3 Surprising Careers a Philosophy Major Can Lead To

Philosophy is a subject that remains a mystery to many. Few understand what philosophy is, let alone what an education in the subject entails. But for those who find Plato’s Apology and Immanuel Kant’s moral concept — the Categorical Imperative — intriguing, a degree in anything other than philosophy is blaspheme. Nevertheless, even passionate, aspiring philosophers may question whether seeking a professional degree in it is pragmatic; after all, everyone says that a career in teaching is the only plausible career path for philosophy graduates. Now, it’s not that teaching philosophy is a bad gig. It’s just that for some, teaching simply does not suit them. Regardless, this is a widely believed misconception when in fact, the skills developed by philosophy majors leave them highly qualified and marketable in the job market. Still not a believer? Check out these other careers your philosophy major can lead to:

  1. Writer/Editor. Philosophy course work entails reading dense, complicated materials, conducting extensive research, and writing numerous detailed research papers. This means philosophy students have to develop the skills that will enable them to succeed in their degree program. Graduates are also highly capable of articulating intricate concepts in ways that general audiences can easily understand. These activities leave philosophy students with highly adept reading, writing, and editing skills. As such, many times graduates can become journalists, writers, and editors.
  2. Lawyer. Law is another field riddled with philosophy students. A philosophical education requires students to not only read and interpret complex materials, but perform in-depth analyses of them. Students must think outside-the-box to develop critiques of philosophical theories and arguments. In that, they cultivate advanced reading and critical analysis skills, as well as the ability to formulate logical arguments; all of these skills are essential in the law field. And not only does a philosophical education prepares students for law school, but students tend to also do better than average in law school. For instance, you must take the standardized exam known as the LSAT to be considered for law school admission because your score on this exam is a known indication of how well or poor you’ll do your first year of law school. According to a 2009 study on LSAT performance, titled LSAT Scores of Economics Majors: The 2008-2009 Class Update, economics and philosophy majors tied at first for majors that scored the highest on the LSAT.
  3. Financial Analyst. It seems odd, doesn’t it? What could philosophy have to do with business? Plenty, it turns out. A career in financial analysis requires professionals that are highly attentive to detail, can analyze past and present trends in the economy, and who can compile their analyses into logical reports that suggest profitable investments for individuals and businesses. In their studies, philosophy students obtain highly valuable interpretation and analytical skills. They are trained to look at a convoluted problem, understand it, analyze it logically, and identify its strengths and weaknesses. In that, philosophy students who obtain some business education or experience make for highly successful business analysts.

June 28th, 2012

New Requirements for Nurses Spark Changes and Growth in Online Degrees

The high demand for nurses attracts thousands of new professionals each year and allows experienced nurses the comfort of job security. However, an industry push for nurses with bachelor’s degrees is shaking things up, according to this article in The New York Times. An associate degree may no longer be enough to give new and veteran nurses longevity in an industry under pressure to increase quality. As a result, nurse education programs are changing rapidly to create better options for professionals hoping to enter the field.

Until now, hospitals required an associate degree in nursing and R.N. certification as the minimum qualifications for most nursing positions, as well as any experience or specialization relevant to a specific position. While licensing requirements for the profession have not officially changed, many hospitals strongly prefer nursing candidates with bachelor’s degrees, a trend that began in the last five years. The trend took such a strong hold in the industry that many hospitals have rewritten their official policies on nursing job requirements, a move that prompted thousands of nurses to boost their academic credentials.

According to this article, enrollment in four-year nursing degree programs is at an all-time high. Nursing degree programs are implementing changes to capitalize on an evolving industry and accommodate working nurses. The demand for affordable, convenient and thorough degree programs is high, which makes online education a natural and obvious choice for nurses already working in the field. The R.N. to BSN degree plan allows nurses to build on their existing training and education and leverage them toward a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The R.N. to BSN concept took a strong hold and programs like it are popping up all over the Web.

