Liberal Arts, STEM, and the best degrees for jobs

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Figuring out your career path can be tough. After all, who can possibly choose what they want to do for the rest of their life? It’s a lot of pressure to put on someone, especially an 18 year old. Heck, I’m 24, and it’s still a lot of pressure! I like writing about career paths because there’s soooo much I didn’t know when I was an undergrad.

While I don’t think there should be this huge divide between Liberal Arts and STEM degrees, I do feel that most people end up choosing one path over the other, and that these preferences reflect the kinds of careers one would be happiest in. Below, you’ll find a list of the best degrees for employment in each of these paths. This list is more general, and it is by no means all-inclusive.

Let’s start with Liberal Arts. 

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Now, this isn’t exactly a list of the best liberal arts degrees. Instead, it’s the best paths of study for people who gravitate toward broad science and humanities subjects. One thing you’ll find is that people who want to study more general subjects, like math, biology, English, or History, will find more opportunities if they pursue masters degrees or PhD’s. Specifically, if they pursue advanced degrees that will increase their chances of finding a job.

Here are some degrees to consider:

Education – I know, there’s nothing more cliche than asking a liberal arts major/degree holder if she wants to be a teacher. We’ve all been asked this at some point! But education is still a great career path for the right person, and a masters degree in this subject will give you an edge. The job outlook is especially good for preschool and elementary school teachers. Elementary school pays more, and so there’s more competition. The jobs are there, though, especially if you are willing to relocate.

Law – I include law school on this list because it’s hard not to. Everyone knows lawyers have some serious earning potential. Unfortunately, many people get law degrees these days, and so competition is fierce, especially if you want to work for a major firm. More jobs are opening up in corporate settings, but it’s not a guaranteed paycheck the way it used to be. Law school is a lot of work, and it’s expensive. Pursue your dreams, but be informed of the reality of the job market.

Social Work – You’ll have the most opportunities in the field with a masters degree in Social Work (MSW). There are many specialties in this field, including: family and children, schools, mental health, and healthcare. There are also many opportunities in nonprofits, the government, universities, politics, and business.

Salaries vary based on specialty, the type of organization you work for, and years of experience. Social Service managers have the highest earning potential. Many positions in this field can lead to burnout, so you have to take good care of yourself. But if you want to help people, and do your research on the realities of your specialty, this can be a worthwhile degree to pursue. The job outlook for a MSW is very good.

Mental Health – Like social work, the job outlook in mental health is good. A bachelor’s degree in psychology may make the job search a bit of a challenge. But a masters degree in mental health counseling, social work, (and maybe psychology or sociology) can often help you find jobs in counseling and therapy. If you have a degree in psych, a PhD can help you start a career as a psychologist, researcher, or professor.

Business – Like law, I add business to this list with a grain of salt. It can provide excellent opportunities as a career path, but as a degree? It depends. Many people get MBAs, have experience, and still struggle to find work. I think part of this is because many jobs in business don’t require a degree in the subject. One can also argue that this degree fits under the STEM umbrella. I include it in this Liberal Arts list because I feel that many creative, lib arts people are drawn to business as well.

This is one field where your bachelor’s degree in art history or philosophy can still pay off. You can find careers in management, marketing, sales, public relations, customer service, and human resources. Some, like marketing, are especially competitive, but these careers can be worth the effort for those who don’t wish to pursue an advanced degree. (Tip: Don’t be afraid to start small and work your way up.)

Economics – Another degree that can fit under the STEM umbrella, economics is probably the highest paying liberal arts subject. Your challenge: advanced classes in math and statistics, and a love of research and data. Are you up for it?? If so, great! A bachelor’s degree in this subject could be the start of a lucrative career with a fair job outlook. You’ll need to get a masters or a PhD for the best opportunities.

Okay, those are a few advanced degree options for my liberal arts loves 🙂 ❤

Let’s move on to STEM. 

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In the U.S, everyone is told to get a STEM degree. But even people who eat, sleep, and breathe math and science can choose a less than lucrative degree path. Unlike people who prefer to study the liberal arts, people who study STEM have more options to make money with an associates or bachelor’s degree alone (how fancy!!).

