What Can You Do With A Liberal Arts Degree?

The world of liberal arts is quite large, encompassing everything from different forms of art to gender studies and psychology to zoology and even the field of mathematics. There are literally hundreds of thousands of career opportunities for liberal arts majors in this world, and colleges and universities around the world are ready to prepare you with a degree to go out and reach your goals, to help you reach for those twinkling stars of success.

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Branches of Liberal Arts

There are three rather heavy branches of liberal arts that each contain multiple areas of study. Those branches and just a few of their various subjects that many schools offer can be found below.

Humanities – study of human culture; includes the history and applications of the following: art (sculpting, painting, drawing, etc.), literature (classic and modern day, foreign and domestic authors), music, foreign language, and philosophy (reason, values, knowledge, etc.)

Social sciences – the study of human relationships in society and how individuals relate to society; includes history, geography, psychology, economics, political science, etc.

Natural sciences – study of biological and physical sciences; includes mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, etc.

How to Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts

If you have your heart set on a particular branch of the liberal arts, then it’s time to choose a school which will best suit your academic needs. When picking a higher learning facility, there are a few things in particular that you should consider: location, student-teacher ratio, demographics, and the acceptance rate of each school. Acceptance into a higher learning facility nearly always requires a high school diploma or GED equivalent, and the best time to start looking is early in your senior year of high school. Many colleges and universities require your application to be submitted before January 1, of the year you plan to attend. Just a few schools are listed here to get you started on your search of the liberal arts college that is perfect for you.

Ranked number 1 for best liberal arts college by U.S. News is Williams College, located in Williamstown, MA. Founded in 1793, originally an all-men’s institution until 1970, this private college is one of the oldest in the United States and currently has a student population of 48% male and 52% female. Within a quaint rural environment, its student-faculty ratio is 7:1, granting students the opportunity for a more personal study experience with their instructors to get the most out of their education.

Fun fact: The tradition of wearing caps and gowns during the graduation ceremony first began at Williams College.

Swarthmore College is another of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges. Just 11 miles from Philadelphia, PA, this suburban college’s student-faculty ratio is 8:1 and boasts having a whopping 100 clubs and organizations that students of all ages can join to enhance their college experience. Swarthmore College also possesses a highly regarded honors program in addition to plenty of research opportunities for undergraduate liberal arts students.

Located in Claremont, CA, Pomona College is another one of the best private liberal arts colleges in the United States. The school was founded in 1887 and, like Swarthmore College, offers an 8:1 student-faculty ratio. With fantastic educational opportunities in all three branches of liberal arts, Pomona College offers resources as grand as its two-million-volume library and expert professors in every field. It also has research opportunities, hands-on laboratory courses for those who are interested in the natural sciences, and internships related to all fields of study.

Careers in the Liberal Arts

Have you recently found yourself thinking, “What can I do with my liberal arts degree?” With three broad branches of study, the number of career options in the field of liberal arts is endless. A bachelors degree in any of the liberal arts is well worth the average 4 years of higher education you will put in to earn it. Whether you stay close to home or branch out to the unknown, a career achieved with a liberal arts degree will no doubt take you far in life.

Humanities Careers

There are plenty of career paths you can choose from in the humanities branch of liberal arts. Just some ideas are presented below with their respective salaries.

Librarian

If you are particular about keeping collections organized, enjoy helping others find what they’re looking for in terms of research, and go weak in the knees at the scent of old book pages, becoming a librarian may be an ideal career path for you. Librarians are responsible for a number of tasks including the basic duty of notifying borrowers when their books become overdue and the task of supervising financial happenings such as the planning of budgets and events. They also can have a say in the architectural layout of soon-to-be constructed libraries. Librarians are needed in schools from the elementary level to colleges and universities, law firms and government agencies, public libraries, and more.

Librarians can make around $42,000 a year.

