It’s a no-brainer that students who major in fields such as engineering, business, science and mathematics are probably destined for a relatively lucrative career. On the flip side, there are endless jokes and stereotypes that say that humanities and arts majors are bound to be starving artists and will struggle to make ends meet – unless they edge their way into a career that is a far cry from what they majored in.
The reality, fortunately, is that the future isn’t completely bleak for those who don’t count math and science as among their strengths. Some students who choose open-ended humanities and arts majors can actually open their future prospects to surprisingly well-paid jobs. There are also plenty of majors, like fashion design or film production, that directly lead to lucrative careers. And finally, forget all of the jokes about philosophy and linguistics majors, because they actually are in demand in some well-paid fields.
So while majors in engineering or chemistry are bound to land a comfortable job, here are a few college majors for the less math or science-inclined that can also result in some sizable paychecks.
Government jobs are notoriously high paid, and often seek political science majors to fill job openings. Nonprofits, domestic and international companies, political campaigns and lobby groups are also constantly looking for political science majors to fill roles ranging from lobbyist to analyst. Graduates with a good understanding of politics, public policy, society, international affairs and more are highly desirable to these employers. In addition, political science prepares individuals to be analytical and they can pursue administrative jobs in organizations that also pay well. Political science can also provide a good basis for those who want to work in business. According to Bankrate, the median and mid-career pay for a government or political science major is around $80,000 with many political science majors easily making over 6-figures.
Although many assume that journalists only end up working in traditional areas of the field such as in the print media or broadcasting, those with a background in journalism also tend to be in high demand in lucrative areas such as marketing and communications. Then again, a few journalists can work their way into well paying jobs within traditional media: Matt Lauer is worth $60 million, Anderson Cooper is worth $100 million, and Jane Pauley is worth $15 million, to name a few. Mid-career, a typical journalism major can expect to earn around $71,300 a year, according to Payscale.
Marketing might seem like a softer major than administration or finance, but according to Forbes, America’s top marketing managers at companies such as Symantic and Assurant made close to $10 million dollars, says Forbes. Marketing is a broad category: careers can range from a market researcher, to a marketing director (someone who handles everything in a company), to ecommerce and online marketing positions. Larger companies will easily shell out six-figure salaries for talented marketing managers and directors, and if you rise to the top and really stand out to the right companies, a salary might even reach millions of dollars.
As the New York Times reported a few years ago, more and more students are opting to study philosophy. Once they are done with their studies, graduates with a philosophy degree actually do relatively well career-wise: philosophy turns out graduates with higher earnings potential than many other arts and humanities-related fields. A mid-career salary for a philosophy major can be $84,000, according to Payscale. Part of the reason philosophy majors can expect higher-paid jobs down the road is because they hone their writing and analytical skills in college; these abilities can be channeled into many different careers. Philosophy majors tend to move on to careers in science, politics, and law, and many philosophy majors also find a place in business.
International Relations students learn a lot about global economics and world politics, and can turn that knowledge into a career in international business, teaching, research and more. Like political science majors, international relations majors can expect to find jobs in both the private and public sector and they can expect a salary around $80,000, according to Payscale. Some examples of International Relations careers include very high paying government jobs, such as intelligence analyst.
Fashion design is an industry that impacts everyone: after all, everyone needs clothing, right? Those who graduate with a degree in fashion design might dream of becoming the next big name in the industry. Being a big name designer can be a lucrative career with salaries in the hundreds of thousands of dollars (the top clothing designers make over $127,000
Film production majors might have dreams of making it big in Hollywood, and certainly if they do find success they can eventually land a Blockbuster salary. But even the graduates of film programs who don’t land a spot making high budget films can still find a solid job with a decent salary. Knowing how to do things behind the scenes in environments ranging from news studios to film sets can translate into good money. The best-paid careers in film are producers and directors, who, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, earned around $122,640 in the Los Angeles area, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The career options for graduates in linguistics are surprisingly diverse and well-paid. Many linguistics majors, especially those who know a 2nd or 3rd language, can get jobs in translation or interpreting, which usually commands high rates per hour. Computational linguistics is another growing field: this is a crossover between computer systems and language. Those who work in this field build products such as translation software and localization software. Many linguistics majors are highly sought after for this type of work. Finally, linguistic majors can also work in well-paid marketing careers, especially for companies that deal with marketing products or services across countries and languages. Mid-career, a linguistics major can expect to earn $79,300, Payscale has reported.
The hospitality industry is big business, and mid-level and executive level jobs in hospitality management can be quite well paid. This might just be the excuse you need to major in Hotel Management. Hospitality or Hotel Management majors gain knowledge of business, marketing, public relations, and other aspects of this demanding career in their studies, preparing them for a career not only at hotels but also at casinos, on cruise lines and other areas of the tourism industry. Some of these careers are lucrative: for instance, the median salary of a casino property manager is around $200,000 a year, as HCareers has reported.
Food science majors learn how to make their way in the world of food production and processing, quality assurance, marketing, product development, research and more. Those who study food science learn about the process of making, testing and manufacturing food, which can result in some well-paid positions for major food-producing corporations later on. As for job security, food is a safe bet when it comes to an industry to work in: after all, food items are something that everyone needs and purchases. A typical food science major will earn $78,500 mid-career according to Payscale.
English Literature is another open-ended degree that comes with a huge amount of flexibility and freedom when it is time for majors to decide on a career path. The generalization is that English literature majors will end up teaching or writing, but there are many other careers for English majors to pursue: among them, careers such as marketing and marketing communications, technical writing, journalism, and public relations all are areas that English lit majors can find a place in. The highest paid jobs that English majors might consider going after include sales or lobbying, which require the strong communications skills that English majors possess. $76,500 mid-career is a typical salary for English lit majors, says Payscale. with the possibility of much more depending on where they manage to find a niche.
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