30 Degrees With the Lowest Return on Investment

By Simi
30 Degrees With the Lowest Return on Investment

It used to be that going to college was enough. Keep in mind, this was back when most people had union jobs and a whole lot of security in the work environment. With more people in the world and more competition than ever, you have to go to college to get a good job. Studies have shown that people who go to college will out-earn those who don’t by quite a lot.

You also have to choose the right courses to take. Your post-secondary education is pricey and the economy is questionable right now. This is leading people to question how they should best spend their time and money on education. Did you know that student loans have hit the $1 trillion mark? Graduates are having a harder time paying off their debts once they get out of school. Is it due to an education that simply won’t pay back?

There are some degrees that can jump-start your career quickly while others will require years of hard work. Your degree may help you earn more money and give you greater opportunities, but how much are you paying for it? If you consider that your education is an investment, you have to consider what the ROI of the degree you will have. Here are some of the college degrees that have been consistent in low returns of your hard work and money.

1. Sociology

Sociology is a fulfilling career for those who wish to help other people. The reality is though, if you follow this dream, you won’t have wealth. The jobs that most people get when they’re a sociology major include being a social worker, corrections officer or chemical dependency counselor.

A social worker is responsible for interviewing clients and their families. They coordinate programs and activities to help people with social and emotional needs. Other aspects of the job include crisis intervention for families. The complexities of this job can be taxing because you may want to help people with their life situations but it isn’t in your job description.

You may do what you can among the red tape that seems to go hand-in-hand with helping people with their social needs. Social workers also serve as a liaison between health care facilities and agencies within the government. You must have a bachelor’s degree and you’ll report to a manager. The main requirement to become a social worker is to have certification or licensing for your specific position.

The median annual social worker salary is $54,870. The full range is as low as $48,540 when you begin your career or are working for non-profit societies. The high-end of the spectrum is $61,499. With over 30 years of earning, you will make $2,779,195. The ROI of a degree from a public college is 73 percent while the ROI of a degree from a private college is 21 percent.

A corrections officer enforces rules and regulations in a prison, jail, or holding facility of another type. You will oversee prisoner conduct and ensure safety for everyone under your supervision. This means that you’ll supervise meals, recreation and work times. You document any violations and decide what disciplinary action to take. You only need to have a high school diploma to get this job.

So if this is what you end up doing after you graduate college, you’ll waste your money and time. The median annual Corrections Officer salary is $43,010. Higher paid officers will make nearly $50,000 while the entry-level officers will bring in about $38,000 per year. The 30-year earnings are $2,337,376. The ROI of a degree from a public college is 61 percent while the ROI of a degree from a private college is 18 percent.

A chemical dependency counselor position involves running individual, family, or group counseling for your patients. It will be one part of an overall recovery process in a chemical dependency program. You are a mediator for patients, their loved ones, medical staff, and any outside agency. If someone has been convicted of drinking and driving and part of their punishment is counseling for drinking, you may have to report to the courts.

This position requires a bachelor’s degree. Once you’re done your post-secondary education, you’ll need to get the Chemical Dependency Counsellor Certification by meeting the board’s requirements. This career choice has a median of $50,546. The high pay is $56,000 and the low pay is $44,000.

The 30-year earnings are $2,784,444. The ROI for a degree from a public college is 73 percent while the ROI of a degree from a private college is 21 percent.

2. Fine Arts

This degree is clearly based on a passion, which is admirable. If people lived in a world without artists, there would be no color. Everyone loves artists, but they have always been starving and it’s no different today. The jobs in this industry don’t pay well. Here are some of the top examples.

When you work in a museum as a research worker, you will organize and conduct research. These are not just artistic topics but also historical, scientific, and cultural. This information you gather will be for projects of the museum or someone who is sponsoring them.

As this is a highly competitive position, so you’ll probably need a bachelor’s degree to be successful. You should also have up to four years of related experience in research and art.
The median salary is $52,000. On the higher range, you might get paid $64,000 for your many years of dedication. The entry-level is $42,000. The 30-year earnings is $2,854,689,

The ROI of a degree from a public college is 75 percent, while the ROI of a degree from a private college is 22 percent.

