Careers for Cultural Studies Majors

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue as a cultural studies major. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and licensure information. Schools offering Culture & Media Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Careers Are Available in Cultural Studies?

Cultural studies careers may be wide and varied. With a background in cultural studies, teaching is a definite arena that could be a calling. Of course if you are one of those cultural studies students who did his work up close and personal, you could write about your adventures with those different cultures. If you are more of the artifacts and cultures type of person, you could prepare yourself for a career in a museum.

Cultural studies majors can pursue a wide range of positions, including jobs as teachers, writers, and museum administrators. Find out more about potential career choices in the chart below.

Secondary School Teacher Writer Museum Worker
Degree Required Bachelor's degree (minimum); master's degree Bachelor's degree not required but may be preferred Master's degree for most museum positions
Licensure/Certification License or certification required None Professional certification optional
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% (for all high school teachers)* 2% (for all writers and authors)* 7% (for all archivists, curators, and museum workers)*
Median Salary (2015) $57,200 (for all secondary school teachers)* $60,250 (for all writers and authors)* $46,710 (for all curators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is Cultural Studies?

As a cultural studies major, you'll study a broad range of disciplines as they relate to how humans organize and experience the world. For example, you might take courses in literature, philosophy, music, art, history and religion. You'll explore how these disciplines reflect or contribute to human culture, ethics and values. You'll also examine cultural issues, such as gender, race and social inequalities. The courses you take throughout your program will help you understand commonalities and differences found in various cultures all over the world. Some programs allow you to choose a concentration based on your interests, such as women's studies, religious studies, art history, literature, communications or philosophy.

What Are My Career Options?

Because cultural studies is a scholarly field, a bachelor's degree program can help you develop your critical thinking, writing and research skills. These skills can be applied to a variety of careers. After earning your bachelor's degree in cultural studies, you'll be prepared to go on to graduate school or enter a career field such as journalism, grant writing, human services or public history. Some programs offer teacher preparation concentrations so that you'll be able to apply for teaching certification and become a K-12 teacher after graduation.

What Are the Career and Salary Prospects?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of kindergarten and elementary school teachers was expected to increase 6% from 2014-2024, while employment of high school teachers was expected to increase just six percent during the same time frame. In May 2015, the BLS reported that elementary school teachers earned a median salary of $54,550, and secondary school teachers earned a median of $57,200. Similar to that of high school teachers, employment of archivists, curators, and museum workers was expected to increase 7% between 2014 and 2024, and employment of writers and authors was expected to increase two percent. The BLS indicated that museum technicians and conservators earned a median yearly wage of $40,340 in May 2015, while writers and authors earned $60,250.

What Job Options Are Available if I Go to Graduate School?

If you'd like to further your education in cultural studies, master's degree and Ph.D. programs are available. Upon graduation from a graduate degree program in cultural studies, some of the job titles you'll be prepared for include cultural researcher, museum administrator, documentary filmmaker, social advocate, postsecondary educator and community outreach coordinator. Another option after earning your bachelor's degree is to go on to law school and become a lawyer. If you're more interested in business, you could decide to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA), which could bring you upper-level management opportunities.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

With a bachelor's degree there are a lot of different open and related career fields. Writers could become editors or technical writers working for companies reviewing the written material produced or rewriting complex material for journals or how-to manuals. With their bachelor's, high school teachers might switch to middle schools, technical education or career education. With a master's in education you could become a building principal in an elementary, middle or high school. Also with a master's you might consider being a historian or librarian. Historians work exclusively with the past studying events and people, recording their findings, and preserving that past for future generations. Librarians may work for public or private schools, law companies or other archived collections. Based on the type of library, you could take care of the volumes of books, or you may be in charge of private research for a company or individual clients.

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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