Special Report

The Highest and Lowest Paying College Majors in America

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10. Family and consumer sciences
> Avg. annual earnings: $32,181
> Unemployment rate: 3.1%
> Total workforce: 384,989

Family and consumer sciences, formerly known as home economics, has a number of specialties, including cooking, sewing, raising children, design, and more. Careers of family and consumer sciences majors include child care, apparel design, and customer relations. A relatively small 34.5% share of people in this degree field earn a master’s degree. The average annual earnings for this major are relatively low, at $32,181.

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9. General education
> Avg. annual earnings: $32,171
> Unemployment rate: 2.1%
> Total workforce: 1,682,275

With more than 1.6 million bachelor’s degree holders, general education majors are one of the most common fields of study represented in the labor force, ranking seventh overall. This degree allows holders to work with students of different ages in many educational disciplines. As is the case with other types of education majors, general education degree holders have one of the lowest average salaries of any major, at just $32,171.

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8. Art and music education
> Avg. annual earnings: $32,072
> Unemployment rate: 2.1%
> Total workforce: 272,970

Art and music education has lost much of its funding recently due to budget cuts in recent years. This may have had an effect on salaries of educators. Even though more than 80% of art and music education majors who graduate with a bachelor’s degree also go on to earn a master’s, the average graduate earns just over $32,000 annually. Despite the uncertainty with funding, just 2.1% of art and music education degree holders are unemployed, a relatively low share.

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7. Early childhood education
> Avg. annual earnings: $31,892
> Unemployment rate: 2.8%
> Total workforce: 205,294

The average early childhood education bachelor’s degree holder earns less than $32,000 per year. Degree holders typically work with children younger than 5 years old in preschool or other early childhood education programs. Like many other educators, early childhood educators are not well compensated. Among early childhood education degree holders, 49.3% earn a master’s degree, a smaller share than most other education-related majors.

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6. Teacher education: multiple levels
> Avg. annual earnings: $31,483
> Unemployment rate: 2.1%
> Total workforce: 103,567

Multiple level teacher education is a major for those who would like to teach at more than one grade level, such as teaching middle school as well as high school. Americans who choose to major in this field, as is often the case in education, earn well below the average earnings among bachelor’s degree holders — at just $31,483 a year. Still, likely because this degree gives educators the skills to teach multiple grade levels, the unemployment rate among holders is just 2.1%.

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