As a graphic designer, you will utilize design software to create all types of different graphic art. Visual materials will include promotions, ads, logos, films, packaging or instructional material. Media outlets where these designs will be seen include websites, manuals, magazines and beyond. A graphic designer can manipulate graphic images, animations, text and video.

It’s an exciting career and some projects can be interesting. But there is a lot to learn when it comes to being a graphic designer and the programs are costly. To get into a company that will pay you on a full-time basis, you’re going to need a bachelor’s degree and portfolio to showcase your work. Due to the complexity of the work, you’re going to need up to four years of solid experience to be taken seriously.

The median salary is nearly $57,000 with a range of $50,000 to $64,000. The 30-Year earnings are $2,816,470. The ROI of a degree from a public college is 74 percent while the ROI of a degree from a private college is 22 percent.

3. Teaching Degree

Teaching is said to be a highly rewarding profession. You get summers off, which is great. The problem is that education is often what the government cuts in terms of funding. Teachers don’t make a lot of money unless they become university professors. The higher paying jobs cost equal measures in time and education to obtain.

A day care center teacher will oversee all the education activities that take place in the day care class. They are responsible for creating curriculum and will monitor progress. They are in charge of making sure the day care is safe and offers a nurturing environment for the kids. Parent teacher conferences are mandatory in this position as it helps parents help their children. This position usually requires an associate’s degree.

The range of pay is from $28,000 to $36,000. The 30-year earnings are $1,646,131. The ROI of a degree for public college is 43 percent while the ROI of a degree from a private college is 13 percent.

An elementary school teacher plans lessons and teaches kids. They evaluate and monitor performance and report to the faculty and the school board when necessary. This alone requires a bachelor’s degree along with up to four years of experience in something education related.

The median base is $52,000 but this is based on teachers that have been teaching for 15 years. The 30-year earnings are $3,081,172. The ROI of a degree for public college is 82 percent while the ROI of a degree from a private college is 24 percent.

4. Educator of Religion

If you’re religious or deeply enthralled in the philosophy of religion, you may feel compelled to go into religious studies. This is another field where you can follow your passion but it’s not a high paying career. It takes some time to earn your degree and once you do, it will take some time to pay it off on the salary you make. Here are some of the jobs you can obtain once you have a religious studies degree.

You will teach religion to others as an educator. Your responsibilities include preparing and delivering lectures, leading discussions and moderating them. Usually, you’ll work from religious texts and it requires you to have a bachelor’s degree and should have at least two years of experience within the religious field.

The median is $52,000 with the low rate of pay being $42,000 and a high of $62,000. The 30-year earnings are $2,828,502. The ROI of a degree from a public college is 75 percent while the ROI of a degree from a private college is 22 percent.

As an associate pastor, you’ll work under the pastor, helping them conduct religious services and operation of the church. You are responsible for outreach and educational programs and work to grow membership within the church. You also perform religious services. To take on this role, you need a bachelor’s degree. You also need up to four years of experience within the religious community.

The pay range for an associate pastor starts at $56,000 with a cap of $78,000. The 30-year earnings are $3,645,610. The ROI of a degree from a public college is 96 percent, while the ROI of a degree from a private college is 29 percent.

5. Hospitality and Tourism

Who doesn’t want to work in hospitality and tourism? The opportunity to travel the world, meet new people, and work. It’s adventurous and rewarding but it really doesn’t pay well. Usually, you get subsidized accommodation and they might even throw in free meals. It takes a long time to climb up the ladder within hospitality.

The entry-level jobs can leave you pretty broke if you’re also having to pay back your student loans. Actually, you can climb up the latter without getting the degree. So while someone is earning their 4 year degree, you’ve already started as a housekeeper in a hotel and have worked your way to front desk manager before hospitality students have graduated.

A meeting or event planner is a management style position in the hospitality industry but that doesn’t mean it pays well. You will have to plan and organize meetings and special events. This means not only will you have to be educated but you must have a knack for keeping on top of things and multi-tasking without getting too stressed.

