If you’re looking to put money in the bank, maybe avoid these majors.
The top 8 highest paying college majors make, on average, a whopping $3.4 million more than the 8 lowest-paying college majors.
Granted, there’s a lot more to life than making a lot of money, and you can be successful in any field. We don’t do everything for money, but if that is an important factor for you, then there are some majors to avoid.
By researching median earnings and unemployment rates for recent graduates and mid-career graduates, we found the 8 majors that are the least lucrative.
The job market for this field is small and competitive.
According to Forbes, the unemployment rate for recent graduates is 10.5%, with median earnings at around 28k. For experienced graduates, it’s 6% with an average of 47k a year. For this major, the field comes with high unemployment rates and low salaries.
II. The Arts
This includes film, video, photography, studio art, theater, and graphic design. While these are certainly awesome skills to have, they don’t always lead to high paying jobs.
According to the US Labor Department, recent graduates in film and video experience an unemployment rate of around 13%. For experienced graduates, the rate is not much better at 6.7%. Salary is low; just 30k for recent graduates and mid 50k for those well into their careers.
Depending on what art you major in, the unemployment rate and pay may vary. For example, music majors experience lower unemployment rates but lower mid-career salaries. Graphic design has higher salaries, but a much higher unemployment rate.
III. Philosophy and Religious Studies
If this is a field you are interested in, it may make applying to colleges a bit easier. Because it’s quite unusual, you may stand out in college admissions. On the downside, these majors aren’t making the most money, with only 30k right out of college and 48k mid-career.
IV. Liberal Arts
What makes this major unappealing is that it’s very generic. These types of generic majors don’t necessarily correlate to a career. If you major in Liberal Arts, expect to be making around 30k out of college and 50k mid-career.
V. Early Childhood Education + Elementary Education
ECE majors are paid poorly out of college in the U.S, making an average of $13/hour. And while elementary education majors have better employment rates and prospects, their salary isn’t much better.
VI. Physical Fitness and Parks and Recreation
Similar to the other fields on this list, those who major in this field see a 30k starting salary and a 50k mid-career salary. Additionally, the unemployment rate for this field is higher than in many other fields.
This major is a great first step if you are looking to pursue an MBA or a law degree after college. Just know that a history degree doesn’t necessarily materialize into a higher paying career just on its own. Recent graduates can expect to make around 32k, while mid-career graduates can expect around 54k.
VIII. English Language and Literature
A love of reading doesn’t translate into jobs. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, in 2016 recent graduates had a starting salary of around 36k, and the national mean salary was 49k for all occupations regardless of experience level.
Should I Still Pursue These Majors?
This is a decision only you can make. The best-paying majors tend to be in the STEM field or business + economics. But if you are passionate about one of the 8 majors listed above, then you shouldn’t give up just because they are less lucrative.
You can be successful in any major you choose. But it might be potentially more challenging to turn these 8 majors into a big fat paycheck.