An online degree especially makes sense for working nurses because they don’t have to leave their jobs. Online education works with their schedules, whether they work a 17-hour rotation or a night shift. And, many online programs offer an accelerated track for professionals in a hurry. Students at the start of their nursing careers should note that online degrees may not include on-site, hands-on training required to become a licensed professional.

Standards for the nursing profession are rising. But the demand for nurses in general remains high with job growth expected to increase 26% by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BSL). With or without a bachelor’s degree, nursing is a promising field and R.N.s without a bachelor’s degree can still land jobs. However, working toward a BSN is your best bet for strong job prospects.

June 28th, 2012

Public Scandal vs. Academic Merit – Does Dirty Laundry Skew Our View of Higher Learning?

We all hear the news and read the headlines. These days, there is no shortage of disgraced role models or former heroes entangled in the latest salacious scandal of the day. All too often, public scandal involves college teachers, coaches, or mentors once held in high regard and in a position of power and influence over students. Unfortunately, the bad decisions of select individuals can forever soil the reputation of a university that has worked years to achieve their good name. This begs the question: Is a public scandal enough to change your mind about a reputable college? Can so much negative backlash damage what should be an honored public image, encouraging higher learning?

What do college students think? Well, 2012 may prove to be a banner year for finding out. In the wake of the shocking Penn State case, perhaps the most talked about among education-related scandals so far this year, U.S. News and World Report is compiling the 2013 edition of the Best Colleges rankings, which will be published in fall 2012. Among the determining factors are the peer assessment reputation surveys of undergraduate academic quality, which count for 15% of a college’s overall ranking in the "National Universities" and "National Liberal Arts Colleges" categories, and 25% in the "Regional Universities" and "Regional Colleges" categories.

At California’s Claremont McKenna College, it was revealed this week that a senior administrator allegedly inflated SAT scores to improve the school’s position on college ranking guides. When asked how news of this affected their overall impression of the school and faculty, students generally responded with appreciation that the administrator came clean and volunteered the information, as opposed to trying to cover it up, according to the New York Times. Most felt it was unfortunate that the incident brought negative media attention; others thought any media attention was good exposure for the school in the national media. Some students even went so far as to say that the incident has reaffirmed their faith that they made the right choice in attending Claremont McKenna, adding that they would rather attend a school governed by faculty who are willing to admit mistakes and move on, than create an even larger spectacle and draw more unnecessary attention.

Even Penn State has slowly started to regroup after months of scathing publicity directed at their athletics administration, according to the New York Times. In the aftermath of the scandal, and with a new president, athletic director, and football coach, applications to Penn State rose more than 1% to a record high this year, and donors have also increased. As far as general public opinion is concerned, overall it seems that people tend to demand culpability from the individual perpetrator(s), and not solely the college or university they are affiliated with. The public seems to be able to keep in mind that the goals of the institution and benefits of pursuing a higher education outweigh the ethically bereft choices of one or more individuals.

June 28th, 2012

7 Easy Steps to Determine the Right Degree for You

As we all know, those with postsecondary degrees earn more income and enjoy higher positions in their careers. Determining which degree to pursue is easy for those who know the career path they’ll take upon graduation. For the rest of us, however, that choice is not so easy. And there are few people who actually want to spend nine years in college like Van Wilder, or be faced with switching majors three years into a four-year degree. But how can you determine the right degree for you?