You will likely need a bachelor’s degree and be working within the establishment for quite some time. The median rate of pay is $60,000 with a low range of $52,000 and a high range of $71,000. The 30-year earnings are $3,271,972. The ROI of a degree from a public college is 87 percent, while the ROI of a degree from a private college is 26 percent.

The position of a hotel general manager is something you shouldn’t expect to obtain as soon as you get your degree. It will take you years to prove you can manage this position effectively. You’ll have to work in every department of the hotel including housekeeping because you’ll be in charge of operations.

You will have to learn to be a leader, read financial statements and make decisions to help the hotel be profitable. This is quite challenging as most hotels aren’t profitable. It might require a bachelor’s degree but realistically, it’s more about the experience and time you’ve put into the industry.

Until you achieve this position, you’ll make little money at a hotel or resort. The highest yearly pay you can expect from all your hard work is $91,000. When you start the position, you may make as little as $50,000. This position usually demands strange hours and long days.

The 30-year earnings are $3,838,180. The ROI of a degree from a public college is 102 percent, while the ROI of a degree from a private college is 30 percent.

6. A Degree in Nutrition

A career in nutrition is important but sadly, it doesn’t pay well. There is a lot of education involved, so you’ll have spent a great deal of money on school. You can work as a dietician or as a food services manager.

A dietician is responsible for looking at a physician’s diagnosis of a patient and figuring out what nutritional care could help the patient. Dietetic standards helps a dietician design and implement the individual program for any given patient. They will then monitor and document the progress of the patient and often communicate their findings with the physician.

At the least, this position will require a bachelor’s degree, but some work within the industry will be necessary before you get your own office. Typically, you’ll need up to four years of experience and you’ll have to be a registered dietitian or registered dietitian nutritionist. The wage ranges from $53,625-$64,733.

The 30-year earnings are $3,165,985. The ROI of a degree from a public college is 84 percent, while the ROI of a degree from a private college is 25 percent.

As a food service manager, you will oversee the daily operation of the company you work for in food service. You will be in charge of inventory, make food purchases, and get whatever other supplies are necessary. Food service managers are in charge of training staff and maintaining quality standards.

You may have to have an associate degree in some positions or equivalent experience. You have a lot of authority in this role. And because of the decision-making, you will need up to five years experience in the industry to get this job. The low range of pay is $56,000 with a high of $80,000.

The 30-year earnings are $3,344,813. The ROI of a degree from a public college is 89 percent, while the ROI of a degree from a private college is 27 percent.

7. Psychology

Psychology comes with a great deal of education and training, but the pay isn’t great. A psychiatrist is a doctor, so takes up to seven years to obtain that degree. But psychology doesn’t have the same social standards or even close to the same pay. Some of the jobs you can expect to get when you have a psyche degree include career counseling and bereavement coordinator.

In the role of a career counselor, you help students transition into employment. You can give them direction and counsel them. Also, you’ll put together workshops that help students get the skills they need to land a job. You will also liaison in a sense that you support on-campus recruiting. You also develop resources and guides for students who are going to head to the work place.

This job usually requires a bachelor’s degree but prior experience likely won’t be necessary. The median pay is $47,000. The lower end of the spectrum for pay is $42,000 with a high of $53,000.

As a bereavement coordinator, you will organize counseling for survivors. You will hold grief support groups as well as one on one therapy sessions if necessary. Social workers will provide the assessments on bereavement and communicate that with you. You need a bachelor’s degree in this related field, as well as up to four years of prior experience. The top rate of pay is $65,000 with a base pay of $49,000.

8. Communications

Communications jobs can involve becoming a journalist. The pay isn’t good despite the fact you pay a lot in education and training. Perhaps it’s more about the glory as opposed to the paycheck. You might be an executive producer in time but before that, you’ll probably be bringing producers coffee. Public relations is another communications job that surprisingly doesn’t pay that well.

As a copywriter, you’ll work with copy through writing, proofreading and editing. The documents might be marketing material or informative content. You could do other things like preparing a marketing program. If you want to work with a company that will pay you what you’re worth, you will need a bachelor’s degree.

