10 Highest Paying International Relations Jobs 2024 (Inc Salaries)

Joe McGoldrick
June 8, 2024 · 11 min read

Discover the top 15 highest paying international relations jobs for 2024, including salaries and job opportunities. Find the best international relations career for you!

The COVID pandemic was tough for everyone, and its effect is still felt through the global economic and political challenges we're still dealing with. This is why collaborative solutions and diplomacy are needed now more than ever.

Enter international relations. This industry expands our horizons in countless ways with the help of information and communications technology.

As more developing countries embrace globalization, interest in world affairs increases, and views on various social issues keep changing, the international relations field has opened interesting job opportunities. Because of similar reasons, the industry has quickly become established even though international relations is a relatively new academic discipline.

So, if you're considering, pursuing, or already a holder of an international relations degree, we have great news for you. Exceptional employment prospects await that do not only pay competitive salaries but also allow you to make a worldwide impact.

If you’re interested in fostering diplomatic relations between countries and addressing global issues while exploring diverse career opportunities, check out the highest paying international relations jobs in 2024 below to see what fits you best.

Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in International Relations 2024 (Inc Salaries)

1. International Lawyer

Becoming an international lawyer takes the longest path of all international relations jobs but can also be the most fulfilling. With their wide range of expertise, international lawyers assist individuals, companies, or governments in ensuring compliance with international laws and regulations.

Aside from offering advice and legal counsel, international lawyers work to represent their country or clients in international courts for civil and criminal cases.

Some of the fields an international lawyer could specialize in include business, diplomacy, human rights, and environmental laws.

Educational Requirements

To become an international lawyer, you must get a bachelor’s degree in law, international relations, or political science.

You must also earn a Juris Doctor Degree focusing on international law or a related field and pass the bar exam. You’ll also benefit from internships or work experience in government agencies, international organizations, or law firms that deal with international legal issues.

To further specialize in specific areas of international law, getting a Master’s or Doctorate in Law is ideal.

Depending on your target institution, you may also need to take additional courses in international law. Proficiency in one or more foreign languages is also a plus.

Potential Earnings

The average annual salary of an international lawyer is about USD 148,514.

2. Foreign Service Officer

Technically speaking, a Foreign Service Officer or Diplomat represents their home country and its interests abroad. Foreign Service Officers work for the government to promote peace, foster international diplomatic relations, resolve conflicts and protect citizens traveling or working in other countries.

Particularly, they assist American citizens arrested or detained abroad, educate foreign countries about American culture, direct embassy operations, and supervise international affairs.

Along with other ambassadors and government representatives, they coordinate efforts to address issues of global concern, engage in negotiations and consular duties, and support international cooperation.

Educational Requirements 

You can become a foreign service officer by earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in international relations or a relevant field.

After that, you must choose one of the five career tracks for the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT).

Once you pass the FSOT, you must submit a Personal Narrative, go through the Qualifications Evaluation Panel (QEP), take the oral assessment test, and get your security and medical clearances.

Finally, you must register with the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) for orientation, training, and assignment as a diplomat.

Potential Earnings 

The national average annual salary for a foreign service officer is USD 127,231.

3. Economist

Do you want to be an expert who studies data about the production, consumption, and distribution of goods and services? Being an economist is a suitable option.

Economists can be considered international logistics managers since they also help oversee efficient resource flow, transportation, and storage.

The data from economists is important for businesses, governments, and private institutions when establishing tax laws, interest rates, corporate strategies, employment programs, international trade agreements, and a wide range of policies.

Economists use computer software to track and predict economic patterns and create budget models. This information helps clients in the labor, agriculture, finance, business, and trade industries to make informed decisions.

Educational Requirements 

The first step to becoming an economist is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in international business, economics, finance, international relations, or a related field. 

Taking a master’s or Ph. D. in economics and gaining relevant training and experience using econometric software is recommended to improve your credentials. 

Potential Earnings 

On average, an economist earns an average salary of around USD 114,563 per year.

4. Intelligence Analyst

Does gathering information to detect and solve security threats sound appealing to you? If so, you can become an intelligence analyst.

Intelligence analysts collect and assess information that helps foreign governments and organizations in decision-making, threat evaluations, and navigating complex issues. This career can be focused on several fields, such as business, national security, law enforcement, or cybersecurity.

