One of the most common reasons people choose to attend college is to provide themselves as many prospects as possible for the future, including financial success, personal fulfillment, career opportunities, and safety and security after retirement.
Your preferred institution, academic status, and major choice might all have a significant influence on your job chances. Not all bachelor’s degrees will have the same earning potential.
The arts and teaching, however, may pay more than certain occupations, such as those in science, technology, engineering, and math. The least likely majors to get work are examined in this article.
According to Payscale’s 2021 College Salary Report, these are some of the lowest-paying degrees accessible to undergrads. The median salary for graduates with more than 10 years of work experience, sometimes referred to as “mid-career compensation,” are shown by the rounded dollar figures.
Out of 827 college majors, these are the worst 10 in 2021:
- Metalworking: $40,300
- Medical assistance: $44,800
- Mental Health: $45,000
- Early Childhood Education: $45,400
- For outdoor education: $46,300
- Rehabilitation counseling: $46,400
- Studies in Child and Family: $46,500
- Addiction studies: $47,000
- Horse studies: $47,000
- Early Childhood & Elementary Education: 48,400 $
The most profitable bachelor’s degree, according to the same poll, had a median mid-career compensation of $187,300. (Engineering for petroleum).
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also found that workers with just a high school diploma earned little over $780 per week, or about $40,600 annually.
STEM areas are the most prevalent among the highest-paying majors.
STEM undergraduate majors—science, technology, engineering, and math—tend to earn the highest salaries today, according to a Payscale poll. In the top 25, there is only one STEM-related major.
With a median income of $187,300 for professionals with more than ten years of experience, petroleum engineering was the best-paying undergraduate major. Graduates in industrial engineering and operations research made $170,400, which was the second-highest income. Electrical Engineering & Computer Science finished in third place with $159,300.
STEM majors not only earn more money than non-STEM majors in the same field, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, with a median pay ranging from $101,100 to $87,600.
In general, STEM occupations earned more than twice as much as non-STEM occupations, and employment growth in the sector is expected to be at least 10% over the next ten years.
Of course, there are exceptions. Without a doubt, a well-paid teacher will earn more money than an underpaid engineer. Additionally, a person’s work ethic, their ability to market themselves, and even sheer luck are a few other elements that have a big influence on their income. It also matters where you go to college since a degree from an Ivy League institution or a reputable public university will probably be worth more than one from a for-profit college. Nevertheless, selecting a major still has a big influence.
An undergraduate degree may be more advantageous than a graduate degree in certain occupations.
Graduate Degrees vs. Bachelor Degrees
It is feasible to make more money with a bachelor’s degree than one that requires a master degree in certain disciplines. Bachelor’s degree holders in engineering and architecture, for instance, earned an average of $149,530 per year as of May 2020. Despite being paid less, teachers with graduate degrees earned an average of $80,560 annually.
The yearly salary may be significantly impacted by a STEM degree. As of 2019 (the most recent statistics as of January 2022), engineers earned the highest money yearly ($102,200), followed by computer professionals with STEM degrees ($105,300). Even the lowest paid position may earn more than $66,000 annually.
Future wages are only one of the many aspects to consider while choosing a college degree. Additionally, some positions with lower pay include benefits. For instance, due to their importance to the smooth running of society as a whole, teachers usually get more vacation time than many other professions, frequently have greater work security, and may be qualified for better pension benefits.
Graduates from low-paying degrees may earn less than half the annual wage of graduates from the highest-paying degrees, and over the course of a career spanning more than 40 years, the difference might widen. The usual mid-career pay ranges from $187,000 to $40,300. Keep this in mind. Therefore, as opposed to whether you attend college or not, your major can have a bigger financial impact.