A lot of people are writing for online companies now and they don’t have a degree. While they’re making less money, they’re also not paying off a hefty student loan. A copywriter with a degree will make anywhere from $53,000 to $70,000. The 30-year earnings are $3,099,338. The ROI of a degree from a public college is 82 percent, while the ROI of a degree from a private college is 24 percent.

As a marketing coordinator you’ll be in charge of marketing projects. PR campaigns and special events fall under their umbrella. They help with brand awareness through advertising and social media. Marketing coordinators arrange marketing resource materials like photos, reports, brochures and data.

Marketing coordinators also have to prepare reports that show how the marketing efforts have converted sales for the company. You need a bachelor’s degree and up to two years of experience to land a job in the higher range. The pay is from $46,000 to $60,000. The 30-year earnings are $2,975,834. The ROI of a degree from a public college is 79 percent, while the ROI of a degree from a private college is 23 percent.

9. Fashion Design

Many people will go to college to learn how to be a fashion designer but it’s all about natural talent and instinct. Teaching someone to be highly creative is challenging. So if you don’t sew or haven’t designed anything yet, you’re way behind people who have the gift, even if you get a degree for it.

Designing clothes, being artistic, and being stylish are more important in the fashion industry than a piece of paper saying you know about the fashion industry. For even the extremely talented fashionistas and seamstresses, it’s a tough area to break into. Designers are decreasing because people aren’t as willing to pay for expensive clothes. If you happen to break into it, you may earn big, but the margin of doing so is slim.

10. Liberal Arts

A liberal arts degree is a bit of a non-committal career move. It doesn’t get you into any specific job. And once you’re done, you may have a hard time knowing where you fit in. Many students who graduate with a liberal arts degree end up going into real estate, sales or finance because they need to pay the bills. This includes all that college debt.

Liberal arts majors have been known to have a low chance of employment opportunities. This is why they work doing things that are way out of their expertise. Liberal arts colleges have tried to step up their game and give students an education for specific quality jobs. This degree has a reputation for being useless.

11. Philosophy Major

You will learn interesting things when you focus your attention on a philosophy degree. You might want to use this degree to write a book. Then, you have to be able to write a book that people will want to read and share.

This degree will teach you how to think but it might be an expensive method to expand your mind. There aren’t many well-paying positions when it comes to being a philosopher. So, you might be better off chasing your dreams in another way.

12. Criminal Justice

A criminal justice degree isn’t going to automatically land you a job. It’s better to already be working in the field as a police officer or detective. You can get specific training at an agency and put in job training hours. It’s a far less expensive price tag, which is important because you won’t earn a lot.

Criminal investigators are not in high demand. A police officer will make an average of $56,000 per year. Money isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to choosing what education you’ll commit to. If you went into computer science and hated every minute of the four years you had to do it, that’s not a good investment, either.

If you happen to be passionate about something, you can always follow that dream and create something out of it. Oprah Winfrey was in communications at the beginning of her career, so look how that turned out for her.

13. Family and Consumer Sciences

The study of family and consumer sciences began as home economics. It is a field of study that gives people the skills they need to make good decisions about their well-being and their relationships. It aims to ensure a good quality of life by maintaining healthy relationships. There are several fields of specialization including:

  • Human development
  • Textiles and clothing
  • Consumer rights and issues
  • Housing and interior design and décor
  • Personal and family finance advice
  • Food science, nutrition, and wellness

Most people who study family and consumer sciences wind up working in education, the research field or as community volunteers. Others use their degree as a springboard into management and administrative jobs or as the basis for starting their businesses.

This is an extensive degree, and unless you narrow it down to something specific, you will come across as a jack of all trades but master of none. While it’s a good idea for someone entering college without a fixed idea of what they want to do, it can limit you in the long run. It would be necessary to do post-graduate studies to have a qualification that is directed at one specific field.

None of the broader fields addressed in the family and consumer sciences are real growth areas in the economy right now. Many of these jobs are outsourced to third-party companies that operate from overseas. However, if you have a passion for your fellow human beings, and want to make a difference in people’s lives, get a family and consumer sciences degree. There are jobs that you can do with this type of degree. Just don’t expect it to make you a millionaire.

