Overview of the worst majors in college
Many degree holders are unemployed or struggle to find well-paying jobs largely because of their course of study. It is frustrating to spend a lot of money and years in college to earn a degree and then end up in a low-paying job. Your choice of major, to a large extent, determines your employment opportunities and prospects, and of course, your employability and earning power in the long run. Here, we'll cover the worst majors in college that offer low employment rates and even lower earning potential to help you choose a field of study wisely.
The worst college majors
Below are some of the worst college majors that may reduce your ability to earn a good income. Note that we will use unemployment data from Statista and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Average base pay: $49,702 per year A fine arts major offers students the chance to work with a wide range of art forms. Students learn and explore studio courses, such as graphic design, painting, digital photography, creative drawing, and animation. Hence, photography, graphic designing, acting, and animation are all potential careers for a degree holder in fine arts. However, it is sad to know that a degree in fine arts is not often lucrative and can only offer you an average annual salary below $50,000. According to the BLS, the job prospects for fine arts degrees will see little to no growth from 2019 to 2029. The reason for this is that most people patronize fine artists and their work only when the economy is doing well. Statista data shows that the unemployment rate for fine arts graduates was 5.1% as of July 2020.
Average base pay: $50,687 per year Mass media is a major in communications. It studies the theories and practices of media, such as television, radio, newspapers, and other printed texts. A degree holder in media and communication has a variety of career paths to follow. These include news broadcasting, reporting, advertising, and so on. However, many graduates in this major are unemployed, as indicated by the unemployment rate. Information from Statista indicates that mass media graduates have an unemployment rate of 7.3%, a high figure compared to other professions. However, the BLS says the industry is expected to grow by 4% between 2019-2029, which is close to the average for all professions.
Average base pay: $129,880 per year Physics is one of the worst majors people can study in terms of employability. If you are not interested in academia, research, meteorology, or astronomy, it might be difficult to get a job with a physics major. Physics graduates can work in diverse industries, but most companies do not require a large number of physicists. So, graduates of this discipline may need to find work in other industries such as tech and teaching. According to Statista, physics major graduates have a 7.7% unemployment rate, which is the highest for all fields studied as of July 2020.
Average base pay: $44,070 per year Graphic design is the art of communicating with an audience through visual arts. This major, along with commercial arts, also has a relatively high unemployment rate, according to Statista. With a 4.5% unemployment rate, it may be difficult to secure a steady gig as a graphics designer. Becoming a graphic designer does not require a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. Despite the low barrier of entry, graphic designers are not the best paid in the multimedia design industry.
Average base pay: $43,310 per year In English language majors, students learn the history, structure, and literature of the English language. Students in this field are taught English writing, reading, and speaking proficiency. Hence, as a degree holder in the English language, you can opt for career opportunities such as journalism, marketing, public relations managers, and education. English language and literature majors have an unemployment rate of 4.5%. Besides teaching, writing, and maybe jobs in media and communications, an English major may find it difficult to get employed.
Average base pay: $59,029 per year Liberal arts is a broad discipline. It encompasses the study of many subjects such as history, philosophy, sociology, psychology, and creative arts. Due to such a diverse curriculum, liberal arts majors can pursue a variety of career options, such as journalism, product marketing, film acting, philosophy, and many more. Note that Statista data shows a 4.3% unemployment rate for graduates of this major. However, you can still improve your employability by upgrading your skills.
Family and consumer science
Average base pay: $49,094 per year Family and consumer science is a degree major that studies home management. Students in this field learn how to plan and manage homes efficiently. Courses in this discipline include nutrition, food preparation, clothing care, money management, consumer awareness, and child-rearing. Career opportunities in this field are largely related to managerial positions. However, there are other career options, particularly in education, that fit this major. The unemployment rate for this major is 4.1%, according to data from Statista.
Average base pay: $50,831 per year Sociology refers to the study of social interactions between people living together within a society. While there is a wide range of job opportunities for sociology majors, available statistics show that graduates in this field are underemployed. Figures from Statista put the unemployment rate among sociology graduates at 5.1% as of July 2020.
Average base pay: $51,267 per year Anthropology is the scientific study of humans and their biological and sociocultural environment. It also studies the evolutionary history of humans. Possible career paths and employment opportunities in anthropology include, but are not limited to, cultural and environmental resource management, forensic pathology, natural resource management, human rights and social justice advocacy, and international affairs. Per Statista data, anthropology majors have a 6% unemployment rate. This is not surprising, as many humanities majors face the same problem.
Average base pay: $54,406 per year A foreign language major involves learning foreign languages. There are limited career options for students who major in a foreign language. They may become foreign language teachers, translators, or linguists, or they might work in mass media. According to Statista, the unemployment rate for this major is 3.3%, which is low compared to other disciplines. However, it is high when you consider the fact that the number of people who study foreign languages as a major in college is quite small. If you are in this field, you can engage in blogging, language lessons, and other creative activities to increase your earnings.
Average base pay: $42,689 per year Social services majors study the principles, processes, and systems of social welfare service to understand and provide solutions to human problems. You can choose this academic program if you wish to help people and pursue careers in social work. Professionals in this field possess good interpersonal and communication skills. A bachelor’s degree in social services qualifies you for entry-level positions in a variety of social institutions, including schools and hospitals. Social services majors have an unemployment rate of 3.1%, according to Statista.
Average base pay: $51,402 per year A biology major focuses on the study of organisms, which may include various types of plants and animals. Career options in this field are numerous and interrelated, including biologists, geneticists, lab technicians, and conservationists. Considering that the discipline has an unemployment rate of 4.2%, biology graduates may have to find creative ways to make money. They can work in zoos or on farms, create blogs and YouTube channels, or even go into sales.
Average base pay: $59,029 per year History is a degree program that studies events or happenings in the past. Historians explore, analyze, and interpret past events as they relate to present situations. Becoming a successful professional in this field requires strong analytical, research, writing, and foreign language skills. This discipline has an unemployment rate of 3.8%.
Average base pay: $41,783 per year A nutrition science major equips students with the knowledge of the nutritional value of food. It also teaches how food plays a role in human growth and metabolism, using the fundamental knowledge from the agricultural, biological, and biomedical sciences. Many degree holders in this major become nutritionists and corporate wellness specialists. Some even develop and supply food products. Statista puts the unemployment rate for this major at 3.3%. To become a nutritionist, the entry-level education is a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nutrition science. Choosing a major to study in college is an important decision, as it can affect your ability to find a good job, pay off your student loans, and achieve financial independence in the future. Use this list of the worst majors in college to discover the fields to avoid so you can achieve your professional and financial goals.