Still, people who major in math, biology, chemistry, or even computer science may still struggle to know what to do after graduation. Here is a broad, if not a bit self-explanatory, list of the best degree paths to choose:

Medicine – As far as years of education go, the medical field is by far the most versatile. You can get an associates degree to be a rad tech or ultra sound tech, a bachelor’s degree to be a nurse, a masters to be an advanced nursing practitioner, healthcare administrator, or physician assistant, and of course you can go to medical school. If you enjoy helping people and are comfortable in hospitals and medical offices, a degree in the healthcare field can help you get an in demand job.

While associates degrees or even certificates can be a great way to start your career, keep in mind that they are less versatile than a bachelor’s, making a career change later on a bit more of a challenge. Medical careers also often require you to pass an exam to be certified in your state. Some jobs require you to be on your feet all day, and to sometimes lift and move patients. If you go to medical school, do your research. Specialties with a poor job outlook do exist!

Computer Science – We all know technology is a booming industry. Programmers, web developers, web designers, software engineers, and junior developers are all in demand, and make a good paycheck. Most jobs will want you to have a bachelor’s degree in CS, but some people in the field are self taught, or have a degree in another science, like physics.

This field can be challenging because your degree program won’t teach you many things you need to know for the job, like programming languages. As someone who’s dabbled in learning HTML, CSS, Python, Java, and Ruby, I can say it can be a bit exhausting. It’s an ever changing field, so you need to always learn and stay up to date. Jobs with startups and agencies can lead some people to feel burned out. But if you can dedicate yourself to learning code and staying current, this field can definitely be worth it.

Engineering – Ah, engineering, arguably the coolest STEM career path. It’s one of those areas where many people in the U.S say we’re “falling behind.” Despite these claims, most specialties in engineering have a slower than average job outlook according to the BLS. The job outlook isn’t great for: mechanical, environmental, electrical, and chemical engineers.

I’m not saying you can’t find a job in these subjects. I don’t have an engineering degree, so I can’t say fully. But based on what I’ve read, Civil Engineering offers the most job growth, and you’ll have the best opportunities with a masters degree in the subject. Petroleum engineering also has a good outlook (10% job growth), but I know this specialty depends on the economy and the industry as a whole. Be prepared to study math and physics!

Accounting – Good old, stable accounting. Of course the job outlook here is good. If you have a bachelor’s degree in another subject, but still want to be an accountant, fear not. There are a select few masters programs that are designed for people with BA’s in unrelated subjects. It’s also possible to take core classes at community college, and to apply for a masters after. The best opportunities are found if you sit for the CPA (certified public accountant) exam.

If you pursue this path, you should love numbers, because you’ll be looking at financial records all day! A few months out of the year, such as during tax season, work hours can be long and stressful, but after that, things settle down. Competition is tough to work for a major accounting firm, and those first few years may be stressful, but stick with it! Things get better, especially if you can branch out to work for smaller firms. Many people find having a specialty, like helping small businesses or families with their taxes, to be very rewarding.

Finding a balance between following your passion and paying your bills can be tough. But educating yourself on the best options, and the not so great options, can be a big help. If your heart isn’t in pursuing a new degree, or if you’re no longer in love with your field, don’t worry. Just be persistent. Believe in yourself and find support ❤

Whether choosing a new degree path or exploring career options, knowledge is your key. Learn all you can, be wiser than you were yesterday, and always try your best. You’ve got this ❤

-ATL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Do Crystals Work???? – Vlog

A video where I talk a bit about crystal healing ❤ Is this topic interesting to you? Let me know in the comments 🙂

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Thanks for watching ❤ If you like my blog, please consider supporting me by checking out my books. I write poetry and fiction 🙂

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A Moment In Time

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I remember sitting on the back porch

Scribbling poetry in my notebook

This was before the yard had turned into a jungle

When I still had a small bike with very thick tires

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There’s no helmet to protect you from adult problems

No knee pads that can keep you from getting your heart broken

I had no concept of time back then

No concept that all of these things would change

.

