Liberal arts majors outearn lawyers and doctors…eventually

liberal arts major

“Hey, someone wrote ‘AVOID LAW SCHOOL AT ALL COSTS’ in here.” via Sewanee: The University of the South’s Flickr

Now that we’ve learned that Everything You Thought About Art Degrees Making You Poor is Untrue, it’s time to tackle the alleged lack of earning potential of a liberal arts degree. Putting aside the fact that money isn’t everything, you goddamn animals, it turns out that those friends of yours with fancy professional degrees might leap out to a lead on earnings over you at the start of the post-college race, but liberal arts majors catch up to them eventually. Slow and steady and lacking a huge albatross of medical/law school debt wins the race.

Inside Higher Ed took a look at all the salary and employment numbers for college grads floating around out there. And beyond the fact that engineers (aka engiNERDS, amiright?) will out-earn us all forever, it turns out that by age 50, you’ll be making as much as your fancy doctor and lawyer friends, and you’ll even inch ahead of them as your 50s go on. Sure that means having to LIVE until you’re 50, and you might not want to do that. In which case, the earning power of your degree probably doesn’t mean much to you anyway.

And while liberal arts degree holders will inevitably be making less money most of their lives, they can also warm themselves up with good old fashioned moral superiority. That’s because they go into social service jobs like social work, community service and counseling more than any other type of degree holder. And while you can’t pay your rent with moral superiority and you can’t eat it, at least you can, uh, we got nothing.