While most humanities majors don’t offer a direct career path as some majors in other fields do, they are still important degrees. The skills you learn in these majors are very beneficial and can often be applied to numerous professions. Because of the breadth of the curricula, humanities majors often learn skills that employers value, such as critical thinking, communication, complex problem-solving, research, and time management. In fact, many employers seek out humanities majors for this very reason, so your major may make you an even more attractive candidate.
Some non-humanities programs require humanities credits because they teach such desirable skills. For instance, some business programs are beginning to require these types of courses, so their students have skills that courses within the business fields won’t necessarily teach.
Many degrees in the humanities fields can be applied to a wide variety of professions. Additionally, your major allows you to leave your options open, since you aren’t in a program that’s limited to a specific profession.
Professions That Usually Don’t Require Graduate Level Degrees
• Writing: Writing is relevant—and often central—to many careers, including content or copywriting, journalism, screenwriting, editing, and grant writing. Because writing is integral to so many majors and professions, your humanities degree will be very useful in a numerous fields.
• Marketing/Advertising/Public Relations: Marketing, advertising, and PR are different fields, and there are a number of job possibilities within them. They have many overlapping features, including the need for strong communication skills and the ability to relay your client’s message in creative ways that inspire action.
• Sales: As with marketing, communication and interpersonal skills need to be strong in sales, because you’ll be working with clients directly. You’ll also need critical thinking skills to persuade customers to buy your product. One benefit of sales is that it’s often a high-paying field.
• Language: If you have a strong background in a foreign language, there are many possibilities for employment as a linguist through foreign service, airlines, travel agencies, and other businesses that require translators.
• Human Resources: Working in human resources requires strong interpersonal skills, and you’ll need to be able to work well with people. in an HR position, you may be recruiting job candidates, as well as planning programs and benefits for current employees at a particular organization.
• Museum Curation: An art history degree will provide you with a strong background and foundation to be a museum curator, but you can apply many other humanities degrees to this field as well. In this role, you are essentially a content specialist who acquires and manages your museum’s collection, as well as helps display and exhibit the works.
• Film and Media Production: Producing films, short works, and other forms of media requires plenty of creative skills.
• Publishing: When you think about the publishing field, editor is probably the first role that comes to mind. But there are many different roles in the book and magazine world, and they often go to people with humanities degrees—marketing, publicity, sales, copyright, and design, to name a few. Most of these roles also require strong reading skills.
• Graphic Design: Most companies require graphic designers. Your art major will be useful in branding and helping convey organizations’ messages.
Professions Requiring Graduate Level Degrees
• Teaching: Nearly any major you can think of can prepare you to be a teacher. You’ll also need to get teaching certified after you finish college. Some positions will also require you to receive a master’s degree, but it can usually be in your specialty.
• Postsecondary Education: In most cases, you’ll need at least a master’s degree to teach at the college level, though there may be some research and administrative positions at colleges that don’t require one. To be on tenure track, you usually need a doctorate.
• Law: While many lawyers major in history or political science as undergraduates, there are generally no specific requirements or courses you need to be admitted to law school. Public speaking and communication skills are key to this field.
• Public Policy and Administration: Strong people and critical thinking skills can give you a big boost in the public policy field, where you’ll help communities and societies plan and function better.
• Librarianship/Archival Studies: There are many different possibilities for working in libraries or archives. You must have good communication and research skills, and your ability to process and understand information is necessary. Being well-read also comes in handy when you’re a librarian.
• Government: Many humanities majors, such as history and political science, provide a solid foundation for working as a government officer.
Use Your Humanities Degree
There are many career options for nearly any degree. Just because your major doesn’t offer you a clearly defined path doesn’t mean you can’t start planning and taking steps towards your future. If you have a career in mind, start thinking about what you can do to help you get there, such as internships, jobs, and clubs. For instance, if you think you’d like to become a journalist, look into internships at a local newspaper, or join your school’s newspaper staff. If your prospective career requires graduate school, research the programs available and the requirements you’ll need for admission.
While your initial salary may be lower compared with those of your peers in high-paying fields like computer science, it will increase significantly as you gain more experience in your industry, so don’t be discouraged. The skills you learn as a humanities major will be invaluable throughout your life—inside and outside your career.
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