11 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get with a Liberal Arts Degree 

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Students who pursue a liberal arts major gain valuable workplace skills—like communication, critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving—that they can apply to many jobs.

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In fact, many employers seek candidates with a liberal arts background, knowing they'll possess certain transferable skills that tend to contribute to a company’s overall diversity and in turn foster smarter teams. 

While earning your Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree at a liberal arts college, you’ll gain an interdisciplinary education in the humanities, arts, social sciences, and natural sciences. With that variety, you can explore myriad roles after graduation. Liberal arts graduates go on to work in numerous industries, including education, business, management, and sales, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) [1]. 

Let’s take a look at several high-paying jobs you can explore with your liberal arts degree.  

*Data on average/median US salaries, the number of job listings, and projected job growth for 2030 for these careers was taken from Glassdoor and BLS data, as of March 2022.  

12 high-paying jobs for liberal arts graduates

1. Technical writer 

Average salary: $74,650

Projected growth for 2030: 12 percent

Technical writers translate dense concepts into clear and comprehensive written products. They often work with subject matter experts to create instruction manuals or guides to help users navigate products and processes. Technical writers work in a number of industries, including business, technology, and finance.  

Related liberal arts subjects: English, communication studies, natural sciences, math

Key transferable skills: Researching, writing, communicating, problem-solving, critical thinking   

2. Human resources specialist  

Average salary: $63,490

Projected growth for 2030: 10 percent

Companies require astute human resource teams to identify and hire the best talent. It’s a crucial part of keeping a company not just operating but thriving. Human resource specialists either work to recruit top talent or onboard new hires to make sure they’re settled in their roles. 

Related liberal arts subjects: Psychology, sociology, communication studies, foreign languages, philosophy 

Key transferable skills: Evaluating, interviewing, empathy, coordinating, listening, planning

3. Graphic designer 

Average salary: $53,380

Projected growth for 2030: 3 percent

Graphic designers use their creativity and technical know-how to generate visual elements that help companies define their ideas, brand, products, and services. Factoring in elements like layout and color choice, graphic designers use key tools, like Figma and Adobe, in order to shape a visual story that stands out.   

Related liberal arts subjects: Art, art history, creative studies

Key transferable skills: Creativity, planning, coordinating, communication, collaboration, decision making 

4. Mediator 

Average salary: $66,130

Projected growth for 2030: 10 percent

Disagreements or disputes naturally arise in life. Mediators work with parties to understand the issue they’re facing and reach a new outcome. As such, mediators often have to help parties regulate their emotions and parse facts in order to achieve an agreement that feels fair to everyone involved. 

Related liberal arts subjects: Psychology, communication studies, sociology 

Key transferable skills: Evaluating, empathy, interviewing, listening, communication, record keeping, critical thinking

5. Translator

Average salary: $52,330

Projected growth for 2030: 22 percent

Translators render information from one language to another in written form. They can work in a variety of industries—such as business, technology, and publishing—thanks to the needs that many different companies have when it comes to communicating with clients in other countries.  

Related liberal arts subjects: Foreign languages, English, communication studies, creative writing 

Key transferable skills: Interviewing, listening, communication, adaptability, patience, collaboration  

6. High school teacher 

Average salary: $62,870

Projected growth for 2030: 8 percent

Liberal arts graduates can teach at many levels, including elementary and middle school. But high school teachers work with students who are preparing to enter college or the professional world. They also tend to specialize in a subject, rather than teach a number of subjects.  

Related liberal arts subjects: English, communication studies, psychology, foreign languages, natural sciences, math 

Key transferable skills: Communicating, listening, planning, flexibility, adaptability, problem-solving, patience, (classroom) management

7. Public relations specialist 

Average salary: $62,810

Projected growth for 2030: 11 percent

Companies need professionals who can help them maintain their public image—and share important news or developments about what they do. Public relations specialists often work to synthesize a company’s narrative and identify ways to promote it to the media and the public. 