Aside from updating and analyzing security-related data, intelligence analysts are also tasked with making regular reports for operation management. Aside from protecting and monitoring communication channels for possible security or data breaches, they also maintain the storage of classified files and databases.

Intelligence analysts also collaborate with law enforcement and other intelligence agencies when conducting investigations and risk assessments.

Educational Requirements 

An intelligence analyst position typically requires applicants to complete a bachelor’s degree major in programming, statistics, data science, computer science, cybersecurity, intelligence studies, criminal justice, and related fields. Internships and certifications proving your expertise in target areas are also important.

You can also strengthen your resume with a relevant higher degree like Master's of Business Administration (MBA) or a master’s degree in information technology. An online MBA program is the most convenient option.

Then, look up intelligence analyst positions for other skills and qualifications you'll need to apply.

Potential Earnings 

Intelligence analysts make an average wage of USD 108,292 yearly.

Are you ready to take your career to the next level?

Nexford's Career Path Planner takes into account your experience and interests to provide you with a customized roadmap to success.

Receive personalized advice on the skills and qualifications you need to get ahead in areas like finance, marketing, management and entrepreneurship.

Take the quiz to get started now!

5. Lobbyist

A lobbyist is a professional who uses communication, negotiation, and political skills to influence decisions made by officials to favor a client's interests. They must be knowledgeable in legal and judicial systems and processes.

Lobbyists often attend congressional hearings for individuals, groups, organizations, or governments. Aside from mediating between parties, they also represent and advocate for their client in legislature proceedings.

Educational Requirements 

The minimal requirement for a lobbyist position is an undergraduate international relations degree, preferably with a major in law, economics, public relations, communications, or political science and relevant work experience and training.

Additionally, certification and licensure may also be required, and the laws and requirements may differ depending on the state where you live.

Potential Earnings 

The average total pay for a lobbyist is estimated to be around USD 103,099 annually.

6. International development consultant

If you're fond of researching, analyzing techniques, and applying expertise to achieve a goal, consider being an international development consultant.

These professionals help design and implement projects for organizations, nonprofits, corporations, and government agencies. They do this by providing information, advice, and necessary tools.

Using their findings, they also conduct research and feasibility studies and develop sustainable and long-term solutions to social, economic, and political issues. 

Educational Requirements 

To become an international development consultant, you need a bachelor’s degree in development studies, Business, International Relations, Political Science, Economics, Social Sciences, and other related fields.

Securing professional certifications, training, and experience in management consulting, public sector advisory, research, and data analysis is best. 

While it's not a requirement, having a Master's degree, like an online MBA Program, is highly recommended. 

Potential Earnings 

An international development consultant can receive an average yearly salary of about USD 94,087.

7. Consular officer

Countries need representatives in other countries for effective communication and collaboration. This is why we have consular officers, a specific type of Foreign Service Officer assigned to consulates and embassies worldwide. They have in-depth knowledge about their home country’s foreign policy and are the point of contact for resolving conflicts.

Their main responsibility is the review and issuance of travel documents such as passports and visas to prevent unauthorized entry or illegal immigration.

They also help protect US citizens' interests, properties, and welfare in other countries, especially during times of crisis.

Educational Requirements 

To become a consular officer, you need a bachelor's degree in international relations, political science, criminal justice, law, sociology, accounting, or business.

Then, you must pass the FSOT and undergo an intense application process involving interviews and background checks. Lastly, you also need to secure medical and security clearances.

Potential Earnings

The median annual salary for consular officers is around USD 81,980 per year.

8. International Policy Analyst

A policy analyst or a political affairs officer or political scientist, studies, makes, and implements global policies. They specialize in various areas that include but are not limited to health, education, security, business and trade, human rights, environmental conservation, and economics.

A foreign policy analyst collects, analyzes, interprets, and reports research findings about international political affairs. This information is then used to predict international political trends and assess their impacts.

This job also involves working to stay updated with current international political issues, dynamics, and events. Given this background, a policy analyst can also work as an international relations lecturer.

Educational Requirements 

Becoming an international policy analyst requires a bachelor’s degree in international relations, public administration, or political science.

You may also obtain a master's or PhD program in political science, public affairs, public policy, or public administration along with relevant work experience, training, and certifications to make your resume stand out. 

Potential Earnings 

International policy analysts have an annual median wage of USD 70,276.

