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Classical Studies Careers: Options and Requirements

Classical studies degree programs are typically designed to prepare students for careers in a diversity of professions. Learn about the curricula of these programs and how it relates to career options, job growth and salary information for classical studies graduates.

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Are you considering a degree and career in classical studies? You may be surprised to learn of the number of job opportunities in this field, although many require graduate level education. Get information about a number of careers in the classical studies world to see if this is the right field for you.

Essential Information

Most classical studies programs focus on Greek and Latin languages as well as studies in cultural antiquity and ancient history. Individuals in this field usually acquire skills in linguistics, cataloging, document preservation and analytical research. Such skills overlap in multiple job fields, including medicine, law, business and social sciences.

Career Archivist Curator Lawyer Anthropologist
Education Bachelor's (multiple)
Master's
Master's (multiple)
Doctoral (preferred)
Bachelor's Degree
Law Degree
Master's
Doctoral (optional)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 7% 8% 6% 4% (anthropologists and archeologists)
Median Salary (2015)* $50,250 $51,520 $115,820 $61,220 (anthropologists and archeologists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

Graduates of a bachelor's program in classical studies may seek further education in a specific profession outside of classical studies, such as law. Alternatively, they may choose to continue specialization in the area of classical studies for fields such as anthropology. In either case, advanced degrees are typically required, as is experience and practice in the chosen field. Below are listed several common professions for graduates of classical studies, as well as salary and career outlook information.

Museum Work

Most universities report that classical studies students obtain skills in analytical thinking and research that are necessary to find employment as either a museum archivist or curator. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), archivists preserve and organize historical documents from multiple mediums, whereas curators act as administrators to regulate museum displays and protocols.

Requirements

The BLS notes that archivists often have multiple undergraduate degrees, but also obtain a master's degree in fields like library or archival sciences. Archivists who wish to specialize in antiquity may only need a graduate degree in classical studies as well as additional training related to document organization and preservation techniques.

Curators also have multiple graduate degrees to accommodate a wider range of job duties. Performing both administrative and archival tasks, the BLS shows how curators obtain graduate degrees in museum sciences as well as degrees related to their historical area of specialty. Some employers prefer curators to possess a doctorate degree, especially at active research museums.

Salary and Employment Outlook

The BLS reported that archivists would see employment growth of 7% from 2014 to 2024, while curators were expected to see an 8% increase in employment opportunities. Archivists earned a median salary of $50,250 as of May 2015, while curators earned a median of $51,520, the BLS noted.

Lawyer

Records from numerous universities show that students who receive an undergraduate degree in classical studies often pursue a law degree. Since most of the legal system is based on classic republic theory, Latin terms and heavy amounts of research, classical studies majors possess the necessary skills that match this occupation (BLS).

Requirements

Classical studies, amongst other majors, qualifies as a pre-law undergraduate degree: however, the BLS states that all lawyers must also attend graduate level law school that lasts about three years. To get into law school, individuals need to score well on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), a multiple-choice examination.

After successfully completing law school, lawyers must pass the state bar exam to practice law. As of 2008, records from the BLS show that 46 states within the U.S. require attorneys to participate in approved continued education coursework in order to maintain their legal license.

Salary and Employment Outlook

The employment outlook for lawyers was 6 percent growth from 2014 to 2024, the BLS found. It also reported that the median salary for lawyers was $115,820 as of May 2015.

Anthropologist

Listed under the BLS category of social scientists, anthropologists study human beings in regards to their cultural and physical development over time. Many anthropologists with a classical studies background examine artifacts and documents from ancient Greece to determine societal practices and human behaviorisms of that era.

Requirements

While one can become an anthropologist's assistant researcher with only a bachelor's degree, to become a full-fledged anthropologist requires a master's or doctorate degree. Most anthropologists choose their degree program based on whether they want to specialize in cultural or physical anthropology as well as the time period and groups of people they wish to study.

It is necessary to obtain as much field experience as possible through internships and volunteer programs. Experience with grant writing and fund raising may prove beneficial since anthropological research expeditions require large amounts of additional funding.

Salary and Employment Outlook

The BLS employment predictions for anthropologists and archeologists indicated a 4% growth for these professionals from 2014 to 2024, and its May 2015 salary report showed a median annual salary of $61,220.

A degree in classical studies affords a number of opportunities in museum work, anthropology, or law. It is not uncommon for further education to be necessary, as well as work experience and on-the-job training. Job growth is positive in all of these sectors for the next ten years.

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