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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Dec 4, 2012 5:09AM
It's the world that needs to change, not these majors. We all listen to music, read articles, watch TV,. This is important because it passes on the zeitgeist. The problem is that it is not appreciated in a corporate profit driven neo-liberal capitalist society. Because if you're major goal is to be a selfish careerist with a goal of only to make money you're successful. But if your goal is to share your art and beauty with the world it's frowned upon and thrown out with the trash. Where would we be without the literature and the arts of the past, without Da Vinci, Mozart, and Shakespeare?
Dec 4, 2012 4:57AM

At first I didn't like the German system because it channeled kids early in life (third grade).  I've come to learn that the three paths are pretty smart in the long run because society needs garbage collectors as much as it needs engineers.  Many American students entering college start with the delusion they're going to make it big but nobody has the nuts to tell them they won't, so they will saddle themselves with debt on a majore they're ill prepared to execute.  We've made everyone think they're entitled to a college education and that we'll all be God's gift to some important career we're incapable of performing.  Then, we have a bunch of bitter people, in debt over their heads, and who pays the bill?  Uncle Sam, aka, US taxpayer.

The German system is pretty simple.  There are three categories of school, each channeling society to paths commesurate with their abilities, which manifest themselves through reading, writing, arithmatic, and language comprehension by the time they're eight years old.  One path leads to manual labor and service jobs where the person connects the product to the consumer, without having to learn technical details.  The second path leads to a mix between labor/service and technical knowledge, like plummer, electrician, mason, metalworker.  The third path is primarily technical, intellectual, the research scientists, doctors, lawyers, and professors.  Their society is not perfect in any sense of the word, but the reason they have the strongest economy in Europe is because EVERYONE plays a role and instead of creating an atmosphere of false expectations, reality is laid out early in life, and if you want to jump into another path you can, but you have to earn it.

Dec 3, 2012 2:22PM
Hey, boys & girls! Wanna be a photographer? Then make sure you have a day job...preferably one that pays enough to let you enjoy your *hobby*. So, unless you shoot babies in a WallyWorld kiosk (ugh), go to work doing something you reasonably like to do, and shoot for yourself. I'm lucky; I have a day job I like, and that pays me enough to keep me in toys (and gives me three weeks' paid vacation a year to travel). I've been published, but only because I shoot what *I* want to shoot, and some folks liked what they saw. I don't shoot for money...I shoot for *me*. If you insist on doing it for a living, understand this: It's not how good you are behind the lens...it's how good you market yourself. Because there are many, *many* others out their after the same $$$. If I had to chase rent money each month by shooting, it wouldn't be fun anymore.
Dec 3, 2012 2:05PM
In the beginning I grew up thinking college was a way to a quality life...a way to be with the "have" as opposed to the "have nots."  In the end what I found is that at any level of education you will be challenged to make a living and that College is really a tool to inspire you and drive you to your passion.  I have never depended on a single source of income simply because I like trying new things and meeting new people in various industries.  Something good always comes from it!

However,  I have always focused on what I enjoy and love to do regardless of income potential.

I studied business and music composition and earned a Bachelors Degree.  In the impossible world of music I have had incredible success contributing to sales of over 125,000,000 million copes worldwide, earning many platinum record awards and working with some of the greatest entertainers in the world.  Am I special....no not really.  I just realized that by cultivating worthwhile relationships and doing the right thing by helping others in what they were trying to do would open the door to things I wanted to.  It all went way beyond what I expected.

Naturally, there are financial considerations with investing in education or any vocational training.....but your return on investment will be life long.  Don't just put your head in the books......enjoy the association and life long friends you will make.  You never know when you will get the call to be on a team trying to do something great.....even if you know nothing about it or think to yourself that you have no training in the field.  

History tells us that we have had Presidents with as little as a high school diploma running a great nation, The USA, so why not you?  Build your confidence and take the challenge and be open to the opportunities your willingness can bring.   Seek mentors when possible and LISTEN then do as they tell you.

