Put your hand up if every time you hear the word “philosophy” you think of a pearl-white bust of an Ancient Greek. We know we do!
Though Ancient Greece is, indeed, regarded as the birthplace of Western philosophy, countless great thinkers have succeeded the burly, bearded scholars of the Hellenistic era.
Today, philosophy courses remain popular among young adults, whose need for a better understanding of the world drives them to grapple with fundamental questions full time in the classroom.
Despite this, majoring in philosophy is still perceived by many as a sort of dead end. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth: philosophy is the type of degree that can open the door to multiple opportunities.
In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the best jobs you can pursue as a philosophy graduate and how much you could be earning in each profession.
1. Postsecondary philosophy teacher
What they do: Philosophy professors prepare and deliver lectures to university students, evaluate assignments, and facilitate classroom discussions on various topics, like logic and ethics. They also assist final-year students in researching and writing their theses.
How to become: To pursue this teaching career in philosophy, most higher education institutions require you to hold a PhD. Good time-management and organizational skills are also needed.
What they earn: $88,260
2. Policy analyst
What they do: Policy analysts are responsible for evaluating existing policies, assessing their efficiency, and making suggestions for improvement. They may find work in a range of fields, from health to politics to education.
How to become: Entry-level policy analyst positions typically require a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant field. Political science, international relations, legal studies, and philosophy are among the most popular ones.
What they earn: $122,510
3. Marketing consultant
What they do: In simple terms, marketing consultants help their clients better understand their audience. By researching and analyzing industry trends and studying company profiles, they develop effective marketing strategies.
How to become: Though it’s more common for marketing consultants to hold a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing or communications, philosophy majors often find employment in this industry, too.
What they earn: $133,380
What they do: Journalists are responsible for gathering information and writing up news pieces for both online and offline use. Journalism is divided into various genres, with the most popular ones including science, opinion, and investigative journalism.
How to become: Philosophy programs can thoroughly prepare students for a career in journalism by helping them develop their communication and analytical skills. Though a bachelor’s degree in English or journalism might be preferred, candidates with a strong portfolio should have no trouble landing this job.
What they earn: $48,370
5. Public relations specialist
What they do: These professionals are responsible for creating and nurturing a positive image for the client they represent. To achieve this, they must influence public perception by producing press releases, responding to requests from the media, and drafting (and sometimes delivering) speeches.
How to become: These communications experts are usually — but not always — required to hold a bachelor’s degree in a subject like communications or business. Strong writing and communication skills, and the ability to solve problems are extremely desirable.
What they earn: $62,800
6. Survey researcher
What they do: Survey researchers can find employment in a range of industries, from health to science to education. Their job is to conduct surveys and collect data to obtain an understanding of the opinions of a specific demographic. Having strong analytical, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills is, therefore, a must.
How to become: Survey researchers typically hold a master’s degree. Taking some additional courses, for example in research methods, social sciences, or mathematics, can be of advantage when looking to break into this career.
What they earn: $59,740
7. Technical writer
What they do: Technical writers are typically hired within the scientific, technical, and computer industries to produce user manuals, tutorials, white papers, and software documentation. The job requires the ability to quickly grasp new, complex concepts and convey them in simple terms.
How to become: Though technical writing job listings often ask for a degree in English or equivalent, philosophy majors who can demonstrate excellent writing and problem-solving skills will also have an advantage.
What they earn: $78,060
What they do: Paralegals perform a variety of tasks under the supervision of an attorney, including conducting legal research, preparing documents, and interviewing clients. In other words, their job is to ultimately save time for the attorney they work for.
How to become: Since you’re not required to attend law school to become a paralegal, candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds can be considered. What you do need are great writing and research skills and sharp attention to detail, which a philosophy degree can help you develop. That’s why it’s so common for philosophy students to pursue this career in law.
What they earn: $56,230
9. Ethics officer
What they do: An ethics officer is responsible for reviewing a company’s operations and recommending new ways for them to adopt government-compliant ethical practices. Their tasks range from conducting audits and investigations to keeping records and advising management.
How to become: A bachelor’s degree is typically needed to become an ethics officer. This can be in any relevant subject, like law, business, or ethics, the latter being a subject that philosophy majors are no strangers to.
What they earn: $75,810
10. Cultural affairs officer
What they do: Working for businesses, organizations or government agencies, cultural affairs officers oversee the coordination of cultural programs and services. Aside from planning and managing activities, their job involves collecting statistics and information to assess the efficacy of the programs.
How to become: Most of the time, a bachelor’s degree in sociology, cultural studies, or equivalent is sufficient to land this type of job. An analytical mind, and strong communication and problem-solving skills are also required, which studying philosophy helps you develop.
What they earn: $74,000
Though we may imagine early philosophers as beings of leisure with infinite time for debates and abstract thought, some, like Plato, relied largely on their family inheritance or the donations of wealthy patrons. Others, like Diogenes, had to work or even beg to survive.
Thankfully, philosophy majors in the 21st century have many career options to explore once they graduate, some of which can pay over $50 an hour.
No matter your reasons for wanting to pursue a degree in philosophy, the breadth of the discipline will encourage you to grow in multiple ways: intellectually, spiritually, and professionally.
Which of these careers in philosophy do you see yourself pursuing with your degree? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.