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Liberal Arts Degrees: Can They Still Get You a Job?

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The editors at Best Liberal Arts Colleges decided to research the topic of:

Liberal Arts Degrees: Can They Still Get You a Job?

- Liberal Arts degree, for a recent college grad, unemployment rate: 9.4 percent
- Lower rate than Architecture (13.9 percent)
- Higher than Law and Public Policy (8.1 percent)
- Only about 20% of Liberal Arts grads are concentrated in any single industry
- In contrast, over 75% of people who major in Education get a job in the Education industry
- Source
- "Student debt is now at the $1 trillion mark with graduates of four-year institutions facing an average of $25,000 in debt." Tom Snyder, the President of Ivy Tech Community College, on debt being a reason not to pursue a degree in liberal arts.

Most Common Professions for Liberal Arts Grads

- Anthropology: archaeologist, museum curator
- Communications: newspaper reporter, advertising and marketing executive
- English: writer, editor
- History: archivist, historian
- Languages and linguistics: foreign service officer, interpreter
- Sociology: market researcher, jury consultant

But, There is Hope

- 6.1% Unemployment rate for an experienced college grad
- 3.9% unemployment rate for a master's degree holder
- ACS 2009-2010, pooled sample. Recent college graduates are 22-26 years of age, experienced workers are 30-54 years of age. Graduate degree holders are limited to 30-54 years of age. Percent unemployed are computed based on total employed and unemployed. Earnings based on full-time, full-year workers.
- Avg income for recent college grad: $30,000
- Avg income for experienced college grad: $50,000
- Avg income for master's degree holder: $66,000
- Vivek Ranadive, the man who digitized Wall Street with real-time technology in the 80s, "If anything, I think we should make the liberal arts education more rigorous. If you teach students one trade, that skill might be obsolete in a few years. But if you teach people how to think and look at lots of information and connect dots - all skills that a classic liberal education gives you - you will thrive."

4 ways things Liberal Arts students can do to ease the job search

- 1. Know your strengths
- having strong control of the English language, written or verbal, is a huge asset.
- 2. Supplement your courses
- Find an internship for real world experience and a foot in the door
- Take a couple classes beyond the standard requirements in more specialized fields.
- 3. Showcase your skills
- Prove it with examples.
- 4. Expand your job search
- Their broad education can give them unique perspectives in problem solving and critical thinking.
- "[I see] political science majors being offered positions in consulting firms; English majors landing positions with market research firms; history majors going with investment banks" - Kathleen Powell, director of career exploration and development at Denison University in Ohio

Benefits of a Liberal Arts Degree

- Learn skills that benefit almost any profession
- Writing and strong interpersonal communication
- Cross-cultural Training
- Foreign Languages. Bonjour!
- Research Skills
- Key for careers in journalism and law. Not to mention graduate schools look for applicants who excel in this area.
- Adaptability
- Grads can critically evaluate situations and information, forming new conclusions.
- Sources