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10 Worst College Majors for Your Career


Going to college promises the opportunity to further your education, meet new people and get a taste of independence. It does not guarantee a lucrative career after graduation. While it's true that a worker with a bachelor's degree typically earns 67.7% more than someone with just a high school diploma, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, what you study can be a better indicator of your future employability and earnings potential.

We analyzed data for 215 popular college majors, looking at the typical starting and mid-career salaries expected from each. We also examined recent online job postings seeking candidates with those majors, as well as long-term growth expectations for related occupations, to determine hiring demand in these fields.

Of course, the best major for you can't be measured in paychecks alone. Many people hope their careers will give them a sense of purpose, too. So we factored in the percentage of workers with given majors who feel their jobs are having a positive impact on the world.

The following 10 college majors tend to offer limited career opportunities and lower earnings potential. Granted, numbers alone shouldn’t deter you from a field you are truly passionate about—but it's important to understand what you may face in the real world.

For each of the 215 college majors, compensation research firm PayScale provided median annual salaries for entry-level workers (with five years or less of work experience) and mid-career employees (with at least 10 years of experience). PayScale also provided “high job meaning” scores, which indicate the percentage of workers with given college majors who say their work makes the world a better place. Workforce research firm Burning Glass Technologies supplied the number of online job postings listed between the first quarter of 2015 and the second quarter of 2016 that were seeking applicants with each of the 215 college majors. Projected 10-year growth rates from 2015 to 2025 for related occupations came from Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), a labor-market research firm owned by CareerBuilder. EMSI collects data from more than 90 federal, state and private sources, including the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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