Best and worst careers to go into debt for

Choosing the wrong major can lead to a lifetime of student-loan payments.

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Jul 12, 2013 10:22PM

Don't be so quick to say no to a degree. I'm a registered nurse. The cost of my degree was $54,000.

I've been working as a RN for 4 years and am now making far more in one year than the total cost of my degree. You just have to be intelligent in your career choice......

Jul 12, 2013 11:03PM



You gotta be kidding.  A degree in marketing or advertising qualifies most people to drive a cab or wait tables.


Get a real degree.  Think STEM.

Jul 12, 2013 11:09PM
It's not just the amount of money you could potential earn, but what are the rates of employment in your chosen field.  It would be great to earn 100k, but if only a small percentage actually get hired than what is the point?
Jul 26, 2013 7:03PM

So everyone agrees that going to college is to expensive, but take it from someone who didn't, it probably costs me $20,000.00 per year. I do the same job as 6 other guys and gals but I make 25% less, I'm an old school (male) Project manager in construction and 80% of my co PM's are college graduates, some of them have a Psychology degree, a few have a Construction engineering degree, and a lot have a BA in Liberal Arts. They come to me for answers to their questions on how to do their job and I'm the one who gets paid less. I make up for it in the year end bonus because my jobs make a bigger profit and get done with a lot less change orders. I recommend that everyone get a college degree; these days a four year degree is equal to what a high school diploma was when I started out. GO TO SCHOOL!!!

Jul 13, 2013 1:28AM
Be smart about it. Pick a career that is hiring... I'm a teacher. My daughter is going to State University this fall for nursing. Both are only mid-level paying fields, but there are jobs. Plus my daughter worked part-time (McDs) since 10th grade and full-time all this summer. I taught night and summer school for the last 4 years. We borrowed only tuition ($6K). She could live at home for free and drive the car she bought herself to drive to work at 16 to drive to college. Gas and other expenses will be paid as she goes with the McDs job she is keeping.
Jul 26, 2013 10:12PM
The great majority of people will heed this advice and join the endless parade of people living life according to the book....the right job, the right mate, 2.3 kids (or whatever it is now), the right car, etcetera etcetera.......they'll eventually retire, play a few rounds of golf with the rest of the elite, and drop dead.  Even their descendants won't recall their names in 100 years, unless they are genealogists.

A tiny minority of people will ignore this advice.  They have colored outside of the lines since toddlerhood and see no reason to change.  They also tend to jump off the roof in flames because they see no need to take the stairs.  These people will be intimately known 100, 500, or maybe eve 1,000 years later because they are the ones who will do what they were told could not be done, they will write tomorrow's literature, create tomorrow's art,  invent things, start companies and more.......

Here's to thinking and living outside of the box.

I'm retired now, so it doesn't matter in my case, but think I can suggest the very BEST thing anyone can major in if they choose to go to college.  They should study those things that they are impassioned by.  Period.  And if someone would rather start a small business or learn a trade, they should do so enthusiastically and never look back.

Some will achieve financial success and some will not, but if each spends a lifetime doing what he or she loves, none will fail or have regrets.
Jul 15, 2013 10:05AM

A four year psychology is the worst degree possible to get.


So many get this, mostly women. Most are working as a waitress with zero chance of a real job.


Men, if a girl says she's in college for this run!!!!!!



Jul 15, 2013 7:26AM
So a vet is a bad career choice huh ! Not enough return on your loan huh ! Well remember that when Fido is in need of help and don't bitch about the bill after all the vet has bills to pay. By the way did you know that a vet can by law treat a human but a doctor by law cannot treat a dog. Who's your daddy now !    
Jul 26, 2013 7:00PM

I'm in the process of applying to grad school to go into Museum Education or Historic Preservation. I may be racking up more debt, but I took out hardly any loans for my undergrad. And after working in finance for six years, I know that my heart is not in this field. I love history and I want to teach history, but I don't want to teach in a traditional classroom. Sometimes it's worth taking a lower paying job for mental and emotional happiness.

Jul 15, 2013 12:17PM
I usually don't comment on things like this, but I can just imagine some kid in H.S. debating about college, then reading this and assuming it would be a waste. First, read the "best" 2 comments here (at the time I wrote this), one is someone "pro college" saying to be intelligent in your career choice, and the other is trying to say don't go to college... but when someone says NOBODY NOT go to college, that technically means everybody go to college. (sorry but I had to point that out lol). I do agree that colleges are overpriced and I wish that would change, but it drives me crazy when people say college is a complete waste of money. College isn't 'right' for everyone, but that doesn't mean it's wrong for everyone. I think PART of the problem is that a lot of people assume that college will make them smart and get them a good job, neither is necessarily true. There's too many factors that determine what job someone will get and how much they make in a career... like how well you apply what you learn (and if you even remember what you learn), your personality, motivation, skills, where you live, and even luck.
This article was about how long it takes to pay off your student loans, but in general, people with a college degree make a lot more than people without. If you make more money, who cares how long you're making payments? It's called an investment! The real question is, would you rather make a lot more money and have to pay back a little, or would you rather just make a lot less money? It's like saying you want a pay reduction so you don't have to pay as much taxes! 
Jul 15, 2013 1:39PM

Hah, with a minimum of 4-years!

They tell you in school that with a 4 year degree, you will have a very tiny likelihood of having the word "economist" in your job title, or economics being in the name of company or division for which you work.

Not to mention most economists are hired by the government, and with the government slashing jobs, you get the idea. More unemployed economists going after private sector jobs, and the private sector demanding those with Doctorates with more than 5 years of experience.

If you're think about going to school for economics, go for accounting-- or at east take a few accounting electives. You can do much more with it, and you're more likely to find work in that field, even if you have to do some book-keeping to stay employed, it's better than nothing. 
Jul 26, 2013 10:18PM

Many college programs are rip off. 

If you go back to college choose the following majors: Teaching, Nursing, Engineering, Computer Science, Business Administration and Accounting.  

Jul 15, 2013 10:21AM
Once again, some media "expert" has confused advertising with marketing.  Salaries for individuals working for advertising agencies are notoriously low, and there are hundreds of applicants for one job opening.  Most people with undergraduate degrees in marketing - which is a business degree as opposed to a mass communications advertising degree - go into much higher paying sales careers.  Top earners in ANY field make a ton of money, but entry into most media/entertainment related careers is extremely tough and typically at the bottom of the pay scale to start.  Companies are always looking for sales personnel, and starting salaries usually range between $30,000 to $50,000 with significant commission potential for strong performers.  I bet the person who wrote this was a mass comm major.
The answer to the high cost of college is NOT to make more loans available. go to a state or community college, work hard and get As. Go on to graduate school only AFTER starting the career of your educational choice.
Jul 15, 2013 1:28PM
So glad we're having this conversation. Our society needs to rethink the cost vs. return on investment and parents, teachers and communities need to decide what they can comfortably afford while at the same time offering to individuals, careers that provide more than a roof and food on the table. Ideally, if people follow their passion for a skill or talent or endeavor, they will eventually be successful, but we place such a high premium on consumerism (having cars, houses, clothing, fine dining, etc.,), that it is difficult for individuals to see there is much more to life than material goods and all of the compromises that go along with obtaining those goods. Not everyone SHOULD go to college and certain majors will not provide the means for a man or woman to have a family, 2 cars and all the trappings of what is being sold as "the American Dream."  After counting all the costs--including personal satisfaction--folks will have to decide where they are willing to compromise. You can't have it all, all at once or even in a lifetime, but you can be reasonably content. First, comes health--if you have your health, you have everything. Start with what you have and move on from there.
Jul 12, 2013 9:09PM
I am inclined to agree that the cost out ways the value.  I have over 15 years of I. T. experience.  I lost my job in 2002.  In each interview I was told my experience was great but the hiring manager was looking for a candidate with a bachelor degree.  In 2004 I sucked it up and went in debt to earn a college degree.  In 2006 the jobs I applied for now wanted graduate level degrees or computer certifications.  So I was right back in the same situation.  Now I work on government weapons systems to keep our troops in the fight.
Jul 21, 2013 5:02PM
Marketing and economics. Where is car salesman and fortune teller on this list?
Jul 15, 2013 3:48PM
The medical field is where it is at. However don't think it is a cake walk to get in. Most the programs are super competitive and people overestimate their competitiveness based on their GRE scores and GPA.

I was recently accepted to a master in speech language pathology program. There were 289 applicants for the 20 open seats. In the end there were many disappointed individuals wondering what they should do next.
Jul 26, 2013 10:31PM
My 2 kids will be graduating high school in the next 3 years.  At first my husband and I told both kids that they needed to get a college degree NO MATTER WHAT, but we have definitely started to change our thinking since the cost of getting a college education has skyrocketed.  Instead of insisting our kids go to college, we have told them both to really think about what kind of profession they would most like to go in that they won't think of as a "job" over the course of their working lives.  If one or both want to attend a trade school to learn a skill instead of getting a degree, then we will support that choice.  If they are happy with their career path, then we will be too...regardless of what kind of school they attend.   
Jul 26, 2013 7:15PM
I think having a college degree helps but there are jobs out there that do not require you to have a college degree and he or she is making good money. If you own a business you don't need a college degree. To each its own
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