When it comes to the modern era of industry, there seems to be a lot of debate about whether the liberal arts are useful for college graduates. The truth is that the liberal arts refer to anything that falls outside of the category of professional, technical, or vocational curriculum. That means that the liberal arts can prepare developing professionals with the skills that they need to succeed in practically any arena by covering a mixture of subjects in literature, philosophy, math, and the sciences. Professionals that choose to get an education in the liberal arts may choose to focus their career on specializations in particular subjects like anthropology, foreign languages, writing, political science, or a form of the arts. Regardless of what direction they choose, professionals in the liberal arts have the opportunity to allow their curiosity to shape the perfect direction for their interests, passion, and goals sharpening skills in critical thinking, reasoning, analysis, writing, and communication.
THE CAREER PATH
Careers in the liberal arts come with the opportunity to explore a multitude of different subjects and find the ways that they connect to and strengthen one another. It doesn’t have to be difficult to get started in a career, and professionals can enter the field directly out of high school or make the choice to get a higher education and gain more competitive skills. One of the greatest aspects of careers in the liberal arts is that they can be uniquely tailored to create dramatically different paths for each professional. Individuals can find the perfect career that fits their exact passion, whether it is in the field of writing, the humanities, or anything in between.
Professionals may decide to apply their skills in a different industry after establishing a career, or they may decide to stick it out until they can reach management in their company. Programs in the liberal studies can help professionals to prepare for a variety of options. The United States Department of Labor gives an overview of a few of the many types of jobs that are available through the liberal arts:
- Writers & Authors – Most people have an idea of what it means to be an author: drinking tea by a fireplace, clicking away on a typewriter. For professionals in the liberal arts, with a passion for writing and communicating, that dream may become a reality. According to the BLS, writers can start their career with a bachelor’s degree in a field that prepares them for the skills and dedication needed in the writing field. The average writer makes an annual salary of more than $60,000 and can count on decent job security since humans will always rely on writing to pass along information in one form or another.
- Intelligence Analysts – If you’ve ever seen one of those movies where the cops have to bring someone in to track down a cybercriminal using some crazy coding technology, then you have a pretty decent idea of what it means to be an intelligence analyst. Competitive professionals will qualify for positions with a bachelor’s degree and other relevant certifications. Job growth for intelligence analysts is expected to be around the national average, at 5% by 2026. The average professional makes nearly $80,000 each year.
- Paralegals & Legal Assistants – Professionals with a passion for justice may find that liberal studies is the perfect route to that career in law that they’ve always dreamed of. Paralegal positions are typically open to professionals with at least a bachelor’s degree and a certification in Paralegal Studies that’s been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Paralegals make around $50,000 annually on average but are expected to see significant job growth of 15% in the next decade.
- Museum Technicians – This career option is for professionals that are passionate about preserving history and are excited about the idea of potentially seeing dinosaur skeletons and dead presidents come to life during the night. Museum technicians can typically start their career with a bachelor’s degree and can expect to make around $40,000 annually on average. Job growth for museum technicians is expected to occur at a rate of 12% in the coming decade, making this the perfect time for potential professionals to start their career.
WHO IS THE IDEAL CANDIDATE?
Careers in the liberal arts are for many different types of professionals with a variety of different passions and strength. More often than not, professionals in the diverse fields of the liberal arts are the types of individuals that have strong communication and interpersonal skills that allow them to form relationships and work with people from different backgrounds and skillsets. For jobs in art and design—such as architecture, musical performance, or graphic design—successful professionals will need to come into the field with a level of talent, dedication, and technical capability. For jobs that are more academic—like in journalism and anthropology—professionals should be dedicated to reading and researching, prepared to learn and present as much as possible on their subject of choice. Regardless of the direction that is chosen, every professional in the liberal arts should feel their self-investment in the career of their choosing and should be dedicated enough to problem-solve and put in the work that it takes to learn the skills they need to succeed.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR?
Fortunately for developing professionals, there are many different paths to careers in the liberal arts. It is possible to get started in a career straight out of high school or to make the switch from a different field without excessive training. It’s also possible to obtain higher education for some more competitive positions and work to advance your career beyond entry-level positions. Some employers even offer promotions and pay incentives for professionals who choose to hone their skills and qualifications through higher education. Professionals that are considering careers in the liberal arts will want to do thorough research on jobs that are related to their specific goals and interests.
The average cost of an online liberal arts degree varies. Expect to pay between $30,000 and $50,000 for a bachelor's degree, on average. Many programs may have additional costs for school supplies, certification exams, and more. It’s critical for professionals to look into programs that meet your goals and needs by offering internships, specialized courses, and other exceptional opportunities.