  1. Meet with a career counselor. Trying to settle on the right career for you involves understanding your personality and skills, which is difficult to discern when examining yourself. This is where career counselors enter the picture. They provide clients with unbiased career advice, tailored to clients’ needs, wants, and abilities. Career counselors have the knowledge and skills to work with people in determining which careers would both suit and interest them. To do this, counselors use assessment tests that define their clients’ interests, personality, strengths, weaknesses, and work values.
  2. Research your career choices. Take the career list your counselor created, and begin researching them. While your career counselor might have explained them to you, doing advanced research will help you decide which careers most interest you. Research the tasks inherent in a career, the educational or certificate requirements, how much you can hope to earn, whether there is room for professional growth, and what the employment outlook is in the near future. A good place to start with this is with through career-oriented professional organizations or the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  3. Narrow down your list. After conducting your research, narrow down your list of possible careers. You can do this by asking yourself questions like, “How many years am I willing to devote to my education?” and “How many hours am I willing to work weekly?” For instance, if you don’t want to spend more than six years in school and don’t want to work more than 40 hours per week, you could eliminate a career as a doctor.
  4. Observe plausible careers. Once you have narrowed down your list to about three to five possible careers, attempt to observe professionals in the field. Talk to family and friends to see if they or someone they know is in any of the careers that interest you. You may be able to shadow them in their workplace so that you can experience a day (or longer if you’re lucky) in that career. This will further help you to eliminate career choices.
  5. Choose your career. At this point, you should have enough information to determine which career you’d like to pursue. However, make sure you are choosing a career for the right reason; i.e. that it will be something you will enjoy doing five days a week, for years on end. Money may be the reason we work, but it can only make you happy to a certain point. If you are still undecided, you may want to consider going back to your career counselor and researching a new list of careers.
  6. Determine your degree options. Once you have determined the career you’d like to pursue, begin researching your degree options. Usually, careers don’t require applicants to hold the same degree. For example, journalists might have degrees in journalism, English, or communications. Also research whether you can go right into your desired career with a bachelor’s degree or if you must continue your studies with a master’s, doctorate, or other advanced degree before beginning your career.
  7. Choose your degree. After considering your options, it comes time to choose which degree path you will take. If you have several options, narrow down your choices by determining which degrees are more marketable for pursuing the career of your choice, which degree will give you the best education, which degree most interests you, and also which degree has the most career options.

June 22nd, 2012

Department of Education Names Most and Least Expensive Colleges

In an economy that has seen the cost of higher education increase exponentially, the idea of college tuition costing less than $500 may seem implausible. However, at Haskell Indian Nations University, a small public school that offers primarily associate degrees in Lawrence, Kan., myth is reality. The university charges a modest $430 for a semester of tuition, making it the least expensive four-year school in the United States, according to data published by the U.S. Department of Education (DoE).

The data is part of an updated list from the DoE’s College Affordability and Transparency Center, which aims to increase transparency around the cost of higher education. The report, the second of its kind, includes 4,165 institutions from across the United States. The schools are separated into seven lists, which are:

  • Highest tuition and fees
  • Highest average net price
  • Lowest tuition and fees
  • Lowest average net price
  • Highest percentage increases in tuition and fees
  • Highest percentage increases in average net price
  • All title IV institutions

The schools are also separated by sectors, which includes four-year public, four-year private non- and for-profit, and two-year institutions.

“We want to arm students and parents with the information they need to make smart educational choices,” said Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, in a DoE press release. “Students need to know up front how much college will actually cost them instead of waiting to find out when the first student loan bill arrives. These lists are a major step forward in unraveling the mystery of higher education pricing.”

With a cost of tuition of $805, Dine College in Tzaile, Ariz. was the second least expensive public, four-year school in the United States. On the other end of the ledger, Pennsylvania State University – Main Campus and University of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh Campus were the most expensive public, four-year schools with a cost of tuition of $15,250 and $14,936, respectively. Meanwhile, Connecticut College was the most expensive private, non-profit school with tuition costing $43,990, and Berea College was the least expensive at $910. The national average tuition for private, non-profit schools is $21,949, according to the DoE.

The College Affordability and Transparency Center’s data shows that the national average increase of tuition is 15% for public four-year schools from the 2008-09 to 2010-11 academic years. The University of the District of Columbia’s tuition increased by 123%, the most of all four-year public university’s in the United States. Meanwhile, the Hacienda La Puente Adult Education, a public, less-than-two-year school in California, saw its tuition costs increase 1,100%, the most of any school in the list.

June 22nd, 2012