Career Development

How To Become a Political Science Teacher: Step-by-Step Guide

Learn about the steps important to pursuing a career as a political science teacher, including education, skills, salary and more.

Political science teachers educate students on the systems and structures of government, as well as the political processes that shape and influence public policy. They may also teach courses on international relations and comparative government. If you are interested in becoming a political science teacher, there are several steps you need to take, including completing a bachelor’s degree and obtaining a teaching license. In this article, we discuss the steps to becoming a political science teacher.

What Does a Political Science Teacher Do?

Political science teachers typically work at the college level, though some may teach high school. They typically have a deep understanding of government and how it works, as well as history. Political science teachers must be able to communicate complex topics in an understandable way and encourage critical thinking in their students.

The duties of a political science teacher include:

  • Planning and preparing lessons that teach students about government and politics
  • Assigning readings, essays and other projects to help students engage with the material
  • Leading class discussions and facilitating debate on controversial topics
  • Grading student assignments and providing feedback
  • Advising students on their career goals and helping them prepare for graduate school
  • Conducting research and writing papers on political science topics
  • Presenting at conferences and publishing articles in academic journals
  • Serving on departmental committees

Political Science Teacher Salary and Job Outlook

The average salary for a political science teacher is $54,075. This figure can vary based on the level of experience, education, industry and geographical location of the teacher.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job prospects for political science teachers to increase at an average rate over the next decade. This is due to many factors such as the growing popularity of online education. Many schools are now offering online courses in political science, which may require the expertise of a political science teacher.

How to Become a Political Science Teacher

Here are several steps you should take to become a political science teacher.

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree in political science or a related field

A bachelor’s degree in political science, international relations or a related field is the minimum educational requirement for most teaching positions. Coursework should include political theory and practice, American government and politics, public policy and foreign affairs. Some schools offer political science teacher preparation programs that can help you earn your degree more quickly.

It’s also important to take courses in other subjects such as English, history, economics and geography to be prepared to teach multiple subjects.

2. Complete a teacher education program and student teaching experience

After earning your bachelor’s degree, you must complete a teacher education program. These programs are typically offered by colleges and universities or public school districts. Teacher education programs provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to become effective teachers.

During these programs, aspiring political science teachers take courses in teaching methods, classroom management, instructional strategies and other topics related to teaching. They also participate in supervised student teaching experiences where they gain hands-on experience working with students under the supervision of an experienced teacher.

3. Obtain a state teaching license

After completing your undergraduate degree, you must obtain a state teaching license. Each state has different requirements for obtaining a teaching license, so it is important to research the guidelines in the state where you plan to teach. Most states require candidates to pass a series of exams that cover topics such as classroom management, educational theory and pedagogy.

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) offers an alternative route to licensure known as the Alternative Route to Licensure (ARL). The ARL allows individuals who have not completed a teacher education program to earn a license by passing a series of assessments.

4. Consider earning a master’s degree in education or political science

While a master’s degree is not required to teach political science, it can help you advance in your career. Earning a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) or a Master of Education (MEd) can give you additional teaching skills and knowledge that may be helpful in the classroom.

If you decide to pursue a master’s degree, consider choosing one that focuses on education rather than political science. This will allow you to learn more about teaching techniques and strategies that are useful in the classroom.

5. Develop strong communication and interpersonal skills

As a political science teacher, you will need to be able to clearly explain concepts and ideas to your students. You may also need to interact with parents or school administrators on occasion. To develop these skills, practice public speaking and presentation techniques outside of the classroom setting. Consider joining a local chapter of the NCSS to meet other teachers in your area and network for professional development opportunities.

6. Stay up to date on changes in the field of political science

As a political science teacher, you should stay up to date on the latest developments in the field of political science. For example, new legislation may be passed that affects how you teach certain subjects. You also need to know the current events and issues affecting your students so you can provide them with relevant information.

To stay informed about changes in the political science field, consider reading newspapers or following politicians online. You might also attend conferences hosted by professional organizations such as the American Political Science Association (APSA).

7. Join professional organizations such as the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)

The NCSS is an excellent resource for political science teachers as it provides valuable information about teaching social studies and helps connect members with others in the field. The NCSS offers professional development opportunities, conferences and other networking events that can help you learn more about your career and teachings subjects.


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