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Career Information for a Degree in Cultural Studies

Cultural studies is generally a degree program that prepares students to work with people from diverse backgrounds. Continue reading for an overview of the program, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

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A degree in cultural studies can provide a strong educational foundation for professionals who are cultural studies instructors, community outreach managers, or adult literacy, remedial education and GED teachers.

Essential Information

Cultural studies majors develop an understanding of the nature of culture and how it affects every aspect of people's lives. Graduates may seek employment after receiving a bachelor's degree or go on to graduate study.

Career Cultural Studies Instructors Community Outreach Managers Adult Literacy, Remedial Education and GED Teachers
Education Requirements At least a master's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 15% for area, ethnic and cultural studies postsecondary teachers 10% for all social and community service managers 7%
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $72,300 $63,530 for all social and community service managers $50,280

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Careers Options

With a degree in cultural studies, one might be ready to work as an adult or remedial education teacher, cultural studies teacher or community outreach worker.

Cultural Studies Instructors

Cultural studies teachers research and lecture about cultural practices, religion, language and history. They approach everyday culture with academic insight, seeking to understand culture and the multidisciplinary influences that shape it.

Cultural studies teachers focus primarily on issues such as race relations, gender studies and cross-cultural perspectives, conveying information through lectures, learning materials and assignments. Many cultural studies teachers work at the postsecondary level. For positions at community or technical colleges or for part-time university employment, a master's degree is generally required. Full-time employment at 4-year universities is usually granted to individuals with doctoral degrees.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in general, the job market for postsecondary teachers should be good in the 2014-2024 period; the BLS projected a 15% increase in employment for all teachers at that level. Teachers in the discipline of area, ethnic and cultural studies earned a median annual salary of $72,300 in 2015, according to the BLS's data.

Community Outreach Managers

Community outreach managers work for nonprofit, civic engagement or advocacy organizations, managing outreach efforts such as youth intervention programs, skill-building workshops or environmental awareness campaigns. They must have sound financial knowledge in order to manage the program budget and should be comfortable directing the work of others.

Many nonprofit organizations deal with members of disadvantaged and minority populations, often in urban areas. This makes the communications and cultural awareness skills learned in cultural studies programs good preparation for outreach work.

According to the BLS, job growth for all social and community service managers was expected to be 10% from 2014-2024, faster than the average for all occupations. All social and community service managers made a median annual salary of $63,530 in 2015, as indicated by the BLS.

Adult Literacy, Remedial Education and GED Teachers

Adult literacy and remedial education teachers instruct students in basic education, self-improvement courses and occupational training skills. These teachers help adults earn their high school diplomas or General Equivalency Diplomas (GED), or they may help new immigrants learn English. Adult education teachers coach students in the skills they need to begin or develop in their careers though lectures, assignments, demonstrations and laboratory work.

Nationally, the number of jobs for adult basic and secondary education and literacy teachers, including GED instructors, is expected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations from 2014-2024, at 7%. The median annual income for these workers was $50,280 in 2015, per the BLS.

While cultural studies professors teach students about issues related to race, gender and how cultures interact, those who teach adult literacy and remedial education classes often work with immigrants. Community outreach managers may help immigrants locate community resources and adapt to the different culture in their new country. An understanding of different cultures and how culture impacts an individual's view on education, gender roles or other issues can help these professionals understand the challenges their students or clients face.

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