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Highest Paying Jobs for Philosophy Majors

Best Jobs for Philosophy MajorsA 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. 

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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. 

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  • Southern New Hampshire University 


#2   Writer

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. 

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#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%. 

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Best Jobs in Philosophy

Now let’s look at the best jobs for philosophy majors that have lifelong career potential with high incomes.

 Marketing Manager  Average salary: $127,560

Marketing managers help guide marketing campaigns that are designed to generate interest in a certain product or service. They may be required to plan promotional activities, negotiate contracts, hire advertising creatives, or conduce market research. Near the end of a project, they may evaluate marketing efforts and analyze results while striving to meet the demands of specific clients. The job outlook sits at 10% expected growth, so you can expect a a steady career, while the top 10% in this field command salaries over $208,000.

Required Education: Bachelor’s degree

 Lawyer  Average salary: $118,160

Being a lawyer involves more than courtroom speeches. In fact, most lawyers rarely resemble the roles portrayed in popular media. Instead, lawyers use communication, problem-solving, research, and organization, usually done behind the scenes, to reach the best conclusions for their clients. Lawyers will often have to present facts in written form, which means the ability to write clearly is crucial. Legal matters can be complex, but a philosophy degree helps you navigate the cognitive complexities of the industry. Through dedication and service, the top 10% of the profession can expect a salary over $208,000 and enjoy a steady field with 8% expected growth.

Required Education: Professional degree

 Sales Manager  Average salary: $117,960

By setting goals, providing direction, and developing new staff members, sales managers support the sales of various products and services, and they can be found in virtually any industry that has something to sell. They often have to develop sales plans, assign territories or assignments, coordinate training, and perform many other management-level tasks that help the sales process. Sales managers may travel on occasion, but often stay in the office to perform their work. If you excel in this career and make it into the top 10%, you can expect a salary over $208,000 and a job growth of roughly 7%, which is right along with the national average.

Required Education: Bachelor’s degree

 Political Scientist  Average salary: $114,290

In this career, you will study and communicate the origin and development of political systems, which will include research and analysis. The BLS says that 48% of political scientists work for the federal government, while over a quarter work work for professional, scientific, and technical services. The top 10% in this field enjoy salaries over $160,000, but the career will only experience 3% growth, which is below the national average for all careers. 

Required Education: Master’s degree

 Human Resources Manager  Average salary: $106,910

Large companies and organizations need people who can organize and plan recruiting efforts to bring in the best possible candidates. They also need professionals who can assist with training and ensure that the people who are hired are fully equipped to meet the need of the organization. Human resources and a philosophy major might seem like a strange connection, but the ability to work through issues and communicate to new hires can be essential for this career field. With an expected growth of 9% and the top 10% in the field earning over $193,000, a career in HR could is both stable and well-paying.

Required Education: Bachelor’s degree

 Economist  Average salary: $101,050

While the daily tasks of an economist largely involve mathematics, it’s not uncommon for this career to involve a large dose of humanity and philosophy, making it a great option for someone with a bachelor in philosophy and a penchant for interpreting data. In this career, you will research economic issues, advise businesses, and analyze data using mathematical models. The job outlook is decent, with an expected growth of roughly 6%, and the pay for the top 10% is over $181,000 making it a lucrative career choice once you have the necessary training and experience. 

Required Education: Master’s degree

 School Principal  Average salary: $92,510

The leaders and often the face of schools, principals coordinate curriculums, oversee teaching agendas, and provide leadership for staff. Daily work can include everything from lesson development to budgeting for future semesters, so a master’s degree in a related field is required. However, a philosophy degree is a great educational start to this career, which can bring over $135,770 for the top 10%.

Required Education: Master’s degree

 College Professor  Average salary: $75,430

If you are extremely passionate about philosophy and would love to teach this subject for the rest of your life, a career as a college professor might be right for you. In this career, you’ll teach others seeking philosophy degrees,  which can include planning lessons and developing educational plans. You’ll also have to have a doctorate or at the very least a master’s in the field, and you’ll have to maintain a strong understanding of the discipline to have one of these jobs in philosophy. The top 10% earn over $168,270 a year, and demand for postsecondary teachers is expected to grow by 15%, although this is for all college teachers, not just those in a philosophy career. You can even work online

Required Education: Doctorate in chosen field

 Psychologist  Average salary: $75,230

Psychologists study and interpret the processes of the human mind, and few degrees, outside of psychology itself, prepare a student for the complexities and details of this field like a philosophy major. Although philosophy looks outward, while psychology looks inward, the degree will give you base skills to move into this career.  Psychologists will conduct studies, make observations, research behavior, and test patterns that help them understand the human mind. They may also work one-on-one with subjects to help improve mental health. A doctorate in psychology will be required. The top 10% in this field have a salary over $121,000 and enjoy a profession with 11% expected growth. 

Required Education: Doctorate

 Arbitrator  Average salary: $59,770

By facilitating dialogue among parties, arbitrators help resolve conflicts outside of the courtroom. They may be called upon to clarify issues or concerns, or conduct initial meetings to establish the disputes, which requires excellent communication and thoughtfulness. Communication is essential in this career, as you will have to talk with people on both sides, interview witnesses or experts, and obtain information about the issues being disputed. If you work your way into the top 10% of this field, you can expect to earn over $123,000 a year while enjoying a career with an expected 10% growth.

Required Education: Bachelor’s degree

 High School Teacher  Average salary: $58,030

High school teachers are an important part of our society as a whole as well as a person’s life. They teach academic lessons and many of the philosophy skills, including communication and research, can be applied to the field of teaching. You’ll need a teaching license and training in teaching, but the top 10% in this field stand to earn over $92,000 a year. The job outlook, which stands at 8%, is also consistent with national averages.

Required Education: Bachelor’s degree

 Editor  Average salary: $57,210

You will likely do a lot of writing as a philosophy major, which makes you a prime candidate for a career as an editor. In this job, you will plan, review, and revise written content, which can come from numerous sources, including professional authors, companies, and government agencies. Tasks may also include the development of story and content ideas, or the general guidance of creating articles and other written content, so editor’s jobs are involved in both the front and the backend of the articles. The overall career is expected to have a 1% drop in available jobs, but the top 10% in the field can earn over $110,000 a year. 

Required Education: Bachelor’s degree

 Historian  Average salary: $55,110

Working as a historian doesn’t necessarily mean working as a teacher. In fact, many historians work for museums, historical societies, and research organizations. Depending on the type of employer, the work can include gathering historical information, interpreting historical sources, tracing historical events, and communicating historical subjects to the public, which could make it one of the ideal jobs in philosophy. The top 10% in this career earn over $102,000 and the expected job growth is 6%, giving the career a level of stability.

Required Education: Master’s degree

 School & Career Counselor  Average salary: $54,560

Counselors work with individuals to identify skills and help them determine which career path would be most suited to their interests and abilities. Counselors may help guide someone to a career or to the right education, but they will always focus on advancing the success of the people who come to their office. With a strong median pay and an expected job growth of 13%, this is a great option for many philosophy majors. If you are in the top 10%, you can expect a career salary over $90,000.

Required Education: Master’s degree


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. 

Continuing Education

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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