Special Report

College Majors With The Lowest Unemployment

High school students go to college with the hope of obtaining a degree that would allow them to get a lucrative and fulfilling job in the future. While many students follow their passion, others just aim for the degree that will provide them with the best employment opportunities.

There are, of course, outside factors that affect one’s chances of employment, such as the job market and overall strength of the economy. But students can select certain areas of study that all but guarantee them employment if they graduate with a bachelor’s degree in that field.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to identify the college majors with the lowest unemployment rates. Average earnings include all people who graduated with a degree that major, even if they are unemployed, working part time, or out of the labor force.

While getting a job is the ideal outcome for college graduates, not all jobs are equally lucrative. Several different types of education majors appear on this list, but none of are especially well compensated relative to other jobs on this list. Pay for educators can be especially low in some of the worst states to be a teacher.

Some majors on this list can prepare graduates for some of the more competitive private-sector positions. This means that employers must bid for the services of the best candidates in the field, often driving their salaries closer to the six-figure range. Many of these science-based college majors prepare graduates to work in some of the highest paying jobs in the country.

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25. Medical Technologies Technicians
> Unemployment: 1.79%
> Avg. salary: $55,436
> BA holders with a master’s degree: 18.5%
> BA holders in labor force: 182,810

Of the nearly 183,000 Americans with a bachelor’s degree in the medical technology field, more than 98% are employed. Like many other jobs in the medical and health field, these technicians also tend to be very well compensated. The average annual earnings for someone with this degree is $55,436 — more than double the average earnings for all college graduates of $25,818.

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24. Early Childhood Education
> Unemployment: 1.76%
> Avg. salary: $32,505
> BA holders with a master’s degree: 53.1%
> BA holders in labor force: 221,104

Early childhood education degree-holders are among the many graduates in educational fields with relatively low unemployment. Though nearly all degree holders in this field are employed, most are not especially well compensated relative to other types of graduates on this list — especially considering that most Americans with an early childhood education degree go on to earn a master’s degree.

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23. Theology And Religious Vocations
> Unemployment: 1.71%
> Avg. salary: $36,956
> BA holders with a master’s degree: 55.6%
> BA holders in labor force: 319,990

According to a Pew study, more than 76% of Americans are religious, nearly all of whom are Christian. This means that hundreds of millions of residents need somewhere to worship and spiritual leaders to guide them. Just 1.71% of theology and religious vocations majors are unemployed, one of the lowest unemployment rates among all college majors.

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22. Health And Medical Preparatory Programs
> Unemployment: 1.70%
> Avg. salary: $99,363
> BA holders with a master’s degree: 57.1%
> BA holders in labor force: 98,960

Health and medical preparatory programs serve as an undergraduate path for students to continue their education in medical fields like dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, nursing, physical therapy, and more. More than half of graduates with this major go on to earn their doctorate. Working in the medical field is often lucrative, and the average salary for people with health and medical prep bachelor’s degrees is nearly $100,000 per year.

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21. Mathematics Teacher Education
> Unemployment: 1.67%
> Avg. salary: $35,971
> BA holders with a master’s degree: N/A
> BA holders in labor force: 92,940

The American education system has placed a premium on STEM courses — STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Likely due in part to this renewed focus, college graduates with math teacher education majors are more likely to be employed than almost all other majors. Graduates in this field have a 1.67% unemployment rate, less than a third of the overall U.S. unemployment rate of 5.38% for all college graduates with at least a bachelor’s degree.