Associate Degrees in Liberal Arts Growing Through Time

Since the year 2000, community colleges have seen considerable growth in the number of associate degrees in liberal arts and humanities. In June 2019, Community College Research Center published a report addressing the number of students and degrees in the field mentioned above.
Briefly, to say, the number of associate degrees in the humanities and the liberal arts were 410 000 in 2015. Doubled since the year 2000 (218 000 degrees), and grew their share as part of all associate degrees across the country by 3% (from 38% to 41%), while the number of bachelors’ degrees in this field is decreasing (from 17% to13%).
The report by CCRC states that the humanities and liberal arts might just be one of the most reliable features of the US postsecondary education sector. Growing tendencies of this sector indicate a happy future for the employers as well.

Employers need new hires with degrees in liberal arts

Companies and employers have long starved for employees with appropriate communication skills and social literacy. A survey by Bloomberg Next, conducted in 2018, addressing the subject of recruiting future talent, shows that new employees couldn’t meet the general expectations regarding social skills and emotional intelligence.
It’s apparent that working environments need people with high social and negotiation skills to overcome day to day issues and simple human communications – people who are highly educated in the humanities and liberal arts industry.
The future is filled with robots and technological innovations that might replace and make human relations obsolete. Coming from this assumption, people often go for technical subjects and study science, IT, mathematics, etc. But if you think about it, technologies will, of course, be able to substitute some of our jobs, but they won’t be able to express emotions, conduct social communications and provide a pure human company that every working environment needs desperately.
If we go further in the past, we can see how the number of degrees in humanities and liberal arts have grown from 1987 till today. Starting from 113,300 to 363,500, the number of associate degrees in this field has tripled in the last 30 years.

Even after the apparent growth of degrees in liberal arts

CCRC study reported unprecedented growth of the associate degrees in the humanities and liberal arts, but we still face the bigger picture and see that it’s not enough.
The study found that even after completing the two-year program at community colleges, only a small percentage of graduates will continue their studies and complete a bachelor’s degree. And yet, the acquired knowledge of liberal arts is required in working environments; students find it tough to start working after completing the course in humanities and liberal arts, Meaning that the job market value is low.


Marita Pilauri

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