Degrees That Might Be A Waste Of Money

Degrees That Don't Pay Off
Degrees That Might Be A Waste Of Money

If you want to make your educational investment count, don't waste your money on these dead-end degrees.

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There are lots of reasons to invest in higher education. But if your primary goal is to increase your employment odds, you'll want to do your research before you decide on a major.

"What happens to a lot of [college students] is they choose a major based entirely on what they're interested in today, not giving any thought to how difficult it will be to get a job after college," says Darrell Silver, co-founder & CEO of Thinkful, an online school for adults seeking career advancement.

According to Silver, "Even just looking at income and employment rates for [careers related to] your desired major in the first five years after college can make a big difference."

Don't know where to start? Fret not. We combed through a recent report from Georgetown Center, the U.S. Department of Labor job growth statistics and reached out to career experts for their take on why certain degrees might be more worth it than others.

Keep reading to learn more.

Waste of Money Bachelor's Degree #1 Information Systems

You're great with technology and ready to take that passion to the next level by earning a degree in information systems. Before you decide on this degree, though, you may want to keep in mind the following stats...

Unemployment rate among recent graduates*: 14.7 percent

Expert insights: "The trouble with majoring in information systems is that its focus is more general and not as technical as that of a computer science or information technology degree," warns Jean Cummings, a personal branding strategist and job search coach.

And the lack of specialized technical skills leads to another problem: While most companies immediately know they need an IT person or a computer scientist, they don't necessarily know how an information systems grad might benefit their business, says Cummings.

Job outlook**: The U.S. Department of Labor does not link this specific degree to any careers.

Career Projected job growth from 2012 to 2022
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Bachelor's Degree That Could Pay Off #1 Finance

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If you love reading the Wall Street Journal or Fortune Magazine and are looking for a degree that could open a variety of jobs, this might be a good option for you.

Unemployment rate among recent graduates*: 5.9 percent

Expert insights: "The range of jobs this degree could help you prepare to pursue range from local financial advisor to major power player on Wall Street," says Boyd.

Just keep in mind, that if you're more inclined to earn this degree to prepare to pursue a job in Wall Street, you should ensure you know what you'll be getting into. According to Boyd, the gig could be pretty stressful.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Finance Program.

Job outlook**: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, this degree could help you prepare to pursue a variety of growing careers.

Career Projected job growth from 2012 to 2022
Personal financial advisor 60,300 jobs
Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agent 39,700 jobs
Loan officer 22,900 jobs

Waste of Money Bachelor's Degree #2 Film, Video & Photography Arts

If you're a creative spirit, it may seem like a degree in film, video, or photography is a perfect fit for your fun personality. What might be less fun: setting out on your job search after graduation.

Unemployment rate among recent graduates*: 11.4 percent

Expert insights: The biggest problem with this degree is supply and demand. "There are just too many people who want to create films and videos, and take photos, and not enough people to employ them," says George A. Boyd, career counselor and life coach. "There are just not that many companies who need a dedicated media person, and the entertainment industry is deluged with applicants," he adds.

However, if your heart is really set on working in the industry, instead of majoring in this field, he recommends finding a day job and doing some projects in your free time to get started - although it's important to note that this isn't something that will always lead to a job, either.

Job outlook:** Per the U.S. Department of Labor, job opportunities in this industry don't look very promising.

Career Projected job growth from 2012 to 2022
Photographer 5,900 jobs
Film and video editor, camera operator 1,400 jobs

Bachelor's Degree That Could Pay Off #2 Elementary Education

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Do you feel called to help shape a new generation of citizens as a teacher? Good news: prepping for that role could offer a strong return of investment, as we're heading into a world that needs a lot more education grads to fill teaching positions.

Unemployment rate among recent graduates*: 5.0 percent

Expert insights: This degree is the doorway to a career as a teacher, and according to Boyd, we're going to need more teachers for the foreseeable future. "With a growing population, there are many new children who need to be educated," says Boyd.

Another plus: Teaching jobs are not going anywhere. "We can't outsource this [job] - we need a live teacher in the classroom," says Boyd.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Elementary Education Program.

Job outlook**: Boyd isn't the only one projecting a need for more educators. The U.S. Department of Labor also reports that teaching jobs will also be on the rise.

