Credentials and Certificates
Liberal Studies graduates who want to teach in elementary school can go on to earn a multiple subjects teaching credential, while those planning to teach at the middle school or high school levels typically earn a single subject credential. It usually takes one year to earn a teaching credential, and this includes time serving as a student teacher under the guidance of a mentor teacher. SSU’s School of Education offers credential programs in Multiple Subject and Single Subject, among others. Note that each state has its own requirements for credentialing teachers, so a teaching credential earned in California is only guaranteed to qualify you to teach in California. (Note: Students interested in working in early childhood settings in the state of California must obtain a Child Development Permit from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.)
Project Management Certification
If you're interested in planning complex projects and leading teams, you might consider a career in project management. Project management careers require that you are able to coordinate and delegate a series of tasks and assignments in order to achieve a goal. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), you should have excellent communication, leadership and time management skills if you want to have a successful career as a project manager. While there is no set educational path to becoming a project manager, the most common route consists of earning a degree or certificate in project management, as well as professional certification.
Family Life Educator Certification
Family life education focuses on healthy family functioning within a family systems perspective and provides a primarily preventive approach. Certified Family Life Educators (CFLE) work in a variety of settings and bring comprehensive family training to a myriad of employment sectors and job classifications. Often, CFLEs work in education (e.g., teaching, program and curriculum development), management organization and coordination, and public policy (e.g., lobbying, advocacy work). The National Council on Family Relations provides additional information on family life education and the requirements for becoming a Certified Family Life Educator.
A B.A. in Liberal Studies also prepares students to pursue a master's degree in many disciplines, including:
Early Childhood Education or Special Education
Liberal Studies majors interested in education may want to consider pursuing a Master of Arts in Education. These programs usually require two years of full-time study, and may or may not require a teaching credential. In some cases, a teaching credential may be applied in whole or in part to the master’s curriculum, reducing the time spent earning the graduate degree. SSU’s School of Education offers Master of Arts in Education with various concentrations:
- The M.A. Education, concentration in Early Childhood Education prepares “professionals to work with children in preschools and community-based programs that serve children from birth to eight years old, and to take leadership roles in the field of early childhood education.” Reading and Literacy, Special Education, Curriculum, Teaching and Learning
- The M.A. in Education, concentration in Reading and Language prepares “teachers for specialized teaching of reading and language arts to diverse populations of students and for curriculum and instructional leadership in the field of language and literacy.”
- The M.A. in Education, concentration in Special Education “provides advanced academic study for persons working with or on behalf of individuals with disabilities.”
- The M.A. in Education, concentration in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning “provides advanced study for teachers seeking to enhance the depth and breadth of their subject matter knowledge or those seeking staff development and leadership positions in the public or private sectors.”
Counseling and Social Work
Generally two years of full-time study including internship hours in a counseling placement under a licensed supervisor. Note that you still need to become licensed in order to practice. In order to be admitted to a master's program in Counseling or Social Work, additional prerequisite coursework may need to be satisfied.
You can learn more about counseling-related professions through the American Counseling Association, the American School Counselor Association, and the National Association of School Psychologists. In California, practicing psychologists must be licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs). School counselors and school psychologists work in educational settings, and in California need to have obtained their Pupil Personnel Services Credential from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. SSU’s Counseling Department offers two master’s degrees in counseling:
- M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling "prepares students for Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) and eventual licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) and/or as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)."
- M.A. in School Counseling “prepares students for the School Counseling and the Pupil Personnel Services Credential (SC/PPSC).”
You can learn about the profession of social work from the National Association of Social Workers. Social workers are employed in many different settings: as employees of the county, or in schools, courts, hospitals, or non-profit organizations; they may do clinical work focused on improving the mental health of individuals or groups, or they may work as program administrators or policy advocates.
Library Science/Information Science
Librarians and Information professionals promote lifelong learning in locating, evaluating, and synthesizing information. Now more than ever, the success of both public and private organizations depends on the speed and precision with which they can collect, organize and disseminate information. Librarians and other information professionals find career options in a wide variety of settings, from university, school and public libraries, to high tech industries and law firms. A master's degree in library and information science from a graduate school accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) is required for most professional positions. The California Library Association has a list of ALA-accredited programs available at California universities and online.
Occupational therapists help injured, ill, or disabled patients develop, recover, improve, and maintain the skills needed for daily living and working through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. Occupational therapists work in hospitals, schools, skilled nursing facilities, home healthcare, and physical/occupational offices. Occupational therapists require at least a master's degree in occupational therapy, and must be licensed to practice. You can learn more about this career from the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Public health practitioners typically create systems, programs, studies, and policies to improve the health of individuals, families, and communities, both locally and globally. Common roles for graduates of Master's in Public Health (MPH) programs include: epidemiologists, researchers, public health educators, healthcare administrators, and health policy advisors. The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health has resources for individuals currently in, or interested in pursing, an advanced degree in public health, including an Program Finder-search by area of study, degree type, institution, or 'alternative' (online, face-to-face, etc.)!
Speech-language pathologists (sometimes called speech therapists) assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent communication and swallowing disorders in children and adults. Speech-language pathologists work in schools and healthcare facilities. Speech-language pathologists require a master's degree and must be licensed to practice. They may receive additional certification in specialty areas of practice, including: child language and language disorders, fluency and fluency disorders, swallowing and swallowing disorders. You can learn more about this career and specialty areas of practice from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Nurse practitioners (NPs) work closely with patients, monitoring their health and providing care for acute and chronic illnesses. Many NPs work in private practice and community clinics. Becoming a nurse practitioner requires earning a Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.). Although it is common for students pursing an M.S.N. to have already earned a BSN (Bachelors of Science in Nursing), this is not a requirement for all MSN programs. Direct entry NP programs allow people who hold bachelor’s degrees from non-nursing programs (like Liberal Studies!) to jump directly into an NP master’s level program, although they will still need to complete certain prerequisite courses, depending on their undergraduate degree and on whether or not they have already earned an RN. While some direct entry programs require applicants to have already earned an RN license, many others do not. A direct entry program can allow students to become licensed as an RN as well as credentialed as a nurse practitioner in two years or more. NurseJournal.org is an online community website that provides information about the nursing profession, including more information on direct entry M.S.N. degree programs.