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Becoming a Global Leader: 6 International Relations Careers

International Relations

As technological innovation continues to connect the globe with increased efficiency, a greater need exists for strong, reliable international relations. For those intrigued by diplomacy and curious about the world and its challenges, pursuing an International Relations career can provide the perfect path to a fulfilling and exciting vocation. Earning an advanced degree such as an online Master of Arts in International Relations provides students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in an International Relations career

Current Trends in International Relations

An air of divisiveness exists in the world due to the current political climate surrounding the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. What’s happening and what’s at stake regarding issues ranging from immigration to economic isolation often are difficult to understand, despite social media and the internet connecting the world. To address these challenges, the world needs students pursuing careers in International Relations to learn the skills and knowledge needed to effectively work and communicate with people around the globe.

A degree like Norwich University’s online Master of Arts in International Relations teaches students key competencies such as the application of analytical data to real-world scenarios or international relations theory. Advanced degree programs, such as those offered by Norwich, feature concentrations on vital aspects of International Relations including international security, cyber diplomacy, and specific world regions.

Types of International Relations Careers

Earning an advanced degree in International Relations supports several career paths. While different fields take their own approach to international relations, they all offer the opportunity to cultivate a better understanding of the world’s many cultural, political, and economic issues.

Federal Government Analyst

Federal government analysts typically are responsible for researching and analyzing data on various government programs. For example, through program evaluations, analysts may identify inefficiencies such as underfunding and help devise strategies to correct these gaps. Earning an online Master of Arts in International Relations degree from Norwich University can sharpen analytical skills, critical-thinking competency, and decision-making acumen needed for the successful execution of this position’s strategic element at a high level. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the 2018 median pay for government analysts at approximately $78,700. The BLS places the federal government analyst position into the overarching field of management analysts, a field projected to grow by 14% between 2016 and 2026. This growth rate is twice the projected 7% rate for the average profession.

Foreign Ambassador

The fundamental role of foreign ambassadors is representing American policies and interests within the context of a foreign country. These interests vary from economic concerns such as trade laws and scientific funding to various political events. The position requires strong leadership, negotiation and interpersonal skills, as well as a thorough understanding of a country’s cultural customs and traditions. Norwich University’s online Master of Arts in International Relations degree offers courses focused on the complexities of the world’s socio-economic outlook, including its evolution.  Once completing these courses, students become well-versed in these complexities in supporting better overall foreign relations. PayScale lists the average salary for this position at around $88,000. The BLS designates foreign ambassadors as part of the political science field, and projects a 3% growth in the field between 2016 and 2026.


Lobbyists commonly are tasked with devising and executing strategies and campaigns focused on gaining interest and traction on a specific political policy, theory, or concept. As these policies, sometimes, are associated with delicate topics, a lobbyist needs well-developed communication and interpersonal skills to promote them. Lobbyists also must possess solid research and analytical skills that support them in building cases for their represented causes. By obtaining an online Master of Arts in International Relations degree from Norwich University, students develop a greater appreciation for various political concepts from a global perspective.  These new insights help approach sensitive subjects in a more careful manner. According to PayScale, the average salary for lobbyists is about $71,900. The BLS also includes lobbyists in the political scientist field, which has a projected 3% growth in the field between 2016 and 2026.

Intelligence Research Specialist

Intelligence research specialists work with various intelligence or law enforcement agencies to oversee strategies that thwart threats to public safety or American security. These threats can range from drug trafficking to potential terrorist actions. In addition to strong analytical skills, this position requires individuals with solid technical and computer skills to fully utilize computer systems and networks as part of strategic plans. By enrolling in an online Master of Arts in International Relations degree from Norwich University, students can attend courses that provide a deeper understanding of the systematic and technological processes behind cyber warfare.  The average salary for intelligence research specialists is approximately $71,000, according to PayScale. The BLS includes the position in the information security analyst field, which has a predicted growth rate of 28% between 2016 and 2026.

Policy Adviser

Policy advisers work with elected officials in developing strategies for social or economic goals. As the position requires a great deal of research and analysis, successful individuals in this role must possess analytical expertise in addition to strong writing and presentation skills and a high degree of interpersonal competency. The online Master of Arts in International Relations degree from Norwich University focuses part of its curriculum on the societal perspectives that drive diplomacy, which can provide students with a stronger foundation for strategic development. PayScale lists the average policy adviser salary at around $71,500. The BLS places policy advisors in the political scientist field, which has a projected 3% growth between 2016 and 2026.

Campaign Manager

Campaign managers are tasked with coordinating promotional strategies in bringing greater awareness of an individual or a group, as well as their initiatives. As the position involves managing workers and engaging with outside organizations in building and executing effective campaign strategies, a campaign manager must possess strong interpersonal, analytical and research skills. Earning an online Master of Arts in International Relations from Norwich University strengthens leadership skills needed to direct campaigns and inspire team workers. According to PayScale, the average campaign manager salary is about $55,000. The BLS designates campaign managers as part of the public relations specialists field, which carries a projected 9% growth rate between 2016 and 2026.

Exceptional Skills for an Intriguing Career

International Relations careers require a solid understanding of the goals, traditions, and cultures of other countries. An advanced degree in International Relations provides individuals with the skills necessary in building the foundation for a successful career. Norwich University’s online Master of Arts in International Relations program offers a curriculum shaped by the evolution of current events, covering subjects that can allow students to develop a strong understanding about the world and global affairs.

Learn More

Established in 1819, Norwich University introduced its online educational programs in 1998 to support working adults and lifelong learners around the world. Norwich University Online offers relevant and applicable curricula that allow students to make a positive impact in their places of work and communities while pursuing new careers.

Norwich’s online Master of Arts in International Relations offers a curriculum that evolves with current events to help students face the future of international affairs. The MAIR program covers subjects that provide an understanding of the internal workings of international players, examines the role of state and non-state actors on the global stage, and explores different schools of thought. Students can further strengthen their knowledge by choosing one of five concentrations in specialized areas of international relations.

Recommended Reading

Essential Skills for a Career in International Relations
4 Trends Involving International Security
Key Theories of International Relations


It's Never Been a Better Time to Study IR, Foreign Policy
Master of Arts in International Relations, Norwich University
Average Campaign Manager Salary, PayScale
Average Foreign Service Officer Salary, PayScale
Average Intelligence Specialist Salary, PayScale
Average Lobbyist Salary, PayScale
Average Policy Advisor Salary, PayScale
Lobbyist, The Princeton Review
Intelligence Research Specialist Careers, United States Drug Enforcement Administration
Intelligence Research Specialist Careers, U.S. Border Patrol
Information Security Analysts, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Management Analysts, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Political Scientists, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Public Relations Specialists, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Are the Roles of a Diplomat?, U.S. Department of State

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