Why get a Degree in General Studies

When it comes to getting a degree in General Studies, there are those who are initially skeptical. Many assume that without a strong leaning toward another course of study, the degree will not serve its purpose, except for the possibility of a career in education. However, colleges across the world have long recognized the importance of General Education studies, and require the broad knowledge it provides before granting any degree. While most General Studies degrees offer an opportunity to specialize in a more specific area, the degree focuses as much on one’s ability to approach learning in an effective way as it does on the actual information learned in individual classes.

Education Requirements for a General Studies Degree

Degrees in General Studies are regularly offered at both the Associate level and the Bachelor level. The courses required ask that students learn a little bit of everything, including communication skills, mathematics, science, social sciences, and environmental studies, and diversity understanding. Most of the time, coursework in all these areas equivalent to the time spent earning an associate degree is required for the pursuit of any bachelor degree. On their own, associate degrees in General Studies often offer smooth transfer options into various bachelor level programs.

Bachelor degrees in General Studies builds on the same skills as an associate degree, but requires more advanced coursework in all educational areas. It is also common for bachelor degree programs to specialize in another area, such as business or education in order to offer more specified support for the workplace. General studies students are expected to meet many standards when it comes to skills such as effective reasoning, broad learning, and an inquisitive drive.

What You Can do with a Degree in General Studies

When someone pursues a degree in Accounting or Engineering it is easy to predict or assume their career goals. With a degree in General Studies, career goals are more difficult to discern. While this occasionally can work against you, it can also leave the impression that you are ready for anything, and eager to learn new things. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics makes projections on what jobs are likely to see growth, it is difficult to be certain of exactly where those opportunities will lie.

A General Studies degree also offers a very good foundation for graduate and professional level studies in areas such as business, law, and social sciences.

What to Consider if you Pursue General Studies

While job titles don’t specifically call for general studies, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reveals that for the most part, hiring managers look more closely at a prospect’s skill than their specific major. Some of the skills that are most sought after are strong critical thinking and communication skills, both of which are developed highly within general degrees. In 2007, statistics show that those who majored in liberal arts and sciences (also known as general studies) earned an average starting salary of more than $32,000 per year.

Because of the critical thinking and communication skills required, both customer service and sales are popular career choices for those with a background in general studies. Both of these options are projected to have moderate growth during the 2010 to 2020 time period. Customer Service Representatives averaged a salary of around $30,000 per year in 2010. Careers in sales yield around $40,000 or more. For those who ultimately decide to pursue teaching, it is worth noting that elementary school teachers made an average of more than $50,000 per year in 2010 and this field is expected to grow at a rate of 17% between 2010 and 2020.

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