TIME Presidents

How To Become President In Two Not-So-Easy Steps

The presidency is a position thousands aspire to, though only a few ever achieve it.

Fortunately, White House hopefuls can significantly increase their odds by following two steps.

Step 1: Go to Law School

Note, this graph accounts for the most formative profession of each president

Every teenager who fantasizes about residing in the White House would do well to order an LSAT book and stir up some healthy debate in class. More than half of all U.S. presidents have a background in law, including Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The second most common presidential career choice is the military, where chief executives like Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ulysses S. Grant, and of course, George Washington, got their start before assuming the Oval Office. Business came in third, with 6 total presidents, including George H.W. Bush, who formed the Bush-Overbey Oil Co. in 1951.

Step 2: Secure the Vice Presidency

Although presidents have launched their careers in a wide range of fields, every one of them eventually set their sights on government and public office.

The most common position within the government prior to the presidency is (surprise!) vice president. A total of 14 presidents started out in the nation’s second highest office.

Two presidents who followed the trajectory to the Oval Office to a tee are Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. Lawyers by trade, these men are some of the nation’s most successful VPOTUS-turned-POTUS.

The second most common position is Governor, where presidents Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and Woodrow Wilson all won over their states before winning over the nation. Senator came in third, with 6 total commanders in chief, including current president, Barack Obama. Obama started his senate career in the Illinois legislature in 1997, was elected to U.S. Senate in 2004, and resigned his seat to assume the presidency in 2008.

So who will be the 45th president of the United States? If history was always predictive, Joe Biden might have the best shot to be sworn in, a former lawyer AND vice president. But a sneaky bet might be republican Bobby Jindal, who was a businessman at top consulting firm, Mckinsey and Company, before governing Louisiana. Each of those career choices are among the top 3 for a future commander in chief.

This article was written for TIME by Kiran Dhillon of FindTheBest.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46,210 other followers