Just how do philosophy majors make money? The tree map shows that philosophy majors work largely in Management, business, science and arts occupations. The specific occupations that stand out are mostly well paid: Lawyers, judges, magistrates and other judicial officials ($184,000), postsecondary teachers ($70,000), miscellaneous managers ($105,000), elementary and middle school teachers (an outlier among these at just $45,000), and physicians and surgeons ($194,000). Many of the wide variety of management and business support occupations where philosophy majors can be found are also paid above average salaries.
Just what is it that Philosophy majors bring to the table? O*Net shows that the strong training in verbal skills (reading, writing, speaking active listening) as well as critical thinking are the key strengths of Philosophy majors. Skill in these areas must provide substantial value in legal and management occupations—enough that majoring in philosophy is no handicap when it ultimately comes to pay.
So the next time you meet a philosophy major, don’t feel guilty about having him (about two-thirds of philosophy majors male) buy you a drink. He can afford it.