College students usually become interested in philosophy in their first year of college after exposure to one or more courses in the field. The interest in possibly majoring or minoring in philosophy is usually a response to all that is intrinsically interesting in the subject matter of philosophy: its attempt to grapple with the hardest questions of human existence, to make sense of reality and our place in the cosmos, to give systematic form to our ethical and political intuitions, to explain the history of human ideas, and so on.
But students exploring the possibility of further study in philosophy are forced to ask whether this pursuit will help them earn a living. Contrary to popular belief, however, a philosophy major is one of the best preparations possible for careers in a large number of different areas. As statistical research shows, desirable employers throughout the country know this and hire graduates with majors and minors in philosophy all the time.
An article in the London Times rightly called philosophy the "ultimate 'transferable work skill'". As a group, philosophy majors consistently score at or near the top on standardized tests, gain employment on graduation at higher than average rates, rank highly in median mid-career salary, and enjoy a well-earned reputation for rigorous thinking.
In fact, the Association of American Colleges and Universities states, "[y]our specific choice of major matters far less than the knowledge and skills you gain through all your studies and experiences in college. In terms of jobs, employers don't hire majors. They hire individuals with potential to succeed over the long term and add value to their companies or organizations." What field of study has been around longer than Philosophy? None, and that's "long term potential."