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What is a Liberal Arts Degree, and What Can You Do With It?

SEP 07, 2021

A recent Association of American Colleges and Universities report found that 80% of employers want their employees to have some experience studying liberal arts subjects because liberal arts classes teach students in-demand skills that employers desire in prospective candidates. So, what are these skills, and what can you do with a liberal arts degree? Let’s take a closer look.

What is a Liberal Arts Degree?

A liberal arts degree is a broad term used to label degrees that focus less on technical or scientific skills and more on creativity and humanities. Those who study liberal arts develop problem-solving, effective communication, and debating skills. Four core attributes classify liberal arts education. The “four ‘C’s” are critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. All of these attributes are vital skills students can use in many different careers.

What Liberal Arts Subjects are Popular Majors?

Some of the most popular liberal arts majors include Communications, English, History, and Psychology. These subjects give students general knowledge in a particular field and a set of skills that allow them to think critically, research, write well, and think outside of the box. When prospective employees possess these skills, employers know they can maturely handle many different business hurdles and challenges. While liberal arts is not within the STEM field, liberal arts graduates can still find employment within the STEM and business sectors.

What Is A Liberal Arts Degree Good For?

While some may argue that a liberal arts degree is broad and undefined, liberal arts graduates are in demand because they know how to manage people, communicate effectively, problem-solve, and manage time and resources well. Business and STEM majors typically earn more after graduation, but research shows that liberal arts graduates typically overtake their earnings over time because of their diverse skill sets.

A contributing editor of Forbes magazine, George Andres, said that employers look for five qualities when hiring new staff – eagerness, problem-solving, analytical skills, social awareness, and communication/persuasive skills. He also acknowledges that liberal arts graduates possess these qualities.

A liberal arts degree also leads to more career options than a technical or professional degree. While medical and law graduates have a clear career path, they cannot easily change course. A degree in liberal arts allows graduates to find a career path that suits their interests. If they choose to change careers, they can find another equally profitable and enjoyable job because they already possess many transferable skills.

Many liberal arts colleges offer generous financial aid support, making a degree more accessible to those who struggle with hefty college tuition.


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What Jobs Can You Get With A Liberal Arts Degree?

Liberal arts graduates pursue careers in business, education, government, and healthcare, among others. Due to the diverse skill set, graduates can change careers until they find something they genuinely enjoy. Here are some of the most popular jobs for liberal arts graduates.

Advertising or Marketing Executive

You can get a job in marketing with a liberal arts degree

Communications majors and those with similar liberal arts degrees often choose careers in advertising or marketing. They use their skills to promote products or services through ad campaigns, curated social media posts, website content, and presentations. This position requires practical communication skills, as well as research and presentation expertise. The average salary for an advertising executive or marketing manager is around $135,000.

Content Editor

You can get a job as a content editor with a liberal arts degree

English, communications, and journalism majors often choose careers in journalism, writing, or editing because they have solid literary skills and attention to detail. Writers and editors can work with a single publication or even start their own freelance business. The average salary in this field is about $61,000.

Market Research Analyst

You can become a market research analyst with a liberal arts degree

Market research is a natural career path for liberal arts graduates because this career requires analytical and critical thinking skills. Professionals in this field have excellent numeracy and problem-solving skills, analyzing data to make marketing decisions. Market research analysts typically make about $63,000.

Human Resources Manager

You can get a job in HR with a liberal arts degree

Working in human resource roles requires highly effective communication, which liberal arts majors develop during their time at college. A human resource role focuses on hiring employees, ensuring their wellbeing, and resolving any employee conflicts. Therefore, interpersonal skills are also vital in this role. The average salary is around $61,000.

Social Service Manager/Community Health Worker

You can get a job as a social service manager of community health worker with a liberal arts degree

Many liberal arts graduates join one of the “helping professions,” working with those in need. Social service and community managers work on programs that help vulnerable groups identify their needs and create solutions. Problem solving and communication skills help with these roles because employees must work as a team, building relationships with those in need. The average salary in this field is around $67,000.

Is Getting A Liberal Arts Degree Worth It?

Is a liberal arts degree worth it? It depends on the career you want to pursue. While STEM skills are in demand, they’re constantly changing. Graduates with technical degrees are continually acquiring new skills to keep up with the competitive market. Specialized companies often look to liberal arts majors to help with these new challenges because they possess exceptional critical thinking skills, offering unique insight and ideas.

According to a study by Adecco, more than 90% of executives believe American workers do not have the necessary skills required to fill the employment gap. Over half of these executives believe that workers need more soft skills like communication and critical thinking because these types of skills are difficult to learn on the job.

Liberal arts graduates learn skills that will endure over time. Technological advances cannot replace these skills, making graduates increasingly more employable. Even within the STEM field, scientists hope to make their technology ‘more human,’ and their brands are looking to better communicate with customers.

The future looks bright for liberal arts majors. If you are interested in English or have a passion for history, there isn’t a better time to take the leap and study within the liberal arts field.

Crimson’s expert academic advisors will help you choose a liberal arts university that’s perfect for you and ensure your application stands out from the rest. Learn more about our Admissions Support Program.

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