When you hear the word “humanities”, you might associate it immediately with literature and the arts. But the term encompasses a whole host of other fields ranging from languages to philosophy to communications. And, at times, people mistake the humanities to include the social sciences, too. However, they are two different things as social sciences focus more on psychology, history, and economics. Nevertheless, they have a commonality: they are focused on human life and the evolution and behavior of humans in social and cultural settings (Into Study, n.d.).
Traversing myriad industries and career paths, humanities and social sciences graduates can strive for education, business, media and communication, social services, and many more careers. Notable ones are preschool teachers, library assistants, research analysts, journalists, economists, and political scientists (Epps, 2020). Wherever your interests may lie in, significant skills honed through these fields are greatly valued by many employers across industries, capable of establishing a strong foundation for advanced degrees in many specializations.
You can find out where the humanities and social sciences career path may take you in this guide, especially in terms of job options, salary potential, and career advancement.
One good reason to take the humanities and social sciences career path is that these disciplines are pivotal to future societies. They help us remain connected to reality despite our generation going almost completely digital, guiding us to make better decisions and become more inquisitive. If you pursue social science careers now, you have a wealth of options from which to choose. On top of that, careers in the field have a positive outlook.
Graduates of humanities and social sciences degrees develop highly adaptable life-long skills, such as arguing compellingly, leading a team, communicating effectively, conducting research, analyzing huge problems and data sets, and deciding on crucial matters. They improve their quality of living, making their professions more fulfilling, far-reaching, and engaging (Fullerton University, n.d.).
Depending on the industry, degree level, and type of occupation, outlook for the humanities and social sciences careers differ. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects that the number of jobs in these fields will increase by 7% from 2018 to 2028 (Epps, 2020).
Moreover, the average humanities and social sciences salary was $68,160 in 2019, much higher than the average salary for all other jobs. Still, salaries differ by profession due to the diversity of these fields.
The table below shows the possible jobs, early career pay, and job satisfaction rate of humanities graduates.
|Humanities Major||Possible Jobs With This Major||Early Career Pay||Job Satisfaction|
|Exercise Physiology Major||Exercise Physiologist, Personal Trainer, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Exercise Specialist||$38,000||72%|
|Mass Communication||PR Specialist, Meeting/Event Planner, College Alumni and Development Officer, Media Planner, Social Media Manager, HR Specialist||$41,300||45%|
|Linguistics||EFL Teacher, Lexicographer, Publishing Copyeditor/Proofreader, Speech and Language Therapist, Teaching Assistant||$47,900||40%|
|Digital Media||Media Planner, Multimedia Specialist, Program Researcher, Broadcasting/Film/Video, PR Officer, Runner, Social Media Manager||$42,300||36%|
|Journalism||Journalist, Managing Editor, Publications Editor||$42,600||42%|
Humanities and social sciences workers will be tasked to probe events, developments, problems, and more, both historical and modern (Rossmoyne Senior High School, n.d.). Take note of the following skills if you are planning to enter the humanities and social sciences workforce.
Essential Skills for Humanities and Social Sciences Professionals
General Skills for Humanities and Social Sciences Professionals
The British Academy published the 2020 report “Qualified for the Future: Quantifying demand for arts, humanities, and social science skills” to showcase the tangible benefits of arts, humanities, and social sciences skills to the United Kingdom workforce, society, and economy today and in the future. “Much of the debate around future skills has focused on the needs of the workforce and ensuring that the U.K. economy is well equipped. But the challenges of the future are not confined to the workplace. There are a growing number of organizations dedicated to identifying, unpicking, and planning for the challenges facing humanity in the future. Although there is no complete consensus on what these are, there are several common themes: climate change and resource scarcity, pandemics and global health, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, international terrorism, and new methods of warfare.”
For entry-level humanities and social sciences positions, an associate degree is usually a requirement. However, most jobs in the fields require a bachelor’s degree. Earning a graduate degree is also beneficial as master’s degree and doctorate degree programs are specialized and concentrated on certain areas. Advanced degrees can make you eligible for promotions and salary raises, which can help you achieve your career goals in humanities and social sciences faster (Epps, 2020).
