What Are The Highest Paying Liberal Arts Degree Jobs?
Liberal arts degrees open doors to a wide variety of rewarding careers. While STEM majors tend to earn higher salaries on average, many liberal arts majors can also lead to lucrative professions.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), starting salaries for liberal arts graduates now average around $40,000 per year. New opportunities in consulting, entrepreneurship, content creation, analytics, and more have increased earning potential across numerous fields.
With the right major and strategic approach, liberal arts students can gain the skills needed for high-paying roles.
Below are 20 of the top-paying jobs for liberal arts degree holders in 2023:
Average Salary: $40,000 – $200,000
Economists analyze financial data, study labor markets and economic trends, and develop forecasts. They are employed in government, corporations, research organizations, and more.
Advanced degrees like a master’s or PhD lead to the highest paying economist job opportunities. These roles involve conducting original research and advising organizations on economic policy.
Average Salary: $40,000 – $171,000
Archeologists examine artifacts and archaeological sites to study human history and cultures. Their skills are in demand for energy and construction projects where assessments are needed prior to building on potential burial sites.
Forensic archeologists assist in criminal investigations by analyzing human remains and artifacts. Graduate degrees are typically required for the best archeologist roles in museums, universities, and research organizations.
Average Salary: $55,000 – $97,000
Sociologists study groups, cultures, organizations, social institutions, and more. They conduct qualitative and quantitative research that often informs public policy decisions.
Sociology majors are employed by government agencies, nonprofits, corporations, and as college faculty. Earning a master’s or PhD degree boosts earnings potential in top research and academic roles.
Average Salary: $67,000 – $90,000
Psychology majors can become licensed clinical, counseling, and research psychologists with an advanced degree. Psychologists assess mental health, cognitive processes, behaviors, and more.
They develop treatments and provide counseling services. Earning a PhD is required for the highest paying psychologist jobs in hospitals, clinics, schools, government, and private practice.
5. Public Relations Specialist
Average Salary: $40,000 – $73,000
PR specialists manage communications and the public image for corporations, public figures, and organizations. They interact with media, implement promotional campaigns, and help clients build strong brands.
Related majors like communications, journalism, and advertising are applicable. Experience and management roles increase earning potential.
6. Human Resources Specialist
Average Salary: $42,000 – $72,000
Human resources (HR) specialists recruit, train, and manage employees to optimize organizational performance. They oversee compensation, benefits policies, labor relations, training programs, and more.
Relevant majors include business, psychology, sociology, and organizational studies. Certifications and graduate degrees help HR professionals advance to higher paying roles.
7. Graphic Designer
Average Salary: $33,000 – $65,000
Graphic designers create visual concepts for marketing materials, publications, packaging, digital media, and more. Majors like graphic design, studio art, and digital arts develop relevant skills.
Graphic designers are employed by ad agencies, design firms, corporations, and media outlets. Leadership and management positions offer increased earning potential.
Average Salary: $57,000 – $65,000
Writers produce manuscripts, books, scripts, articles, website content, ad copy, and more. English majors gain excellent writing skills, but journalism, communications, and creative writing majors can also lead to writing careers.
Technical writers are in especially high demand. Writing for niche industries, leadership roles at publications, and best-selling books increase earnings.
9. Social Worker
Average Salary: $37,000 – $56,000
Social workers support communities and vulnerable populations by connecting clients with programs and resources. They often work for government agencies and nonprofits.
A bachelor’s degree is required, but earning a master’s degree boosts earnings potential significantly. Leadership roles also offer higher salaries.
Average Salary: $47,000 – $52,000
Teachers educate students in various subjects and grade levels. They require a bachelor’s degree and state certification. Liberal arts majors gain broad knowledge to pass required content exams.
Higher degrees, such as a master’s or doctorate, and years of experience lead to increased pay for teachers. Administrative and leadership positions also offer higher salaries.
11. Management Consultant
Average Salary: $65,000 – $170,000
Management consultants advise organizations on strategy, operations, processes, technology implementation, and more. They need strong analysis and communication skills.
Majors like business, psychology, and economics provide a solid foundation. An MBA is often required for the most lucrative consulting jobs at top firms.
12. Political Scientist
Average Salary: $60,000 – $165,000
Political scientists analyze political systems, public policy, international relations, and current affairs. They work in government, think tanks, advocacy groups, academia, and for private companies.
A master’s or doctorate is required for the highest paying roles developing public policy and advising government officials.
Average Salary: $40,000 – $80,000
Interpreters and translators convert spoken and written language between languages. They facilitate global business, legal proceedings, diplomacy, and more. Fluency in multiple languages is required.
As business continues expanding internationally, demand for interpreters and translators will grow. Management and legal/medical specialization offer higher pay.
Average Salary: $40,000 – $65,000
Librarians manage library systems and resources. They assist patrons, organize information, select books, teach technology classes, and more. A master’s degree in library science is required.
Higher pay is attainable for librarians who manage large university and public library systems or specialize in law, medicine, or technology.
Average Salary: $40,000 – $60,000
Paralegals research and analyze legal documents, prepare cases for trial, file paperwork, conduct investigations, and support attorneys. Excellent research, writing, and analytical skills are needed.
Most have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Paralegals with leadership, management, and specialized legal experience earn higher salaries.
16. Urban Planner
Average Salary: $50,000 – $75,000
Urban planners develop municipal land use and design plans. They analyze data to plan city development that balances environmental, economic, and social needs.
A master’s degree in urban planning is required for most roles. Senior level planners managing major public projects earn the highest salaries.
17. Corporate Trainer
Average Salary: $45,000 – $90,000
Corporate trainers develop and deliver training programs to improve employee skills, performance, and compliance. Majors like education, psychology, human resources and communications are applicable.
Instructional design skills and subject matter expertise in areas like leadership and IT lead to the most lucrative corporate trainer roles.
18. Technical Writer
Average Salary: $55,000 – $80,000
Technical writers create instruction manuals, user guides, how-to content, project documentation, and other materials that explain complex technical information clearly. Strong writing skills are essential.
Experienced technical writers and those with specialized knowledge in certain industries such as engineering, IT, and healthcare earn higher incomes.
19. Web Developer
Average Salary: $55,000 – $85,000
Web developers design, build, and maintain websites. They combine strong technical skills with creativity and user experience knowledge.
Majors like computer science, graphic design, and information systems can pave the way for this career. Senior developers and specialists earn the top salaries.
20. Market Research Analyst
Average Salary: $45,000 – $95,000
Market research analysts research market conditions for products and services companies offer. They track sales data, consumer behaviors, and industry trends.
Majors like statistics, economics, and business prepare analysts for success. Specialized experience and senior positions offer higher earning potential.
With sound career planning and further education, liberal arts majors can pursue many high-paying roles. The diverse critical thinking and communication skills developed in liberal arts programs are valued across industries.
By strategically selecting a field of interest and gaining key specialized experience, liberal arts graduates can position themselves for financial success in a wide variety of fields.