Have you been thinking about pursuing a degree in liberal arts? Are you completely unsure as to whether completing this type of degree program will even help you to work towards your ultimate educational and career goals? Do you have a long term educational and career path plotted out in your mind and when you think about it, it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the field of liberal arts? Actually, that is perfectly fine and that educational path suits many students as appropriately as any other degree program.
By completing a degree in liberal arts you will have a great educational foundation that will likely make it easy for you to transition into a graduate level degree program in practically any field of study. In fact, the coursework that you will be required to complete for an undergraduate degree in the field of liberal arts can be largely flexible and you can often personalize your degree program to fit your later educational plans. Keep in mind, the majority of your coursework will be in the areas of humanities, social sciences, and the arts. You will likely be able to select an appropriate mix of these types of courses so that you will be prepared to continue your education.
Although an undergraduate degree in liberal arts does not only pertain to individuals who intend to also complete a graduate level degree, this is probably the most common path for students. For instance, students who wish to work in the field of non-profit organizations, students who wish to enter law school, or students who are interested in a career related to politics will all benefit from a bachelor's level degree in liberal arts. Many students who complete a bachelor's level degree will go on to work in positions such as fundraisers, museum educators, writers, social workers, journalists, office managers, or researchers for one particular subject area. In our technologically advanced society it is perfectly common for many individuals to pursue an undergraduate or graduate level degree program in liberal arts through an online learning format. While this type of instructional environment may not suit every type of learner, it does make it possible for students to maintain their previous life obligations while also completing their education. In addition, many learning institutions offer hybrid type degree programs that will allow students to complete some portions of their course requirements via an online format and some portions in a campus based classroom environment.
The curriculum you’ll take at most colleges is intended to cover areas of business, social services and courses for entry level work in those fields. We recommend earning your Bachelor’s degree or higher as it gives you more options when it comes time to finding employment.
Intro to Public Speaking – Learn to demonstrate a high level of communications skills across multiple disciplines. Most jobs you’ll find with a liberal arts career will require you to have public speaking roles. Colleges courses cover communications as well as organizational behavioral classes which will help you feel more comfortable speaking in front of large groups.
Humanities Courses – Learn critical thinking skills, verbal communication and problem solving skills. You’ll learn the study of how people process the human experience. Often these courses include those in religion, history and other languages and cultures. Other courses include those in literature, poetry, story writing, drama, music and western philosophy and ethics.
Business – Part of a liberal arts degree involves taking courses business administration, media studies, economics and sociology. Since it is a well-rounded degree program usually you’ll only need a few business related courses.
What Makes a Good Liberal Arts College
Affordability – One of the great things you’ll find when researching Liberal Arts colleges is that almost every four year college offers a liberal arts program. They are very common and since most of them are structured similar you can really do your shopping to find a school that is the most affordable. Credits usually run between $325 and $500 per credit hour for most programs. It is important that you earn your degree from an accredited college to allow you to transfer those credits to another college later if you decide to pursue a more advanced degree.
Online Flexibility – Online options are always great for those who can’t attend a traditional college campus. You can take your programs typically 100% online and sometimes even graduate early since the programs are self-paced, allowing you to speed up the time it typically takes to complete the program. Also don’t worry about the quality of the education as they are also structured the same as normal campus programs and sometimes are even taught by the same instructors.
Liberal Arts Certificate Training – Usually a 6 to 12 month program that introduces you to some of the liberal arts programs you’ll be taking. You’ll need a more advanced degree to quality for many of the careers available. The costs of certificate programs range from $1000 to $3500. Often the credits you earn will transfer to a degree level at the same college you were awarded the certificate.
Liberal Arts Associate’s Degree – You’ll cover courses in world history as well as music appreciation and start to dive into more specialized courses. During your studies, which usually take 2 years, you’ll start to focus on a particular subject matter where you can decide to major in that area when you continue on in school. Your AA degree is 60 credit hours in length.
Bachelor’s Degree – These days your degree can be completed 100% online. The degree is 120 credit hours (usually 4 years for a full-time student). You’ll be able to transfer in 60 credit hours into your Bachelor’s program from other colleges or from the Associate’s degree you already completed.
Master’s Degrees –Outside of the PHD this is the highest level that most need to take to qualify for the majority of the jobs available. With this degree most look into working for art companies as well as museums and many end up teaching for colleges and universities.
Careers in Liberal Arts
Art History– Like any historian an art history major typically deals in a single subject matter and often the end goal is for them to become a teacher. If you are skilled in art perhaps you’ll be a hands-on teacher actually teaching some form of art while others teach in high school or college in general subject matters.
International Relations – Dealing with other counties and their cultures can be difficult for many companies and that is why they end up hiring Liberal Arts majors. Not only do they understand their customs better but often they are bilingual and perhaps even lived oversees.
Military Historian – You’ll study history during your Liberal Arts training and military history is a big topic. Many decide to not only become military historians but teach history after graduation. With your Master’s degree you can teach at the college level. Many historians also work for museums.
Human Resources/Public Relations – Due to be so well-rounded in terms of courses you took in college you’ll be able to apply for many of the public relations positions you see. Often these roles are in advertising, journalism and communications. Presentation skills are typically desired and many PR specialists earn between $35,000-$70,000 per year.
Economists – Many find employment in the nonprofit sector of finance, especially in accounting or analysts roles. Although the higher level salaries over $125,000 are typically attainable by those earning their Master’s degree in Liberal Arts, many of the $40,000-$75,000 position jobs can be obtained with just your Bachelor’s degree.
Writer – If you love to write then earning your Associate’s degree in liberal arts is a good choice. It is not necessary to earn a higher degree as your skills as a writer is really what is going to make you successful, not a degree. Many choose to write children’s books where others want to work for a corporation as a technical writer.