What Can I Do With A Liberal Arts Degree?

"I am a liberal arts major because I truly love the courses that are covered under this umbrella. My mother was not very happy with my decision because she thinks that I am going to have a difficult time looking for a job when I will finally get what she called as a “very general degree.” My best friends in high school have gone on take up courses in accounting, engineering and nursing and now I’m beginning to fear that my mom may be right. Can you please enlighten me on this and tell me what I can do with a liberal arts degree?"

asked by Debbie H. from Troy, Michigan

Contrary to what many people think, there are actually many entry-level jobs that accept graduates with degrees in liberal arts. Most employers are fine with just a bachelor’s degree and are more interested in an applicant’s skills and talent than his college major so your ability to communicate your ideas and your skill in thinking objectively and critically are going to count more than the fact that you took up liberal studies.

Focusing on a specific career path, tailoring your resume to fit a certain job description and actually convincing employers that you have what it takes to work for them are going to be the real challenges. Liberal arts graduates have to take time to decide the kind of career they want to embark on after college and then customize their resume so that it highlights their strengths and experience in that particular field.

The general nature of liberal arts studies is actually good news as it gives you the flexibility to choose the industry you want to work in. You can find work in the field of education, government, media, real estate, business and management.

The most obvious career path to take when you have a liberal arts degree is to become a teacher. You can teach preschool, elementary, middle school and high school students in both public and private schools. If you want to work in public schools, you’ll need to get a teaching certification or license. By taking up postgraduate degrees, such as master’s and doctoral degrees, you can teach in colleges and universities, too.

With a liberal arts degree, you can also work in government. The federal government, state and local governments hire clerks, building inspectors, social service managers and other office positions. Law enforcement agencies typically require only a bachelor’s degree (some would even accept only high school graduates) for their entry-level positions as well.

If you have excellent oral and written communication skills then you can consider a career in media. You can write for newspapers or magazines or work as a news reporter or commentator. If you want to focus on written publications, a background as writer for your university publication would be advantageous. Good diction, excellent voice projection and a good register on screen are important if you prefer to work on television.

A liberal arts degree can also qualify you to work in as a real estate agent and sales agent for various companies. With good work and exceptional performance, you can get promoted to managerial positions in the company with just your liberal arts degree.

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