Celebrating my 100th post with a look at where a bachelor’s degree can take you.
By Anne Vaccaro Brady
When your son or daughter announced they wanted to major in English, your first words might have been, “And what are you going to do with that?” Parents have also mistakenly reacted this way when their kids said they were going to study history or acting or economics. Before you dismiss your child’s choice of major, read on to learn more about the opportunities available to them once they have their bachelor’s degree. Some are jobs they can get right out of college and others are where they can end up with some work experience in their field, most without an advanced degree.
Mathematics The problem-solving and analytical skills of math grads make them attractive to potential employers beyond their obvious number-crunching abilities. Yes, they can be financial analysts and statisticians, but there are other doors open to them. Career paths for mathematicians include actuary, technical support engineer, air traffic controller, biostatistician, cartographer, foreign exchange trader, hydrologist, video game manager or meteorologist.
English Prized for their ability to write, think critically, research and take a position, English majors are qualified for jobs that go beyond a novelist or book editor. They can consider work as a private tutor, corporate communications specialist, congressional aide, copy editor, lobbyist, marketing communications manager, film researcher, literary agent or a user documentation writer.
History Though history majors are often expected to go onto law school, they have other choices after graduation. Their research skills and knowledge base make them attractive to various employers. They can have a career as a researcher, editor, advocate, information manager, stock analyst, tourism bureau manager, intelligence agent, marketing manager, sales representative for a scholarly press or national parks service guide.
Economics Students who choose this major sometimes view it as an alternative to a business degree, or a step toward earning their MBA. But economics grads know how to solve complex problems, have developed their observation skills, can infer things from data and are able to present their ideas. This opens up career paths as an urban planning researcher, appraiser, asset manager, government relations advisor, trade policy analyst, economic development coordinator, public finance specialist, cost estimator, international trade specialist or analyst for the foreign service, the State Department or the CIA.
Psychology Not everyone who studies psychology wants to be a psychiatrist. Understanding how individuals think, react and are influenced means psych grads have a lot of insight to offer to many fields. These jobs can include work as an alumni director, advertising sales representative, career counselor, corrections officer, customer service manager, human resources advisor, marketing research analyst, volunteer coordinator, benefits manager or writer.
Chemistry Although an advanced degree in chemistry leads to high-level research jobs, those with bachelor’s degrees are valued for their research and lab experience, and rigorous coursework in the sciences. Majors can become a chemical analyst, catalytic chemist, chemical information specialist, biochemist, chemical sales representative or marketer, environmental chemist, research and development manager, science writer, hazardous waste management specialist or material scientist.
Communications The ability to clearly express ideas, influence an audience and take advantage of the ever-expanding media universe creates career paths in business, sales, healthcare and more for communications majors. Jobs they’re equipped for include marketing and event planner, advertising account manager, broadcast news analyst, human resources manager, negotiator/mediator, community relations director, health care administrator, business trainer, diplomat or buyer.
Business After graduation, business majors enter the workforce with accounting, marketing, management and analytical skills. They can put these to use as an accounting associate, credit analyst, sales broker, operations manager, employment recruiter, escrow closer, facilities coordinator, financial analyst, consultant or investment banker.
Visual/performing arts These grads have been trained to be actors, directors, writers, dancers, painters, sculptors and musicians, but their career paths can go in other interesting directions, too. Arts majors find jobs in their field as a critic, development associate, booking agent/manager, concert promoter, theatre manager, publicist, music journalist, exhibition designer, media planner or production associate.
Sociology Understanding society and how groups of people interact in it and with each other are important talents to bring to a job. Areas of employment for sociology grads include consumer relations worker, merchandiser, recruiter, trainer, fundraiser, foreign service officer, admissions counselor, data analyst, public opinion surveyor or Secret Service agent.
These are only a sample of the jobs and career paths open to students in these majors. [I did not include teaching jobs in these lists since most require an advanced degree in the short-term.] Use this post to help your future or current college student start to think about what they’d like to do after graduation and begin researching how to get there.
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