Lowest Paying College Majors

With today’s economy down in the dumps, many people are attending college to guarantee financial security. The college students are looking to achieve a goal, to graduate with a degree and get a great job. Isn’t that the way the college fairy tale ends? Unfortunately, this could not be further from the truth for many degree seeking individuals. While there are some high paying college majors and degrees that is not the subject of this article. For this article we are going to discuss the lowest paying college majors. Usually, degrees in the public sector, education, and service fields are the lowest paying. We are going to talk about some of these specific majors.

Social Work

Social Work is a career carried out by a trained professional that will help someone achieve better quality of life. They also hope to make the world a more humane place to live. A social work major will work in hospitals, courts, or welfare agencies to lend a hand to those less fortunate. They often give a voice to a normally silenced party. This major is very rewarding, but poorly compensated. The average salary of a social worker is around $45,000 as a mid-career salary.

Lowest Paying College Majors

Elementary Education

Students with an Elementary Education major are seeking a job as a teacher. These teachers will work with younger students to prepare them for future schooling buy teaching them basics like reading and math. They also help children to learn and apply important concepts. Again, this is very necessary, rewarding career, but under paid. Starting salary of an Elementary Education major is about $31,400 according to the 2012-2013 College Salary Report. You might get your summers off but you probably will not be able to fund a vacation.


Theology majors study religion and moral values. They leave with sensitivity and knowledge for moral and religious issues. Careers after graduation include deacon or preacher of a church, teaching in a church-based school, or writing journalism with a religious theme. This profession is seen as a calling from a higher power by many and these students would not think of changing their major but once they find that their annual salary will be less than $35,000 a year, this might change.

Fine Arts, Music and Drama

These three majors are mentioned together for a couple reasons. First, they all have starting salaries of around $35,000 a year. Secondly, seekers of this degree often are looking for the same career type, one in performing. Of course, there is the chance of hitting it big on Broadway or with an internationally famous rock band, but the average graduate is at the low end of the salary spectrum. I guess artists really don’t do it for the money anyway?

Human Services

Those seeking Human Services degrees will more than likely be “giving back” in some capacity after graduation. Working in a community organization or state agency, a human services worker generally helps individuals and communities to function as efficiently as possible. Although our President has many loan forgiveness plans in place to help those who help their community, it will not raise paychecks of this population, which earns $33,000 on average after graduation.

Special Education

You would think that someone who is willing to dedicate their life to helping those with disabilities would be rewarded well, monetarily this is not the case. Students with this major study how to teach children and adults with learning disabilities. Careers after graduation include teacher, counselor or behaviorist. The strong desire to help is deep in the hearts of these aspiring majors. Otherwise, the $33,900 a year starting salary and $48,900 mid-career salary would not push them in this career direction.

There are a lot more low-paying majors but of the 130 most common chosen, these are some of the lowest. It definitely shows that rewarding is not always defined in money.

Author: KC Beavers

KC Beavers is a semi-retired entrepreneur. The subject of personal finance has always fascinated him. In an effort to not bore those around him with all his love of personal finance as much he has come here to bore all of you instead.


Medical and computer courses are said to be one of the highest paying according to Forbes. If you know where to look online, you may find the scholarship opportunities that you might be looking for.


No matter what the economy is or the rate of unemployment in your state, finding a job is difficult. These are great courses and yes, they are not that expensive compare to other majors. Still, what matter in the end you are happy and proud with your chosen career.