Worst Paying College Degrees + Some Thoughts

I’m always browsing and reading about topics related to personal finance to bring to your attention. Just recently, Yahoo listed the worst paying college degrees. A few months ago I wrote a piece on the harsh reality about student loans. I stressed the importance on how your ability to pay back your student loans is directly dependent on the money you’ll earn from the degree that you obtain.

I wanted to highlight some of the jobs/worst paying college degrees that really caught my attention:

Social work (starting annual salary: $33,400; mid-career annual salary: $41,600)
Elementary education (starting annual salary: $33,000; mid-career annual salary: $42,400)
Hospitality and tourism (starting annual salary: $37,000; mid-career annual salary: $54,300)
Drama (starting annual salary: $35,600; mid-career annual salary: $56,600)

Why did these jobs catch my attention? Some of them are really admirable and rewarding careers (teaching and social work). While the other two would fall under the “follow your passions” category. Yet all of these careers made it onto the worst paying college degrees list. Where am I going with this? I just wanted to throw out a few questions for you guys to ponder…

1. How important is money to you?

How much do you care about money? Would you prefer to “follow your passion” and make a decent living or work a job that you’re simply content with and it pays you lots of money?

2. How will you finance your education?

If you plan on racking up over 30 grand of debt for a career that will earn you less than $40,000/year (before taxes), then it’s going to take you a long time to pay off your student debt. This will hinder any future goals that you may have.

3. Have you considered this information?

Many young people (myself included) blindly enroll in college programs without even checking out the potential income post-college. We enroll in programs because they interest us. This is very important, but potential income is even more important.

For further reading/help check out my piece on killing student loans while still a student.

1 thought on “Worst Paying College Degrees + Some Thoughts”

  1. For me the money wasn’t very important in picking my college major. I really didn’t know enough about money to even consider it, I didn’t even have a job until I graduated from high school.

    Now as I’m going on to graduate school, I’ve taken finance into consideration more. I applied for two paths, one liberal arts and one professional. I knew that the only way I would follow the liberal arts path was if I was significantly funded by the university and thankfully I was able to achieve that. I’m not too concerned about the job market afterward. I wouldn’t have a problem with having to go back to school for something professional afterward if I can’t find a job. Right now I just want to learn and enjoy the experience.

    Another thing that helps is that my partner and I aren’t inclined to have children. Knowing that we’re more interested in being DINKs makes the prospect of a lower salary not so bad.

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