities.
24. Environmental health and safety officer
National average salary: $86,170 per year
Environmental health and safety officers develop and implement plans and programs for professionals working in various environments. They also assess occupational and environmental risks, train people in suitable practices, and verify that legal regulations and guidelines are followed.
25. Energy manager
National average salary: $86,762 per year
An energy manager monitors and analyzes energy usage in order to devise energy-saving measures. They also want to cut down on energy usage costs. Retrofitting buildings and enhancing existing energy-related projects are among their other responsibilities.
National average salary: $87,834 per year
Meteorologists research weather forecasting and other aspects of the atmosphere. They keep track of and analyze weather patterns as well as other pertinent data for a certain location. They document atmospheric changes and provide updates on the chance of rain, snow, or other weather in a certain area.
27. Sustainability engineer
National average salary: $90,651 per year
Sustainability engineers advise on projects that are low-energy and environmentally friendly. They seek to improve an organization's sustainability credentials by generating illustrated models, tracking the design process of a project, and gathering data to back up their sustainable engineering concepts.
Financial industry jobs can be extremely profitable, which is why they're in such high demand. Breaking into the finance industry is difficult, as admission requirements might be as high as the salaries. Most positions demand a four-year degree at the very least, and many professionals have postgraduate degrees in business, mathematics, economics, or statistics.
Here is a list of possible job opportunities in this industry:
1. Investment Banker
Average investment banker base salary: $101,187 (total pay is $51k - $301k)
Investment banker education requirements include a four-year bachelor's degree in finance, economics, or a quantitative or business-related discipline, as well as an MBA or master's degree in finance.
Investment banking is one of the most attractive and demanding) financial careers. Bonds, stocks, public offerings, venture capital, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are all ways that investment banks assist firms and governments raise money.
Investment banking firms typically feature a number of divisions and groups, each with its own set of goals and responsibilities. Working at a traditional investment bank allows you to contact securities issuers and mergers and acquisitions experts. You may even work on a trading desk, where you'd trade stocks, bonds, and other secondary market securities. While the profession has become more democratic, it still has an elitist feel to it: top-tier MBAs are almost always required. Nonetheless, compared to other financial positions, investment bankers are less likely to pursue professional certifications.
Types of Investment Banking Jobs
Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A): Mergers and acquisitions bankers offer strategic guidance to organizations wishing to merge with competitors or purchase smaller businesses. Financial modeling is used by M&A bankers to assess these possible large-scale transactions. Interactions with high-profile leaders are common in these roles, and M&A professionals must persuade these executives of their ideas.
Underwriting: The underwriting section of a bank is responsible for raising capital. Underwriters specialize in debt or equity underwriting, and they frequently have industry experts as well. Client-facing responsibilities are popular for these bankers, who engage with outside contacts to estimate capital requirements while also working in-house with traders and security salespeople to locate the best solutions. Underwriting is no longer only the domain of investment banks but has increasingly expanded to larger universal banks in recent years.
Private Equity: Private equity (PE) is a division of many investment banks, but opportunities are mainly found at smaller, specialist firms. Bankers in this field raise funds for non-profit organizations and businesses, keeping a percentage of any revenues generated through transactions. Private equity specialists frequently have prior investment banking expertise as well as strong academic qualifications.
Venture Capital: Venture capital (VC) businesses specialize in providing funding to start-up enterprises, especially in fast-growing fields including technology, biotechnology, and green technology. While many target firms fail, VCs often profit by getting their financial interest in and out early in the development process, resulting in significant returns on investment. Employees at venture capital businesses are usually good at crunching numbers and making deals, as well as being aware of new technology and concepts. They are ecstatic about the prospect of finding "the next big thing."
Average actuary base salary: $96,843 (total pay is $57k - $166k)
Actuaries must have a four-year degree in actuarial sciences, math, statistics, or a business-related discipline like finance, economics, or business, as well as coursework and a set of professional exams from the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) or the Society of Actuaries (SOA).
Actuaries use arithmetic, statistics, and financial theory to examine the monetary repercussions of risk. These individuals collect, organize, and evaluate data in order to calculate the likelihood and probable costs of events including injury, disease, incapacity, death, and property loss. "Actuaries are experts in evaluating the possibility of future events—using numbers, not crystal balls," according to the Society of Actuaries website.
