According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the top two skills most employers seek in college graduates and other new hires are problem-solving skills and an ability to work within a team. Companies also place high value on attributes such as leadership, written communication skills, and a strong work ethic — all hallmarks of a liberal arts education.
NACE's report indicates a demand for graduates with the skills taught in liberal arts degrees. Some studies suggest liberal arts students may need to participate more actively in internships or take specialized courses in order to compete with individuals in fields like finance or marketing. However, the recognition of liberal arts sensibilities and strengths by employers often results in long-term success.
Earning a liberal arts degree online allows students to obtain a higher education and gain a widely applicable skill set. The online format also permits students flexibility in their schedules, convenience of access, and affordable tuition rates.
Many online liberal arts programs offer a selection of course schedules and learning formats, including accelerated courses, cohort learning, self-paced courses, and full- or part-time options. With an internet connection and a computer, students can access course materials and lectures at any time from anywhere. Such accessibility lends itself to working professionals or individuals with family obligations who want to pursue a bachelor's degree.
In addition, online programs tend to be more affordable than their traditional face-to-face counterparts. Online students do not need to consider commuting costs, on-campus rent, or meal plan expenses. Many programs also offer tuition discounts to out-of-state students or charge the same rates for both resident and nonresident students.
A bachelor's degree in liberal arts apply to a variety of industries and occupations. Organizations rely on individuals with strong liberal arts sensibilities to craft branding strategies, oversee workforce productivity and training, and/or communicate with partner organizations and businesses. A general liberal arts degree also acts as a solid foundation for graduate studies in any liberal arts discipline, such as English literature, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, psychology, history, or linguistics.
Liberal arts degrees typically develop a students' critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills — traits that prove crucial to many professions.
Courses in a liberal arts degree typically train students to synthesize existing materials into compelling new arguments, deconstruct assumptions and question everyday norms, and develop logical progression of thought through writing. These skills might translate into a career in government or advocacy in the form of writing op-eds, drafting constituent response letters, or considering the implications of policy in practice before implementation. They may also translate to the business sector in the form of creating content for a brand's website, curating a positive social media presence, or liaising with business partners.
Students in liberal arts programs may also develop more specific skills if they choose a concentration within the degree, such as foreign language and translation, longform or strategic writing, or public speaking. These can translate to specific job functions; businesses might require interviews, success stories, or case studies as content for their blog, and educational institutions often need translation work for English as a second language students.
While associate degrees provide a foundation for these skills, bachelor's degrees allow students to pursue mastery. In addition, many positions specifically require a bachelor's degree as an indication of the candidate's ability to apply these skills to certain functions.
Industries employing bachelor's in liberal arts graduates include education, financial services, healthcare, software development, and human resources. Within these industries, an array of positions exist, such as editor, content strategist, marketing analyst, and public relations specialist.
Education: The education industry includes universities, public K-12 schools, private schools, and other organizations or institutions that provide educational services. These institutions employ graduates of liberal arts degrees in positions of administration, teaching, communications, and more.
Financial Services: The financial services industry encompasses organizations that manage money, such as banks, insurance companies, and stock brokerages. Liberal arts majors might transition into a job as a financial consultant, client services specialist, or content strategist.
Healthcare: The healthcare industry provides care and treatment to patients who have illnesses, injuries, or chronic conditions. Organizations within this industry often require technical writers, translators/interpreters, database administrators, and human resource specialists.
Software Development: The software industry includes businesses that develop and maintain software. Individuals with liberal arts degrees can work in positions such as marketing strategists, content writers, and client services.
Human Resources: The human resources sector oversees recruitment and training of employees and deals with other workforce concerns. Human resources departments employ managers and specialists, among other roles.
Listed below are five potential careers for graduates with a bachelor's in liberal arts.
Annual Median Salary: $40,910
Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts provide the public with up-to-date information on current events at the local, national, and international levels. Their day-to-day tasks may include researching various stories or topics, pitching new story ideas to editors, interviewing sources for an article or broadcast segment, writing news articles or scripts for broadcast news segments, and updating stories as information becomes available.
Annual Median Salary: $110,120
Human resources managers oversee the recruitment and training of new staff, employee-staff relations, compensation and benefits issues, and other internal disputes. They act primarily as a mediator between higher-level executives and their employees. They also advise and consult on other workforce issues, such as equal employment opportunity or sexual harassment.
Annual Median Salary: $59,300
Public relations specialists develop, implement, and maintain a positive public image of the company or organization they represent. They typically write press releases, create media kits, respond to inquiries, plan and organize interviews with the organization's founders or top executives, ensure advertising campaigns align with desired public image, and monitor public opinion of the organization through social media analysis and evaluation.
Annual Median Salary: $64,100
Social and community service managers direct and oversee programs that provide social services to the local community. They conduct administrative tasks for these programs to meet organizational or stakeholder objectives, coordinate and implement outreach activities, evaluate program efficacy through data analysis, and write proposals requesting funding for program services.
Annual Median Salary: $61,820
Writers and authors create content and engage in storytelling in various types of media, including books, magazines, movies, advertisements, training manuals, textbooks, and blogs. They conduct research on relevant topics to garner facts and details, draft first copies for internal editor review and feedback, and work with editors to revise materials for publication.
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