But in that moment, I had everything I had ever known

This house, this family, this life

It’s not just loss that changed things

It was the growing up

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I had no concept of time

And no knowledge of who I would become

I still don’t know who I’ll become

But I still have that notebook

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It preserves a moment in time for me

A moment where I had everything I could think of having

At a time where I didn’t know that life

Also means letting go.

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Thanks for reading! ❤ If you like my blog, please consider supporting me by checking out my books 🙂

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Heather’s Gift – Short Story Excerpt – Vlog

Listen to me read an excerpt from my book of short stories ❤

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Thanks for watching! ❤ If you like my blog, please consider supporting me by checking out my books 🙂

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Growing as a Writer – Believe in Yourself – Vlog

In this video, I talk about my journey as a writer. And how you should always believe in yourself, even when you’re working on a new passion or skill. I’ve been making videos with my phone because unfortunately my web cam isn’t the best quality 😂 One of these days I’ll have a proper video camera 😄

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Thanks for watching! ❤ I self published a book of short stories titled Impossible Things. It’s a book of magical realism stories that includes magic, werewolves, and mermaids! There’s also some LGBT and Black girl representation. 🙂

It’s available on Amazon for $20, and it’s available on Kindle and the Kindle App for half price. If you like short stories, check it out here:

https://www.amazon.com/Impossible-Things-Ashley-Tiara-Lilly/dp/1547077476/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Self Publishing vs Traditional Publishing: Which is Better?

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Most writers have one goal–to get their work out into the world. Okay, maybe some writers have a few more fancy goals: like getting published by a “Big 5” publishing house, getting rich by writing a best selling novel, or seeing their books on shelves alongside the works of JK Rowling, John Green, Stephen King, and Nora Roberts. Or maybe the indie authors out there hope to sell millions of books like E.L. James.

Regardless of what your ambitions are as a writer, many people probably ask themselves at one point or another, which is better? Traditional publishing or self publishing? I think the answer is…it depends.

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The pros of traditional publishing:

When people think of traditional publishing, they probably imagine a novel being published by Penguin Random House, or a memoir being published by Simon and Schuster. They imagine authors getting a three book deal, complete with a side of New York City glamour. But traditional publishing can also mean getting published in a literary, consumer, or trade magazine, getting a chapbook published by a small press, or getting an article published in a reputable blog. Some benefits of traditional publishing include:

Money – This doesn’t just include money you might make from your work, like $150 for a magazine article, or a $5,000 advance you might get from a book deal. This also includes the money the company has to invest in your book, which they can use to hire editors, designers, marketing managers, accountants, lawyers, etc… Alone, you might have little or no money to invest in turning your book into a great product. Publishing companies can help you get additional resources through their budget.

Connections – Publishing companies, especially the larger, more successful ones, will have connections to all kinds of people in the industry. This means they can get your book into stores. They can reach out to well known authors to see if they’d read your book, and share their thoughts so you have a nice quote on your book jacket. I believe Nora Roberts has a book where there’s a quote from exactly one person–Stephen King. On it, it says, “Nora Roberts is cool.” Who wouldn’t want that?

An Established Brand – If a company has an established brand, it means consumers are familiar with them, and they trust the books to be good. If a book is published by Simon and Schuster, I expect to like it. A well known company will also have an established social media presence, so even if you don’t write a bestseller, you at least know your book is reaching some people.

Books as a Business – Publishing companies have one main goal– to make books that sell. Many writers may only want to think about the creative side of their art. They want to do what they love, while not necessarily thinking about business or money. Most writers today can’t avoid the responsibility of doing at least a little marketing, but they’re doing it with the guidance of their publisher. Publishing companies see your book as a product, and they’ll know how to make decisions that will sell it.

As you can see, there are many benefits to traditional publishing, but are there some cons? Maybe. Here are a few:

Time – Whether you’re submitting book proposals, articles, poems, or short stories, it can take months to here back from a publisher. Trying to get published takes an enormous amount of patience. If all you want to do is share you work with others, you may find there are faster ways to do it yourself.

