10 worst majors for your career

While it's true that college graduates as a group earn more than those who do not have degrees, there are some glaring exceptions.

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Oct 9, 2012 2:07PM
I think a part of the problem is the thought that "everyone" needs to go to college. A degree in most of the things listed, if taught well, makes you a better rounded person who is able to think. When the degree is bought and dumbed down, there are no skills learned. The purpose of any school is to teach skills, including the ability to apply critical thinking and communication skills. You used to know that a college graduate could write a sentence, not so now. Like anything, oversupply has reduced the worth and the quality is not so good. The thought that "everyone" goes to college means the cashier at the Grocery store has a college degree as does the guy at McDonalds. Could we go back to encouraging trade schools and learning a skill and a craft?  We need plumbers, mechanics and the like but these are "looked down" on. Many of the trades make far more than a college graduate.
Oct 9, 2012 12:41PM

I think it's important to look at your vocational calling in life rather than how much money you want to make.  You will be much more satisfied with your job, your life, everything, if you're working in a field that fulfills you spiritually and intellectually.  I have a degree in Religion and Philosophy and I have a Masters of Divinity as well.  I've been working for 12 years in my field of ministry now and am making around $47,000 a year.  I will never get rich doing what I do, but I make ends meet AND I love going to work every day.  I feel like I'm making a difference in the world and I'm doing what God created me to do. 


I have many friends who chose careers based solely on the possible salary upon graduation and they have floundered and struggled ever since because they hate their jobs and feel like their lives have no meaning.  Money is important, but it's not even close to being everything!

Oct 9, 2012 4:28PM
There is no bad degree or not having a degree, it all comes down to HARD WORK! You are owed nothing, I'm 55 yrs old left college after 2 yrs. Have worked 40 hrs+ a week since I was 15, probably have averaged 60 hrs a week since I was 20. I make 6 figures, house paid off by 50, put 2 kids through college with no loans, keep vehicles 10 yrs and pay them off earlier. Partied as much as anyone (still do) been all over the world and hope to do it till the day I die regardless of what I have. No Democrate or Republican has ever made a difference in my life, only me by busting my a$$ and sacrificing. I feel sorry for the "self esteem" "every body gets a trophy" generation my generation created. Do what you like but don't fool yourself it ain't easy, for those that say money isn't everything, try living with out it.........oh wait, way to many already do on my dime!
   I think that English majors have it tough because nobody seems to speak it anymore!  Maybe they should major in "Internet Shorthand," or whatever you'd call the pointless, meandering mush that passes for "language" among today's teens.
Oct 9, 2012 1:10PM

Straight of highschool I went into the trades. You can't outsource your furnace repair to China. I earn more than friends with bachelors and master degrees. Sad but true. Stay diversified!


Oct 3, 2012 5:58PM

My dad was right; Develop a skill that people need and you will always have a job. Liberal arts and social studies are very self-fulfilling, but do not manufacture or repair anything.


Skill sets are what get you employed, not knowledge.

Oct 9, 2012 4:01PM

This article IS demeaning to people who work in Retail.  I work with alot of wonderful, intelligent people in the Retail field, and have for 26 years.  Believe me, it's not easy!  Beside all the physical work that goes into it, there is the fact that on a daily basis,  we have to deal with people who think we are inferior to them.  SImply because of where we work!  We have to put up with the rudest, most ignorant, and obsene "educated" customers you could possibly imagine. 



Oct 2, 2012 6:02PM
Oct 9, 2012 2:40PM

Sorry, world. I'm an artist and a writer and I CANNOT STOP. I will NEVER be a doctor or a nurse, so the world is just going to have to LIVE WITH IT.


Again, my apologies to a very strange world.



Oct 3, 2012 1:27PM

As an English and Professional Writing dual major, I can attest to the desperate need at companies for people who can actually communicate well in person, on the phone, or on paper. It's astounding how many job offers I've received just because I can write an e-mail and sound half intelligent. I will also argue that my majors enhanced my skills of laying out an argument and communicating new ideas.


Having said that, I graduated high school in 2004. College was not an option, it was a requirement for a job. On my way out of high school, I was encouraged on all sides to study what I love - if you were truly passionate about it and studied hard, a job would be no problem. In college, hardly anyone gave much thought to what they would do after graduation. The focus was on grades, papers, socializing, etc. What high schools and colleges need to step up and do is implement vigorous internship programs. Coming out of college is like trying to get a mortgage with no credit - everyone wants 2-4 years experience to start out, even for a secretary job.


I chose a state school due to lower cost and hunkered down, graduating summa cum laude. Still, finding a job was daunting and nigh impossible (I ended up painting the inside of my high school for 4 months until I landed my first full-time gig as a copy editor at a newspaper - $22K a year for 60 hour work weeks, and 1 week of vacation after a full year of employment). I've since moved to a larger city and am establishing myself quite well. I feel that I am now on the right track, but worry about the future (house? marriage? kids? we'll see...). I graduated high school only 8 years ago, and college 4, but sadly this discussion on student loans and relevant majors didn't take hold until quite recently, and those of us who are "recent" college graduates are looked down upon for taking such "wasteful" courses.


