We’re all about following your passion, but here are some college majors to avoid if a clear career progression and increased promotion and salary opportunities are vital to you. Unfortunately, the workplace is changing constantly with new technology to support job skills and functions, so some degree programs display shrinking opportunities due to increased technology, both on- and off-line.
We researched the latest college degree programs that may not have as wide a range of career opportunities and as high a salary potential as other majors. Kiplinger, Forbes, and ThinkAdvisor agree with the college majors listed below. But, at the same time, they may be personally satisfying and aren’t necessarily good career choices when considering unemployment rates and income growth potential.
Here are eight college majors that have declining job opportunities in today’s market:
8. Art History
This is a major that, while interesting, will put you either well below the national median salary or require an advanced degree to obtain a position that will pay well enough to live on as a college professor or curator. Four percent of these degree-holders are unemployed, with an additional 20% falling out of the workforce.
7. Fine Arts
Fine art hits the top of all three lists we surveyed for this article. Forbes places this major at number three, citing an unemployment rate of 12.6% and a median income of $30,000/year, while Kiplinger gives a median income of closer to $25,000/year. Either way, being an artist and making a solid living as an artist appear to be two different things.
6. Religious Studies
with fewer than ten thousand job postings per year nationwide, this primary hosts students who, presumably, are not necessarily looking for a big payday. Kiplinger suggests a related philosophy major instead, for which there are exponentially more job postings. Forbes cites an unemployment rate of over 10% for individuals in this field, and this publication doesn’t see philosophy as a great replacement, with an unemployment rate of more than 6%.
Related to religious studies above, philosophy lands at number five on the Think Advisor list, with a median income of $35,000/year for recent grads. Forbes shows modest improvement for mid-career graduates, with a median income of $48,000/year. While critical thinking and writing skills can be helpful in professions outside philosophy and religion, you may consider using this as a minor instead of a major.
while arguably one of the most exciting majors with decent pay, jobs in this arena are well below a thousand every year, around 700. Forbes cites the unemployment rate at 6.2% for seasoned grads but drops to 10.2% for recent grads, which endorses the idea that there aren’t enough jobs. This field of study can help you in other areas, so gaining an understanding can be important, but majoring in anthropology can leave you with few job opportunities.
Kiplinger puts this major at the top of its list, citing that the number of photographers is expected to expand by 12% over the next decade, while job growth in this area only hits about 8%. Forbes agrees, posting a 12% unemployment rate for recent grads. This primary and graphic design (below) lend themselves to freelance and side work until one can find the right job and sala.
2. Graphic Design
with the rise of digital and the decline of print, Kiplinger believes graphic designers will have a hard time finding a good employment fit, saying, “Only 64.7% of commercial art and graphic design majors have gone on to work full time.” Forbes validates this by citing an unemployment rate of well over the national average and a median income for recent graduates of around $30,000 annually. If this is your area of passion, leaning toward learning more digital design and coding skills might give you a boost, but there are no guarantees.
1. English Language
Forbes and Think Advisor agree on this major, while Kiplinger cites communication and mass media majors in the same vein. Forbes notes an unemployment rate of around 10% for recent grads with a below-average median income.