In light of the growing student-loan crisis, Americans appear more likely to think twice about going into debt to pay for a college education. College enrollment declined by nearly 300,000 in 2019, the eighth consecutive year enrollment dropped.
Still, for many of the Americans who attend college and graduate, education remains a sound investment. The typical American adult with a bachelor’s degree earns about 65% more than the typical adult with just a high school diploma.
A bachelor’s degree, however, is no guarantee of a high paying career. There are many jobs today that typically require a four-year college education yet pay lower or only slightly above the average annual wage across all occupations of $38,640. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2018 median annual wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify the lowest paying jobs for college graduates.
Compensation is one of a number of considerations to take into account when choosing a job, and for many who go into the kinds of careers on this list, high pay is not likely a priority. These include service occupations, like social work and counseling, as well as creative fields, like sculpting or music composition.
For those who attend college with the goal of having a high-paying career, certain fields of study are more likely to pay off than others. The average annual earnings for some college majors is over four times higher than the average earnings of others. These are the highest and lowest-paying college majors in America.
While many high-paying jobs are only available to those with a bachelor’s degree or higher, well-paying careers are by no means exclusively limited to those with a four-year college education. There are dozens of jobs that require no more in the way of formal education than a high school diploma where the median wage is more than double some of the jobs on this list. These are the highest paying jobs you can get without a college degree.