High schools need to get kids focused on what they are talented at and, yes, what they enjoy doing (you can make money and still like your job). The high school should then be aiding the kids on making a field choice for a career, and offering suggestions based on that for schools, employment opportunities in prospective areas, etc. Colleges should then emphasize internships to a much larger degree - free work for companies, great experience for students.

Oct 3, 2012 1:51PM

I suppose that, based on the comments i've seen, it is a bad idea to point out that just because you major in something doesn't mean that you have to ONLY do activites associated with that. 


For example, I majored in chemistry but I minored in music, spent 3 years in college playing in the wind ensemble, 2 years in the marching/athletic bands, accidentally eaned a minor in history just by taking interesting courses to prevent a science over load.  The point of studies like this is to say that if you are going into one of these feilds you need to either be able to pay in full with little to no loans or double up and make yourself interesting on paper.  A business major with graphic design skills for example is more versitile than either on their own. 


And for those bemoaning that society has sold its soul because of the emphasis on hard science and business.............when has an artist cured cancer?  Not to say there isn't value to art but.....still think about it objectively

Oct 9, 2012 2:41PM
If you're going into art or philosophy for the money, then you're doing it wrong.
Oct 9, 2012 2:48PM
MSN, how many times are you going to post different versions of the exact same articles?  Worst/best college derees, worst/best cities to live in, worst/best places to retire in, worst/best foods to eat, etc. etc. GRRR getting quite sick of seeing the same crap week after week.  FIX IT!
Oct 3, 2012 1:00PM
How sad this country has lost its way. The US was supposed to be the land of opportunity, where anyone could pursue one's dreams, not have to throw away one's talents & gifts to conform to what someone else decides is a "practical" major & spend their lives toiling away at jobs they hate and for little money. Quality of life was supposed to be better here--unlike the third world where poor people are expected to do whatever it takes, right or wrong, to earn enough to get by.

There's a saying: "If you think education is expensive, consider the price of ignorance." We are paying that price now. Would help this country greatly if more Americans had studied the liberal arts, particularly history, sociology, political science, and psychology. I guarantee you, Americans wouldn't have gone along with the surveillance, the destruction of our civil liberties, the dismantling of our Constitution, the outsourcing of our jobs to third-world-countries, etc., if they'd were well-educated in the above subjects.  Study some history and sociology and learn about how peoples all over the world and all throughout time have lost their freedom the way Americans are now losing it due to their own ignorance.  It's amazing how history repeats itself when nobody listens.

I suppose this is why the following is also true: disdain for the arts is one of the early warning signs of fascism.

It's just so much easier to oppress the "money-motivated" Accounting majors.  They don't have lofty ideals of making the world a better place.  They simply think about themselves, their money and their potential to make more money, so of course they can be easily manipulated.  Americans have made a decision to reward thugs without ideals, compassion or love for their fellow human beings. 

People get the governments they deserve.
Oct 3, 2012 5:13PM

Tell the writer at Kipplinger to find a new career.  It's up to the individual to make something of themself.  They should not be defined by their degree.  As it is, higher education is now out of reach for many due to colleges not reigning in their administrative costs and other expenses like pensions.  It's a big racket.  In my last year of college 30 plus years ago it cost me $7,500 for the year.  Now it cost $50,000 a year and the college has the gaul to hit me up for donations.  The heck with that. 

Oct 9, 2012 1:07PM
Become a plumber.  Forget the college degree.
Oct 3, 2012 2:38PM
One of the biggest problems I've noticed is that liberal arts degrees are way over saturated. There are so many people going to school for these degrees, yet so little jobs out there for them.
Oct 9, 2012 3:16PM
While reading these posts I see people writing how  you should follow your dreams and art for arts sake, etc..... Nobody is saying not to learn these things.... If you have an interest in anything.... you should follow that interest...... However,, that does not mean it should be your college degree... Or in my opinion,,, a degree at all.....You can spend your life learning Philosophy,,, good for you!!   But why graduate owing tens of thousands of dollars for an education you could have gotten free at the Public Library if you so choose.... Meanwhile we have a severe shortage of people with degrees in the scientific and math fields....Maybe get a degree in something that pays and is needed and spend all of the off time you like learning who painted this and who composed that??   Just a thought
Oct 9, 2012 1:36PM
UG. SO tired of these types of articles that prey on fears using studies and statistics. I know people who do very well in each of these fields. So much of a person's success has to do with whether or not they're will to stick it out to reach the top of the ladder, what they're income expectations are and whether or not they're willing to move. For college graduates, there are jobs all over the country and English speaking countries throughout the world. People need to accept there may not be that ideal gig in their backyard anymore and they need to hustle and always be looking out for the next opportunity. I have a BBA in economics, I could have gone on to get a master's or PhD and been part of a think tank or a professor. Instead, I became a writer. A well-paid freelance writer. In which case an English degree would have done me just fine. So forget about studies and stats, it's UP TO YOU to do what you want. If you feel the cards are stacked against you, they will be.
Oct 3, 2012 11:49AM
Aside from Anthropology (sort of a science without enough data), there are no "hard" subjects in the list.  So go for almost any science, engineering, computer or math field if you want to pay off your loans.
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