A philosophy major is one of the classic academic fields. With a rich history and deep subject matter, this type of education might seem too broad and unfocused for some. In fact, you will certainly find detractors who think a philosophy major is an unwise decision.
However, this degree gives you plenty of skills, helping you become a high-quality candidate for many employers. And as you’ll see, there are many jobs for philosophy majors.
Why Major in Philosophy? A Look at the Skills
As a graduate of a philosophy program, you will have many skills that can be transferred to the professional world, but probably the most important is your basic intellectual skills, which include critical thinking, problem solving, and synthesizing ideas. These intellectual skills run through all of your classes, and they can be applied to virtually any industry and any profession.
Internal thinking, however, is not important if you can’t spread your ideas, but philosophy majors also learn excellent communication skills. These communication skills include written and oral communication, which will be developed through class discussions, group studies, long and short papers, and presentations.
If you major in philosophy, you’ll have the ability to organize complex subjects into relatable, understandable systems. Philosophy can involve many different aspects, and the ability to combine these aspects and create a relatable, simple theory is crucial to a philosopher. This skill can help large businesses with complex structures stay organized while maintaining a clear mission and drive.
One of the most directly-applicable skills for philosophy majors is research. Philosophy graduates understand how to find information on a given subject and how to evaluate sources while being able to utilize the information for the benefit of a company or organization.
Highest-Paying Entry Level Jobs for Philosophy Majors
Note on Information Sources
To create this list, we used information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is a section of the United States Department of Labor. We looked at median salary, which is the salary you will see listed at the top. We also looked at the median salary for the top 10% of the careers in philosophy to give an idea of what this career can bring if you are successful and maintain strong work.
We also looked at future expected growth, which is currently listed between 2016 and 2026. The average expected growth across the nation is 7%, so anything below this could be considered a declining career field.
#1 Market Research Analyst
Avg. Salary: $62,560
Typical Education Level: Bachelor’s degree
Monitoring and forecasting sales can be a difficult job, but with the research and analytical skills learned during a bachelor in philosophy, you’ll be well equipped to meet these challenges. This type of career is found all through the national market, serving virtually any industry in any location. Most industries use market analysis, so you can take these skills and experiences virtually everywhere. Marketing research analysts goal is to measure the effectiveness of campaigns and make recommendations for future marketing, and the ones who reach the top 10% of the profession earn over $121,000 a year while enjoying a career that has an expected 23% growth.
Southern New Hampshire University
Avg. Salary: $61,240
Typical Education Level: Bachelor’s degree
You don’t necessarily have to be a world-renowned author to make a living as a writer. While the vast majority (64%) are self-employed, roughly a third are hired by organizations, including companies and non-profits. Writers can include fiction and non-fiction books, or copywriters for advertising or other business purposes. The median salary is healthy, and the top 10% earn over $118,640. It also has a strong expected growth of 8%, keeping it in line with the average for all other occupations.
- Regent University Master of Arts in Journalism
#3 Advertising Sales Agent
Avg. Salary: $50,380
Typical Education Level: High school diploma
Advertising sales agents sell advertising services for their firm or company. Essentially, their job is to explain to potential clients how advertising with a company or group, such as a magazine, website, or radio station, will help the client promote sales. This job only requires a high school diploma, but a philosophy degree will help you work through problems and communicate benefits. The median salary is above $50,000, and the top 10% earn over $115,430 a year. However, growth is expected to decline by 4%.
- Syracuse University Master of Science in Communications / Advertising
Best Jobs in Philosophy
Now let’s look at the best jobs for philosophy majors that have lifelong career potential with high incomes.
Selling Your Skills as a Philosophy Major
So now you know the best jobs that are available for philosophy majors, but how can you actually take the skills you’ve gained and use them to land the job? How can you convince employers that your education was not just a leisurely stroll through books and thought, but a useful training that can actually be used to improve their organization? It start by narrowing down your experience and giving clear examples.
Start by identifying your transferrable skills that you gained during a philosophy major. While most, if not all, of the skills you learned during your studies are transferrable in some way, you’ll likely find that communication and research are the two skills that best apply to professional businesses and organizations. Employers often need people who can clearly and accurately convey company messages and goals, and philosophy majors, who spent hours taking abstract thought and turning it into concrete ideas, can help. Emphasize that because of your bachelor in philosophy you can communicate effectively and provide reliable support for both oral and written company communication.
Research can also be applied to a business, non-profit, or government agency, Many of these organizations need someone who can help them identify potential revenue sources, unfulfilled needs, or opportunities to expand their mission. As a philosophy major, you’ll understand how to find this information and how to ensure the resources are reliable and accurate.
Whenever possible, relate your skills with examples of action, especially examples from “real-world” (for lack of a better term) situations, such as internships or other jobs. While there is value in classroom experience, employers often want to see that your skills have been used in settings that closely reflect their company or organization.
Finding the right education path after your philosophy major can be difficult, but it will largely depend on your goals for the future. Many of the careers we have listed will require more education and training, so you’ll need to consider this requirement before pursuing the career. For example, if you want to be an attorney, you will obviously need to attend law school; if you want to be a school principle, you’ll need a master’s degree in a related field, such as teaching.
However, you can pursue your master’s or even your doctorate in philosophy. There are many excellent philosophy PhD programs. This would be a good education choice if you want to become a professor of philosophy at the college level, which is one of the best jobs for philosophy majors.
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