9. Public Relations Specialist

Like lobbyists, public relations specialists must possess top-notch communication and persuasion skills. However, instead of aiming to impact the decisions of local and foreign policy-makers, public relations specialists seek to influence the opinion of the general public regarding certain causes or issues.

Public relations specialists help achieve and maintain a positive relationship between their clients and the public by building trust and good business. They make sure to be updated about the people's current pulse through public opinion surveys. They use this information to write press releases, increase sales, build up brands, and improve the overall reputation of the company they represent.

Educational Requirements 

To become a public relations specialist, one must have a bachelor’s degree in public relations, social science, communications, journalism, or business, such as an online BBA. Proven experience in project management, leading a public relations campaign, and related tasks is advantageous, too. Usually, proficiency in MS Office and social media platforms is also expected.

Potential Earnings 

Data shows that a public relations specialist earns an average salary of USD 60,678 annually.

10. Immigration Specialist

Agencies or companies hire immigration specialists to assist individuals who want to enter or leave the country. An immigration specialist specializes in processing the applications of foreign workers, such as organizing and checking visa papers.

Usually, immigrant specialists work alongside lawyers in studying rules, policies, basic laws, and governmental regulations to see how they apply in different cases. They could also give advice or instructions on how immigrants or potential immigrants should follow legal protocols.

Educational Requirements

The requirements for an immigration specialist are a bachelor’s degree in political science, international relations, economics, international business, and the like; an official certification from the Department of Justice; finishing a Basic Immigration Officer training program at a US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) facility; and a Master’s degree in global affairs, international relations, or political science.

Potential Earnings

According to Glassdoor, an immigration specialist’s average salary is estimated to be around USD 58,321 yearly.

In addition to these job titles, other international relations careers with competitive pay are Interpreter, Translator, Regulatory Affairs Manager, and Nonprofit Program Coordinator.


Conclusion

The international relations sector offers many rewarding careers for people passionate about global affairs, international diplomacy, and social transformation. If that sounds like you, definitely consider this track. Not only are the job outlooks promising, but you can also look forward to varying applications of multiple skills and steady growth for the coming years.

Most positions do not have an absolute list of requirements. Still, a strong education background, training, and certifications will give you an edge for any job description.

If you want to increase your chances of landing a high-paying international relations job, now is the time to take a BBA or MBA degree. Check out Nexford, a US-accredited Distance Learning Institution that offers next-generation education you can enjoy in the comforts of your own home.


FAQs

What is the highest paying job in international relations in 2024?

An international lawyer position is currently the highest paying job in international relations. This job pays between USD 161,000 to USD 300,000, with an average annual salary of USD 148, 500.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, what's the job outlook for international relations jobs in 2024 and beyond?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 6 to 8% growth for most international relations jobs. These include policy analysts, diplomats, economists, public relations specialists, and international lawyers from 2022 to 2032. On the other hand, the employment of intelligence analysts is expected to grow 32% within the same period.

Is international relations a good career path?

Aside from the competitive pay, a career in international relations can be ideal for several reasons:

  • A job in international relations offers a wide array of opportunities

  • Even most entry-level positions pay well

  • It gives you an overview of different countries' challenges and a chance to contribute positively to the world.

What skills or expertise is required for high-paying international relations jobs?

Excellent communication, analytical and critical thinking skills, political knowledge, and technological proficiency are crucial to landing and excelling in high-paying international relations jobs.

Discover if you have the skills to build a thriving career in international relations jobs. Download Our Free Report now.

What qualifications are required for high-paying international relations jobs?

Generally, entry-level positions require applicants to study international relations or similar majors and finish a bachelor’s degree. For international law, a Juris Doctor Degree is a must. Others, like Foreign Service Officer positions, require you to pass specific qualifying tests or obtain particular certifications.

However, most top-earning professionals in this field need relevant experience and training, preferably a Master's or Doctorate degree in a related field.

Why is it beneficial for international relations professionals to gain a BBA/MBA degree?

Getting a BBA or MBA degree is not only a huge advantage in securing higher-paying positions, but it is also beneficial in enhancing your efficiency and competitiveness in the industry. These programs can expand your qualifications and allow you to shift careers within international relations and beyond.

About the author
Joe McGoldrick
Joe McGoldrick

Known for strategy and attention to detail

Joe has more than 10 years of marketing experience, working within the public sector, client-side, and agency side.

He is passionate about using data and customer insights to improve marketing performance.

Join our newsletter and be the first to receive news about our programs, events and articles.