Career Projected job growth from 2012 to 2022
Kindergarten teacher 20,600 jobs
Elementary school teacher 167,900 jobs
Middle school teacher 76,000 jobs

Waste of Money Bachelor's Degree #3 Political Science & Government

You're excited about politics, and that's great - but before you major in political science or government, you might want to think about the reality that recent grads of this degree are facing in the real world.

Unemployment rate among recent graduates*: 11.1 percent

Expert insights: "I won't say that you don't learn anything from a political science or government major, but you certainly don't learn practical knowledge that can be applied to a wide range of jobs," says Sarah Merrill, a recruiting and career consultant at Atrium Staffing, who herself was a political science major.

"While I enjoyed my classes on European diplomacy and public policy, when you're staring at your screen questioning ‘email etiquette' to a senior executive, or balancing a limited budget, or doing just about anything in your practical adult life, those are not the courses that are going to help."

Job outlook**: In terms of opportunity, the numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor don't look especially promising.

Career Projected job growth from 2012 to 2022
Budget analyst 3,800 jobs
Reporter, correspondent, or broadcast news analyst 7,200 jobs

Bachelor's Degree That Could Pay Off #3 Computer Science

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So you're technically savvy? Computer science is a great way to go. In fact, your job prospects could look significantly brighter than your peers who graduated with information systems degrees.

Unemployment rate among recent graduates*: 8.7 percent

Expert insights: "Computer science majors are probably more in demand across every sector of the economy than anything else, so you really can't go wrong from an economic point of view," says Silver.

"Computer science is a degree that is valuable now and will continue to be, because almost all companies need technical people to create and/or manage the applications that help the business run," adds Cummings.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.

Job outlook**: This tech-related degree could help you prepare to pursue a variety of in-demand careers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Career Projected job growth from 2012 to 2022
Software developer 222,600 jobs
Network computer systems analyst 42,900 jobs
Computer programmer 28,400 jobs

Waste of Money Bachelor's Degree #4 Anthropology & Archeology

While you might love studying the subject, you might not love your job prospects after graduation. Unless you're willing to go for your graduate degree, you might find yourself lacking the skills most employers want.

Unemployment rate among recent graduates: 12.6 percent

Expert insights: The main problem with this degree is lack of job opportunities after graduation. "This is such a highly specialized field, and there are limited sources of employment," says Gina Zappariello, professional coach and certified emotional intelligence consultant.

"The main areas of employment for this major are universities (teaching and research), museums, and governments with a strong need to uncover artifacts." Unfortunately, all of those groups together can't provide enough jobs to go around.

Job outlook**: It doesn't look great for anthropology grads. For one, if you want to pursue a career in the field, you'll probably need to spend a few more years in school. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, anthropologist and archeologists need a master's degree or Ph.D.

Career Projected job growth from 2012 to 2022
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Bachelor's Degree That Could Pay Off #4 Business Management and Administration

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Leadership, organization, people skills - if you have or want these strengths, you might want to consider a degree in business administration. Not only can earning this degree help you develop or strengthen these skills, but it could also set you on the path to pursuing a variety of different careers.

Unemployment rate among recent graduates*: 7.8 percent

Expert insights: "Business administration is great because it is so general and can be applied to a very wide array of jobs," says Merrill.

That versatility is at the heart of why this degree faces a lower unemployment rate compared to some of the other degrees on our list. But another thing to consider is that business majors might also be equipped to create their own opportunities by starting their own companies, adds Merrill.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Business Administration Program.

Job outlook**: With this degree you could prepare to pursue a wide range of careers - some of which are projected to create thousands of new jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Career Projected job growth from 2012 to 2022
Property, real estate, and community association manager 35,000 jobs
Market research analyst 131,500 jobs
Top executive 261,500 jobs

* Unemployment rates for recent graduates come from the 2013 report titled Hard Times: College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings, published by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. According to this report recent college graduates are those between ages 22 and 26 with bachelor degrees.

** All potential careers and projected job growth listed come from the 2014-15 U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook. The Department of Labor cites the associated degrees as common, required, preferred, or one of a number of degrees acceptable as preparation for the potential career. In some instances, candidates might require further schooling, professional certifications, or experience, before being qualified to pursue the career. Please keep in mind that if the Department doesn't link a degree to a specific career it, doesn't mean opportunities for these graduates don't exist.

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