Insurance companies (the most common employer), pension plans, banks, investment businesses, accounting firms, consulting firms, governments, and hospitals are all places where actuaries work. Their experience and input are critical in assisting these organizations in managing their assets in order to minimize risk and optimize returns.
To attain full professional status, you must join the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) or the Society of Actuaries as an associate or fellow (SOA). At the associate level, the certification procedure takes four to seven years, with another two to three years required to achieve fellowship rank.
3. Portfolio Manager
Average portfolio manager base salary: $88,035 (total pay is $55k - $173k)
Portfolio manager education requirements include a four-year degree in business, economics, or finance, as well as a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) license, if applicable.
One of the most prominent positions in the banking business is portfolio management. Portfolio managers (also known as money managers) manage the investments of both institutional and retail clients. They advise clients on tailored investment strategies and specific investment decisions, and they typically have discretionary authority over how those plans are implemented to meet the customers' objectives.
Portfolio managers frequently specialize in particular asset classes, such as equities or fixed income. A manager could also be an expert in a specific stock, blockchain-related businesses, or high-yield bonds. Individuals with a background in analytical research may be sought by focused funds that employ these expert managers. Others have broader mandates, such as a multi-asset class approach, and these firms frequently seek managers with a similar breadth of investment experience and understanding.
In the industry, there is a range of employers, each focusing on a different segment:
-Funds for retail investors are offered by investment firms and financial services firms.
-Investment banks advise firms, huge institutions, and even governments on strategic matters.
-Customers of commercial banks have access to a variety of investing options.
-High-net-worth individuals are catered to by money management firms, portfolio management firms, and hedge funds.
Many potential money managers get the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) title after finishing a four-year college degree and a graduate degree. A portfolio manager position is frequently a "destination" role with no other options. As a result, rather than climbing the corporate ladder, portfolio managers often handle growing sums of money. They could even depart to create their own company or hedge fund.
4. Quantitative Analyst
Average quantitative analyst base salary: $85,042 (total pay is $62k - $154k)
Quantitative analyst education requirements include a master's or doctoral degree in a quantitative discipline such as math, statistics, finance, or economics, as well as good computer skills; or a master's or doctoral degree in financial engineering or computational finance.
While some economic analytic jobs involve public speaking or writing, quantitative analysts (often known as "quants") usually labor in the background. Mathematical models are created by professionals in this field to assist businesses in making commercial and financial choices. Quants are employed by asset managers, banks, hedge funds, insurance companies, and private equity firms to assist them in risk management and investing opportunities.
Quants are particularly sought after in the trading industry, where they develop algorithms to identify the most profitable trading opportunities. The majority of quant workers have a Ph.D. in mathematics or statistics.
5. Securities Trader
Average securities trader salary: $72,612 (total pay is $45k - $251k)
Education requirements for securities traders include a four-year degree and a FINRA license, if appropriate.
Commercial banks, investment banks, asset management firms, hedge funds, and other financial institutions employ securities traders. Traders buy and sell securities on behalf of the firm's assets, regardless of where they work. Traders work in a variety of markets (for example, stocks, commodities, or cryptocurrency) and may specialize in a particular asset class or investment.
Without a college diploma, it used to be easy to work your way up as a trader. While the professional path is less defined than, say, investment banking, most traders have a finance-related background from a reputable university and many have advanced degrees in statistics, mathematics, or similar subjects. Early in their careers, traders frequently take the Series 7 and Series 63 tests.
Traders that do well are often given larger capital allocations. It's not unheard of for top traders to create hedge funds on their own.
Types of Trading Jobs
Sell-Side Traders: Typically, sell-side traders work for banks. They buy and sell things for the bank's clients and to the bank's own advantage.
Buy-Side Traders: Traders are employed by buy-side firms such as asset management firms. Typically, they buy and sell under the supervision of a portfolio manager.
Hedge Fund Traders: Hedge fund traders aim to maximize profits for the fund rather than to fulfill client orders. Hedge fund traders, like those on the buy side, may take instructions from a portfolio manager or be able to make their own buys and sells.
