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5 College Majors With the Worst Employment Rates — and 5 With the Best

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College can get expensive, so choosing a major that can help you get a job — and potentially make money — is a big part of getting the most out of the experience.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently released a report on the labor market for recent college grads, including what types of degree most frequently lead to work and what typical early career and mid-career income looks like for each.

We grabbed the majors with the worst and best employment rates from the report, although we did leave out vague references to “miscellaneous” categories.

Following are the worst degrees for employment today, followed by the best.

1. Fine arts

Unemployment rate: 12.1%

Early-career median wage: $40,000

Mid-career median wage: $65,000

Depending on the type of work you do, it’s possible to get a job as a craft fine artist, where you might create items in a commercial or studio setting. After gaining some experience, you might eventually be able to work as an art director in public relations, publishing or some other field.

2. Philosophy

Unemployment rate: 9.1%

Early-career median wage: $42,000

Mid-career median wage: $68,000

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, management occupations, educational instruction and library occupations, legal occupations and community and social service occupations were some common types of employment for those who studied philosophy.

3. Sociology

Unemployment rate: 9%

Early-career median wage: $40,000

Mid-career median wage: $61,000

To become a sociologist, you might need to continue your education and get a master’s degree or higher. However, with a bachelor’s degree, you might be able to find work in a related field. Some sociology majors might be able to find work in social services or public policy with a bachelor’s degree.

4. Family and consumer sciences

Unemployment rate: 8.9%

Early-career median wage: $37,000

Mid-career median wage: $60,000

When getting this degree, you might consider jobs in the health care, education and office administration fields. This is also a field of study where you might be able to find work as a preschool teacher with an associate’s degree.

5. Mass media

Unemployment rate: 8.4%

Early-career median wage: $40,000

Mid-career median wage: $75,000

When you think of mass media, there’s a good chance you’re thinking about television and radio jobs. In addition to announcers and DJs, though, other mass media jobs include broadcast technicians, photographers and videographers, camera operators, writers and editors.

Up next, we count down the best college degrees for employment.

5. Nutrition sciences

Unemployment rate: 1.8%

Early-career median wage: $45,000

Mid-career median wage: $60,000

There are different jobs that you can do with a nutrition sciences degree, including working in various settings as you implement nutrition programs. Some places you might work when you have a nutrition sciences degree might include hospitals, senior living homes, schools and governments.

4. Elementary education

Unemployment rate: 1.8%

Early-career median wage: $40,000

Mid-career median wage: $48,000

In general, this occupation has a low unemployment rate, which might be borne out by headlines in the last year pointing to a teacher shortage. Elementary school teachers can find jobs in private and charter schools, as well as in more traditional public schools. They might also be able to work as tutors.

3. General education

Unemployment rate: 1.8%

Early-career median wage: $40,200

Mid-career median wage: $51,000

If you get a general education degree, or general studies, you might be able to work in areas like human resources, accounts payable or work as an office assistant. This is a generalist degree that can provide you with skill sets designed for various white collar jobs.

2. Construction services

Unemployment rate: 1.4%

Early-career median wage: $60,000

Mid-career median wage: $100,000

Getting involved in construction might be one way to earn a living from a degree. Getting into construction management could be a way to put your degree to use. Construction services jobs include the actual physical work to build something, but also administrative and project management duties.

1. Nursing

Unemployment rate: 1.3%

Early-career median wage: $55,000

Mid-career median wage: $75,000

Nursing is another profession that’s experiencing a shortage, and the low unemployment rate reflects this reality. You can become a registered nurse with a bachelor’s or associate’s degree, but you do need to also be licensed. Nurses might work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, care facilities and schools.

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