Related liberal arts subjects: Communication studies, English, psychology 

Key transferable skills: Communication, coordinating, planning, public speaking, diligence, problem-solving, teamwork

8. Event planner 

Average salary: $51,560

Projected growth for 2030: 18 percent

Event planners take care of coordinating different occasions, either for a company as an employee or independently as a consultant. They often work with a company’s stakeholders to identify what the primary goals of an event will be, and then find and book venues, hire vendors, and synchronize other logistics. 

Related liberal arts subjects: Communication studies, psychology, sociology 

Key transferable skills: Planning, budgeting, problem-solving, teamwork, adaptability, attention to detail, communication 

9. Social media manager

Average salary: $55,117

Projected growth for 2030: 10 percent

Social media managers oversee a company or brand’s presence on social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They often have to be strong writers and editors to ensure that the copy they (or their team) write is on-brand and error-free. They are also typically responsible for brainstorming new social campaigns and scheduling posts. 

Related liberal arts subjects: Writing, communicating, planning, collaborating, attention to detail, problem-solving

Key transferable skills: Evaluating, interviewing, empathy, coordinating, listening, planning

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10. Substance abuse counselor 

Average salary: $47,660

Projected growth for 2030: 23 percent

A substance abuse counselor helps people dealing with substance abuse and behavioral issues, such as drug or alcohol addiction, eating disorders, gambling addiction, and more. They either work with individuals one-on-one or in group settings to help them identify their issues, alter their behavior, and work toward recovery. 

Related liberal arts subjects: Psychology, sociology, philosophy, rehabilitation services 

Key transferable skills: Empathy, listening, interviewing, evaluating, facilitating group discussions, defining needs, organization 

11. Fundraiser 

Average salary: $59,610

Projected growth for 2030: 16 percent

Fundraisers work to raise donations for a company or organization through various events, campaigns, and other efforts. Typically, they work in the non-profit sector, identifying and building relationships with donors, launching campaigns or initiatives, and successfully meeting quarterly or yearly quotas to keep their organization running. 

Related liberal arts subjects: Psychology, communication studies, English, sociology  

Key transferable skills: Planning, coordinating, developing rapport, budgeting, communicating, attention to detail, critical thinking, salesmanship 

5 ways to make the most of your liberal arts degree

Unlike a degree from a four-year college or university in a subject that prepares you for a specific career path, such as business or computer science, a liberal arts degree can prepare you for many different types of work. You can strengthen your job candidacy while you’re still working toward your degree by following the tips below. 

Intern: Use your time at your liberal arts college effectively by finding internships that allow you to explore at least one or two different types of work or industries. Interning also can help you network, which may lead to helpful connections after graduation.  

Build a portfolio: For certain professions, like graphic design, social media, and technical writing, it helps to have a few examples when you begin looking for work. If possible, seek out freelance or volunteer work and add what you produce for a client to your portfolio. 

Network: Whether through your professors, your peers, or a professional organization, begin to make connections that can help you find employment after graduation. The average job posting receives around 250over 100 applications, so if you know someone (or know someone who knows someone) at a company, it may help you receive more attention when you apply [2]. 

Informational interview: Similar to networking, reach out to people who do work that sounds interesting or who work in an industry you’re interested in learning more about. Ask them for an informational interview, and spend 30 minutes or so discussing their work and how they got started so you have a better idea about what you need to do. 

Search jobs listings: Before you graduate, take time to research what you’d like to do and the common skills you’ll need to do it. If you can dedicate any time to learning specific tools or programs, or refining any major workplace skills, you may be a stronger applicant in the long run. 

Learn more: 10 High-Paying Jobs for English Majors

Getting started

Interested in studying a subject within the liberal arts?

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Article Sources

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Field of Degree: Liberal Arts, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/field-of-degree/liberal-arts/liberal-arts-field-of-degree.htm.” Accessed March 22, 2022.  

2. SmallBizGenius. “70 Recruitment Statistics for Attracting Top Talent in 2022, https://www.smallbizgenius.net/by-the-numbers/recruitment-statistics/#gref." Accessed March 21, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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