6. Financial Planner
Average financial planner base salary: $64,225 (total pay is $43k - $119k)
Education requirements for financial planners include a bachelor's degree, as well as certificates, and a FINRA license, if appropriate.
Financial planners assist people in making strategies to ensure their financial security in the present and future. Typically, they examine a client's financial objectives and create a savings and investment strategy. The strategy could be centered on wealth preservation or investment growth, as well as estate and tax preparation.
The majority of financial planners work for large, national corporations or smaller, regionally based organizations. Some planners charge a fixed fee, while others charge a percentage of the client's assets under management (AUM), with commissions on goods sold.
Financial planners who have earned the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation are in high demand because of their extensive training. They must have 6,000 hours of financial planning experience, pass numerous exams, including a two-day, 10-hour case-study exam, and maintain their education by attending continuing education classes.
7. Financial Analyst
Average financial analyst base salary: $62,036 (total pay is $46k - 87k)
Education requirements for financial analysts include a four-year degree in finance or a similar discipline, as well as an MBA, CFA certification, and a FINRA license, if applicable.
Analysts in the financial business are often in charge of investigating new investments and providing thoughts and recommendations to help traders and portfolio managers make better decisions. Financial analysts are also employed by non-banking organizations, where they examine the company's financial status and assist in the formulation of budgetary plans.
To work as a financial analyst, you'll need good analytical, arithmetic, and communication abilities, as well as the ability to work under pressure. You'll need a four-year degree in finance or a similar discipline, as well as a CFA or other FINRA license and, more than likely, an MBA.
Types of Financial Analyst Jobs
Investment Analyst: Investment analysts are experts in one or more areas, such as geographic regions, industrial or economic sectors, or investment vehicles. Analysts working for sell-side firms typically provide purchase and sell recommendations to their clients. Analysts who work for a buy-side firm often advise their portfolio managers on which assets to buy or sell.
Financial Analyst: Financial analysts are typically employed by non-financial firms or government bodies. Financial analysts are employed by nearly every significant organization, regardless of sector or industry, to assess cash flows and expenditures, maintain budgets, and other tasks. These analysts may also aid with capital raising or determining the appropriate financial structure for the company. Financial analysts have the possibility to advance in their company's ranks, potentially becoming treasurer or chief financial officer.
8. Economic Analyst
Average economic analyst base salary: $61,845 (total pay is $40k - $98k)
Education requirements for economic analysts include a bachelor's degree in economics, statistics, or a similar discipline, as well as experience producing and publishing reports.
Economic analysts seek for important trends in wide areas of the economy and markets. These careers appeal to people who enjoy examining data, observing patterns, and forming opinions about the future of financial markets based on those trends. Writing, public speaking, and extensive use of Excel or other spreadsheet tools are all common tasks in analytical positions.
Investment banks, money management organizations, and other traditional financial institutions offer these positions. They can also be found in the public sector, government, and higher education. The majority of financial analysts have an MBA, and many have a Ph.D. Because many related occupations require writing, expertise writing and publishing in the industry is desirable.
A four-year or advanced degree in economics, statistics, or a similar subject is required to work as an economic analyst. While there is a significant initial barrier to admission, analysts have more freedom than many other finance positions. Analysts often work for a variety of companies. An experienced economist may shift from an investment bank to a university to the government, conducting substantially the same type of work in each location.
Types of Economic Analysis Jobs
Economist: Economists are found in a wide range of financial firms. Economists are employed by investment banks, asset management organizations, central banks, government agencies, and university institutions. An economist studies and analyzes data in order to understand present market or economic conditions and forecast future developments.
Economic Strategist: The distinction between a strategist and an economist is thin. Economists are more interested in the whole economy, whereas strategists are more interested in the financial markets. Banks and money management firms are more likely to hire strategists than academic and government organisations. Many strategists start out as research analysts, specializing in a specific product or industry.
Consider the demand for the position while pursuing employment with the best prospects of success. First, do some research to learn about your possibilities. Time spent exploring the most intriguing options can be time saved from working in a career that isn't a good fit.
Financial careers demand varied talents and work conditions, so it's best to choose one that corresponds with your long-term interests and abilities. Someone with strong interpersonal skills, for example, would be a good fit for financial planning, whilst someone who enjoys crunching numbers might be a better fit for actuarial work.