High School Teacher

If you are interested in helping kids build their educational knowledge while having fun interacting with them, then perhaps you will enjoy being a high school teacher. It is important to keep learning fun from elementary through high school in order to hold the interest of your students, so a personable spirit is highly valued for educators of all levels. With the increase of technology use in schools, many teachers are now posting grades online for students and their guardians alike to access, so it is also important that teachers be familiar with navigating the internet for this purpose as well as possessing the ability to assist with student research projects and find reference materials for lesson plans. High school teachers teach about 6 classes a day, many on the same materials but at different learning paces, so it is crucial that these teachers have a generous amount of patience and the ability to adapt their teaching methods to the three main styles in which students learn–visually, verbally, and kinesthetically, or hands-on.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median high school teacher salary of 2012 was approximately $55,000.

Intelligence Specialist

Intelligence specialists often work for the U.S. Navy or U.S. Military. They are responsible for breaking down large, complicated amounts of data into smaller, more easily-defined material. They often create charts and graphs to make findings easier to understand in presentations and reports for military leaders. Intelligence specialists need to have impeccable oral and written communication skills for this reason. In order to put together these reports, intelligence specialists are permitted to use intelligence libraries, files, and databases.

Once you become a skilled, fairly experienced intelligence specialist, you can expect to make around $80,000 annually.

Social Sciences

From the study of rocks to the study of the human mind, the social sciences branch of liberal arts has many career options to offer.

Clinical Psychologist

Psychologists should be attentive and good listeners with a bachelors degree in psychology. Their main job is to focus on helping their emotionally and mentally stressed patients find constructive and safe ways of coping with their stressors, or the specific sources of their stress. Psychologists often have their own practices or work in schools, hospitals, and other institutions. Some psychologists even work in the physical therapy field to help people who are suffering from physical pain.

It is possible for a clinical psychologist to start out making $38,000 a year with the option of salary increases as his or her experience expands. A common salary among clinical psychologists is around $67,000 a year. (A doctoral degree is preferred.)

Cartographer

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A cartographer is responsible for designing maps, and these maps can be found in textbooks of all subjects, on business websites to show visitors directions or various business locations over a wide geographical base, in brochures for parks and historical tours, or even as posters to display in classrooms. They are responsible for obtaining and translating the data in order to create these maps, as well.

Cartographers can earn around  $41,000 to $65,000 based on experience level.

Natural Sciences

From mathematics to physics, the natural sciences provide very detail-specific and highly valued career paths.

Botanist

Botany is a branch of biology. More specifically, it is the study of plants. Botanists can have a variety of responsibilities. This field of work requires much attention to detail and excellent research abilities. Botanists can perform assessments of environmental impacts on plant life and study the effects environmental developments and pollution have on plants in specific areas. Many botanists also perform tasks like identifying and recording new plant species as well as monitoring those recently discovered for growth patterns and other characteristics.

Botanists can make from $40,000 to over $70,000 annually.

Physics Lab Technician

Physics lab technicians assist experienced physics professors in the setup and take-down process of prepping college laboratory course experiments. They typically possess good coordination and organization skills in order for accurate arranging and replacing of supplies and materials. They are also fast learners and able to follow instructions well.

Physics lab technicians can make around $35,000 a year.

Companies that Hire People with Liberal Arts Degrees

Now that you know how big the world of liberal arts is, you’re aware that there are tons of jobs out there for people with specific degrees. Pick a degree and a career focus, and mold your higher education to fit your desires. Are you thinking, “Where can I work with a degree in liberal arts?” The answer can depend on the specific liberal arts degree you chose, like physics or art history. A few companies who just might want what you have to offer can be found below.

American Museum of Natural History – founded in 1869 and located in New York, NY; hires positions in anthropology, scientific assistants, development coordinator, etc.

NRA Group, LLC – (National Recovery Agency) headquarters in Harrisburg, PA; debt collections agency

Steps to Progress, LLC – based in Houston, TX; offers applied behavior analysis and physical assistance to children with autism; looks for individuals with clear background check and bachelors degree in psychology

Strayer University – located in Orlando, FL; hires faculty positions for wide array of liberal arts studies

Atlas America, Inc. – (Atlas Energy) located in Pittsburgh, PA; oil and natural gas extraction company; hires individuals with geography, cartography, geology degrees and more

UnitedHealth Group – based in Minnetonka, MN; healthcare company; hires individuals with education in psychology, business management, communications, law, etc.

For more specific degrees in liberal arts, please feel free to further explore our website. There are many more school and company listings on each page.

Author: Rose Boettinger

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