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Career Information for a Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences

A liberal arts and sciences degree is an interdisciplinary degree that studies human concepts. Continue reading for an overview of the career options for graduates.

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Essential Information

The liberal arts and sciences involve the study of human concepts, inquiries and pursuits, such as literature, history, philosophy and theater. Students might be attracted to these subjects because of their intellectual appeal or range of subject matter. A degree in the liberal arts and sciences can help students prepare for a number of career options or continue their studies to focus on more specific education. The field is a very broad, high-level degree and therefore reporting on job outlook and growth is challenging. Students are encouraged to choose an emphasis while obtaining their degrees in order hone in a specific skillset. The table below lists some examples of occupations that can be awarded to those who possess this degree.

Career Elementary School Teachers Film Editors Administrative Service Manager
Required Education Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements State licensure (varies by state) Postsecondary coursework in film NA
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 12%* 3%* (for all film editors and camera operators) 12%*
Median Salary (2013) $53,590* (excluding special education teachers) $54,490* $82,310*

'Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Overview

Liberal arts and sciences is an extremely broad field that often encompasses many disciplines. Those who earn a degree in liberal arts and sciences often appeal to employers who seek job candidates with analytical and communications skills. However, according to the 2010 Student Survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), liberal arts and sciences majors had fewer employment and lower salary offers than those who chose field-specific majors (www.naceweb.org). Liberal arts and sciences graduates could continue their education in a number of fields, such as medicine, law or education. A liberal arts and sciences curriculum usually contains courses, such as communication, technology and math that can apply to numerous careers in business, academia, government or the nonprofit sector.

Education

Many schools offer associate's degree programs in liberal arts and sciences. These programs frequently award transfer degrees to 4-year universities allowing students to complete the requirements for a bachelor's degree. The curricula are traditionally rooted in a foundation of communication study and the development of critical-thinking skills, but can include a myriad of subjects, including philosophy, anthropology, political science and mathematics. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that 55% of associate degrees awarded were in liberal arts and sciences during the 2007-2008 academic year (www.nces.ed.gov).

Many schools also offer bachelor's degrees in liberal arts and sciences. However, even these are not always intended to lead to one career path but rather to provide a broad and extensive interdisciplinary education. Students might have the option of choosing a single concentration, such as history, linguistics or sociology, or choosing multiple areas of focus that complement one another to develop a broader knowledge base. Several law and medical schools recommend liberal arts and sciences majors for students interested in becoming lawyers or physicians.

Job Outlook

Because of the diverse array of careers available to liberal arts and sciences majors, job outlook varies based on a graduate's chosen profession. With an associate's or bachelor's degree in liberal arts and sciences, one might qualify for teaching, business management or film editing positions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that job opportunities for kindergarten and elementary school teachers would increase about 12% overall from 2012-2022. Similarly, a 12% job growth for administrative services was expected during that time period (www.bls.gov).

Salary

Salary for liberal arts and sciences professionals also vary depending on the selected career. NACE's 2013 Student Survey reported that graduates of a liberal arts and sciences degree program received starting salaries of $42,300, on average. The survey showed that educational services were the top-paying industry for liberal arts graduates, with an average of $42,000 per year.

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Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
    • Non-Degree
        • CCAF- General Education Mobile (GEM)

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor of Arts in History for Secondary Education (ITL)
        • Bachelor of Arts in History with an Emphasis in Public History

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must hold a Bachelor's degree or higher
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Undergraduate applicants must be a high school graduate or have completed GED; Graduate program applicants must have a master's degree or higher
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • BS in General Studies
    • Associate
        • AS in General Studies

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Distance Learning Programs

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants must have completed 12 college credits
    School locations:
    • California (17 campuses)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Bachelor
        • BA - Liberal Studies (Integrated California Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential)

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
        • Humanities
        • Liberal Arts and Sciences
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
        • Liberal Arts and Sciences
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
      • Theological, Religious, and Ministerial Studies

Popular Schools

  • Which subject are you interested in?

    • BA in History
    • BS in Sociology
    • Bachelor of Arts in History for Secondary Education (ITL)
    • Bachelor of Arts in History with an Emphasis in Public History

    What is your highest level of education?

  • When would you like to start classes?

  • During which term would you like to start?

    • BS in General Studies
    • AS in General Studies

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • BA - Liberal Studies (Integrated California Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential)

    What is your highest level of education?

  • When do you plan to begin your studies?

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics