What to do with an Arts degree

(14 Posts)
VelvetTeddy Fri 06-Jan-17 17:02:05

Long time lurker, first time poster here. smile

I'm currently in my third year of a four year degree - English Literature and an MFL at a Russell Group university.

I've never been 100% certain about my career path, but generally speaking, I've always thought I'd become a teacher. (Most likely primary, but I've also considered teaching English at a secondary school). I love kids, love 'making a difference' etc. Essentially, the 'idea' of teaching seems perfect... but I am aware of the reality. I know it's an incredibly demanding career, and teachers I know in RL don't recommend it.

With that in mind, I'm desperately trying to think of other career options. I'd be really grateful if anyone could advise me on paths suitable for Arts graduates - publishing? Copy editing? I'm feeling open-minded and would love to hear about anything and everything.

As a bit of background info, my interests/work experience etc include writing, social media, working with young people and charity work. I'm very empathetic, and I like things to be organised.

I don't have many people I can speak to about this in RL, so I'd really appreciate any advice/thoughts you have on teaching, or possible alternatives. TIA. smile

OP’s posts: |
AmeliaJack Fri 06-Jan-17 17:13:37

You can do lots of things with an arts degree!

Lots of employers don't care what your degree was in, start having a look at graduate training schemes for large companies and see what you think of the opportunities they are offering.

Find some careers fairs and go along to gets some ideas.

I have friends with arts degrees who have good jobs in the following areas:

Civil Service
Corporate Communications

If you have a good degree, are enthusiastic, organised and interview well then there's loads of things you could do!

lovelearning Fri 06-Jan-17 17:25:42

social media
young people
charity work

Hello VelvetTeddy

Have you considered a career in law?

Intellectual Property Law

Family Law

Human Rights Law etc

Traalaa Fri 06-Jan-17 17:59:34

Why not go for the teaching? I'd never considered it, but seeing my DS go through primary school has made me realise how incredible some of the teachers are and what a difference they can make. I know it's hard, but at DS's school they seemed to have fun too. If you don't give it a go you'll never know and I'd bet it'll make your cv more interesting for other employers if you decide it's not for you.

lovelearning Fri 06-Jan-17 18:20:37

Why not go for the teaching?


Those who can


antimatter Fri 06-Jan-17 18:23:38

Depending on resukts from your degree you can apply for graduate jobs.
I've met many Arts degree graduates working in Fasion as buyers.

Stopyourhavering Fri 06-Jan-17 22:30:11

why not try teaching English as a foreign language?
m dd has an MA and just completing a masters in TESOL and plans to teach English in SE Asia for a few years...she has the travel bug!
I also have an MA, but retrained as a Nurse!


rightsaidfrederickII Sat 07-Jan-17 01:24:10

Firstly, I'd start off by getting some work experience in primary teaching. Some people clearly love it, though there are also some who are burnt out and don't like it much any more!

However, even if you don't end up staying as a teacher until you're 65, a teaching qualification would still open up lots of doors and be good experience for you.

As you've said the following
social media
working with young people
charity work

The following things spring to mind
- a marketing or communications related job (for the writing / social media side of things). Some of those jobs will be related to working with children and young people, others will be very different!
- widening participation - working within a university with students who are bright, but might not go to university for socioeconomic reasons. Much of the work is with secondary pupils, but some do work with pupils in Y5/6.
- Working for an organisation like IntoUni or National Citizen Service - still working with young people and making a difference, but not as a teacher
- Social work - if you're feeling brave, for all the bashing they get they do make a big and positive difference to the lives of many children, and empathy and organisation would be very useful skills. See the Frontline scheme (which is a bit like Teach First), and MA options.
- TEFL - though this would most likely involve working abroad, which may or may not be your thing
- Events management - organisation and a liking for spreadsheets is key here. Some events will be aimed at young people, or be run by charities.
- School liaison - there are lots of organisation out there that work with school children - for instance, museums and other educational attractions will often employ someone who works with kids on school trips.

evenstrangerthings Sat 07-Jan-17 03:01:28

My sister is a Digital Communications Manager for a children's charity. The job entails developing strategies for their website, blog and Social Media presence. Her team are all grads. She herself did a degree in physics and since she graduated 15 years ago, has had many different jobs including Science Journal Editor, Executive Assistant at an Engineering Society, organiser of conferences for pharmaceutical companies etc.

I myself did an engineering degree, retrained as a teacher, taught for 3 years in a school, left to have kids, then ran a large tuition centre and now work from home as an online tutor and also help run the company's Social Media. My role combines my passions, maths, education and social media.

My suggestion is to follow your passions until they no longer are your passions or until you find something that combines your passions. A PGCE is a fantastic qualification to hold. Friends of mine who are grads from back in the day, would love to enter teaching, as it can be such a flexible job, but it's a lot more difficult to juggle a PGCE when you have your own kids, but with one, it opens up
full-time or part- time teaching posts not just in the UK but also internationally.

bojorojo Sun 08-Jan-17 14:10:15

My DD had two friends who worked as Teaching Assistants to see if they want to be teachers. They did and now they are training. One is going into secondary and is learning Spanish with his PGCE as well as the French and Italian he already possesses. Makes him more employable as a secondary teacher. There is also Teach First in London. I also know of graduates being assistant houseparents at boarding schools as a springboard for teaching.

Many arts graduates apply for grad opportunities. Could be law, (family law would suit you), retail, HR, anything that does not require a science degree! Local Authorities may also have traineeships that would suit you.

I would stress your languages to any employer. The year abroad sets you apart from many applicants and shows great capability and initiative.

As a school governor in the primary sector, I can truly say I have met lots of enthusiastic, happy teachers! Make sure you go to a well led school with excellent teachers and you will be like them! Not everyone is jaded and dislikes it.

ThisYearWillbeBetter Mon 09-Jan-17 10:12:10

With that in mind, I'm desperately trying to think of other career options.

I always advise my students to think about their skills rather than named "jobs." Not many people are going to employ you for what you know about Jane Austen, but they will employ you because you
* know how to find out about stuff
* read quickly & analytically
* summarise & precis what you read
* pull out it's important points
* interpret nuances of meaning
* write clearly and logically

These are generic - you will have specific skills which you can promote.

blueskyinmarch Mon 09-Jan-17 10:15:16

My DD1 has a theology degree and works for a legal publishing company. Her job is not even vaguely related to her degree, but she got a good degree classification and was able to use that as a stepping stone into employment. You can use your degree to get into lots of different careers.

SkyLucy Mon 09-Jan-17 10:48:48

There's so much you can do because as a PO said, your fundamental skills are so transferable. I read languages and currently run the creative team in an arts organisation - we produce all marketing materials etc and have huge numbers of non-UK users, so my writing and general language skills are super useful!

The only thing I was certain about when I left uni was that I didn't want to teach (my DM was a teacher and I think I was overexposed to the 'bad bits'!) I've had a varied and enjoyable career path - taught EFL abroad, worked at the Beeb, then in film marketing then for a small NGO and a huge UK charity. Common thread throughout: I'm very creative and write well. I also found I love digital, so I've developed social media marketing and website experience design skills as I've gone along.

Do you want to use your language? That's the only thing I regret...my languages are embarrassingly neglected, and I think it's hard to use them in the workplace unless you go the teaching/translation route or find a company who works in the territories that speak your languages. Or you could work abroad...

Bonne chance!

bojorojo Mon 09-Jan-17 23:53:53

My DD had friends that went into translation - they hated it. Heads down and you don't meet anyone much. They soon found something else - teaching! Languages, like many other arts degrees is all about transferable skills and these are not just the languages. Have you been to careers fairs and looked at graduate opportunities?

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