How to Become a Philosopher
Philosopher Careers & Degrees

Philosophers are highly educated individuals whose work revolves around the nature of human existence, as well as fundamental questions about art, morality, free will, truth, time and space and the relationship between the mind and the physical world.

The majority of Philosophers work in the postsecondary sector including colleges, universities and junior colleges.

Philosophers teach their students the main concepts of this multidisciplinary field which can also lead to the development of many useful skills that can help throughout one’s career.

Individuals who study Philosophy as undergraduates, may also find careers in other sectors and professions, including it being a stepping stone for entering law school.

Using the works of many well-known Philosophers and their concepts, modern Philosophers working in the post-secondary sector help their students gain logic, analyze text, analyze language and preparation of arguments.

Individuals who want to become a Philosopher will have a love of language as well as knowledge, reality and existence.

Education Requirements to Become a Philosopher

Individuals who want to become a Philosopher will need several years of education in order to seek job opportunities.

The majority of Philosophers are hired by colleges and universities at the postsecondary level and therefore need an advanced degree to pursue job opportunities.

Individuals who want to become a Philosopher will need to complete a bachelor’s degree and then attend a graduate program in Philosophy.

Undergraduates who want to become a Philosopher will need to major in philosophy to learn all the main concepts associated with this theoretical discipline.

A program in philosophy will include coursework in Greek philosophy, modern philosophy and logic.

Individuals will also learn religious studies, metaphysics, ethics and pre-law.

This major is geared to prepare students to prepare arguments, analyze text and gain logic understanding.

After receiving their Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Philosophy, an individual who wants to become a Philosopher will need to apply to a graduate program in the same discipline.

A PhD in Philosophy typically takes 4 years to complete and will guide an individual through courses such as ethics, logic, metaphysics, semantics and epistemology – the nature of knowledge.

Philosopher Job Description

In postsecondary institutions, the number of courses a Philosopher will teach entirely depends on their capacity.

Some Philosophers will have the capacity to teach one or two courses while other individuals will be able to teach more.

The number of courses a Philosopher will teach during the year will affect their workload.

As instructors in the postsecondary sector, Philosophers prepare curriculums and courses to guide their students through the most important aspects of Philosophy.

Philosophers challenge their students to think about and analyze many of questions revolving human existence.

Philosophers will prepare the curriculum, syllabus and plan a course many months in advance.

They will also develop a coursework that will challenge their students to learn about the specific class they are teaching.

Also involved includes the preparation for exams, quizzes and papers needed to test students on the material presented during classes.

Philosophers will also prepare their students to understand the main focal concepts of Philosophy as well as educate them on the history of this branch of study and the many important Philosophers that existed that helped created this focus area.

Philosopher Salary and Career Path

Philosophers working in the postsecondary sector can expect to earn an average annual wage of $72,200.

Exact wages will depend on the industry a Philosopher works in.

For examples, higher wages can be expected from colleges and universities who pay an average of $73,130 per year while religious organizations pay an average salary of $52,370.

Philosophers seeking jobs in the postsecondary sector can expect to have more job opportunities at colleges and universities.

Individuals pursuing a career in Philosophy can look forward to job opportunities in the postsecondary sector.

Individuals who pursue a career path as a Philosophers have a natural curiosity for how life works, why we exist, the meaning of life and why we die and what the point of life is.

Becoming a Philosopher in the academic world, will give them the most natural platform to continue pursuing the meaning of life and sharing that knowledge with a younger generation of Philosophers.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$88,970
$41K
$55K
$88K
$103K
$151K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$64,990
Arizona$80,520
Arkansas$68,760
California$136,460
Colorado$76,420
Connecticut$76,950
District of Columbia$95,300
Florida$87,110
Georgia$75,080
Hawaii$80,590
Idaho$106,860
Illinois$87,180
Indiana$81,290
Iowa$77,330
Kansas$82,660
Kentucky$72,800
Maine$85,230
Maryland$107,430
Massachusetts$84,620
Michigan$76,970
Minnesota$76,890
Mississippi$69,540
Missouri- NA -
Montana$52,420
Nebraska$67,650
Nevada$58,620
New Hampshire$86,460
New Jersey$84,010
New York$86,280
North Carolina$80,640
North Dakota$74,190
Ohio$83,490
Oklahoma$59,310
Oregon$74,280
Pennsylvania$91,250
Rhode Island$105,790
South Carolina$74,580
Tennessee$73,250
Texas$85,360
Utah$91,190
Vermont- NA -
Virginia$76,080
Washington$74,040
West Virginia$48,450
Wisconsin$72,670
Puerto Rico$55,570

The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $136,460.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

California - $136,460
Maryland - $107,430
Idaho - $106,860
Rhode Island - $105,790
District of Columbia - $95,300
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Philosophy and Religion Teachers, Postsecondary, OCC Code 25-1126, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat does a philosopher do?

A philosopher is someone who composes his or her own papers on various philosophic issues.

The main aim of the philosophers that work in postsecondary institutions is to teach the students on the logic and writings of a wide range of famous philosophers.

Most of the philosophers devote their lives to understanding and, later on, expanding the existing philosophical publications and ideas.

The typical responsibilities of a philosopher working in post-secondary institutions usually include teaching at least one class of students; creating lesson plans; participating in university committees; evaluating the students’ understanding of the material by assigning and grading papers; publishing dissertations and papers, and so on.

QuestionHow much do philosophers make?

On average, a philosopher that works in postsecondary institutions can make a little less than $72.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to follow this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $48.000 and $88.000 annually.

The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the college you work for, the location and so on.

Philosophy professors that work in New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts, for example, have the highest average salaries.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a philosopher?

You would certainly need to earn a bachelor’s degree in the liberal arts, in order to become a philosopher.

A year in a university can cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $45.000 (and more); the cost depends on a variety of factors (the books, supplies, and accommodation expenses are not included).

You would also need a Master’s (over $30.000, in most cases) or Doctoral degree (around $30.000-$40.000) in Philosophy to be able to teach in colleges.

You must be certified to become a teacher; the cost of teacher certification can vary from state to state, so be prepared to pay anywhere between $40 and $200.

QuestionWhat is the demand for philosophers?

Between 2018 and 2028, the postsecondary teacher job market (including philosophy professors) is expected to grow by 11%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That is a lot faster than the national average for all occupations in the United States.

Those who possess a master’s or a doctorate degree and plenty of experience will have better job prospects.

Bear in mind that the academic job market is extremely competitive.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a philosopher?

It will take you 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree; 1-2 years to earn a master’s degree; on average, you would need to spend 5 to 9 years to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy.

To get the teacher certification, you would need to have at least a bachelor’s degree, complete an approved teacher education program, pass a background check and knowledge and skills tests.

Make sure to gain as much on-job experience as you can, while you are still in university, and don’t forget to publish papers and articles for your future portfolio.

Find a Program