The liberal arts sometimes get a bad rap as being generalist degrees offering little in the way of career preparation. However, the Association of American Colleges and Universities say that simply is not true.
The association notes four out of five employers agree all students should have a broad knowledge of the liberal arts and sciences. What's more, 93 percent of employers are more concerned with a job candidate's ability to think critically and communicate effectively than with their undergraduate major.
As a result, getting a liberal arts or humanities degree can be a smart move, regardless of where you hope your career will go. These programs offer a comprehensive education that teaches students how to become problem solvers and communicators. With these skills under their belts, graduates may find the sky's the limit when it comes to finding a job.
Online Degrees in Liberal Arts
Those studying the liberal arts and humanities will find their training covers a lot of ground, from language to culture to science. The following are a few of the common majors selected by liberal arts and humanities students.
- Foreign language
Other students might earn a degree in the liberal arts or humanities without selecting a specific major.
Online liberal arts programs are available at all levels. Here's why you might want to choose each one.
- Associate degree: Completed in two-years, an associate degree can lead to entry level administrative jobs or may be the first step toward a four-year bachelor's degree. One benefit of an associate degree in the liberal arts is that it allows students to sample a number of different subjects and decide where they may want to focus their studies in the future.
- Bachelor's degree: These four-year degrees provide a greater depth of knowledge than what is found in associate degree programs. Upon graduation, students may go on to work in a variety of fields include social services, government, sales, management and education.
- Master's degree: A graduate degree is not always required by employers, but workers may want to consider earning this advanced degree anyway. The AACU says humanities and social sciences students get, on average, a nearly $20,000 bump in their income after earning a graduate degree.
- Doctoral degree: Doctoral degrees are the highest level of education available in the liberal arts. Typically, these degrees are pursued by people who hope to do academic research or teach at the postsecondary level.
The liberal arts lend themselves well to distance learning, and online liberal arts programs can be a good choice for those who want to work while earning their degree. At most institutions, students can log in at whatever time is convenient for them to review course materials and complete assignments.
What is the Career Outlook for Liberal Arts and Humanities Majors?
Many jobs held by liberal arts majors have incomes above the national average. Right out of college, these graduates earn more, on average, than those who majored in physical sciences, natural sciences or mathematics, according to the AACU. By their peak earning years, humanities and social sciences majors make more than those with professional and pre-professional degrees.
Below is a list of some common occupations held by liberal arts majors as well as their average income and each occupation's expected growth.
|Occupation||Level of Education||Average Annual Income (2014)||Expected Job Growth (2014-2024)|
|Public Relations Specialist||Bachelor's Degree||$64,050||6%|
|School and Career Counselor||Master's Degree||$56,040||8%|
|Executive Secretary||Associate Degree||$53,590||3%|
|Administrative Services Manager||Bachelor's Degree||$92,250||8%|
|Sales Manager||Bachelor's Degree||$126,040||5%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
How Can I Enroll in the Right Liberal Arts School?
With so many online liberal arts programs available, it may be difficult to discern which program is right for you. Here are some questions to ask while comparing schools.
- Is the institution accredited?
- What is its retention rate?
- Where are its graduates currently working?
- Is the program ranked through any independent entity, such as the U.S. News & World Report college rankings?
- Can the program be completed 100% online or are there on-campus requirements?
Of course, the best way to find the right program is to visit the campus or talk with a school representative about the institution's online liberal arts programs. The decision of where to go to school is personal, and you want to find a college or university that will not only help you achieve your career goals but also be a good fit for your personality.
We've made it easy to get started. Browse the online liberal arts programs highlighted on this page and take a few seconds to fill out the simple information request form for those that interest you. Then, a school representative will be in touch to personally answer your questions and share more information about their school program.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition,
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014
3. Liberal Arts Graduates and Employment: Setting the Record Straight, Association of American Colleges and Universities (2014)