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Top 5 Benefits of Earning a Humanities or Liberal Arts Degree

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In today’s fast-paced, technology-based world, it may seem like humanities and liberal arts degrees are falling by the wayside.

More and more, it appears that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields are getting all of the hype and accolades.

But if you are planning to pursue a major in the humanities or liberal arts, don’t worry.

In reality, there are many benefits of earning a humanities or liberal arts degree. Here, we’ll discuss the top five.

1. Marketable Skills

Although it’s true that STEM majors are in high demand, it’s also true that liberal arts and humanities degrees teach students skills that are considered very important in today’s job market.

These skills include:

  • Communication (both oral and written)
  • Creativity/innovation
  • Problem-solving
  • Critical and analytical thinking

Liberal arts and humanities majors write a lot. Writing builds analytical and critical thinking skills, as well as the ability to communicate intelligently and effectively.

  • In the world of social media and email, communication skills, in particular, cannot be underestimated, and this ability is needed at literally every workplace.

Critical and analytical thinking, in addition to problem-solving, are also useful skills in essentially any career field.

  • In fact, 75% of employers identify the most important skills for new hires as communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
  • All three of these skills are heavily emphasized in liberal arts and humanities degree programs.

Creativity and innovation, too, are crucial today.

Employees need the ability to find creative solutions, invent new approaches, and create the latest and greatest advancements and ideas.

Employers seem to be aware of the connection between the liberal arts/humanities and these vital skills.

According to a report by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, 74% of employers say they would recommend a 21st-century liberal arts education to prepare today’s young people for long-term professional success.  

2. Flexibility

The skills listed above mean that liberal arts and humanities degrees offer a great deal of job flexibility and skill crossover.

By nature, the liberal arts are a general area of study.

  • Most liberal arts and humanities degrees are not highly specialized areas of study that can only apply to a couple of jobs.

Skills like writing, creativity, communications, and problem-solving can transfer to a wide variety of fields and careers.

This is especially beneficial in today’s job market, in which many people change careers more than once over the course of a lifetime.

  • Liberal arts and humanities majors have abilities that can allow for smooth career transitions and access to a wide variety of jobs.
  • Consider, for example, an English major.
  • An English major can be a social media manager, a journalist, a blogger, sales writer, or content writer, a teacher, an editor, and more.

Like other liberal arts and humanities majors, an English degree is also a solid path to a graduate degree in fields such as law, media studies, education, or journalism.

Students who study these majors are qualified for jobs in many different fields, and this is a huge benefit to earning a humanities or liberal arts degree.

3. Life Skills & the Liberal Arts Degree

In addition to equipping students with job skills, humanities and liberal arts programs also teach important life skills.

These valuable skills can shape students into better people and better citizens.

  • While studying humanities and liberal arts, students learn about other cultures and places, and they explore issues related to the environment, social justice, cultural diversity, foreign policy, and much more.

Acquiring a broad base of knowledge about people, places, and problems in society can make students more empathetic and understanding.

  • Students gain a deeper understanding of diverse worldviews, which also contributes to skills mentioned earlier like creativity, problem-solving, and innovation.

However, we shouldn’t forget or dismiss the value of simply learning about life and exploring our differences and similarities.

As the world becomes more connected than ever, liberal arts and humanities majors are prepared to communicate with others in an understanding and empathetic fashion.

They’re also ready to make the world a kinder and better place.  

4. Personal and Job Satisfaction

While liberal arts and humanities degrees can certainly lead to lucrative careers, most students who study these fields aren’t motivated by money or notoriety.

For the most part, these students are truly passionate about the majors they have selected.

Passion can go a long way in life and in the workforce.

  • People who are genuinely passionate about and inspired by their jobs tend to be more productive, more successful, and more satisfied.
  • It’s important for you to be able to go to school and eventually work with excitement rather than dread.

For four years, you can learn about art, history, literature, or something else that you find truly fascinating.

After graduation, you can spend a lifetime continuing to learn, explore, and work in this field. This will ultimately result in a happy and satisfying career and life.

5. Ticket to High-Paying Jobs in the Tech World

This may sound counter-intuitive, but Forbes reports that liberal arts and humanities degrees have actually become “tech’s hottest ticket.”

Why?

Because of some of the critically important jobs skills listed earlier. Each wave of new technology also requires people who are skilled in marketing, sales, and communication.

  • Innovators and techies also need people who can connect with others, discover what people want, and share highly technical ideas effectively with the masses.

The creativity and problem solving of liberal arts and humanities majors can also be very advantageous in the tech world.

  • From Silicon Valley to Seattle, major software companies are discovering the importance of critical and creative liberal arts thinking skills.
  • You may have heard of Slack, a platform for team-based messaging. In just two years, Slack gained 1.1 million users and a private market valuation of $2.8 billion.
  • The brain behind this operation? CEO and co-founder Stewart Butterfield, who holds multiple degrees in philosophy.

Butterfield states that philosophy taught him “to write really clearly” and to “follow an argument all the way down, which is invaluable in running meetings.”

A humanities and liberal arts degree doesn’t necessarily mean you will miss out on the lucrative and constantly evolving technology field.

There will always be a need for sales, marketing, blogging, communications, and creative innovation—and a liberal arts or humanities degree can provide the perfect foundation.

Conclusion: Benefits of a Liberal Arts Degree

You don’t have to steer away from a humanities or liberal arts major, and there’s no need to buy into the negative stereotypes associated with these areas of study.

In reality, you will learn crucial job and life skills, have flexibility to work in a variety of careers, truly enjoy what you’re doing, and also have the potential to work in high-paying technology jobs for years to come.

The benefits of earning a liberal arts or humanities degree speak for themselves.

If this is something that you are interested in pursuing, it can lead to just as much success and satisfaction as a more conventional STEM major.

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