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Career Options for Women's Studies Graduates

Degrees in women's studies typically cover gender, sexuality and issues specific to women. Find out about the curricula of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for women's studies graduates.

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With an undergraduate degree in women's studies it is possible to pursue careers in healthcare or public relations. Some of the options include becoming a registered nurse, a licensed social worker, or a public relations specialist.

Essential Information

Women's studies programs - also called gender studies programs - are multidisciplinary sequences that focus on gender, sexuality and issues specific to women. The topics covered in an undergraduate or graduate women's studies program are designed to prepare students for a diverse array of career options, ranging from education to public relations to nursing.

Career Public Relations Specialists Registered Nurses Social Workers
Education Requirements Bachelor's Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or a diploma from an approved program Bachelor's in Social Work
Additional Requirements Internships can provide helpful experience Licensure is required Clinical social workers require a master's; licensure and certification requirements vary by state
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% 16% 12%
Median Salary (2015)* $56,770 $67,490 $58,560 (social workers, all other)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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Career Options

Arts and Media

A liberal arts education prepares a women's studies graduate for thinking about broad areas rather than narrow subjects. Women's studies programs teach written and oral communication skills, organization and sensitivity to marginalized or oppressed groups. These attributes can all be used in visual arts and writing careers.

Publishing and public relations careers for women's studies graduates may include publishing or editing a feminist newsletter, working for a public relations firm, grant-writing or advocating for positive images of women in the media. Individuals may be employed with an organization or self-employed.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that public relations managers and specialists could expect an increase of 6% in job opportunities from 2014 to 2024. Public relations specialists earned a median of $56,770 annually as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov).

Health Care

Students who major in women's studies as part of a double major increase their job options. Some women's studies majors choose a second major in nursing or medicine. These students may become directors of women's or family care centers, certified nurse midwives or reproductive health counselors. They might also work as nurses or physicians who specialize in obstetrics, gynecology or breast health care. Insight and sensitivity to social concerns makes women's studies graduates especially qualified for medical professions.

The BLS predicted that registered nurses could expect a 16% increase in job opportunities in 2014 to 2024. The median annual salary for these professionals was $67,490 in May 2015.

Social Work and Psychology

Women's studies graduates learn collaborative work skills; they cultivate problem-solving and analytical-thinking skills. These can be used in careers such as parenting skills educator, AIDS case worker, drug and alcohol addictions counselor, director of teen mothers' program, director of domestic violence prevention agency, vocational counselor, elderly services worker and aide at a rape awareness and assistance center.

The BLS predicted that social workers would experience a 12% increase in job opportunities from 2014 to 2024, an average increase compared to the national average for all careers. In May 2015, social workers earned a median annual salary of $58,560.

Politics and Law

Women's studies graduates' knowledge of power relationships and social justice issues prepares them to work in law and government positions. Options are available in public and private sector organizations whose clients are primarily women and girls. These careers include some government agencies, protective and social services and international development.

Many who major in women's studies choose to advocate for social change. They may work for nonprofits or human rights organizations and in lobbying or labor organizing. Career options include public interest lawyer, affirmative action lawyer, women's advocacy group employee or law enforcement officer.

Education

Because a women's studies major learns interdisciplinary topics, he or she is well prepared for research and librarianship careers. Women's studies program graduates may become women's studies teachers, professors or program assistants. They may also work as physical education teachers and women's sports coaches.

Those with a degree in women's studies may wish to pursue a career as a public relations specialist, where they can work for a women's organization or publication to influence the public perception of women in the media. They may also opt to pursue a double major in nursing and focus on a healthcare career that involves treating women. A degree in women's studies can also be utilized by social workers with a focus of working with teen mothers or victims of domestic violence or rape.

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