What Can You Do with a Liberal Arts Degree?

Not every student begins their college career knowing what they want their professional life to look like—and that’s okay. In fact, college is the perfect time to explore new concepts, develop fresh ideas, and hone those critical thinking skills that are necessary in nearly every field.

Are you one of those people who are still trying to figure things out? A liberal arts degree may be the perfect option.

What Do Liberal Arts Majors Study?

A liberal arts degree differs from other career-focused programs in the sense that the curriculum is not rigid, and it does not prepare students for a particular field or industry. Rather, liberal arts majors focus on one of four disciplines: natural sciences, social sciences, fine arts, or humanities. The goal of a liberal arts degree program is to provide students with an opportunity to develop transferable skills that they can use in any career they pursue, ultimately giving them the power to guide their own path forward and adjust as necessary throughout their careers.

Benefits of a Liberal Arts Degree

There are many advantages to pursuing a liberal arts degree, including:

  • Preparing you for a flexible and versatile career path, allowing you to combine your skills with your interests.
  • Allowing you to develop 21st-century competencies such as communication, analytical, critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaborative skills required to succeed in any field.
  • Giving you the ability to study a range of subjects and discover your passions along the way.

Transferable Skills

Most liberal arts programs are designed to provide students with an opportunity to develop a well-rounded skillset that can be applied in any field. These transferable skills are often described as soft skills, and they are vital to the success of every individual and organization.

Companies and organizations appreciate that liberal arts graduates can communicate clearly, think critically and analytically, effectively research any topic, and work alongside a team to produce innovative solutions to complex problems.

Entry into Various Industries

Thanks to the broad curriculum of this degree program, liberal arts graduates can seek employment in a variety of industries. This is ideal for students exploring what they want to do with their professional lives. Some of the industries that seek liberal arts graduates include marketing and public relations, film and theater, education, and fundraising.

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 730,000 employed professionals in 2021 were liberal arts degree holders. The BLS data shows that with a median salary of about $54,000, liberal arts graduates most often find work in education, management, business, and sales. About 52 percent of employees had a bachelor’s degree, while 31 percent pursued an advanced degree.

Surprising Jobs for Liberal Arts Majors

Initially, you may be wondering what the job market is like for liberal arts majors, and there are several surprisingly lucrative positions you may be qualified for after earning your degree. In most cases, liberal arts majors work to complement their degree program with professional experience in the field of their choosing, allowing them to showcase how their transferable skills and broad range of knowledge can be applied in their chosen sector.

Project Manager

Project managers are responsible for developing a timeline, creating and managing a budget, and overseeing the progress of a project, making this an ideal position for liberal arts graduates who have developed the critical skills needed to manage any type of project. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, project management specialists earn a median annual salary of about $95,000.

Public Relations Specialist

Public relations specialists work directly with their clients to develop a brand identity, generate interest, and secure media and promotional opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the median annual salary for this position is about $67,000.

Technical Writer

Liberal arts students who focus on English and communication will find they are qualified to pursue a position as a technical writer. Technical writers work alongside industry experts to create easy-to-digest materials relevant to the target audience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, technical writers earn about $80,000 each year.

Research Analyst

The critical thinking skills developed throughout a liberal arts degree program allow graduates to pursue job opportunities as a research analyst. Research analysts collect and interpret data, giving their employers or clients actionable advice about the next best steps. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for market research analysts is $68,000.


Editors are required to review the work of their clients, offer feedback, and make revisions so that the final content is clear, grammatically correct, and easy to read. If you focus on English, literature, and communication throughout your liberal arts degree program, you may find that this is a worthwhile career option to explore. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, editors earn a median annual salary of $73,000.

Human Resource Specialist

Human resource specialists attract and retain top talent for their organizations and implement workplace policies and procedures. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for human resource specialists is about $73,000.

Legal Assistant

Legal assistants work alongside lawyers, helping them with research, analysis, and data collection. Given the broad scope of the liberal arts degree program, graduates can apply their knowledge and skills in this profession. Salary.com notes that legal assistants earn an average salary of about $55,000 per year.

Social Media Strategist

Social media strategists typically work as part of a marketing team to develop an online brand identity for their clients as well as to create and promote social content. Social media strategists must be creative individuals who know how to clearly communicate. According to Glassdoor, they earn an average salary of about $63,000 per year.


Liberal arts graduates seeking to apply their humanities education in a hands-on way may be interested in pursuing a job as an archaeologist. Archeologists complete both office work and field work related to their projects, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they earn an average salary of about $63,000 per year.

Arts Administration

If you focused on the fine arts during your liberal arts degree program, then you may find employment in arts administration. Art directors often work to collect and display art across a variety of mediums. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that art directors earn a median annual salary of about $105,000.

Nonprofit Management and Fundraising

The focus on skill development in the liberal arts degree program can position you to work effectively in the nonprofit and fundraising industries. Nonprofit managers often work to oversee their organizations and ensure that they provide essential services to the community. Salary.com notes that nonprofit managers earn an average salary of about $90,000 per year.

What Can You Do with a Liberal Arts Degree? Find Out at Excelsior University

With liberal arts degrees available at both the associate and bachelor’s level, Excelsior University can provide you with the foundation you need to build the career of your choosing. As a liberal arts major, you can enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with studying a range of subjects while fine-tuning the critical competencies needed in any professional position or career field. Request more information about our online liberal arts degree programs today.