Rejection – Every writer has rejection letters. Even Stephen King. Even JK Rowling. It’s unavoidable in this business that you will face rejection, often months after you have submitted something.

Books as a Business –  I mentioned this earlier as a pro, but it can also be a serious con. There’s a reason celebrities and famous YouTubers can get book deals fairly easily. It’s not necessarily because these people are amazing writers (though several of them are, i.e- Hannah Hart, Allison Raskin & Gaby Dunn).

It also doesn’t mean these book deals are the greatest offers. Some publishers will give the author a ridiculously short time to write the book, and they mention it will be “heavily edited.” All of this is because publishers want to make books that will sell. This can be discouraging to writers who have spent years honing their craft. Writers who eat, sleep, and breathe words. Is it fair? Nope. But it is business.

Those are some pros and cons of traditional publishing.

How about self publishing? Self publishing can mean many things. It can mean publishing your own ebooks on Kindle or iBooks, publishing print books through CreateSpace or Lulu, starting a blog, creating a chapbook or zine, or printing your stories or poems in a booklet and handing them out to people. Are there pros and cons? Let’s examine them below.

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Pros of self publishing:

Freedom – Self publishing allows you to make all creative and business decisions yourself. You get to choose your own cover design, price, book layout, and you get to make all final editing decisions. You don’t necessarily have to think about “what will sell” if you don’t want to. You can do things your own way.

Running a Business – It can be very satisfying to create your own product and to run your own small business. Even if you only make a few bucks or a few hundred dollars, it can be a nice confidence boost and it gives you a side hustle.

Time – You don’t have to wait months to here back from a publisher. You can publish your book whenever you want, and if you have a blog, sharing your work with the world is just a click away.

Those are a few pros. Here are some cons:

Money and Resources – Without the help of a publisher, it may be more difficult to have outside help in editing, designing and promoting your book. It may also be more difficult to get your book into stores.

Running a Business – For some people, running a business is fun and empowering. However, other people might not enjoy this part because all they want to do is write. They don’t want to think about creating a product, they just want to follow their passion. Some people don’t want to do it all themselves, and that’s completely fine.

Finding Readers – All writers, especially these days, have to work to promote their books. But this is especially true for self published authors. You have to be creative and find ways to connect with people and share your work, whether it’s online or in person.

So, which is better?

Like I said earlier, it depends. I think if you’re trying to publish books that traditionally “don’t sell,” like poetry books or short stories, self publishing can be a great option because you get to share your work, run a business, and have fun. If you’re trying to publish a novel or nonfiction book, I think it’s up to you. If you want to self publish, awesome! If you want to submit your query to publishers, it could be worth the effort.

You spent months or years writing the manuscript, so waiting a few months for a rejection (or acceptance!) letter isn’t so bad in the grand scheme of things. If you want to publish articles, poems, or short stories, you can always try submitting to magazines, and if that doesn’t work, you can always share it on your blog and grow your brand.

Self publishing and traditional publishing offer different paths. Both require hard work and dedication. At the end of the day, I think it’s all about sharing your work with the world and connecting with others.

Which publishing method will you choose?

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Thanks for reading! ❤ I hope you enjoyed this article and found a few useful tips 🙂 I recently self published a book of short stories titled Impossible Things. It’s a book of magical realism stories that includes magic, werewolves, and mermaids! There’s also some LGBT and Black girl representation.

It’s available on Amazon for $20, and it’s available on Kindle and the Kindle App for half price. If you like short stories, check it out here:

https://www.amazon.com/Impossible-Things-Ashley-Tiara-Lilly/dp/1547077476/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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Dreams

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Dreams don’t fall into your lap

They’re too light

Content to float through the sky

Like clouds

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College degrees, plans, lists

Hopes, wishes, ideas

None of these things

Will make dreams fall into your lap

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You have to start small

Brick by brick

Taking steps

Working your way up

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And eventually after building

And climbing and trying

And falling and getting back up again

You’ll get farther than you dreamed

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Because you’ll be higher than the clouds

Seeing the bluest sky and the brightest sun

Because all along, you’ve had the ability to climb

And to rise until your dreams were your home.