With this century's focus on STEM majors, it can sometimes seem like liberal arts majors are getting the short end of the stick. And while tech businesses are certainly booming, there are still more than enough excellent jobs to go around for those whose passions lie elsewhere. The goal of a liberal arts degree is to give students a well-rounded education, which means that graduates with these degrees are well suited to lines of work that require wearing many hats. These are Vault's ranking for the Best Industries for Liberal Arts Majors, all of which can provide vibrant, varied career opportunities for those just getting started.
Public relations is a nearly $9 billion industry with a mission to manage and build the reputations of companies and individuals. It does this by aiming specific information at target audiences, such as the public, investors, partners, or employees, to introduce or maintain a particular perception of the company or individual. The way a company, brand, or person—and this can be anyone from a celebrity to a corporate executive or political figure—is portrayed in the media and perceived by the public is a strong determiner of popularity. Greater popularity can translate to increased product sales, greater company revenue, more fans, and even more votes. And when a company or person faces a reputation-shaking crisis, it's the PR representative who strategizes what to write about the situation and where and when to share that message to make the client look as good as possible.
The advertising industry is a global, multibillion-dollar business that serves as a conduit between manufacturers and consumers. There are more than 65,000 advertising businesses employing more than 248,000 workers in the United States. Whether for nonprofit organizations or Fortune 500 companies, advertising agencies are hired to cultivate brand identities, persuade consumers to switch brands, launch new products, and lobby for political issues. The advertising industry creates and manages the connection between companies, products, and consumers, translating their clients' messages into effective campaigns.
A nonprofit organization serves the public interest and is exempt from federal income taxes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) classifies nonprofits with certain codes based on their purpose. In general, tax-exempt organizations are classified as 501(c) organizations. The purposes that nonprofits have vary widely. Their mission may be charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering international or national amateur sports competition, or the prevention of cruelty to animals or children. The IRS lists 26 different types of nonprofit organizations.
Nearly one in four Americans is an enrolled student at any given time. This enormous segment of the U.S. population encompasses people of all ages and from all walks of life. American students have a wide range of educational goals—from learning their ABCs to obtaining an M.D.—but each of these students needs the support of dedicated educators in order to obtain the knowledge and skills they need. As a result of this great demand for talented educators, there are job opportunities for teachers in every geographical region of the country. Education is America's second largest industry, and the different career tracks within education are as varied as the national population of its students.
Journalism is the dissemination of verifiable information through public media. One way to understand how journalists differ from other sources of news, such as propagandists and advertisers, is to consider the detailed code of ethics that the Society of Professional Journalists has compiled. For example, the code specifies that journalists must base their stories on truthful sources; identify sources wherever possible; not stage events; avoid stereotyping; distinguish between advocacy and news reporting; avoid pandering to lurid curiosity; respect the different privacy rights of private people and public officials; and avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
Interested in more careers for liberal arts majors? Check out Vault's full list of top industries for liberal arts majors.