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Op-Ed: The 10 Worst Majors for Finding a Good Job

Young_Chitlin YCN Chief/FCC Member/#RedVelvetSquad Member/IC Task Force GeneralASUville, PhoenixMembers Posts: 23,852 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited June 2013 in Growing Pains
By Rick Newman | Yahoo! Finance

It has become a dispiriting summer ritual: Thousands of students graduate from college every year only to discover they still don’t have what it takes to land a decent-paying job. But they do have a huge school bill that needs to be repaid.

With hiring still weak in nearly every stratum of the economy, many recent grads are alarmed to discover the only jobs open to them involve low-skilled (and low-paid) work that doesn’t even require a college degree. That doesn’t mean they chose the wrong major: In some popular fields, there are simply more people with the same types of skills than the job market can absorb. In other fields, students may be on the right track but need further schooling or experience before they can nab the jobs they’re after.

1. Business administration / management. This is one of the most popular majors, which has produced a glut of grads with business degrees at a time when big companies are reluctant to hire. “A lot of students have the idea that if they just major in business, they’ll be a successful Wall Street banker,” says Bardaro. “Unfortunately, the number of jobs available in that sector is very, very small.” One way to distinguish yourself: Develop a concentration in quantitative courses such as statistics or finance.

2. Criminal justice. Glamour jobs in this field include FBI agent and intelligence analyst, but those positions typically require years of experience, technical knowledge or connections that recent grads don’t ordinarily have. Many criminal justice majors end up becoming police officers, paralegals or security officers — jobs that don’t usually require a college degree.

3. Drama / theater arts. A few theater people become stars, but many struggle in a notoriously demanding field with few breakout opportunities. Instead of discovering fame and fortune, many drama majors end up in unremarkable jobs such as executive assistant or customer-service rep.

4. Anthropology. Remember: Indiana Jones was fictional. There’s not much profitable field work for anthropologists, and while corporations need a small number of experts to help them understand human behavior, those tend to be consultant gigs going to the most highly trained pros.

5. Liberal arts and sciences. An assortment of humanities courses might round out your intellect, but it could also confuse employers who don’t understand what kind of job a liberal arts major is supposed to prepare you for.

6. History. We are not a contemplative society, alas, and most jobs for history majors tend to be in teaching. That’s fine, except there’s an excess of history majors, and school districts are more likely to be cutting back than hiring.

7. Psychology. Sure, the human psyche is fascinating and bottomless. That doesn’t mean somebody’s willing to pay you to study it, which may be why one of the top jobs held by recent psych majors is barista, earning about $19,000 per year. This major may be best for students planning to do graduate work or get other qualifications that will make them more appealing to employers.

8. Biology. A lot of bio majors think they might go to medical school someday but end up deterred by the cost, difficulty and length of study. Then they discover that a lot of others made the same decision and are competing for a limited number of lower-level research or technician jobs. A better choice of major might be biochemistry, which is more quantitative and better-aligned with jobs in the biotech or pharmaceutical industries.

9. English. As a major, this is the road more traveled by, with not nearly enough writing, teaching, publishing or journalism jobs for all the students who graduate with a yen for the written word. It doesn’t help that many media fields have been upended by the digital revolution.

10. Economics. Students in liberal-arts universities sometimes think an economics degree will represent the sort of rigorous, scientific background employers want. But that may only be true for students with a focus on quantitative areas such as econometrics. The rest face a problem they should have learned about in Econ 101: In the job market, the supply of econ majors outstrips demand.


  • Young_Chitlin
    Young_Chitlin YCN Chief/FCC Member/#RedVelvetSquad Member/IC Task Force General ASUville, PhoenixMembers Posts: 23,852 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The best majors for landing a good job tend to be engineering, computer science and other rigorous fields that prepare students for specific work in booming industries. For people in other majors, something that sets you apart from the masses — such as graduating from a top program or developing expertise in more than one discipline — might be needed to provide an edge. “It’s good to have a little right brain and a little left brain,” says Katie Bardaro, lead economist at Payscale, a compensation-research firm. “Go with what you’re strong in as your primary field, and what you’re not quite as good in as your secondary field.”

