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Careers

The Worst College Majors for Your Career

What you study can limit job opportunities and earnings potential after graduation.

A bachelor's degree has become the standard for an increasing number of entry-level positions, but is it really worth the hit to your bank account? It depends on what you study.

See Also: SLIDE SHOW: 10 Worst College Majors for Your Career

We looked at employment and earnings data for 129 popular college majors to identify courses of study that typically lead to small salaries for both recent graduates and experienced workers. We homed in on majors that aren't in high demand by employers, and weighed the long-term prospects for job growth in professions that call for these majors.

If one of these fields is where your passion lies, go ahead and study it! Your major is only one part of the total package you offer to employers. Just be prepared for the reality that some majors can limit your career opportunities and earnings potential after graduation. Here are three that we looked at:

Photography

A bachelor's degree to take pictures might be overkill. Talented photographers are getting hired with only a high school diploma, and the profession is growing at less than half the rate for all occupations. Have you noticed how much better everyone's pictures are getting, thanks in part to technology? Amateurs are nudging their way in, lessening demand.

If you're still determined to work behind a camera -- and get a degree to go with it -- shooting subjects in motion, with the skills you gain as a film production major, is the better bet.

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Social Work

Now here's a endeavor that's important, and social work is in reasonable demand. Unfortunately, that does not equate to good pay, with midcareer salaries for those who earn a bachelor's degree only around $46,000 a year. This is a field where a master's degree is needed to get the administrative jobs that pay better.

Exercise Science

You'd think that with more people looking for help improving their fitness, growth and pay might be better for this field, but it isn't. Exercise science majors have the third-lowest median starting salary among all 129 majors we looked at. At better bet is health sciences, a broader major that still touches on science, biology and health, but offers a median starting salary about 20% higher.

Wondering what to study instead? Take a look at the 10 best college majors for your career.