How do I Become a Political Consultant?

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  • Written By: Gregory Hanson
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 16 July 2017
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To become a political consultant, it is important to acquire the right mixture of technical skills and personal political capital. Successful political consultants typically have a college education with a background in political science, law, journalism, statistics, business, or some other field that is directly relevant to work on and for political campaigns. Political consultants also typically have connections with insiders in one or both political parties or with other principal actors in the field of politics, such as figures in the media, industry, or union movement.

No specific degree is necessary in order to become a political consultant, but a degree of some sort is usually very helpful. Training in political science or law can be directly relevant, as it provides detailed knowledge of the functioning of the political process. A degree in statistics or some other mathematical field might confer an advantage in becoming a political consultant who specializes in polling and the statistical analysis of political races and candidates. Education in business or journalism has less direct bearing on actual work in elections but can be very useful for consultants who wish to specialize in fund raising or messaging.

Someone who wishes to become a political consultant should strive to obtain a college degree from the most prestigious university possible. Schools in the Ivy League are a natural choice for students in the United States, and most other nations have similarly prestigious schools. An education from a first tier school provides both excellent training and an opportunity to establish useful political friendships, which can be one route to obtaining political connections and capital.

Politics, as an adage claims, is all about relationships. Building up a strong network of useful social relationships is the second key step in becoming a political consultant. Connections from school or one’s personal life can provide these relationships, but there are other options as well.

Volunteering on campaigns as a young person takes a great deal of time, energy, and effort, but is an excellent way of making connections and friendships. A volunteer on one campaign may often be asked to return as a paid employee in the next election cycle, or offered an entry-level position if their candidate wins. This is not a guaranteed path to becoming a political consultant, but is one possible path to success in the field.

Another method for building the personal relationships needed to become a political consultant hinges on achieving success in some other field, which can then be parlayed into political capital. For instance, a successful banker might tout themselves as a financial expert. A media personality, on the other hand, might be able to play off of their facility for managing messaging and the press.

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Talentryto
Post 3

@ocelot60- I think your relative should pursue a journalism degree, and plan for a job as a political reporter. This type of work would not only help her to develop excellent communication skills, but it would also allow her to see politics from many sides. She would also develop a lot contacts that can help her work towards her political consulting career goals.

Rundocuri
Post 2

@ocelot60- I think that your relative should go for a degree in political science. This will give her the educational background to find an entry level political job. From there, she will be able to make connections and move up the job ladder.

As she gains this political experience from her job, your relative will be able to find the best path for her to becoming a political consultant based on her goals, causes, and political leanings. She will be able to shape her own career, in other words.

As the article points out, volunteering for a political campaign is also a great way to get experience in politics. She can do this type of volunteer work any time she wants to, and her time and effort will be very appreciated by the party and candidates she chooses to help.

Ocelot60
Post 1

I don't agree that a degree is not necessary to become a political consultant, because it takes a career in the right field to get experience in politics. Then, it takes experience in politics to become a political consultant.

I have a relatives who wants to go into this field, and will be starting college next year. What is the best degree she should pursue to get her foot in the door?

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