The human rights and feminist movements of the 60s questioned the patriarchal structures of our society and spurred a fundamental questioning of our overall understanding of gender, women, men, sexuality, and queerness. Gender studies, simply put, is the study of what society projects as “masculine” and “feminine” and every type of gender identity in between. The knowledge of gender studies is relevant in every field from psychology to art history, making it a broad profession for individuals with a broad perspective. Earning an online gender studies degree won’t prepare you for any single career. It will, however, prepare you to work in almost any career that involves working in social advocacy. Graduates of gender studies degree programs have gone to work in a variety of fields, such as social work, counseling, publishing, arts, education, library science, psychology, law, public health, and public policy. Whether you’re interested in complementing your existing career with a deeper understanding of gender and sexuality, there’s guaranteed to be a path for you.
THE CAREER PATH
Professionals can advance their career in psychology, social work, education, and more by expanding their knowledge through a gender studies program. Likewise, experts in gender studies have the skills to find a job in whatever field they are most interested in—from healthcare to customer service. Some common occupations for individuals with a degree in gender studies:
- Elementary School Teachers often work with students to teach a variety of concepts. They may use a broad collection of techniques and approaches to relay information. Teachers are usually required to have at least a bachelor’s degree, in addition to a state-issued certificate or license. They make nearly $60,000 and expect reasonable job security so long as children must be taught.
- Lawyers may work on behalf of individuals, organizations, corporations, and even governments to deal with legal matters and issues. Becoming a lawyer requires an additional three years of law school after undergraduate. Almost all states require lawyers to graduate from a program accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). The extra years of schooling pay off to nearly $120,000 on average, and the growing demand for lawyers is expected to be in line with the national average in the coming years.
- Postsecondary Teachers work in higher education, helping developing professionals to hone their skills and knowledge in a particular field. Postsecondary teachers may be known as professors and are usually required to have a doctoral degree, although a master’s may suffice for some positions in community colleges. On average, professors make more than $75,000 each year. As more professionals seek higher education to advance their careers and knowledge, the demand for postsecondary teachers is expected to increase by 15% by 2026.
- Managers can be found in every industry, spanning across entertainment, retail, community service, and so much more. Professionals in management positions are typically responsible for planning, coordinating, and directing the activities and operations of specific departments or entire organizations. Most management positions require a bachelor’s degree and a rich background of work experience. The years of experience lead to more than $100,000 each year for the average professional, and job growth is maintained by the growth of other jobs across the nation.
WHO IS THE IDEAL CANDIDATE?
One of the great things about a degree in gender studies is that it can be applied to practically any career that suits a professional’s specific interests, strengths, and goals. Successful professionals across every career path tend to be critical-thinkers that can problem solve in a variety of situations. Regardless of the path they choose, professionals in gender studies commonly excel in writing, speaking, and other forms of communication. If you’re interested in putting your research skills to use learning about the history and theories of genders and shaping the career of your dreams, then an education in gender studies may be for you.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR?
Since graduates of women’s studies program enter a variety of careers, the level of education you need depends on the specific job you intend to seek. Online doctorates in Women’s Studies are available. Online PhD programs in this area prepare students for work in teaching, counseling, and research, as well as careers in the nonprofit and public policy arena. A focus on diversity studies can prepare one for a career in public policy or a career in corporate and human resources compliance issues.
Expect a gender and women’s studies degree online to include a hodge-podge of courses. This major often includes courses in the psychology of women, sociology of women, reproductive health, psychology of the family, women’s literature, and history of feminism and women’s rights. Gay and lesbian as well as transgendered studies are often included as well. Generally, you should have strong writing and oral presentation skills as well as a solid critical thinking acumen if you choose to go into this field of study.
Online degree programs cost tens of thousands of dollars. Consider your end goal before choosing a program to ensure you’ll come away with the experience you need. Programs with networking opportunities, internships, and professional preparation are the best bet to get the biggest bang for your buck.