By John Aldrich
Associate Vice President, Military & Community College Outreach at American Military University
What can I do with my liberal arts degree? This is a frequently asked question by students. After all, other than your college professor, can you recall meeting anyone who actually worked in medieval history or comparative literature? In fact, the majority of those who graduate with a liberal arts degree do not find employment in fields related to their major (e.g., psychology majors do not necessarily become psychologists).
Whether you are an anthropology, English, or sociology major, you have (or will develop) transferable skills that are useful in the workplace. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, examples of the types of skills learned in a typical liberal arts program of study include:
- Problem-solving or critical thinking
- Human relations
Most of the highest earning occupations require a specialized degree: accounting, healthcare, and information technology, to name a few. However, people who earn a liberal arts degree share a passion and enthusiasm for learning, something employers say is lacking in today’s workforce.
While liberal arts majors may not make the list of top 10 highest earning occupations, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, many find their niche in sales, management, teaching, social work, and numerous private sector occupations.
So the next time you wonder what you can do with your liberal arts degree, don’t sell yourself short. Your liberal arts education, coupled with your passion and enthusiasm for learning, can prepare you to get your foot in the door for what employers are looking for in today’s ever-changing job market.
About the Author
John Aldrich is the associate vice president for military and community college outreach at American Military University (AMU). John’s past assignments for AMU include serving as director for military outreach, west region senior manager for military outreach, and education coordinator, California and Hawaii.
Prior to joining AMU, he served as an education services specialist for Marine Corps Base Twenty-Nine Palms California; director of career services and job placement at the Technical College of the Lowcountry, Beaufort, South Carolina; education specialist for Navy College Programs, Sicily, Italy; academic advisor for undecided students and student athletes at the University of Rhode Island; and as a Naval Hospital Corpsman, Fleet Marine Forces.
John earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Sciences and Services and a Master of Science in College Student Personnel from the University of Rhode Island.
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