Philosophy Majors: Salary and Career Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue as a philosophy graduate. Read on to learn more about career options along with job descriptions and duties as well as salary information. Schools offering Liberal Arts degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Can I Do With a Philosophy Major?

Philosophy majors study ancient and contemporary thinkers, learning critical thought patterns and pondering the mysteries of the world. Degree-holders can put their skills to work in varied careers such as teaching, writing, and operations management. Teachers educate students on a certain subject and must understand their thought patterns to help facilitate learning. Writers work for a variety of different companies and businesses to create text and print for a number of reasons, or write their own books. Operational managers direct work in many areas of a company deemed too specialized for any single department. They organize employees, assign work, make schedules, and perform any other duties to keep the business functioning.

The following chart gives more information about these options.

Teacher Writer Operational Manager
Degree Required Bachelor's Bachelor's Bachelor's
Key Responsibilities Plan lessons, teach, and evaluate students Research topics, write fiction and/or non-fiction, work with editors or clients Supervising, planning, assigning, and evaluating work
Licensure or Certification License required Not applicable Certification optional
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% (for elementary, middle school, and high school teachers)* 2% (for writers and authors)* 7% (for general and operations managers)*
Median Salary (2015) $54,890 (elementary)*, $55,860 (middle)*, $57,200 (high)* $60,250 (for writers and authors)* $97,730 (for general and operations managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does the Philosophy Major Include?

As a philosophy major, you can specialize in topics like ethics, pre-law, metaphysics, or religious studies. Undergraduate philosophy degrees are available as a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Philosophy or a Bachelor of Philosophy. Some schools require philosophy majors to undertake an independent research project or thesis paper. You can expect to complete courses in ancient Greek philosophy, modern philosophy, and logic.

What Jobs Can I Do?

As a philosophy graduate, you could become a teacher, a writer, or an operational manager. A Bachelor of Philosophy or B.A. in Philosophy program focuses on language and logic, two areas essential to these careers. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for teachers, managers, and writers, although in many cases, teachers will need certification and training in the field of education.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), to become a teacher, students with a bachelor's degree in any field other than education must complete an alternative licensing process (www.bls.gov).The BLS states that an individual wishing to teach without a background in education can move toward licensure by taking required courses. In some situations, teachers may be granted a provisional license in order to address an area's shortage of instructors.

According to the National Center for Alternative Certification (NCAC), paths to licensure vary from state to state (www.teach-now.org). The NCAC states that individuals within six hours of their teaching certificate may obtain a 3-year non-renewable license. In Florida, individuals must qualify for a 3-year temporary, non-renewable license and have extensive knowledge of the topic they wish to teach.

Writers may specialize in a particular content area, like books, magazines, television and radio broadcasts, or technical materials, according to the BLS. Writers are responsible for researching subjects for both fiction and non-fiction publication, whether in a novel, magazine article, or company newsletter. There were 43,380 individuals working as authors and writers in 2015, the BLS notes.

In the business world, operations managers are responsible for directing public or private companies and organizations. As an operations manager, you would be responsible for communications within the organization and with outside entities, according to O*Net Online (online.onetcenter.org). The BLS reports that you may be responsible for managing personnel, making economic decisions for the company, or determining the best use of resources.

How Much Can I Earn?

According to Payscale.com, in 2016, elementary school teachers earned a median salary of $43,547, including bonus and profit-sharing payments. Payscale.com further states that middle school teachers reported earnings of $45,777 and high school teachers reported earnings of $47,630 during the same year.

Meanwhile, authors nationwide earned a median $50,541, according to an October 2016 Payscale.com survey.

Operations managers reported earnings of $60,904 in October 2016 (Payscale.com). BLS statistics indicated that the top-paying industries for operations managers in 2015 were in insurance and employee benefits funds, securities and commodities exchanges, and other forms of financial investment activities.

What Are Some Related Careers?

Special education teachers are a type of teacher who work with disabled children to help them learn through different techniques more suited to their individual personalities and with respect to their disabilities. Some states may require special education teachers to hold a master's degree, though this is not universal. Editors provide a service to many writers and authors, checking what they've written for spelling, grammatical, and style errors that could compromise the work. CEOs and CFOs are another type of executive, often overseeing the work done by general and operations mangers. Educational requirements vary by position, but a bachelor's degree is the minimum education needed.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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