Is a humanities degree these days asking for a lifetime of debt? Not necessarily.


A stagnant job market and increasingly large student loans shouldn’t leave college graduates worried about income potential, including students in fine arts.

Regardless of majors, there’s an expansion of job opportunities for those that don’t seek pre-medical, pre-law or an economics degree. Also, the next generation of graduates sees careers differently, allowing more flexibility.

“In days gone by people had one career and that was their career for life, and they were really careful in choosing a path” but not anymore,  says Rachel C. Weingarten, author of Career and Corporate Cool.

Liberal Arts Can Pay Off
You don’t have to live in a lab jacket to enter the medicinal field. For students who bypass medical school there are opportunities. For example, instead of becoming a carpenter, a philosophy major can now consider becoming a medical ethicist. In Georgia, the average salary for someone analyzing medical ethical issues is around $96,000.

Even history majors can find lucrative jobs without a law degree. Speech writer and researcher are just a few examples. “Who better to write about, compare and contrast than a history major who examines an era,” says Weingarten. Television shows like “Life on Mars” require researchers to uncover detailed accounts of a period in the 1970s while at the same time earning a great paycheck, says Weingarten.

Skills Can Trump Studies
“More important than your major is marketable and transferable skills,” says Karen Nethersole, CEO and Founder of Full Circle NY. An art history major may have an entrepreneurial spirit that can be used outside of the niche, says Nethersole.
MainStreet talked with Vicky Oliver, the author of Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots to compose a list of alternative careers that can pay the loans.

Major:
English
Potential Careers: Advertising copywriter, Internet marketer, Buyer
Potential Earnings: $79,000

Major: French or Russian or Comparative Literature
Potential Careers: Translator
Potential Earnings: $50,000

Major: History or Political Science
Potential Careers: Paralegal
Potential Earnings: $46,000

Major:
Semiotics or Study of Film
Potential Careers:
PR Account Executive
Potential Earnings: $55,000

Major: Philosophy
Potential Careers: Professional Fundraiser
Potential Earnings: $39,000

Parting Wisdom
Even though loans are real, don’t focus so much on money. “You should follow your passion and if you’re good at something eventually you’ll probably get paid at the top of that profession, with an exception of a few career paths,” says Oliver.

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