Best To All.
Dec 3, 2012 11:50AM
Some choose the arts and music because they have a passion for those areas.  That is admirable but most often a poor decision for making a living.  The others choose liberal arts, etc. because those majors are EASY.  EASY doesn't pay the bills.
Dec 2, 2012 9:44PM
I loved art, music, and science as a kid and am so glad I decided to major in Chemistry even though I struggled with math until I mastered it in college: I saw how poorly the others paid.  My Chemistry career provided a better-than-average income.  Now I'm not wealthy but comfortably retired and I'm formally studying the music I missed as a kid (except church choir) due to my parents financial situation (my father was an artist).  My icon shows me playing Mozart on a Steinway Grand Piano at the ACE Recital of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University a few years ago.

My father-in-law told me that if I was a business major, study finance or accounting and pick an industry you enjoy. Stay in that industry, not necessarily the job and you will rise to the highest level in your industry. I followed his advice and became a CEO at 35 yoa. The main thing is that I wasn't into it for the money, but I enjoyed sculpting processes and company's to their potential and in the process, I am achieving my own human potential. You don't always get what you want(at least immediately), but if you try real hard, you get what you need.(Mick Jagger)
Dec 1, 2012 12:22AM
Look. Just choose a degree base on if there is ever a zombie apocalypse, you will still be useful.
Nov 30, 2012 11:23PM
Back in the Day, My Dad told me do NOT go to school for a business you can't find in the Yellow Page.
Nov 30, 2012 10:37PM
Now that the dust has somewhat settled on this discussion, I would like to say the following from my perspective:  The best money I ever spent was on my two-year associate's degree from a community college.  It got me out of manual labor and allowed me to make a decent living in a technical field (CADD work) for the last 25 years.  I also have a bachelor's degree, but it has been what I learned with my associate's degree that has paid my bills for two and one half decades.  I am the only one in my family who has ever gone to college.  If I hadn't gotten an associate's, and done what I have done, I would have gone to trade school and learned to be a plumber, electrician, auto mechanic, or whatever.  Do what you love to do.  Don't spend your life doing something you hate, even if it pays well.  As for me, I work to live.  I don't live to work.  As I approach retirement age, I am content with what I have, and have real concerns for college graduates of today.
Nov 30, 2012 8:15PM
Anthropology - My father did post grad work in this discipline after WWII at UCLA. He gave it up after a year because he had a growing family and career prospects were dim. So, the conclusion is say no to anthropology. It hasn't changed in over sixty years
Nov 30, 2012 7:13PM
It all comes down to supply and demand.  If there are 10,000 graduates a year with Anthropology degrees, and there is a need for 2,000 in the field, then there will be 8,000 graduates that will need to do something else with their degree.

I received an art degree in Design, but coupled it with a minor in Mechanical Engineering.  Looking back, the thing that made this combination valuable was the ability to speak the language and understand the needs of both the engineer and product stylist.  It didn't hurt that I actually learned English and proper language, spelling, and punctuation.  It made me look much smarter than my peers when it came time to present to management and customers.

This all allowed me more professional freedom (and the ability to increase my salary) in my younger professional years.  I was then able to start my own business, build it to critical mass, and sell it so that I could retire at 48 and do the things that I really have a passion for, regardless of it's ability to provide income.

Everyone needs to look at the big picture.  It doesn't matter what anyone gets a degree in, or even if they get a degree at all.  It matters much more what they choose to do with it, and how to make themselves valuable to others.

If they can prove themselves valuable, they will always be employed.
Nov 30, 2012 9:50AM
The people I know who work in the arts, and I include myself, do so bcause it's who we are. It's not a job or career; it's a calling and not always welcome, and no one I know is naive enough to think that they'll get rich from it. Historically great civilizations produce great art. We, however, cut art budgets at the first hint of an economic hiccup. Compare that to the art of Ancient Greece which flourished even as the Spartans were at the gates. Ancient Greece is gone, but the legacy of their extraordinary art still exerts its influence millenia later. How will we be remembered? 
Nov 9, 2012 2:12AM

most in today's world come out of collage, and still can't change a tire, or change the oil in there car.........they have no life skills what-so-ever ! to set down, and pay one months worth of bills, w/o first contacting mom, or dad ! can't make change if the register isn't working right ! has no idea what a 2x4 is, or a sheet of plywood  ! had a young lady W/4 yr college degree apply for a job at "boys & girls club" as an assistant director ! then can't maintain 15 children 8 to 12 yrs. old, line up craft ideas, or activities for the next day, show up on time, and do what is asked of them !! just showing up on time, and doing what is asked of you, already puts oneself at 98% of the work force !!!! then there are the cell phones, need i say more, they act like they're dr.'s on trauma staff at the hospital !


just my my observations...steven

Nov 7, 2012 6:48PM

Thought-out the years there have been many who thought that all I need is a degree!

