Career Information for a Degree in General Studies

A degree program in general studies provides maximum flexibility with the benefits of a complete college degree program. Graduates can go on to employment in any number of fields, but many of these professions require additional degrees or education. Careers resulting solely from a general studies program often require little specific knowledge, but value the responsibility demonstrated by a college education.

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What is a Degree in General Studies?

General studies is a fitting major for students who are ready to attend college, but not ready to commit to a specific course of studies. Most programs allow students to attend classes for two years without making a specific commitment, and some schools even allow students to complete a full bachelor's degree program in general studies (BGS).

In general studies degree programs, most students take courses in literature, history, philosophy and social sciences as well as art, mathematics, and the natural sciences. General studies students can pursue any number of careers and graduate programs after completing the program and may end up working as administrative services managers, correctional officers or even funeral directors, among other possibilities.

Administrative Services Managers

The duties performed by administrative service managers cover a wide spectrum. They are responsible for planning, organizing and coordinating projects and services in almost every industry. Administrative service managers are found in both the government and private sectors.

These workers make planning decisions, direct the work of others, formulate goals and strategies and report to upper management, depending on their level. Many are involved in hiring and firing decisions, and in large organizations they may have one or more levels of management below and above them in the decision-making chain. This profession was projected to grow at rate of 15% from 2010-2020, an average pace, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median salary for these workers was $81,080 per year as of May 2012 (www.bls.gov).

Correctional Officers

A correctional officer works in a prison, providing supervision and direction to inmates. Many employers require a bachelor's degree, according to the BLS, but most prison systems do not have specific requirements regarding major. Training is typically provided on the job for entry-level employees. Job growth projections in this field were below average from 2010-2020, and most of the new jobs occur as a byproduct of the nation's ever-growing population. Pay is often low and the work can, in some cases, be dangerous. The BLS reported that the median salary in this field as of May 2012 was $39,040, with supervising officers earning a median salary of $57,840.

Funeral Directors

Funeral directors manage and direct funerals, wakes and services for deceased persons and their families. They also embalm and restore the appearances of the deceased for display and comfort the grieving in their times of loss. A general studies degree can lead to this career by way of a 2- to 4-year program of studies followed by an apprenticeship.

A degree in mortuary science might be more direct, but a general studies program is more flexible for those starting out with multiple aspirations. Funeral directors must be licensed to work in their state and should possess a high level of tact and compassion in order to interact with friends and family members of the deceased. This job was projected to grow at a steady pace from 2010-2020, but finding a job may be easier for those who can relocate. Median earnings as of May 2012 were $46,840 per year, reported the BLS.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics