Each year hundreds of thousands of high school seniors and college seniors are forced to make a decision that will have major impacts on their entire life. That choice is what field to major in for their undergraduate degree. So many first generation college students simply aren’t equipped to understand the trade offs or major impacts that can occur by choosing a few different classes. We’ve several guides from ThinkAdvisor to Forbes , and we at LoneMind wanted to share our thoughts on the subject.
Table of Contents
This major has a starting salary of $30,600 and one of the highest unemployment rates for all college majors. This degree has minimal value on its own as getting a job which can leverage this will require a masters to work in clinical studies or a doctorate to be become a licensed psychologist.
This major has a starting salary of $36,200 for those who work in the field. The major drawback to studying this area is that there are no degree requirements so you’re often competing against people who have been building their clientele and portfolio for years. Additionally, many customers are looking for someone cheap who can get the pictures leading to a very low mid-career earnings.
Anthropology is the bane of the hiring manager for most businesses. The student in this field rarely has directly transferable skills to entry level positions. Students in this field are more likely to be hired than photography, but they are rarely in positions which require a degree in Anthropology.
17. Interior Design
This degree has a starting salary of $100 greater than photography and suffers from a similar issue that many of the people in the field simply don’t have a degree. If you are interested in Interior design, you are far better off starting as an entry level employee in a design firm rather than going to school for this. For someone going into this field marketing is a far better choice for most people.
16. Hospitality and Tourism
This major has a rather low unemployment rate especially for those who enjoy travel and are fluent in English. The starting salary is $35,900 and this major makes our list only because of the lack of advancement opportunities.
15. Biblical Studies/Theology
This major earns a solid $36,200 per year and has a plethora of career options. Most of the jobs in the field will require either master degree or no degree at all. The biggest downside to this major is that it is really only a stepping stone for the M.Div degree.
This degree is similar to farming science, but requires less math and science courses. This degree can be useful for someone who is looking to take over a family farm, but doesn’t have a lot of options on the open job market. Someone interested in this is better served in looking for an engineering degree.
13. Paralegal Studies
This major has a starting salary of $35,000 and a tiny unemployment rate. The major drawback to this degree is that it only requires a two year degree instead of a four year degree. Having a bachelor degree will boost your likelihood of getting a job, but it should be considered a stepping stone for someone who is convinced they want to become an attorney. Even under those circumstances a degree in either business, finance, or accounting will be far superior in the long-term career of an attorney.
12. Physical Education
There are two career paths for someone who majors in this. The starting salary is only $34,900 which makes it one of the lowest, but there is some upside potential. To become a personal trainer, you would need to pass one or more industry certifications, and to become a PE teacher you could earn more, but would also need to pass the requirements to be a teacher. This can be a very low stress job that is fantastic for people who enjoy being physically fit; however, it is very weak for people who want to earn a high wage.
11. Culinary Arts
The issue with studying culinary arts is the number of people who study it and how. If you can get into ICE or another major culinary school, then you will be able to earn significant money with little issues. The issue for this major is the lack of regulation in the industry and that so many for profit schools have popped up to charge people for training they could get while working in a kitchen.
10. Special Education
The starting salary for someone who studies this area is $33,800, and to become a special ed teacher requires both a bachelor degree and a teaching certificate. On top of that, you also need to have several months in an internship program where you work for little to no money to gain the experience. Additionally, this area is more difficult to translate to corporate america making it incredibly difficult to find employment in some rural areas.
9. Animal Science
This is one of the few science fields that make our list. This degree has a starting salary of $33,600 with incredibly few prospects that don’t require going to veternary school. If your goal is to work with horses, pigs or chickens on a farm, then you are far better studying that specific type of animal rather than the generic animal science. This degree is at best a stepping stone which really creates issues for anyone who gets the degree, but doesn’t get accepted for further study.
8. Broadcast Journalism
This field has a lot of clout as people believe the local newscasters earn far more than they do. The starting salary is $32,700 that can scale to mid 60s with several years experience. This field is really dying out as more and more news is coming from online with the quick clips or homemade youtube videos. The number of people in this field is going to radically decline over the next 10 years in the same way we’ve seen newspaper editors decline over the last twenty.
7. Elementary Education
This is our second teaching related degree to make the list, and it is in even less demand than special ed at the number 10 slot. This has a starting salary of $32,200 and requires the four year degree, certificate and the student teaching internship. Additionally, there are few opportunities to leverage this degree outside of being a teacher at a public or private school, and there are simply too many people who have the degree for the demand which keeps wages incredibly low and declining.
6. Fine Arts
This field has an average starting salary of $30,000, but has an unemployment rate of 12.6%. There are many for profit schools who convince people with little hope of becoming a professional arts to enroll. This creates a plethora of people with the degree whereas the most talented often just go straight to being the major earners in the field.
This degree is almost cliche in it’s lack of ability to get hired. The degree has a 10.8% unemployment rate and few career options after graduation. Short of teaching the subject or writing books on the topic, there is little that can be done with this degree.
4. Liberal Arts
If you go to college, but can’t decide what to major in then you can study liberal arts. This is really a degree in nothing and you just take a random assortment of classes to get enough credits to graduate. This doesn’t prepare the student for much more than general, basic office work; however, ironically there are three things that can be studied that are worse than this degree in nothing.
This is the study of acting and movies. This major is something someone could study to learn how to be a film critic or a drama coach. The issue is that any person who goes into this field would either need to understand writing/communication to write the reviews or teaching to be a coach. Getting a major in this is great for them film nerds who love spending their time dissecting the nuances of movies, but has no practical application in a long-term career.
This degree has an average starting salary of $28,000, and has an overall unemployment rate of 6.2%. There is an incredibly low number of paid positions in this area with most of the work going to unpaid interns or people who have significant graduate education. This field should be avoided for anyone who is going to college to increase their earning power.
This is a completely dying field that hasn’t caught up with technological advances. Twenty years ago, before modern CAD software, architects were needed to create all plans. Now most of the work and calculations are done automatically via software. This allows firms to complete far more work per architect which makes it incredibly difficult for people new to the field to get their required apprenticeship. This degree has a more than 15% unemployment rate overall, and over 35% of the people who major in the field are either unemployed or employed in a role that doesn’t require the degree.