But that is a dream and it keeps them going and to have a dream my mean more then money. So if you think that your job is bigger then your idea's. so be it. If you are happy and you make to bills thats what is real.

Oct 29, 2012 5:06PM

Are we seriously still measuring the value of a college major purely in dollar signs?  Does MSN Money understand nothing about the current generation?  No one majors in Theatre Arts expecting to get rich.  Many who study these fields end up quite content working in fields completely unrelated to their major, happy with the knowledge they took from their education, and the lifelong friends they made.  People for whom money is a large priority pick their college major on that basis, but no everyone views college as vocational school.

Businesses that used to train recent high school graduates in a profession are delighted to let young people instead study these professions in college at their own expense, which is the main reason that undergraduate studies have essentially devolved into 4 more years of high school with more sex and beer.  But even businesses often discover that a college education in a more artsy, or liberal-artsy field can yield surprising dividends, like employees capable of approaching challenges with creative thinking.

The idea that choosing a college major that will have the ‘undesirable’ result of requiring additional study in graduate school to be truly ‘valuable’ completely ignores a number of well-known realities.  Will you next suggest that students avoid pre-med or pre-law programs because of the need for graduate studies?

There are plenty who may have a vested interest in pushing colleges toward turning out trained employees instead of independent thinkers, but the students derive no benefits from such a program other than training in docility to employers and worship of the almighty dollar.  People are happier doing what they find fulfilling, regardless of how many cars are in the driveway.  MSN in doing a public disservice with this article.



Oct 29, 2012 4:32PM



you mean all the touchy feely liberal fruitcake degrees are junk?  What will all the 20 yr old Obama supporting females do with their little selves?



Oct 29, 2012 3:34PM

Back in the late 50's i only could complete the 10th grade, reason; a disfunctional home. I was on the street at 16 yrs old living in my car and trying to go to school and work at a store every day including Sundays. I went in the Air Force with a GED. I worked inthe the Supply and Logistics field for 21 yrs and retired from the Air Force at 40 years old with a pension (paid monthly for life) Not bad Huh...!

Then I went to work for the Department of Defense for another 20 yrs in the Logistics field. Another pension for life and all the benefits, not bad Huh...!

All during my working life I went to college but did not get a degree,Why, because I was never impressed with the so called professors. I've got to tell you they were all Loosers Big Time. I work my way up in my career to The Deputy Director level managing over a billion $ of assets and managing over 700 people with 6 levels of management under me. I was very sucessful, Why, because I really knew my job and was alway Inovative with new ideas. I had people working for me that had computer science degree and with them and Ideas we re-invented the busness every day.

It wasn't easy because i was always bumped from jobs because I did not have a degree but when the chips were down I was always the guy that analysed the problem and fixed it. I was always "The Go To It Guy.

In addition I really like all the people I worked with  especially the people whom did the work,and they knew it (trust). I had a rule; In order for a person to work with me they Must Be "Kind" and "Curtious" One To Another!!! If they couldn't step up to that they had to move-on.

I retired very well and most of all I'm a very Happy guy...!

If you can't go to school then you must be The Very Best in The World whatever you do. No Excuses!

Oct 22, 2012 10:47AM

It's sad how polarized discussions in so many areas have become. Having worked with technical people, the quality of their communications skills is sometimes quite alarming, though not always. However, the understanding of technology among the general population is also disconcerting. Success requires passion, knowledge, and the ability to work with and communicate with others. If you are smart and lucky, you will have the proper mix of all those skills and find opportunities to put them to use. If you are either 100% liberal arts or 100% technical, you are cheating yourself.


I believe or at least hope high schools and universities are understanding that their role must include helping students understand how their passions fit into the economy and provide them with both marketable skills and the knowledge to market themselves.



Oct 20, 2012 7:04AM
A degree really has nothing to do with what you have learned, skills or knowledge.  It is just a foot in the door to get a higher paying job.  So choose the degrees that do that, because OJT beats education everytime.
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