Some students see their college education as training for a specific job. But, most employers are seeking candidates that can grow and change in an ever-evolving workplace. Sure, young people interested in science and technology often enter very specific training programs to become doctors or engineers. But, most students need to learn how to communicate, think critically and work in a team to find future career success. These are the skills a liberal arts education provides.
Employers Want the Skills of Liberal Arts Graduates
Students in liberal arts programs develop the attributes most employers need. While trade schools prepare students for careers based on what they need to know today, liberal arts students graduate with the ability to adapt to tomorrow’s careers in a variety of areas from business to public service.
When asked about the traits they look for in workers, employers overwhelmingly state skills emphasized in liberal arts programs: creativity, problem-solving, communication, independent thinking and teamwork.
Liberal arts education fosters flexible thought and critical thinking skills that are especially crucial in the fast-paced and rapidly changing corporate world. Media careers and technology firms also require candidates to shift gears quickly and think analytically.
Liberal arts students typically form a strong work ethic and become life-long learners, meaning they are willing to work hard and adapt well to new circumstances and environments. In a job market where people average 11 job changes throughout their careers, this ability to make changes and mid-career course corrections is essential.
Importantly, employers are willing to pay more for the skills liberal arts graduates bring to the workplace. The average starting salary for a liberal arts graduate is $48,600. Mid-career liberal arts graduates typically earn $93,500.
There are many ways to define success, and each college student needs to start their academic career assessing their strengths and interests. Students should develop a plan for where they want their education to lead them, knowing that they may make changes along the way.
While liberal arts degrees aren’t the best choice for everyone, they are a solid choice for those interested in exploring humanities, literature and social sciences. Private liberal arts colleges also offer benefits such as a supportive campus environment, meaningful relationships with faculty members and strong alumni connections.
For more information about liberal arts colleges and the value of a liberal arts education, please visit LiberalArtsColleges.com.