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Liberal Arts Degrees Give Students a Solid Career Foundation

Although many students are drawn to liberal arts majors when they decide to attend college, there is a common misconception that these degree programs won't help you secure the lucrative and stable career you might dream of having.

However, earning a liberal arts degree through a traditional campus program or an accredited online college can give students a stable foundation for all sorts of careers, many of which provide impressive salaries and endless potential.

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Liberal arts majors have skills that are in demand - and they can qualify for many different kinds of jobs." Discover how a liberal arts degree can be the best choice for aspiring college students.

Quick Facts: Liberal Arts Industry
Median Pay:   $63,575 per year | $31 per hour
Entry-Level Education:   Doctoral or professional degree
Work Experience:   None
Number of Jobs, 2014:   183,000

Liberal Arts Occupations:

  • Chemistry teachers, postsecondary$73,080
  • Environmental science teachers, postsecondary$77,470
  • English language and literature teachers, postsecondary$60,160
  • Interpreters and translators$43,590

In-Field Employment Rates Are Rising

According to the NCES, or National Center for Education Statistics, there was a substantial increase in employment rates for liberal arts graduates between 1975 and 2001. There is no question that liberal arts majors have slightly lower full-time employment overall than other degree holders, but the trend reflects positive growth that is forecast to continue.

Some of the rates of growth are impressive, such as the reported increase in employment for psychology majors. Post-graduation employment rates have gone up by more than 20 percent. This is definitely great news for liberal arts students concerned about finding work after earning their degree.

There is a Long-Term Trend of Rising Liberal Arts Salaries

Of course, simply finding a job isn't enough for many graduates. It is also important to secure employment that pays well and reflects your years of hard work and study in higher education. Thankfully, there is good news on this front as well. Between 1975 and 2001, the NCES reported that humanities majors saw salary increases of a whopping 67 percent.

Similarly, social science majors saw a 62 percent increase. It is important to remember that these numbers don't simply show inflation or rising salaries across the board.

During the exact same 26 year period of time, engineering majors saw a much smaller salary increase of 26 percent, and business majors saw an equally unimpressive 29 percent salary gain. If this trend continues, it is likely that we will see salaries eventually even out among majors, or at least come significantly closer over time.

Opportunities To Focus on Individual Strengths

Another key reason that liberal arts majors can give students such solid footing for future career choices has to do with the opportunity to focus on individual strengths. While many science, business or accounting majors are forced to take specific course schedules in order to fit a singular job description, liberal arts majors are given a lot more freedom.

With a history major, for example, you could take research-based courses to prepare you for that line of work. Or, you might focus on writing, which could prepare you for work as a novelist or a textbook author.

If you enjoy giving presentations in your history class, you might discover the desire to become a high school history teacher. Allowing you to focus on your strengths can help you better prepare for a career where you are naturally built for success.

Gaining a Skill Set To Use in Numerous Industries

Liberal arts majors, as a whole, learn skills that are useful not simply for a single job choice. Excellent writing abilities, communication skills and the potential to think laterally can set you apart in sales, management, project management and so much more. Majoring in liberal arts can allow you to become better at nearly every kind of job imaginable.

Choosing Liberal Arts Careers With Impressive Earning Potential

If earning potential is a big motivator for you, don't discount the opportunities within the field of liberal arts. Forbes reports that the National Association of Colleges and Employers, or NACE, revealed that 2012 graduates with the major of liberal arts and sciences/general studies receive an annual starting salary of $43,100 annually. Close behind are history graduates, making $41,900 a year, English literature students, earning $40,200 and education majors, earning just over $40,000.

Extensive Job Placement Resources

A final thing to keep in mind is that careers for students with liberal arts degrees are out there, but you may need to utilize the right resources to locate them. Most colleges, both online and traditional, offer counselors and advisers that can help you secure a job you really love. Job placement fairs are also a great way to introduce yourself personally to hiring staff, and online job boards are seemingly limitless.

Although internships are more often chosen by alternative majors, liberal arts students can greatly benefit from this great way to gain experience in the field and boost their resumes.

Whether you choose to study for your degree online or through a traditional college campus program, majoring in liberal arts can be a smart way to gain a foundation for your future career.