Is a Philosophy Degree Worth it 2022?

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Is a philosophy degree worth it? I will explain what a philosophy degree is all about and whether a philosophy major is worth it. 

Is it worth going $40,000 in debt to get this degree? Let’s get started.

Philosophy majors focus on tackling tough questions and answering them using logic and ethics. To learn about constructing written and verbal arguments and then delivering those arguments. Every year, about 5600 people graduate with a bachelor’s in philosophy in the United States.

Some common career paths for Philosophy Degree

Philosophy majors may end up becoming:

  • Journalist
  • Paralegal
  • Arbitrator
  • Lawyer 
  • Writer/Authors

To figure out if a degree in philosophy will be worth four years of your time, we will be going over four important factors. 

Four Important Factors to consider

Salary

The average person who graduates with a philosophy degree can earn around $48,000 a year starting and $89,000 in mid-career pay. You can compare that to a high and low-paying degree. And you’ll see that it’s kind of in the middle. You’ll also see here that it does take a massive leap from early-career pay to mid-career pay. There’s not a lot of opportunities out there for an early career, but for mid-career, there are going to be more opportunities.

Many people who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy go back to graduate school. In fact, according to the screenshot below, it’s 57.3%.

Is a degree in philosophy worth it in 2022

That is astounding. That means 57.3% of the people who get a philosophy degree and undergrad ended up going back and getting either a masters degree in philosophy or a doctorate. One of the main reasons for that is because philosophy is kind of a pipeline type degree to becoming a lawyer. The big point here is that people who get masters and doctorate degrees in Philosophy tend to earn more than people who get bachelor’s. But they also take on more debt and more risk, and it takes a lot longer. That might explain why it shows that the mid-career pay is so much higher than early career pay. 

Most people who pursue philosophy degrees tend to be innovative. And so they tend to do well in life. Or it could be that the skills you learn in philosophy, studying it, will help you in other areas of your life.

When you look at the specific careers, you can become:

  • Paralegal  make around $51,000 a year, and that’s around $24 per hour. 

  • Writers and authors make $63,000 a year or $30 an hour.

  • Arbitrators, mediators, and concentrators make 63,000 a year or $30 an hour.

So these are some decent-paying careers. Just to put that in perspective, the average career here in the US, you’re going to make around $50,000 a year.

Now, when you look at philosophy, which is technically a liberal arts degree, some types of philosophy involve more social science because they focus more on politics and ethics. But philosophy is technically a liberal arts degree, and over a lifetime, you’ll make around $2.1 million. And that is lower than the average for all majors of 2.4 million.

So overall, Philosophy majors score relatively well compared to a lot of the other liberal arts majors. 

Satisfaction

It is probably the most subjective of all the different sections. This could be completely different depending on what type of person you are, your personality, the background career you end up working in. The job you work for, the company you work for, and the industry in all kinds of different things can affect this. So keep that in mind. This is a very subjective section, so take it with a grain of salt.

When it comes to the meaning score, which is how much somebody thinks their career positively impacts the world, people who graduate with philosophy degrees have a 41% score. And you can compare that to one that’s high and one that’s low. And it’s actually on the more downside. I think philosophy is interesting, but the meaning score is very low.

So, most people who get a philosophy degree know that they’re probably not going to become a philosopher. And so they’re usually either doing it because they’re passionate about it, or they at least know what kind of career path they might end up going into. Maybe they plan on going back to school, for instance. And it teaches you some really practical, thinking skills, being able to formulate an argument and then present it. 

Demand

This is basically how hiring managers and business owners want to hire people who graduate with philosophy degrees. 

Paralegal: There are around 337,000 jobs available, and it’s growing at 10%, which is much faster than average. Over the next ten years, there will be 35,000 new jobs created. So that’s good. But the problem here is you only have to get an associate’s degree to become a paralegal. And you don’t necessarily have to major in philosophy to become a paralegal. There are many other degrees that you could major in as well.

Writer or author: There are 131,000 jobs available, declining at a negative 2%. So, it will be 3100 fewer jobs ten years from now than there are now and then with the other one.

Arbitrator: There are 7300 jobs available, and it’s growing at 8%, which is much faster than average. Now, of course, there is no current data on unemployment rates for this specific degree just because of everything happening in the world. But liberal arts degrees, in general, tend to have higher levels of unemployment.

You might get a philosophy degree and then end up working at Starbucks serving coffee.

Most business owners and hiring managers know that people who graduate with philosophy degrees tend to be pretty smart. And not only are they smart, but they’re probably going to be able to get them at a relatively low price just because there’s not a lot of jobs out there for philosophy.

X factors

So going back to how many liberal arts majors make over a lifetime, we saw that it was below average at about 2.1 million. For instance, if you graduated with a liberal arts degree and ended up working with computers, you’d make around 2.9 million, which is much better. 

If you went into management, you’d make around 3 million, but you’d only make about 1.6 million if he went into office support.

One area where liberal arts degrees shine is the risk of automation. The soft skills you learn with a liberal arts degree, especially philosophy, can formulate an argument and then present it to people. Those sorts of skills are probably never going to be automated. It would be challenging to teach a robot how to do that.

So, for instance, an arbitrator only has around a 6% chance of being automated. According to Thetab.com, Philosophy is one of the more demanding majors. Now, you could argue that the soft skills and some of the intangible skills in general that you learn with a philosophy degree aren’t going to be measured when it comes to salary. So, for instance, it might teach you skills that help you open your own business where you make a lot more than anybody who has a regular 9_5 job.

Is a Degree in Philosophy worth it?

However, most people who get a philosophy degree kind of know what they’re getting themselves into. There are pretty much no jobs out there for philosophers.

It will be a better idea for you to just minor in Philosophy or double major in it or take extra classes or study it on the side. But for the right person who has a good game plan, you know exactly what you’re doing. This can be worth it for you. 

And the reason for that was because it’s too general impractical, hard to find a job without further studies.

Conclusion

Many people didn’t regret this one as much as many other liberal arts degrees. Some of them said that it didn’t help them get a job, but at the same time, it didn’t hurt them all that much. And because they just really enjoyed it. And it taught them skills that will help them in other areas of their life. They didn’t regret it. So take that for what it’s worth a lot of the time.

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