Special Report

College Majors With the Lowest Unemployment

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10. Mathematics teacher education
> Unemployment rate: 1.2%
> Avg. salary: $37,587
> BA holders with a master’s degree: 51.7%
> BA holders in labor force: 102,611

Generally, undergraduates who choose a major that steers them into a career in education are far less likely to be unemployed once in the labor force than most American workers. Mathematics teacher education is no exception. Just 1.2% of Americans in the labor force who majored in math instruction are unemployed.

Like many majors on this list, those who select math teacher education are likely to go onto graduate school. However, unlike majors with high graduate school attainment rates, but like many other education-related majors on this list, majoring in mathematics teacher education does not lead to especially high-paying jobs. The average salary for those who majored in teaching math is just $37,587, far lower than the average across all occupations of $61,539.

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9. School student counseling
> Unemployment rate: 1.0%
> Avg. salary: $33,660
> BA holders with a master’s degree: 89.5%
> BA holders in labor force: 18,163

School student counselors work with high school and middle school students to assist with their academic, social, and emotional development, and in the decision making process as to what to do after graduation. For those who know going into college that they would like a career as a student counselor, school student counseling is a natural choice for a major. However, in most of the country, student counselors are required to have a master’s degree, and not surprisingly, about nine in every 10 Americans who majored in student counseling as undergraduates continue to complete a graduate degree. Despite the high level of education, the average salary is one of the lowest on the list — like most education-related majors.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for school counselors is projected to grow by 8% between 2018 and 2028 — faster than most other occupations. Currently, just 1.0% of labor force participants who majored in student counseling are unemployed.

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8. Special needs education
> Unemployment rate: 1.0%
> Avg. salary: $37,022
> BA holders with a master’s degree: 57.7%
> BA holders in labor force: 266,202

Students who major in special needs education as undergraduates often end up in special educational teaching roles — working with students who have specific emotional, mental, learning, and physical disabilities. Like many education majors on this list, special needs education majors are not especially well paid, with an average annual salary of just $37,022.

Special needs education is one of the more popular majors on this list. Over one-quarter of a million Americans in the labor force majored in the subject — and only 1.0% of them are unemployed.

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7. Educational administration and supervision
> Unemployment rate: 0.9%
> Avg. salary: $48,328
> BA holders with a master’s degree: 92.5%
> BA holders in labor force: 44,857

An educational administration and supervision degree prepares students for careers in administrative roles in a variety of educational settings. One of many majors on this list in the education sector, educational administration and supervision majors have an unemployment rate of just 0.9% among them.

Unlike other majors in the education field that involve student instruction where graduates earn average salaries in the $30,000 range, administration and supervision majors have an average salary of over $48,000 — still well below the average salary across all occupations of over $61,000.

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6. Court reporting
> Unemployment rate: 0.7%
> Avg. salary: $45,828
> BA holders with a master’s degree: 6.2%
> BA holders in labor force: 6,396

Court reporting majors learn the legal language used in courtrooms and how to use specific programs and machines to quickly and accurately transcribe what is said in the course of a court proceeding. While most court reporters work in courtrooms and alongside legislatures, others work remotely, typing closed captioning transcripts for broadcast stations to use.

Over the decade between 2018 and 2028, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that demand for court reporters will climb by 7% — faster than the projected employment growth across all occupations. Currently, just 0.7% of the more than 6,000 Americans who majored in court reporting are unemployed.

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