Ivory tower educators tell us that you should not go to college just to enhance your career-earning power.
Yet, most of us don’t reside in ivory towers. Reality in the United States dictates that people go to college because they believe it will help them not only pursue a good career but also help them make more money, too.
And college graduates can expect to earn more than 40 percent more than high school graduates over the course of their work lives. And, they are twice less likely to wind up on unemployment rolls than those with a high school education.
But there are obstacles. The average cost of attending a state-supported college is $21,000 annually in the U.S. while private colleges average $42,000 per year.
Now Kiplinger magazine warns about the 10 college degrees that will help you the least financially after graduation, no matter how significant the work you do after graduation. None of these degrees provide a median income above $50,000, which means that college debt could take a long time pay off.
Here are some of the degrees that don’t carry big financial rewards in today’s marketplace.
Graphic design: The unemployment rate for recent college graduates with graphic arts degrees is 11.6 percent, more than double the 4.9 percent jobless rate of recent graduates holding the top 100 degrees.
Things don’t appear much brighter down the line. Even experienced graphic artists have to contend with high unemployment, a median salary nearly $10,000 below the norm, and limited advancement opportunities.
Philosophy and Religious Studies: No one with these majors is under the illusion that they are going to earn a lot of money. Historical evidence tells us that’s probably not going to happen. Yet people are guided by their passion and they should know that choosing this field
means earning 19 percent less than those in the top 100 majors and a median salary down the line of just $42,000. Even history and art history majors have a brighter economic future.
Film and photography: Even with a college degree, new grads face a 12.9 percent unemployment rate, only slightly better than that for college grads. The competition in this industry is tough and crowded, with a median salary of $45,000 with experience. The most telling signal, however, is that 2.6 percent of these graduates find themselves working in retail.
Fine arts: Upon graduation, these majors can look forward to 12.6 percent unemployment, marginal salaries, and a field that has sluggish growth projections. Still, not many people expect that they will do well financially with their art.
Anthropology: A starting salary in the range of $28,000 welcomes these graduates, although people with high school diplomas usually start jobs for more. The work here is significant and interesting and job opportunities have been projected to grow 21 percent from 2010 to 2020.
These are five respected and interesting career fields. Unfortunately, you may pay a financial price for pursuing them. But remember that money isn’t everything – a fact that is repeatedly impressed upon people throughout their lives.
And while earning power may be a determining factor for someone, getting a college education can often pay career dividends that non-degree holders will never get opportunity to pursue.