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Guide to Humanities Careers

You’re probably familiar with the field of study known as the humanities, but did you know that pursuing a humanities degree can prepare you for a wide range of career opportunities? The humanities are part of the liberal arts, and provide a broad educational foundation that can be useful in all types of jobs in the public and private sectors, as well as nonprofits and academia.

A humanities degree program typically includes courses in languages, philosophy, art, literature, history and writing. Through your humanities studies, you’ll develop skills like problem solving, researching and communication – which have the potential to serve you well in any career.

Career Possibilities with a Degree in Humanities

Since humanities studies are so broad-based, career choices are quite diverse. Your personal interests will likely influence your particular career choice and path, but a humanities degree offers the base of knowledge to let you pursue many options.

For example, if you’re interested in serving the public, you might choose to go into public policy. If you’re creative and enjoy a fast-paced atmosphere, marketing and advertising might be a great fit.

Individuals with humanities degrees can be found teaching in classrooms, working in publishing and pursuing law degrees. Those who enjoy interacting with co-workers, customers and the public find success as flight attendants, salespeople, journalists or public relations professionals.

5 Humanities Careers: Job Outlook and Salary

Clearly, the career choices with a humanities degree are wide-ranging. Here is a closer look at five:

  1. Social Worker: Social workers help people obtain services needed to navigate difficulties in their lives. An increasing demand for healthcare and social services is driving strong growth in this field. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment of all social workers in general will grow 12% by 2024, with the demand for healthcare social workers and social workers specializing in mental health and substance abuse growing at 19%. The median pay for social workers in May 2016 was $46,890. The lowest 10% earned less than $28,800, while the salary for the highest 10% was $78,510 a year.
  2. Paralegal: Paralegals get a front-row seat to the justice system. They perform a variety of tasks in support of lawyers, from investigating cases to handling exhibits during trials. This career is on the rise as law firms take steps to increase efficiencies and lower costs. The BLS projects job growth of 8% for paralegals through 2024, and reports their median annual salary was $49,500 in May 2016. The top 10% earned $80,260, while the lowest 10% were paid $31,070.
  3. Administrative Assistant: Skills in teamwork, problem-solving and communication learned through a humanities degree can prepare you for the requirements of an administrative assistant position. The BLS projects job growth of 3% through 2024 in this field. In May 2016, the median salary for administrative assistants was $37,230. The highest 10% earned $62,230, while the lowest 10% earned $22,930.
  4. Journalist: Journalists may work in online publishing, or as reporters, correspondents or news analysts. The writing, communication and analytical thinking skills learned in a humanities degree program fit well in a journalism career. However, due to declining demand for print publications and loss of advertising revenue, the BLS projects that employment in this field will decline through 2024. The median annual salary in May 2016 was $38,870, while the lowest 10% in this category earned less than $22,120 and the highest 10% earned more than $86,610.
  5. Flight Attendant: Flight attendants are on board for safety. Their primary duties revolve around ensuring airline passengers have safe and comfortable travel experiences. The job requires plenty of interaction with the public, along with teamwork and, of course, travel. Competition for flight attendant jobs will remain strong over the next several years as airlines rehire previously furloughed employees. However, a number of flight attendants are expected to retire over the next decade. Still, the BLS projects 2% growth in employment through 2024. Flight attendants earned a median salary of $48,500 in May 2016. The highest-paid 10% received $78,650, while the lowest 10% earned $26,570.

Humanities Careers Span the Spectrum

Earning a humanities degree may be your entry to a job in a wide variety of fields. Whether you want to work with people in need, report on people doing great things or change a child’s life through teaching, you can start with this versatile field of study.

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