College Degrees 101

It’s that time of year again.  High school seniors and returning college students are plotting out their semesters for the next school year.  But before you add on another underwater basket-weaving class, you should consider what college major is going to actually help you land a good paying job, and which major costs more than it’s worth.


Worst major for the money:

The folks at Georgetown University and the folks at both put together lists of the worst college majors, based on the level of unemployment and average pay out of school.  These ten majors have the highest unemployment rates and the lowest entry level salaries.

10. English, 9. History and Sociology, 8. Drama and Theater, 7. Physical Fitness, 6. Music, 5. Graphic Design.

Number 5 is probably the most shocking.  I spoke with career coach, Cindy Edwards, and in her opinion, the worst is graphic arts because people think there is a market for this major but there is not.  According to Edwards, if you are interested in graphic design you need to think about a career in web design or e-learning design and development.

The top 4 worst majors are 4. Philosophy and Religious Studies, 3. Fine Arts, 2. Film, Photography and Video Arts, and the worst major for your money?  Archeology and Anthropology.  It just doesn’t pay to be Indiana Jones.


Now for the good news.  Although the liberal arts and so-called “soft” majors are hit the hardest during a recession, there are majors that are more than paying students back with high employment rates and good starting salaries.  Career coach Edwards strongly recommends a degree in biomedical engineering.  These are the folks who create and build medical equipment, and their starting salary is nearly $50 an hour.  If you get a STEM degree, which stands for science/technology/engineering /mathematics, you are basically guaranteeing yourself a career when you graduate.

Other top majors for the money include computer engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, electronics engineering and even civil engineering.  And ironically, finance majors do well, too.


If you are unsure as to what degree you want to get, but you know you want – and really, NEED – a 4 year degree, Edwards recommends using an online research tool like to map your education to career path.  It will show you specific career outlook data, wage information, growth information and education choices needed.  Edwards also recommends starting on your general education classes at community college.  However, be sure your school is a part of the MnTC system because then your credits are more likely to transfer.

Also many community colleges have feeder programs into 4 year universities.  Check out Inverhills Community college for their feeder program at

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One Comment

  1. Shirley Kunze
    Posted May 7, 2013 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    What were the uses for Kitty Liter on the “Fox 9 Buss” today (5-7-13)?

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    Where I Thrift

    Everyone has their favorite thrift stores, right?  Okay, you do if you love thrifting as much as I do!  Here are the stores where I enjoy popping tags:

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