Who Can Become a Politician?
As with any public service position becoming a politician requires the ability to work directly with people and navigate potentially volatile diplomatic situations – both domestic and international. Whether it is a seat in the oval office or a seat in City Hall it is important to know what qualifications or useful skills will help an aspiring politician’s chances at serving the public.
Do I Need a Degree to Become a Politician?
Contrary to popular belief, having a degree can be helpful in furthering education and becoming a well rounded person but it is not a requirement to become a politician. However, an area of expertise or the demonstrated dedication that comes with achieving a level of higher education can win the trust of discerning voters who may otherwise question a person’s qualifications and abilities to see a project through to the end.
A good indicator of the diverse backgrounds of politicians can be seen in the current candidates running for President. While President Obama has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations, as well as a Law Degree, other candidates have delightfully diverse life experiences.
Ron Paul has delivered over 4,000 babies in the course of his career as an obstetrician and Newt Gingrich’s entire academic history has been dedicated to European History. Rick Perry holds a degree in Animal Science – which may qualify him to work in the political arena. The fact remains that while having a degree can help a candidate’s political career, it does not necessarily matter what kind of degree it is.
Tips for Becoming a Politician
The answer is there is no simple answer. Politicians hail from all walks of life and many major in unique and interesting backgrounds people would not immediately associate with the political spotlight. There are some general guidelines that can help focus and enhance a person’s professional resume, lending them legitimacy when they ask voters to head to the polls.
1. Becoming familiar with the issues – No politician can expect to get far without a comprehensive knowledge of the issues at hand. Successful politicians have the ability to speak eloquently and convincingly when it comes to the hot issues in the public spotlight.
2. Gain relevant experience – Many people can gain relevant experience through the course of their higher education by serving in student government or other political positions on campus. Other types of experience can include serving on committees and councils in the community. A demonstrated ability to work well with the public and other political figures can further enhance an aspiring politician’s relevant experience.
3. Become visible in the community – Everyone has to start somewhere and unless a person has significant political connections already, he or she will typically have to begin at the bottom. Being a politician means being actively involved in the governance process. Showing up to town hall meetings, attending open hearings, and penning editorials can be useful in making connections and also building a visible presence. This same visibility can also come back to haunt a politician. Writing a heated editorial about hot button issues can resurface at a later date, especially when it stands in conflict with a politician’s current stance on the issue.
Political science, economics, business, government, and law are all popular majors for those considering political science careers but there are more important elements to becoming a politician than the degree’s area of expertise.
A dedication to public service, a willingness to endure social and political hardships, and a fervent desire to represent the people’s will are all the essential components a real politician needs.
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