In the late 20th century, technology increased exponentially, while productivity (the amount of wealth created per capita) did not keep pace. What does this mean to someone determining whether or not to get a liberal arts degree? It means that, while technological change in society is inevitable, it’s only ONE factor in economic growth. Even more, the workplace of today is one that is constantly changing.
As a result, employers are looking for candidates that are well rounded and capable of adapting to changes. Yes, Virginia, there are actually career opportunities for people with Bachelor of Arts Degrees.
“The Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) is distinguished by its humanistic emphasis. Students who complete a BA may satisfy the degree requirements by taking courses that advance their understanding of human culture through analysis of ideas; perception of differences; appreciation of art and creative products through understanding art forms, beauty, and symmetry; knowledge of theories and principles of form, substance, argument and philosophy; understanding of the interaction between language” ...
The demand for applicants possessing Bachelor of Arts Degrees can only go up. As globalization spreads, businesses now spend a lot of time working with cultures very different from our own. China, India, Southeast Asia, and Africa all offer an enormous amount of business opportunities for businesses—and employees—able to adapt.
Tangible skills are great in a global economy. Engineers, for example, will always be needed to build bridges or study to structure of buildings. However, there are certain skills inherent to a Bachelor of Arts degree that makes it a valuable commodity in today’s market.
• Critical thinking skills
The ability to problem solve using information at-hand and to generalize information.
• Argument skills
The ability to use logic and facts to persuade others.
• Communication skills
The ability to clearly express one’s views in oral and written presentations.
• Information Management
The ability to sort and interpret data.
• Design and Planning Skills
The ability to critically look at a problem from different perspectives and identify alternative solutions.
• Research and investigation skills
The ability to find and formulate information.
• Management and Administration Skills
The ability to analyze tasks, set priorities, and communicate goals to others
Clearly, many learned skills make a Bachelor of Arts degree make it a valuable asset. However, if you have a Bachelor of Arts degree—or plan on getting one—don’t go spending your paycheck just yet. While you may be surprised to hear that a Bachelor of Arts degree is marketable, the old stereotype of liberal arts majors making small change is rightly earned. Recently a study conducted at eh University of British Columbia showed that liberal arts majors typically begin their careers in low-paying jobs. However, with a little patience, liberal arts majors will see their income more than double between their 20's and 50's. In addition people with BA’s are more likely to advance into professional positions than their Bachelor of Science counterparts.
Recently, a prominent American economist, Robert Reich, identified the skills that would best serve people in the 21st century employment arena. Reich stated that people who think abstractly, have conceptual abilities, can think critically, can analyze problems with their solutions, have general research skills, and can communicate effectively will be the most employable. Students with Bachelor of Arts degrees have shown that they know how to think abstractly, think critically, and communicate effectively. Therefore, in many ways graduates with Bachelor of Arts degrees face an open world with many career possibilities. In no way, however, do they face extinction in either the social world or the working one. To the contrary, the more the world evolves and the market shifts, the more employers will seek applicants who are able to shift as well.
There are certain limitations to getting a Bachelor of Arts degree that cannot, and should not, be ignored. First of all, a Bachelor of Arts degree will not provide a narrow scope of tangible skills. It cannot provide the skills necessary to, say, become a doctor or a chemist. So, if you have your heart set on a career in science or technology, a Bachelor of Arts degree may not be your best bet. However, there are other many other careers for which a Bachelor of Arts degree would provide a perfect match. Just a small sampling of liberal arts study areas and career possibilities are:
commercial arts, media, photography, art therapy
• Biological Sciences
technical writing, laboratory assistant, technician, research assistant, technologist
public relations, retail management, sales, market research, advertising, education
education, public relations, technical writing, publishing
• Foreign Language
FBI, CIA, publishing, film industry, commerce, international business
• Political Science
journalism, non-profit work, business, broadcasting, law (post-grad)
Clearly, the number of degree programs and the career possibilities are limitless. The primary reason, of course, is that a Bachelor of Arts degree covers such a wide range of study that graduates are academically prepared to take on virtually any career avenue they desire.
Just like their Bachelor of Science brothers and sisters, those seeking a Bachelor of Arts degree must spend time researching their prospective career fields to determine what educational path is right for them. Doing so will not only ensure proper training, but future career success as well. The career possibilities for those possessing a Bachelor of Arts degree are limitless. However, finding a Bachelor of Arts degree program that suits today’s working world is not only possible—it’s easy.