When I graduated from high school, I knew there were two things that I loved—reading and writing.
I told everyone I knew that I wanted to be a writer, and the majority of them asked, “But what will you really do?”
My eighteen-year-old self felt misunderstood, but now that I have children of my own, I understand the question much better. I majored in English, and my husband majored in anthropology; no offense to other poor souls in these majors, but fresh out of school, there is not much that you can do with degrees in these areas.
My son is only seven, and he loves to read and write, too.
If we are going to help pay for his college education, and we intend to, we don’t really want to pay for an English degree.
I know how hard it can be to make it with what many consider a “useless” degree, versus someone who majors in engineering or a branch of science. Still, I don’t want to be a parent who dictates what major my child must choose if I help pay for his education.
A happy compromise is finding a way to make the most of a liberal arts degree.
There are several ways to improve your marketability as a liberal arts major.
The most obvious is to get a teaching degree and teach at an elementary or high school or to pursue a graduate degree to teach at a college or university. However, having taken that route myself, I can say that it certainly won’t make a person a great deal of money, and it can be exhausting, especially if your true passion is the subject, say English in my case, not teaching.
Options for an English Major
If your love is writing, consider a minor in a more profitable field such as engineering or business. Technical writers are desperately needed in engineering and scientific fields as well as the business world.
True, a technical writing job won’t fulfill your dream of being the next Stephen King, but it will give you the chance to write every day and to make enough money to pay your bills and then some, with the median income for technical writers at $57,000 in 2006, according to glassdoor.com .
And you could always work on your novel on the nights and weekends.
Options for an Art Major
If you are an art major, consider having a minor in biology. Medical illustration, which pays a median salary of $46,000 according to glassdoor.com, is an in demand field and pays quite handsomely for art work.
Alternatively, consider taking a more technical route and studying web design. Businesses will continue to increase their presence on the web, and more and more people are starting blogs and looking for designers to do the behind-the-scenes work for them.
These are just two examples, but if you think carefully, you can probably find ways to spin your love into a way to have a profitable career.
Being broke isn’t a requirement to being an artist; with some careful planning, you can pursue your artistic passion and make a decent living.