Register for the APUS Arts and Humanities Expo on May 16.
By Casen Combs
Contributor and Career Services Coordinator, APUS
The jokes are almost as old as universities themselves. Tell someone you’re a history, philosophy, English or sociology major, and they’ll almost assuredly tell you how you’ll never make any money, you’re doomed to be a professor, or bluntly ask, “What could you possibly do with that?”
With increasing fears over job placement compounded by mounting tuition costs, there has been a large national decline across all humanities disciplines since 2012. STEM fields are gaining more students and more funding, causing universities to consider cutting humanities majors just to stay financially afloat, as the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point announced last month.
Aside from the fact that some students might be perfectly happy with a certain salary or (gasp!) actually plan to teach, the idea that a person with an arts or humanities degree will never find work is simply incorrect. In fact, only about 50 percent of all undergraduate students across all fields of study actually end up working in a job related to their major. A recent study by Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce found that humanities degrees do not earn considerably less than STEM degrees ($47,000 median salary in “humanities and liberal arts” compared to $50,000 median salary in “biology and life science”).
The key is in the marketing. Here at Career Services, we know that every job applicant can be successful when they demonstrate skills that are paramount in a good employee, such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication and more. These skills help employees learn quickly on the job (which data continues to show most employees still do) and are not exclusive to degrees taught outside the College of Liberal Arts.
This makes an arts or humanities major a unique job candidate, because their career path doesn’t have to be a straight line in the same way that an education or nursing major does. Sure, a philosophy degree could end with a Ph.D. and a teaching position. But it could also end with a job in medicine, law, government or counseling, all fields where philosophical thinking is a necessary skill. According to the annual Payscale.com salary survey, philosophy majors have an average mid-career salary of $85,100, which just so happens to be more than both marketing and management majors.
On May 16th, Career Services is hosting an Arts and Humanities Expo that is specifically geared toward this type of versatile job candidate. At the Expo, you will have a chance to learn the various ways your degree can be applied across a wide range of industries and how to best work towards the vocation that interests you most.
[Learn more about the Arts and Humanities Expo on May 16 and register today.]
In addition to speaking with Arts & Humanities faculty members, you’ll have the opportunity to chat with career coaches who are experts at what it takes to be the most desirable candidate in today’s job market. The entire event is designed to give you more information about the opportunities available to an Arts and Humanities student and how to take advantage of them. Come prepared to chat, ask questions and challenge the accepted wisdom on your field of study.
Start a degree program at American Public University.