Find out which degrees might not be worth the gamble in today's job market.
Thinking of going back to school and wondering what to major in? You might want to do your homework before deciding.
To help, we've provided a cheat sheet on degrees to consider skipping...and degrees to consider picking based on:
- 2009-2010 college grads' employment statistics from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce's "Hard Times: Not All College Degrees Are Created Equal" report
- 2009 salary statistics from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce's "What's It Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors" study
Check out our list of college degrees that could end up costing you - as well as degrees that could be considered safer bets.
Degree to Skip #1 - Architecture
Thinking about majoring in architecture? Don't bank on finding an architect position right out of school. Of all the surveyed recent college grads, the unemployment rate is highest - 13.9 percent - for those with a bachelor's degree in architecture.
And while the average salary for architecture grads is reportedly $63,000, that won't matter much if no one is hiring.
Typical coursework: Still feel a degree - and career - in architecture is your calling? Common courses might include building methods and materials, architectural theory, and construction technology, according to the College Board, an organization that administers academic aptitude tests like the SAT.
Degree to Pick #1 - Communications
When it comes to the potential for salary and job prospects, on paper, a communications degree looks like it could be a pretty smart investment.
Communications majors were found to have an average salary of $50,000 a year in the Georgetown "What's It Worth?" report. Combine that with an unemployment rate of only 7.3 percent, and you could find yourself soon pursuing a career analyzing different types of communication, including TV, newspapers, or the Internet.
Typical coursework: Common courses include communication and mass media research, media criticism, and media law and ethics, meaning you could learn how to critique different forms of mass media and communicate a message more clearly, according to the College Board.
Degree to Skip #2 - Theater Arts
How many people who study theater actually get to see their name in lights - or even behind-the-scenes? The answer is not many.
In fact, arts majors were found to have high unemployment rates in the Georgetown "Hard Times" report - 11.1 percent. In addition, even if you make it to a theater arts position, the salaries may not live up to your expectations. Drama and theater arts majors have an average salary of $40,000 per year.
Typical coursework: If you're still determined to pursue a theater arts degree, courses like theater design, acting, and directing could help you expand your knowledge about theater history and learn how to act out dramatic literature pieces, says the College Board.
Degree to Pick #2 - Business Administration
With 7.4 percent unemployment for business grads, job prospects appear promising.
Even better, business management and administration and general business degree grads have an average salary of $58,000 and $60,000, respectively - according to Georgetown's "What's It Worth?" study.
Typical coursework: As a business administration major, you might learn about the development of business strategies and the organization of companies with classes in business ethics and law, marketing, and business policy and strategy, according to the College Board.
Degree to Skip #3 - Humanities
From a career standpoint, a humanities degree can be seen as too broad - it covers subjects in art, music, literature, and languages.
According to the "Not All Degrees Are Created Equal" report, majors with a wide focus tend to have a higher unemployment rate compared to more focused majors (i.e. education and health care). Because of this, humanities grads could find themselves spread across a wide range of industries with an unemployment rate found to be at 9.4 percent. And for those who find jobs within the humanities field, the average salary is only $47,000 per year.
Typical coursework: If you are still eager to study a bit of everything in the humanities field, you could end up taking a wide range of courses including African-American studies, Asian art, or philosophy, to name a few, according to the College Board.
Degree to Pick #3 - Computer Science
With technology continuing to evolve with new gadgets, computer science majors can expect to maintain job growth.
With an unemployment rate at 8.2 percent, computer science majors could see themselves earning a nice chunk of change with an annual average salary of $75,000.
Typical coursework: You could find out more about what happens inside a computer and how to create software programs in courses like programming theory, software design, and computer language, says the College Board.
*College grad unemployment data comes from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce's "Hard Times: Not All College Degrees Are Created Equal" report, while the salary statistics are from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce's "What's It Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors" study.
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