Financial positions can be found in practically every firm and industry. There are two ways to look for job openings: online and offline, and using both is a good idea. Keep in mind that financial occupations are extremely specialized, so looking for them on general job listings isn't the best idea.
Specialized executive recruiters (headhunters) can be useful resources for financial employment openings and career assistance when searching offline. Your university's alumni organization can also be of great assistance by connecting you with industry insiders and B-school alumnae who are willing to share their knowledge—and occasionally job leads.
Financial positions can also be found through industry conferences and other networking events. Never underestimate the importance of personal interaction when it comes to networking. Everyone you meet might know someone. Maintain open lines of communication by following up with each contact in a professional, individualized manner.
High entrance restrictions, fierce rivalry among applicants, and a lot of stress are all common features of financial employment. Nonetheless, these positions offer a variety of benefits, including a difficult work environment, interaction with highly driven and bright coworkers, growth chances, and outstanding income. While many people enter the financial profession for the money, the most successful people have a strong passion for what they do.
1. Foreign Service
Diplomacy is perhaps the most well-known international profession. The US Foreign Service is the leading institution in this area. This group of about 8,000 workers works at American embassies around the world, as well as at the State Department and the US Information Agency in Washington. Although the Foreign Service is an appealing career option, the selection process is exceedingly stringent. Only about 200 persons were chosen from the approximately 12,000 people who took the exam a few years ago. The test is interesting and free, so everyone interested should take it, but practically, your odds of being chosen are slim to none. Over the last few years, the Foreign Service has been concerned about minority recruitment, and such applications are especially encouraged.
There are no formal educational prerequisites for admission; it is by examination only. The first step is a once-a-year written exam that lasts all day and follows the format of the SATs and other Educational Testing Service exams. Those who earn the requisite minimum grade are invited to the second stage, which consists of a series of simulations and exercises with other candidates. Because the entire procedure takes roughly a year, you'll need to work or go to school in the meanwhile.
The first level emphasizes understanding of American history and culture, as well as knowledge of international relations and foreign countries. Many people find this strange, yet Foreign Service officers represent the United States and will frequently work with foreigners who have spent a significant amount of time researching the country; they must be quite knowledgeable about their own history and culture. If you're considering a career in the Foreign Service, be sure you're well-versed in American history, literature, politics, and economics. Environmental and scientific knowledge are becoming increasingly valuable. Foreign language proficiency is expected, though not necessarily at the time of admission; however, it is recommended to obtain proficiency prior to the tests.
2. Other Government Agencies
The majority of international affairs professionals in Washington work for organizations other than the State Department. Unfortunately, there is no uniform recruiting tool for these institutions, such as the Foreign Service exam. The Defense Department (both military and civilian) and intelligence institutions, particularly the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, offer the most job opportunities. The ROTC groups on campus can provide information regarding military vocations. Civilians hired by the Defense Department are usually experts in their fields, with advanced degrees usually necessary. Actual job experience, which in practice means internships, is extremely vital in the informal recruiting process.
Analysts (those who work with classified information to determine its relevance) and clandestine operators are two types of intelligence professionals. Anyone interested in such jobs might read David Atlee Phillips' book Careers in Secret Intelligence, written by a former CIA official; David Wise's article "Campus Recruiting and the CIA," published in the New York Times Magazine on June 8, 1986, is also helpful. Both the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency use examinations to hire junior-level employees. To find out what each agency's current needs and processes are, contact them individually. They also hire a lot of people with certain analytical skills, usually with postgraduate degrees. Exotic languages, geographic region specialities, economics, political science, international relations, mathematics, computer science, engineering, and physical science appear to pique their attention. Internships are very important in this case.
The American Agency for International Development (AID) manages American international aid and employs a sizable workforce. It appears to attract persons with technical skills in fields such as economics or agriculture in general. With each restructuring, their relationship with the State Department shifts. The Export-Import Bank and the Office of the Special Trade Representative are two smaller institutions.
Many "domestic" executive agencies have international operations or offices; while these are often tiny, they can occasionally provide fascinating opportunities. For example, Commerce is concerned with international trade, Agriculture with farm exports, and Justice with international legal difficulties, among other things.
