Specific Careers That Use Liberal Arts

Let’s face it. The liberal arts can get a bad rap. It seems like it’s easy to poke fun at liberal arts education and denigrate it in comparison to other fields, like math. But did you know math is actually part of the liberal arts? 

The term “liberal arts” can mean many things in today’s education, with some curricula being more prevalent (and perceived as more useful) than others. Many people don’t realize there are “classical” liberal arts that are still being taught because they are useful, and they’ve proven their practicality since ancient times. As a soon-to-be classical liberal arts grad, I want to share what the seven classical liberal arts are and specific careers that not only benefit from them, but dare I write—require—liberal arts skills.

The Seven Classical Liberal Arts
Geometry
Mathematics
Music
Astronomy
Grammar
Logic
Rhetoric

Each art is a foundational skill that other skills build on, especially skills that use more than one art.  Each skill is crucial to mastering at least one kind of job. Below, I’ll explain each liberal art briefly and give a far-from-exhaustive list of jobs that use each art.


Geometry and math are studied separately in the liberal arts because old-school geometry uses logic instead of numbers to study lines and shapes. This way, you can measure lengths correctly without a ruler, although rulers and other tools make it easier.

People who use geometry:
Architects
Carpenters
Cartographers
Construction workers
Geography teachers
Geometry teacher
Manufacturers
Metalworkers


Mathematics has 4 basic functions —addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division— that every branch of math uses in some form or other. A kindergartener adding up apples is essentially doing the same thing as an astrophysicist calculating the speed of a moving rocket.

People who use math:
Accountants
Bakers
Bankers
Bookkeepers
Chefs
Computer programmers
Doctors
Economists
Engineers
Math teachers
Pharmacists
Scientists
Stock Brokers


Music, in its ancient and medieval form, included more than songs and symphonies. It considered all harmonious things to be musical, so by this definition, all art is a kind of music.

People who use music:
Animators
Artists
Cinematographers
Composers
Dancers
Directors
Fashion designers
Film editors
Interior decorators
Musicians
Philosophers
Photographers
Poets
Singers


Astronomy has never been a popular career, but it is useful even for people who don’t stargaze, because we use astronomy to measure dates and times by the positions of the sun, moon, stars, and the Earth.

People who use astronomy:
Astronauts
Astronomers
Calendar makers
Farmers
Meteorologists
Philosophers
Sailors
Science teachers


Grammar is essential for everyone so that everyone can be understood. Some jobs are unquestionably reliant on grammar.

People who use grammar:
Advertisers
Authors
Editors
Journalists
Philosophers
Publishers
Teachers
Secretaries


Logic, or critical thinking, is key to problem-solving and innovation. It helps you determine if something is true or reasonable.

People who use logic:
Administrators
City planners
Coaches
Doctors
Entrepreneurs
Generals
Historians
Lawyers
Librarians
Philosophers
Psychologists
Scientists
Teachers
Theologians


Rhetoric is speech designed to convince people to buy, watch, believe, or vote for something. It’s the art of persuasion.

People who use rhetoric:
Actors
Clergy
Comedians
Entrepreneurs
Journalists
Lawyers
Philosophers
Politicians
Radio announcers
Salespeople
Speech writers
TV show hosts

The classical liberal arts have something for everyone. They make philosophers wiser, writers clearer, scientists smarter, and politicians more convincing (well, maybe, after all, it’s education, not magic.)

This is a four-part series written by Penelope Laird, a college intern majoring in Liberal Arts. These are her reflections on the experience she gained between her fall and spring semesters while working for me. -Heidi Scott Giusto, Ph.D.