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15 Careers in Peace and Conflict Studies

When you go into peace and conflict studies, you’re studying an interdisciplinary field that covers areas like history, philosophy, political science, sociology, criminal justice, and more. The field analyzes violence, non-violence, and how to create peaceful, sustainable systems. Because the field is broad, there are many career options for students of peace and conflict studies. Here are fifteen:

International social worker International aid worker Community organizer
Human rights officer Resettlement officer Human rights lawyer
Legal advocate Public relations officer Diplomat
Policy analyst Researcher International mediator
Conflict resolution specialist Trauma specialist Nonprofit director

#1. International social worker

Average salary: $65,101 (ZipRecruiter)

International social workers aren’t too different from domestic social workers in terms of responsibilities and purpose, but their focus is on other countries. They provide services at micro, mezzo, or macro levels through international organizations or by working with local communities. Areas of focus include health education, child protection, gender equality, disaster relief, and so on.

You’ll need to get a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree in social work. Studying abroad and learning at least one other language will help your job opportunities. Desired skills include multicultural competency, critical thinking, empathy, and the ability to manage high levels of stress.

#2. International aid worker

Average salary: $41,786 (ZipRecruiter)

International aid includes work like research, healthcare, administrative work, engineering, education, and much more. Depending on your specific role, you may work on research and developing projects, organizing fundraising campaigns, monitoring programs, managing budgets, doing fieldwork, and so on.

International aid workers need at least a bachelor’s degree, but many organizations prefer master’s degrees. The specific degree you need depends on what work you’re doing. Humanitarian aid, human rights, international development, and so on are typically a good fit. Desired skills include fluency in at least two languages, critical thinking skills, good teamwork, and high stress tolerance.

#3. Community organizer

Average salary: $47,257 (Zippia)

Community organizers help network and mobilize community members (including individuals, organizations, businesses, etc) in service of a cause. Nonprofits, religious organizations, social service agencies, and so on hire community organizers to work in areas like housing, healthcare, and education. Responsibilities include planning projects, meeting with community members, organizing events, managing budgets, and monitoring projects.

Community organizers may not need higher education, but many employers ask for at least a bachelor’s degree in social work, sociology, social justice, or similar fields. Experience and motivation are typically more important, however. Desired skills include strong leadership, communication, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills.

#4. Human rights officer

Average salary: $73,851 (PayScale)

Human rights officers investigate and identify human rights violations. They rely on documents like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and human rights treaties. Responsibilities include writing reports, observing elections and trials, and working with other human rights organizations. Most human rights officers work for the UN but can be found in other organizations.

The UN has specific requirements for its human rights officers. You’ll need a master’s degree in a field like law, political science, human rights, or international relations. You’ll also need at least five years of work experience and proficiency in English and French. Human rights officers should have excellent communication skills, critical thinking, and teamwork skills.

#5. Resettlement officer

Average salary: $52,907 (ZipRecruiter)

Resettlement officers work for international and intergovernmental organizations (like the United Nations) on refugee resettlement. Responsibilities include monitoring resettlement programs, connecting refugees to services, and gathering data on trends. Because refugees are often fleeing violence, political persecution, and other conflicts, resettlement officers play an important role in peace and conflict.

Most resettlement officers will need at least a bachelor’s degree and some work experience, though master’s degrees or doctorates offer more job opportunities. Fluency in at least one other language (the job posting will specify which language) is required, too. Desired skills include multicultural competency, research, problem-solving, and teamwork.

#6. Human rights lawyer

Average salary: $66,275 (ZipRecruiter)

Human rights lawyers frequently deal with issues related to peace and conflict, including LGBTQ+ discrimination, the abuse of prisoners, refugee mistreatment, and political violence. Lawyers work to protect people’s rights and strengthen justice systems. Responsibilities include meeting with clients, providing resources and education, and seeing cases through the legal process.

To become a human rights lawyer, you need a bachelor’s degree and a law degree. There are many universities with strong human rights law programs. To practice, you’ll need to pass the bar and/or any other tests or steps required by the country you want to practice in. Desired skills include excellent communication and time management, research skills, public speaking, and high stress tolerance.

#7. Legal advocate

Average salary: $32,713 (ZipRecruiter)

Legal advocates are assistants who serve people who can’t afford a lawyer. They often specialize in certain areas, many of which involve peace and conflict such as child custody, divorce, and other disputes. Legal advocates provide advice, evaluate cases, draft legal documents, and help clients understand their rights.

You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree, but some employers want candidates with master’s degrees in law. You’ll most likely need to be licensed, as well. Desired skills include excellent research skills, communication, time management, and problem-solving.

#8. Public relations officer

Average salary: $58,907 (ZipRecruiter)

Public relations officers work in communications as part of a public relations team. Officers work for government agencies, nonprofits, businesses, and other organizations. Responsibilities include managing communications, talking to press, writing speeches, and handling the image of their organization. Their role is especially important when the organization is facing backlash or conflicts.

Most PR officers have bachelor’s degrees in communications, media, journalism, and related fields. To climb the ladder, a master’s degree may be necessary. Desired skills include excellent communication, public speaking, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving.

#9. Diplomat

Average salary: $57,265 (ZipRecruiter)

Diplomats work on international issues like peace, trade, policy, economics, culture, human rights, and more. They typically serve as a representative in another country. Responsibilities include building relationships with politicians and organizations, collecting and reporting information to their home country, negotiating treaties, and so on.

In the United States, diplomats need at least a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in a field like political science, foreign policy, and international relations. Experience abroad is also important, so students who want to work as diplomats should seek out internships and study abroad programs. Desired skills include language fluency, critical thinking, and excellent communication.

#10. Policy analyst

Average salary: $53,819 (ZipRecruiter)

Policy analysts study laws and regulations, including how new laws can improve social conditions, how current ones are impacting communities, and so on. Policy analysts work for government agencies, nonprofits, lobbying agencies, and more. They typically specialize in areas like labor, energy, finance, and criminal law. Responsibilities include conducting research, monitoring patterns, and writing policy proposals.

Policy analysts need at least a bachelor’s degree in political science, statistics, sociology, or related fields for an entry-level position. Higher-level jobs require a master’s degree. Desired skills include excellent communication, research skills, and critical thinking.

#11. Researcher

Average salary: $75,869 (Indeed.com)

Researchers, who work in places like universities, government agencies, and nonprofits, focus on the data and academics of peace and conflict studies. They may focus on areas like human rights, health, education, conflict resolution, and more. Many researchers also work as professors. You’ll research things like the root causes of violence, restorative justice strategies, environmental justice, and social movements.

Academic researchers typically have at least a master’s degree, though most will need a doctorate to be considered an expert. You’ll also need experience as a research assistant. Desired skills include critical thinking, attention to detail, and good communication.

#12. International mediator

Average salary: $78,489 (ZipRecruiter)

International mediators work on dispute resolutions for nations and international companies. The goal of mediation is to help disputing parties find common ground and reach a shared agreement. Responsibilities include meeting with parties, managing communication between them, analyzing information, and suggesting solutions.

International mediators need at least a bachelor’s degree in a field like communications, law, or international relations. You’ll also need to complete a mediation program. A law degree may or not be required depending on the issue. Desired skills include multicultural competency, adaptability, excellent communication, and interpersonal skills.

#13. Conflict resolution specialist

Average salary: $56,892 (ZipRecruiter)

Conflict resolution specialists often work as mediators, arbitrators, trainers, or consultants. They work with government agencies, the legal system, nonprofits, corporations, and any other organization dealing with conflict. Their responsibilities can include mediating disputes, planning and creating training materials, analyzing dispute resolution processes, and suggesting solutions.

Conflict resolution specialists need at least a bachelor’s degree, but many organizations prefer master’s degrees. You may need additional licensing depending on your role and the organization. Desired skills include excellent communication, organization, and problem-solving.

#14. Trauma specialist

Average salary: $76,751 (ZipRecruiter)

Trauma specialists often work as therapists. They work with clients who have undergone trauma like domestic violence, torture, natural disasters, and so on. Responsibilities include holding therapy sessions, developing treatment plans, and connecting clients to other needed resources. Trauma specialists can work as private therapists, but they’re also employed by hospitals, social service agencies, law enforcement offices, and more.

In most places, you’ll need a master’s degree to practice in clinical mental health or a related field. You’ll also need supervised training hours and a license. Desired skills include empathy, active listening, and excellent communication.

#15. Nonprofit director

Average salary: $85,416 (Salary.com)

Many nonprofits focus on areas related to peace and conflict, like international development, restorative justice, and so on. Nonprofit directors play a crucial role. As leaders of an organization, they have many responsibilities and must work well with everyone, including employees and the board. Their tasks extend to public relations and budget management, as well.

Nonprofit directors typically have advanced degrees. A master’s is usually the minimum requirement. You also need many years of experience and a history of leadership roles. Desired skills include excellent communication, interpersonal skills, time management and organization, and problem-solving.