    Payscale recently sorted through data on roughly 100 majors to identify those associated with the greatest portion of recent grads who end up overqualified for the work they do. Somebody who graduated with a business degree, for instance, would be considered overqualified if he worked as a waiter or an assistant manager at a retail store, jobs that require an associate’s degree or less. Students shouldn’t necessarily avoid such majors, but they should be aware that simply graduating with a degree in one of these fields may not be enough to land a desirable job.
  • El Payaso
    El Payaso Members Posts: 1,446 ✭✭✭✭
  • twatgetta
    twatgetta Members Posts: 6,705 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I remember riding on the back of that garbage truck thinking I 🤬 up when I didn't go to college. now I see the 🤬 who graduated college can't find no job and contemplating the garbage truck route. funny how life happens.
  • bignorm
    bignorm Members Posts: 5,413 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • bignorm
    bignorm Members Posts: 5,413 ✭✭✭✭✭
    KNiGHTS Mr. Fifth Letter Your ConscienceMembers Posts: 4,435 ✭✭✭✭✭
    *looks at degree in English with the Creative Writing concentration...*

    Damn it.
  • willhustle
    willhustle Sion Guests, Members, Writer, Content Producer Posts: 6,550 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Basically the article is saying that college is overall a waste of time & money then b/c most of the majors listed is what the majority of students go to college for anyways. Might as well not even be any Universities or colleges in America if this is the case.
  • genocidecutter
    genocidecutter Members Posts: 17,825 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Well Im becoming a Luchador
  • LUClEN
    LUClEN Absence makes the heart grow fonder of someone else Members Posts: 20,559 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • B_A
    B_A made her cum till she passed out Members Posts: 2,405 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Does not see Accounting on list. In for the win!!
  • Squidward Tentacles
    Squidward Tentacles Members Posts: 189 ✭✭✭
    Does not see Accounting on list. In for the win!!
    yea accounting one of the better majors to get into right now, job wise.

  • And_So_It_Burns
    And_So_It_Burns Members Posts: 921 ✭✭✭✭✭
    No lie, I was on a date one time. The waiter and I started talking about college some how.
    Waiter: Yeah I have two degrees
    Me: What in? History and Philosophy haha
    Waiter: Yeah how'd you know.

    I didn't have the courage to tell him but two degrees and still working at a restaurant usually means they didn't pick a strong major.
  • blakfyahking
    blakfyahking The IC's Resident Father Figure Members Posts: 15,785 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I almost became an Economics major too

    haha at an HBCU actually being smart enough to 🤬 that program and send all the Econ majors to the Finance program
  • T. Sanford
    T. Sanford Trill Doggy Dogg (Legion Of Trill) Guests, Members, Writer, Content Producer Posts: 25,291 ✭✭✭✭✭
    🤬 that I'm finna start a rapping career
  • StoneColdMikey
    StoneColdMikey mikeyismod CHITOWN THE BEST TOWNMembers, Moderators Posts: 33,543 Regulator
    my major is sociology
  • StoneColdMikey
    StoneColdMikey mikeyismod CHITOWN THE BEST TOWNMembers, Moderators Posts: 33,543 Regulator
    is that a good choice cuz im hearing mixed reviews
  • Little JJ
    Little JJ Members Posts: 4,182 ✭✭✭✭
    Glad Sociology and Communications arent on there.
  • DarthRozay
    DarthRozay Members Posts: 20,570 ✭✭✭✭✭
    is that a good choice cuz im hearing mixed reviews
    If that's what you want to do. It's kinda pointless to major in something you don't have much drive to do, it's like having a car with no gas.

    isn't this your first year though? you've still got a good 2 years to really decide what you want to major in, just do your gen ed 🤬 and try out classes that interest you that you might want to major in. You might take a sociology class your first semester and realize you hate the 🤬 .
  • DarthRozay
    DarthRozay Members Posts: 20,570 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2013
    Little JJ wrote: »
    Glad Sociology and Communications arent on there.

    doesn't really matter what an article says. it's still just as hard to find a job. communications is a pretty generic degree as well.
  • StillFaggyAF
    StillFaggyAF Queer LGBT CommunityMembers Posts: 40,358 ✭✭✭✭✭
    is that a good choice cuz im hearing mixed reviews

    figure out what you want to do as soon as possible and plan ahead
  • aneed123
    aneed123 Members Posts: 23,763 ✭✭✭✭✭
    honestly no major is worth getting a bunch of loans...unless u a doctor/engineer/MIS/COMPUTER science where ur salary will allow u to pay on em.... most of the majors listed u gotta at least get a masters in and grad school has no financial aide.... no one starting out in the $20,000 - 28,000 entry level position of a job with only their bachelors and no work experience fresh out of school is gonna be able to afford a $300 a month student loan payment along with utilities, rent, car note , cell phone etc... when u get out of school reality is a 🤬
  • R.D.
    R.D. Members Posts: 20,156 ✭✭✭✭✭
    unless u know what you want to do with tht sociology degree, I would like for something else.
  • CottonCitySlim
    CottonCitySlim Members Posts: 7,063 ✭✭✭✭✭
    to make sociology work..your gonna need a doctorates and probably have to teach...sad truth. Unless you do some research and find something I dot know. My Soc 101 and SOC 215 was a 33 Brazilian/black chick from miami she gave me the lowdown