What can I do with an Associate’s Degree in Humanities and Social Sciences?
Paralegals record and arrange files, perform legal research, and collect evidence to support lawyers. They may also probe a case, perform research on laws and regulations, and outline legal documents. They usually communicate with witnesses and clients to plan interviews or depositions.
Median salary: $51,740
Social and Human Service Assistant
Social and human service assistants provide psychology and social works with client services. They aid clients in recognizing benefits and community services. They may also develop treatment programs, research materials, and coordinate services.
Median salary: $35,060
What can I do with a Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities and Social Sciences?
Geographers analyze the nature and use of the surface of the Earth, linking and interpreting physical and cultural events.
Median salary: $71,372
Survey researchers plan, create, and conduct surveys. They may also interpret survey results, determine survey goals, or recommend or test question wording.
Median salary: $66,960
Source: College Values Online, 2020
Can you get a humanities and social sciences job with just a certificate?
In the humanities and social sciences fields, a certificate can only improve a graduate’s presence toward the hiring authorities. Certificates may also increase skills and experiences in many disciplines (Online Studies, n.d.).
A graduate degree can support your career development plan in humanities and social sciences. Then, more possibilities may come your way, such as world-class education, fun internships, going international, and job opportunities worldwide. It may also lead to paths in psychology, education, history, fine arts, political science, international relations, and more, with other specific specialization areas available (Masters Studies, n.d.).
What can I do with a Master’s in Humanities and Social Sciences?
Anthropologists research, evaluate, and develop public policy regarding human origins; their development in terms of physical, social, linguistic, and cultural factors; and their behavior, plus, their cultures and established organizations and institutions.
Median salary: $72,079
Historians research, study, and interpret historical events as documented in sources, such as government and institutional papers, newspapers and other periodicals, images, interviews, films, electronic media, and unreleased manuscripts like diaries and letters. There are history careers that are in high demand so you have plenty of paths to choose to take.
Median salary: $100,000
What kind of job can I get with a Doctorate in Humanities and Social Sciences?
Economists perform research, prepare reports, or develop plans to solve economic problems. They may also gather and process economic and statistical data through sampling and econometric methodologies. If you would rather have a straight focus on the discipline, you could consider an economics degree.
Median salary: $120,800
Political scientists investigate the origins, developments, and functions of political systems. They may also delve into topics, like public opinion, ideology, and political decision-making. Furthermore, they may probe government structures and operations, as well as different political groups.
Median salary: $124,100
Source: College Factual
Which certification is best for humanities and social sciences?
One of the most popular certification bodies in the humanities and social sciences fields is the American Institute of Certified Planners. This body certifies regional planners who would meet their educational requirements and pass their exams.
Not all humanities and social sciences graduates know what to do right after graduation. Here are some alternative jobs you might want to try.
What else can a humanities and social sciences professional do?
Intelligence Officer/Operational Officer
Intelligence officers/operational officers protect the country from threats such as cyberattacks and terrorism. These roles, despite being data-driven and requiring more technical background, only require a second-class lower division degree or related work experience.
Since you have already known a lot of world leaders and events, maybe you could use some of that knowledge to become a foreign correspondent. Being tasked to report on international affairs, you would be working for print, radio, or television.
Many have argued that humanities and social sciences studies are a total waste of time as nontechnical degrees tend to have high unemployment rates. But, as historian and Professor Dr. Elwood Watson puts it, minimizing the value of the humanities, or other areas of pedagogic questioning for that reason, to one’s capacity to gain enough income is to misinterpret the objective of what studying is all about (DLSI, 2014).
Humanities and social sciences subjects provide everyone with opportunities to appreciate the planet that we live in, as well as how we, as humans, can contribute skills needed to adapt to the contemporary era (You Study, n.d.). These disciplines educate us about an ever-changing world, improve our quality of living, answer the most difficult questions about life, foster creativity and diversity for all of us, and help us understand humanity as a whole. Not only that, but taking a path in humanities and social sciences also prepare you for rigorous research. And later on, you can use your skills in analyzing data to become a data scientist.