The number of persons on congressional staff who are concerned about international issues has risen dramatically in recent years. People are chosen for such employment based on contacts, previous experience, and educational qualifications, roughly in that order. Internships are essential for anyone interested in working in these fields.
3. United Nations
The United Nations in New York City is an interesting place to work, and it employs a large number of people. Because it is plainly undesirable to have the majority of employment held by citizens of one of its members, jobs on its permanent staff are awarded on the basis of national quotas, making it difficult for American citizens to get hired.
4. Private Sector: Washington
Private research companies and pressure groups of all political stripes with interests in foreign affairs abound in Washington. Because hiring is done on the spot, internships are essential for anyone interested.
5. Private Sector: International Business
In today's international affairs, multinational corporations play a significant influence. Most Americans imagine themselves working for an American firm abroad, however there may be better prospects working in the United States, possibly for an American or even a foreign company.
American corporations used to send significant numbers of Americans abroad, where they were often something of a trial. They were expensive, had a high failure rate (sometimes as high as 50%), did not want to stay long, did not know the language, and often alienated foreigners. Moreover, the corporations did not know how to use the people with international experience when they got back and often essentially punished them for going abroad. Thus most corporations moved to develop indigenous managers (e.g. Norwegians to run Exxon Norway) and to reduce the role of Americans abroad.
Although different firms have varied rules, there has been a recent backlash against this trend. The number of Americans sent abroad is unquestionably lower than it used to be, thanks to improved selection and training. People with certain technological capabilities are frequently dispatched to other countries. Furthermore, because of the importance of worldwide markets, several organizations are re-developing international assignments for their fast-track managers. A large American corporation is unlikely to send an employee abroad unless they fall into one of these two categories.
International banks have been the most eager to hire persons without a business degree, despite the fact that they expect to have to teach their staff regardless of their background. Analyzing the political risks of investments in specific nations is another option. There are some job openings here in corporations and consulting firms; nevertheless, just a few people have been hired, and it is unclear whether they will be able to advance in the organization.
6. Private Sector: Non-Profit
There are literally hundreds of private, volunteer groups that participate in international affairs; they are so significant that they have been given their own abbreviation, PVOs. Some PVOs have religious roots, while others are completely secular. Some are relatively huge, while others are extremely small. They are united by a lack of direct government control and a concern for humanitarian issues. Crossroads Africa, Oxfam, Catholic Relief Services, and Maryknoll are just a few examples. Some of these agencies provide some overseas aid on behalf of the US government, and they have been prominent in topics such as famine relief in Africa. Many of these organizations have limited permanent staffs, and recruitment is frequently dependent on previous volunteer performance. Although the pay is poor, many people find the labor to be incredibly satisfying.
7. University Teaching and Research
Universities in the United States act as repositories for worldwide expertise, among other things. Faculty members work in departments, which are usually organized around key disciplines like economics, politics, and history. Teaching and research are two of their responsibilities. Faculty at universities typically have a lot of leeway in terms of what they research and teach, allowing them to build specialized knowledge in a wide range of fields.
University teaching jobs have been rare for the past fifteen years or so, making it difficult to encourage undergraduates to pursue such careers; however, as the next "baby boom" enters college age and a large number of current college faculty retire, there may be increased demand for college teachers. (Recent study predicts that political science will experience less change than other fields.) As a result, college teaching has become a more viable career option for current undergraduates. The Ph.D. is the sole appropriate degree for college teaching, thus students should apply to the best university they can get into.
Internships are an important addition to any educational background in order to obtain exciting positions in international affairs. Personal contacts are essential because of the informal employment practices. Internships are the next best thing for most students who don't have close family who work in these businesses. Internships provide students with hands-on experience in the workplace. Students discover for themselves whether they enjoy this type of work and what it takes to succeed in it. They frequently receive direct employment offers. If not, they build personal contacts and obtain references from coworkers; if nothing else, they have something on their resume that sets them apart from the thousands of other B.A. graduates. Obtaining degrees from two different state colleges at the same time is possible.
