The Highest and Lowest Paying College Majors in America

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Lowest Paying College Majors

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25. Composition and rhetoric
> Avg. annual earnings: $39,438
> Unemployment rate: 5.0%
> Total workforce: 85,365

Composition and rhetoric is a degree program offered by many universities’ English departments. It focuses on arguments and public speaking, often relating to civics and social justice. This degree field has a 5% unemployment rate, which is higher than that of almost all other majors. Those with this degree likely compete with English and creative writing majors for similar jobs as there is not a specific occupation associated with the composition and rhetoric major.

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24. Fine arts
> Avg. annual earnings: $39,178
> Unemployment rate: 4.0%
> Total workforce: 577,808

While a degree in fine art can be helpful for learning creative techniques, it is certainly not a requirement for a career as an artist. Many successful artists never attended college. Very few fine arts majors choose to continue their education after earning a bachelor’s degree. Just 27.4% of bachelor’s degree holders also earn a master’s in fine art. The success and earnings of artists is almost entirely dependent on the economy as people are generally not willing to spend money on art when money is tight.

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23. Court reporting
> Avg. annual earnings: $38,915
> Unemployment rate: 3.5%
> Total workforce: 8,420

Court reporters transcribe legal proceedings. The job is generally not a highly-skilled one. While it is possible to major in court reporting, the typical entry-level education required is a postsecondary non degree certificate. Largely because this job does not require a high degree of specialization, workers make less than $39,000 on average a year.

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22. Human services and community organization
> Avg. annual earnings: $38,793
> Unemployment rate: 4.0%
> Total workforce: 116,316

Those who major in human services and community organization are among the least likely to continue their education after graduating with a bachelor’s degree. Fewer than 30% of degree holders in this field go on to earn a master’s degree, as compared to 41.5% of all bachelor’s degree holders. Indeed, advanced degrees are generally not required for community organization jobs. The average human services and community organization bachelor’s degree holder earns less than $39,000 per year.

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21. Physical and health education teaching
> Avg. annual earnings: $38,764
> Unemployment rate: 2.7%
> Total workforce: 303,925

Like many other types of education majors, physical and health education teaching majors are not well compensated. Despite the job’s importance, those who graduate with any type of teaching major earn less than $40,000 a year on average. However, teachers’ salaries vary considerably by state low average salaries in the profession are not always accurate reflections of compensation in every part of the country.

There are several explanations for low average teacher pay. Since most teachers are government employees, their salaries are not determined by free market competition. Additionally, teachers do not always work a full year.