Over the last few decades, American education has increasingly focused on STEM: science, technology, engineering, and math. The importance of teaching technical skills is obvious, but critics of the current focus on STEM argue that it has done little to narrow inequality and comes at the expense of humanities education, which is essential for creating and maintaining a society of well-rounded, fulfilled people.
The rise of STEM has corresponded to an ongoing decline of liberal arts majors, particularly English majors, in America's universities. But a degree in the humanities — including majors like art history, communications, or marketing — doesn't lock you out of a fast-growing or high-paying job.
There are several jobs that you can get with a bachelor's degree in English, and here are a few more which are generally available to anyone with a bachelor's degree in other liberal arts majors, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook.
All of these jobs pay more than the annual median earnings rate, for an individual, of $46,644, and all of them are expected to grow over the next decade — in some cases, quite substantially.
Common majors: Communications, business management
Median salary: $49,370/year ($23.746/hour)
Number of jobs (as of 2018): 134,100
Outlook over the next decade: 7% growth (9,600 new jobs)
Specific job titles: Events manager, wedding planner, conference organizer
Event planning requires formidable organization and interpersonal skills. Planners need to communicate well with clients in order to know exactly what they want, all before juggling complicated logistics to convert that vision into reality. That dynamic applies pretty universally in this position, whether you're putting together a multiday trade convention or planning a wedding.
Common majors: Art history, history, archaeology
Median salary: $48,400/year ($23.27/hour)
Number of jobs (as of 2018): 35,900
Outlook over the next decade: 9% growth (3,300 new jobs)
Specific job titles: Collections specialist, registrar
Museum techs are responsible for the day-to-day care of collection items, which includes managing the logistics of acquisitions and loans to other museums and keeping records of objects on display and in storage, according to BLS. It's a job that requires a high degree of organization and a thorough knowledge of the pieces of art involved.
BLS lumps museum techs together with "archivists, curators, and museum workers" in its official classification. Those jobs are all similar to museum technicians, albeit from a higher level in management. For example, curators also oversee the acquisition, exhibition, and maintenance of collections, but those positions generally require master's degrees in subjects like art history or library science.
Common majors: Film, communications
Median salary: $58,990/year ($28.36/hour)
Number of jobs (as of 2018): 69,200
Outlook over the next decade: 11% growth (7,900 new jobs)
Specific job titles: Electronic news gathering editor, news camera operator, videographer
Working in video can be a highly fulfilling technical and creative role. Camera operators shoot in a variety of situations and locations, while editors take raw footage and polish it into a finished product. Camera operation often involves field work, which often involves travel and the freedom of working outside of an office, while editors are more likely to work out of a fixed space.
Numerous types of employers, from film studios and news organizations to advertising firms and events companies, have jobs that fit under this umbrella.
Common majors: Political science, history, criminal justice
Median salary: $50,940/year ($24.49/hour)
Number of jobs (as of 2018): 325,700
Outlook over the next decade: 12% growth (39,000 more jobs)
Specific job titles: Paralegal, legal aide, summer law clerk
Paralegals perform key day-to-day work, including gathering evidence, writing reports, and filing affidavits, to support lawyers and corporate bosses. The kinds of research skills that college students pick up in majors like history and political science really come in handy here, and many college grads work as paralegals to see whether they might be interested in pursuing law.
Common majors: Communications, business
Median salary: $63,120/year ($30.35/hour)
Number of jobs (as of 2018): 681,900
Outlook over the next decade: 20% growth (139,200 new jobs)
Specific job titles: Market research analyst, marketing consultant, marketing forecaster
Market research analysts are responsible for assessing a company's ability and potential to succeed in any number of business endeavors, by attempting to understand the conditions they operate in. This includes gathering and parsing data on economic trends and on personal habits of potential consumers.
Analytical skills are required to distill widely disparate information into a coherent, focused analysis, and communication skills are key for conveying it clearly to the company's decision-makers.
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