Internships follow two broad guidelines: something is better than nothing, and the longer the better. Summer internships are the most popular, and if one is available, students should take it. However, students should be aware of several summer internship limits. Summer internships are only available during the summer months, which are rather short. Furthermore, summer interns are so widespread that they are frequently exploited as clerical labor in offices, such as running xerox machines, addressing envelopes, and so on. Many students use the experience to socialize, which is OK, but it detracts from others with more serious interests' image. Finally, because so many students now participate in summer internships, employers are less impressed than they were earlier.
9. International Experience: Study, Work, and the Peace Corps
Internships in Washington are incredibly beneficial, but they are not the same as international experience, which can be extremely beneficial in obtaining employment; however, there are various possibilities to explore. Students can study abroad for a semester in almost any place they like. Working abroad is also feasible, though it might be problematic due to local rules; volunteer work is generally a better option. The Office of International Education, Career Services, and the Study Abroad Office all have information on these choices.
The Peace Corps is a worthwhile option to consider after graduation. The Peace Corps is a United States government program that sends Americans abroad for two years to help people in Third World nations achieve economic and social development. Volunteers frequently work alone under difficult physical conditions. Apart from living overseas, Peace Corps volunteers gain valuable managerial experience at a young age. As a result, employers looking for overseas opportunities place a high value on Peace Corps experience.
10. Alternate Educational Tracks
There is no single educational road to international jobs; in fact, people in similar positions frequently come from very varied educational backgrounds. Furthermore, many persons with simply a B.A. are employed in exciting positions. gradations (and sometimes without them). Gaining access to these positions normally necessitates either graduate degrees or experience (ideally both).
11. Law School
Although many of the most senior figures in international affairs are attorneys, law school is certainly not the most effective method to begin a career in the field. Law school is a three-year program with a curriculum that is primarily unrelated to international affairs. It is tough to get into good legal schools, and financial aid is usually limited to loans. Because of the current lawyer surplus, law school graduates are having a difficult time finding work. True, students with a law degree may be able to find an interesting non-legal employment since companies assume they must be relatively intellectual if they have made it through law school, but there are other options. Students who wish to be lawyers should enroll in law school. If they don't, they should seriously consider their options.
There is a lot of misunderstanding about international law as a profession. The distinction between public and private international law is important. Public international law examines whether governments' actions are consistent with international law. Most individuals understand what international law implies, but just a few institutions will pay professionals to conduct such research. The State Department employs roughly eighty lawyers for this purpose, but the majority of those in the field teach at colleges.
The majority of international lawyers are concerned with private international law, or how individuals and businesses can transact across many, sometimes contradictory legal systems. People and organizations are interested in private international law because they are willing to pay money for answers to a variety of questions. This type of job can lead to further opportunities; international lawyers frequently serve as public and government representatives for multinational firms, acting as a form of business diplomatic corps. Nonetheless, international law is a very minor field of law, as evidenced by law school syllabi; students will do well if they take two international law courses in three years.
Law school is the ideal option for anyone interested in practicing private international law, but students must keep in mind that they must first be a lawyer and then an international lawyer. Students may do better in a Ph.D. program in political science specializing in international law if they want to study public international law, though there are few places in the United States where this is a viable option; their career will presumably involve working in a university as a teacher-researcher, either in political science or, less likely, in law school.
In the United States, there is no pre-law program; rather, law schools will accept students regardless of their major if their grade point average and law board scores are good enough. They prefer students with broad interests in the liberal arts and tend to disfavor pre-professional degrees, to the extent that curriculum matters. They specifically advise students not to take law courses before enrolling in law school, reasoning (probably accurately) that other institutions will just teach them improperly.
12. Graduate Business Schools
Law school is sometimes appealing to individuals who wish to work in an "interesting" field but are not interested in becoming lawyers. Business school is typically a better option for such students. It takes two years rather than three, it's a little simpler to get into a good one, and fresh MBA graduates may still find work. Jobs aren't only confined to corporations; American business schools claim to teach management, or the coordination of people and resources to achieve a certain goal, which is something that all major organizations strive to achieve. As a result, government and even non-profit organizations are employing business school graduates for jobs that would have gone to lawyers twenty years ago. Most people now think that MBA graduates, like lawyers, are intelligent and may even possess some useful talents.
