4 Industries Where a Liberal Arts Degree Makes a Difference - Exam And Interview Tips for EAITians

February 8, 2019

4 Industries Where a Liberal Arts Degree Makes a Difference

According to common wisdom, success comes with a STEM degree like science, technology, engineering, or math. If you get a degree in something else — perhaps literature, philosophy, or social sciences — it’s thought that you have a much lower chance of landing a well-paid job.

But like much of common wisdom, this just is not true. Liberal arts degree are more in demand than ever, and it’s just a matter of learning how to apply the skills the liberal arts teach you.

Whether you go to a traditional college or pursue an online liberal arts associates degree (perfect for the person who needs to work and study at the same time), here are four industries that are hungry for people with a liberal arts diploma.

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Law and legal services

Law is one of the great bastions of liberal arts practice. Several skills taught by a liberal arts degree, such as close reading, clear writing, and argumentative analysis, are useful to an individual in the law field. Furthermore, many fields in the liberal arts — philosophy and ethics, civics and government — are directly affected by the work of lawyers and lawmakers, and require both academic and professional study.

In the legal field, you could work at a personal injury law firm, a government agency, or a large corporation. With a diversity of areas to specialize in, you can be sure to find the right area for you.

If you are interested in law, that doesn’t mean that you must go to law school. The legal field has several professions to choose from that do not necessarily require a Juris Doctor or even, in some cases, a bachelor’s degree.

Paralegals are essential to lawyers, and they draft documents, assist clients, and do legal research. Legal secretaries are administrative assistants who take care of the day-to-day work of running law offices.

Other ancillary legal careers, such as compliance specialists (who make sure large organizations function according to government rules and regulations) legal recruiters (who provide law firms with employees) and court reporters (who transcribe legal proceedings) all require the skills a liberal degree school provides.

Compliance specialists must be strong readers and problem solvers; legal recruiters have to understand psychology; court reporters need to be strong writers and memorizers.

Finally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that positions for paralegals and legal assistants will grow at more than twice the average growth rate for all occupations.

Health care administration

Health care administration and management is an industry poised for phenomenal growth. Health care administrators’ jobs grew by 3,200 percent between 1975 and 2010.

Healthcare administrators need a deep understanding of health care policy and laws, the ability to communicate with and coordinate multiple medical specialists at once, and the ability to envision and implement future health care services.

A liberal arts degree provides excellent preparation for all of those requirements in the field. And the field, furthermore, is wide, with plenty of entry-level jobs and lots of space at the top.

Positions range from high-powered health care CEOs to the office administrators for your local pediatric dentist.

A health care administrator must have a strong understanding of bioethics, which involves the ethics of medical and biological research.

The truth is that, while the resources that go towards in the medical field are vast, they are still limited, and an administrator must decide how to best extend them.

These are ethical questions that no business course will prepare you for.

Additionally, a person in this field has to consider the ways in which their decisions affect the community that relies on the health system that they administer.

These issues require an understanding of the cultural and social factors that lead community members to make certain health decisions.

An understanding of cultural heritage and sociology can help an administrator understand how those decisions are made, and how they can best serve the needs of the people.

Cannabis, hemp, and CBD

How does a liberal arts degree meet the needs of the growing cannabis industry? The cannabis industry is brand new, and therefore is in desperate need of policymakers and innovators who can create the services that cannabis entrepreneurs need.

The number of professions that support cannabis growers and distributors is skyrocketing. Banking and insurance businesses need people who can build savings and insurance vehicles appropriate to cannabis. These require legal literacy, as well as skills in contract drafting.

Additionally, we return to, once again, the particular skills of the compliance specialists. The complex web of state, local, and federal regulations that govern marijuana has created an entire class of industry consultants who help growers through the legal minefield.

A liberal arts degree also provides a foundation for those interested in working directly in the cannabis industry.

The cannabis business may involve lots of shiny new technology, such as filtration for hemp and CBD oil extraction, but anybody in the industry must also understand the history of the drug, the history of science, the history of race, and the ways in which those histories intersect with injustices particular to the cultivation and distribution of marijuana.

Without an understanding of the challenges that cannabis cultivation has faced in the past, any aspiring bud entrepreneur faces an uphill climb making their business succeed.

Cultural literacy is key to succeeding in any field in a transitional state. Cannabis, in particular, needs people who understand the history of the drug to help bring it out of the shadows.

Education




Many people fall in love with the liberal arts because of a great teacher. A college professor revealed the secrets of a novel that unlocked something in their heart.

A teaching assistant explained a sociological idea that revealed a truth about society. A high school history teacher shared an insight about the past that changed the present.

As it happens, the liberal arts are also a path towards becoming a great teacher. A deep knowledge of the subject matter, whether that is literature, sociology, or history, must be paired with the communication skills necessary to convey that knowledge clearly. A liberal arts degree prepares you with both.

Furthermore, education is a rapidly growing sector. The US education industry is expected to reach $2 billion by 2026.

These estimates include not just teachers, but support staff, curriculum designers, textbook authors, and researchers. These fields also require a mix of skills that a liberal arts degree is uniquely poised to fulfill.

For example, textbook authors and editors need top-notch language skills; curriculum designers require an understanding of both educational philosophy and psychology to build effective instructional materials.

But above all else, inspiring educators are driven by a love of learning, and they inspire that love in students.

A liberal arts education, as it is said, educates the whole person, and thereby sparks a genuine curiosity about the world and its workings.

Once that is instilled in you, nothing can take it away from you, and you are driven to pass it along to others.

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