The most important decision you will make when you are in college is what to major in. Therefore, you must understand that majors contain a value. This may seem obvious as you are paying for them. We all know college is expensive. But it goes beyond that, college majors have the power to affect your income for the rest of your life—hence they are very valuable. Simply put, some earn a lot of money, and some don’t. It’s important to know what you are putting your time and energy and money into.
The goal is to have your major lead you down a path that will support your desired lifestyle. No one wants to graduate college and then struggle to find a job. Or find a job, but one that doesn’t pay well.
The last thing I want for you is to work hard, get through college, and then not be able to find a decent job. That’s a terrible position to be in. I want you to become a high earner, create a very successful career, and achieve your lifestyle goals. I want you to be able to chase your dreams, hobbies, and passions, and have your college major be the foundation that supports that. That’s why I’m going to shed a little light on some of the worst college majors.
My intention is not to put these majors down or those that have a degree in these subjects. And I get there are exceptions. I have a friend who majored in English when I was in college. She loved literature and she wanted to study it. When she graduated, she couldn’t find a job related to English. She knew she needed to make money so she started looking outside the field.
She ended up getting a sales job with a prominent haircare company. They hired her because she had a bachelor’s degree in “something” and what it took to make sales. The degree helped get her the job, not what she got the degree in. She does very well for herself. I get that sometimes any degree is better than no degree.
That’s one of the reasons Why A College Degree Is Important, it can open doors.
What Makes A Bad Major
I typically don’t like to say that one major is bad and one is good because that’s very subjective. However, when you graduate the goal is to be able to find a good job with good pay. Therefore, when I looked at what makes a major bad I considered the yearly salary and unemployment rate. Remember a major contains a value, a major that results in a difficult time finding a job and doesn’t pay well is a low-value major in my opinion.
Again, I’m not trying to be negative. I want to keep it real regarding pay and employment as they will be your financial foundation to build the life you want. It’s important to know what you’re getting into before you decide to declare your major.
Let’s get started!
1. Liberal Arts/Liberal Studies Degree
Liberal Arts is an all-encompassing study of humans. Therefore, it is a broad-based major and can include the study of creative arts, sociology, history, literature, psychology, writing, philosophy, anthropology, statistics, and more.
Many of these subjects are great to study and are subjects included in a student’s General Education requirements. These subjects are intended to make a well-rounded student, just as Gen Ed courses have the same intention. However, since the area of study is so broad it doesn’t allow a student to focus on one thing. This makes it very hard to get a job because you have not majored in something specific. Typically, the higher paying jobs are those with a specialized focus of study.
2. Humanities Degree
Many people think Humanities and Liberal Arts are the same things. I frequently hear the majors used interchangeably. However, they are different. While a Liberal Arts major studies humans, a Humanities major studies what makes us human. Humanities include subjects such as foreign language, film, speech, theology, communication, music, theater, and more.
Similar to Liberal Arts, many of these subjects are great to study and can fulfill Gen Ed requirements. But since the area of study is so broad it doesn’t allow a student to focus on one thing. Making it very difficult to get a job because you have not majored in something specific.
3. English Degree
An English major you will study grammar, writing, literature, research, and analysis. Graduating with a degree in English means you’ll have strong writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills. However, though these skills are excellent to have they don’t necessarily lead to a lucrative career.
If those with an English degree don’t have a specific career in mind, the degree isn’t very practical. Typically, those with an English degree go into writing, education, or teaching. All you need to do is do a quick job search for jobs that require an English degree, and you will see the market is not promising at all.
4. Journalism Degree
I think students who want to get a Journalism degree are drawn to it because it seems like an exciting, fast-paced, and challenging career. I’m sure this was the case in the good old days. However, the newspaper and magazine industries have collapsed and career opportunities have dwindled. The internet has taken over print as more and more people get their news information online.
While we still have news, sports, weather, and radio reporters, the job outlook and decline in positions are not promising. In addition, when someone secures a position, especially one that is on tv or radio, they very rarely leave it. Leaving few opportunities for new reporters fresh out of college.
5. Fine Arts Degree
A Fine Arts degree covers many subjects. It can include, painting, drawing, sculpting, art history, and more.
The “starving artist” is not a myth. It is hard to make a living as an artist. Even if you are talented, it is a struggle. And for many artists, it’s feast or famine. They may do well one year and struggle the next few.
As I wrote about in How To Choose A Major When You Are Undecided, if you have a passion for Art make it a side hustle. Don’t rely on it to put a roof over your head and food on the table. Choose a major that will provide you with the financial stability to pursue your hobbies and your desired lifestyle.
There Are Exceptions
As I said before there are exceptions to everything. You could get a Journalism degree and be the next prime-time news anchor. However, I like statistics more than exceptions. Go for a degree that will ensure a lucrative career right out of college.
While we’re talking about exceptions, it is worth noting, if you intend to pursue a Law Degree, then a Liberal Arts or an English Major would provide you with a good foundation. Lawyers benefit from strong writing skills, communication skills, and learning all about humans and their behavior which can be achieved by some of the degrees above. Therefore, it’s important to identify what you want to do with your degree before you declare your major.
I’ve created the student’s practical guide to choosing the top 5 in-demand college degrees in 2023 to sort through high-earning degrees and find what’s best for you.