The substantial focus on economics and mathematics in graduate business school is a severe disadvantage for many undergraduates. Anyone considering business school should take microeconomics and macroeconomics (in any order) as well as numerous advanced economics courses to see how well they do and if they are comfortable with that approach of thinking. Graduate business school does not require an economics major, and an undergraduate business degree is rarely suggested.
13. Political Science Graduate Programs
Almost every major American university offers a Ph.D. program in political science, and international relations is a field within almost all of these departments. A Masters of Arts degree is also offered by the departments, however it is not particularly relevant. The Ph.D. program entails two to three years of coursework, followed by comprehensive tests and a thesis, which takes another year or two full-time; clearly, the time will be greater if students must work part-time due to financial constraints.
A Ph.D. is essentially a research degree. It is required for anyone who wishes to teach at a college or university, and it is frequently found among government researchers and analysts. The degree, on the other hand, is in political science; students can focus on international relations, but they must also take courses and exams in other areas including American government and political science. Furthermore, it takes longer to obtain than any of the other options listed here, and it is unclear whether the extra time and money are worth it unless you plan to teach in a college setting. When asked how valuable graduate school would be, one group of Foreign Service examiners responded that the two to three years of study would be beneficial, but that the candidate would be better off spending a couple of years in the Foreign Service rather than working on a doctoral dissertation. Several programs that retrain people with PhDs to work in business have had some success, but this is a long way around; if you really want to work in business, go to graduate business school.
A major in political science is not required for admission to graduate programs in the discipline, but students should take enough courses to determine whether they want to do this full-time for a long time; the main difference between graduate and undergraduate work is that graduate students must live one subject twenty-four hours a day. Admission is usually determined by a student's grade point average, scores on the Graduate Record Examination, and recommendations from instructors. The best departments are generally found in the most prestigious universities. If students want more particular advice, they should speak with professors of international relations; this is a subject they are familiar with, and they will be up to date on the various reputations of political science departments across the country.
14. International Affairs Schools
As previously stated, every major American university offers a Ph.D. in political science. A few universities also have schools or programs that offer a two-year interdisciplinary Masters degree in international affairs or public policy or public administration. On the one hand, there is a clear separation between a graduate program in political science and a school of international affairs (or public policy or management) on the other. Graduate programs in political science are intended to provide academic instruction, including mandatory coursework and research qualifying students to become political science professors. By contrast, professional training is provided by international affairs schools. Schools of international affairs aim to teach the management, communications, economics, statistics, and foreign language skills required in a professional career involving international affairs, similar to how law schools teach their students the practical knowledge required for a career in law and business schools teach their students the practical knowledge required for a career in business.
Some of these schools were founded with the intention of training candidates for the Foreign Service. Due to the low number of applicants accepted into the Foreign Service and the fact that entrance is now by examination, these institutions have shifted their focus and are now attempting to train students to work for other government organizations as well as international businesses.
In general, these schools' curricula emphasize international politics, history, and economics. However, there are significant disparities in focus among the many schools of international politics. Some place a greater emphasis on management skills, as well as economic and statistical training, in order to train generalists who can work in a number of jobs or sectors. Others, in an effort to prepare students for a more narrowly defined job path, place a greater emphasis on language or area skills, or specialized instruction in a specific policy challenge (for example, international commerce or arms control). Furthermore, different schools specialize in distinct geographic or policy areas. If students are contemplating this educational path, they should get catalogs from certain schools and examine the curriculum available.
Many graduates of international affairs programs go on to work for major corporations. However, it is unclear whether this training is appropriate for a business career and whether graduates of international affairs institutions will need to return to business school later.
15. Public Policy Schools
In addition to the schools of international relations mentioned above, there are a number of other schools that are quite similar to the ones mentioned above but do not have a definite focus on international relations. That is, they provide professional training in public policy or policy management to prepare students for a career in government or working with government, but they do not provide as much specialized instruction in international issues. Many of these schools are highly competitive, similar to the schools of international affairs listed above, and there are curricular differences between schools, so students should examine their catalogs carefully. These schools' Master's programs, like those at international affairs colleges, are typically two years lengthy with a summer internship in between. These schools, too, place a high value on placement. If you want to work in government and are interested in both domestic and foreign policy concerns, this may be the ideal educational path for you.