Special Report

College Majors With the Lowest Unemployment

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20. Zoology
> Unemployment rate: 1.5%
> Avg. salary: $84,304
> BA holders with a master’s degree: 48.8%
> BA holders in labor force: 111,086

Zoology is a subset of biology that focuses on animals of all types, including vertebrates, invertebrates, insects, birds, reptiles, and mammals. Zoology is comprehensive in scope, as majors look within organisms, such as the chemical makeup of their bodies, as well as populations of animals and how they adapt to their environment. The kinds of careers many zoology majors go into, including veterinary medicine and animal caretaking, are in high demand. Partially as a result, the unemployment rate among zoology majors is just 1.5%.

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19. Teacher education: multiple levels
> Unemployment rate: 1.5%
> Avg. salary: $30,670
> BA holders with a master’s degree: 46.1%
> BA holders in labor force: 108,133

Teacher education for multiple levels is one of several majors that lead to jobs in education on this list. Like the other education-related majors, it is one of the lowest paying fields on this list, with an average salary less than half the average salary among all college graduates. Over 100,000 Americans in the labor force studied multiple level education as undergraduates, and only 1.5% of them are unemployed. The major is more versatile than many of the others in education on this list as it prepares the undergraduates to teach multiple age groups — from elementary school to middle and high school.

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18. Applied mathematics
> Unemployment rate: 1.5%
> Avg. salary: $100,742
> BA holders with a master’s degree: 44.2%
> BA holders in labor force: 40,617

As its name suggests, applied mathematics is the study of using math to solve real world problems as well as anticipating problems that have yet to arise. Applied mathematics majors have a number of career options upon graduating, including working as financial analysts, statisticians, or even software developers.

Not only do applied math majors who enter the labor force have high-job security — the major has a 1.5% unemployment rate — they also have high salaries. Among workers with an applied mathematics degree, the average annual salary is $100,742, well above the average across all occupations of $61,539.

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17. Actuarial science
> Unemployment rate: 1.5%
> Avg. salary: $110,110
> BA holders with a master’s degree: 27.7%
> BA holders in labor force: 21,074

For those going into college interested in working as an actuary — someone who measures business risk and uncertainty — actuarial science is an appropriate field of study. Actuaries are typically employed by insurance companies or other large firms with pension plans. Demand for actuaries is projected to grow by about 20% over the next decade.

It is important to note, however, that a relatively limited number of schools offer a major in actuarial science. These schools include New York University and the University of Connecticut. After receiving a bachelor’s degree — which does not necessarily need to be in actuarial science — actuaries need to pass a series of exams to become accredited.

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16. Animal sciences
> Unemployment rate: 1.5%
> Avg. salary: $57,057
> BA holders with a master’s degree: 27.3%
> BA holders in labor force: 162,319

Animal science majors learn about breeding, feeding, and managing livestock, poultry, and other domesticated animals used in food production. Americans who major in this field often go on to careers in ranching, dairy farming, and food science. The unemployment rate among the 162,319 Americans in the labor force who majored in animal sciences is just 1.5%.