14. Drama and Theater Arts

Studying drama and theater arts gives you a skill set you may find difficult to put into practice in a meaningful way. A degree in drama and theater arts provides experience in planning and producing plays, musicals, films and recitals. You’ll also get an opportunity to star in these productions. There are different areas within the performing space you can work in after getting a drama and theater arts degree.

Costume design and set design are often starting points for drama and theater arts graduates. Those who pursue acting must be prepared for a long struggle to get their big break. However, there are many other people looking to fulfill the same dream. They all seek fame and fortune, but there are only so many chances for that to happen.

In short, there’s an oversupply of people and not enough demand for these services. Most of the world’s most talented and famous TV and film stars don’t have a drama and theater arts degree. It often comes down to raw, natural talent. A degree can refine and sharpen your skills, but without some talent and inclination, it won’t help you.

That’s not to say you cannot put a drama and theater arts degree to work. Many people use their degree to enter the world of teaching. Others seek behind-the-scenes work and find job satisfaction in the industry. It’s just not always in the dimension of the industry they initially pictured themselves in. So, if you study drama and theater arts, have realistic expectations of what you’ll do afterward.

15. Visual Arts

A degree in visual arts is probably not going to garner millions of dollars and fame and fortune. That is a fate reserved for the fortunate few. A lot of incredibly talented people who study visual arts don’t find themselves directly working in the industry. There is not as much demand for visual art as there was in days gone by.

With the advent of photography, few people get their portraits painted. They also don’t spend a fortune on painted landscapes when they can buy framed prints. Digital design has also eliminated the need for visual artists. There is no need to get an artist to design a logo when you can use a computer program to do it. Unfortunately, the need for artists keeps on declining.

As the holder of a visual arts degree, you can seek to enter the field of education so that you can teach the subject. Many visual arts graduates use their knowledge of art history to get jobs as researchers and authenticators at auction houses. These jobs are not that easy to understand and as plentiful as you might think. So, be prepared to start at the bottom, and it may take a long time to get to the top.

Raw talent is not teachable, either. Many of today’s most famous artists have no formal training. They have an innate quality they were born with that they exploit to make a living. That can make the competition fierce.

Unless you become incredibly famous, you can’t get a return on investment for your materials, effort and talent you put into creating a work of art. And, in a tightening economy, people don’t spend as much on art as they used to.

16. Human Services and Community Organization

The study of human services and community organization aims to meet human needs and eliminate problems that affect the quality of life. It promotes improved accessibility, accountability and coordination of services to help people that access those services. People with degrees in human services and community organization work in settings where they help people with problems.

This could mean that they work in places such as halfway houses and correctional institutions. They also work in mental health centers, as well as for services that aim to help families, children and the elderly. It is their job to assess the needs of the people they service and intervene to help them get those services. They must be able to solve problems and choose effective strategies.

A great deal of skill in dealing with people is necessary, but so is a cool, analytical mind that can make decisions where necessary. When you work in an organization as human services and community organization professional, you need to understand policy and legislation that govern the sector. Then you need to be able to apply this understanding to each situation.

Process management is important. It means you must manage the steps on the way to solving the problem and critically evaluate their effectiveness. The nature of this work is governmental, whether it be at the federal, state or local level. This is because the government administers the institutions that require such skills and qualifications.

While this type of work can be extremely fulfilling, it isn’t going to make you a fortune. The only thing you can be sure of is the solid benefits that come with working for the government.

17. Horticulture

Horticulture is an integral part of the nutrition process. It is essential to know what to grow and how to grow it to produce healthy food for people. The study of the growth and harvesting process is exciting for those who love plants. The study of horticulture can lead to different careers.

A lot of graduates open their landscaping services and garden centers. Some even open flower shops. Horticulture can suit those with an entrepreneurial streak. However, in today’s constrained economy, plants and flowers have become less important. People are also increasingly living on smaller properties and don’t keep big gardens anymore. They take up a lot of time and money.

Opening your own business is a gamble, and it might not pay off as well as you’d hoped it would. Many people work in the support sector of the horticulture industry. They work in fertilizer factories in the manufacturing or sales sectors. Others become inspectors for government agencies to ensure that statutes and regulations are adhered to by producers.

The one area of growth offered in the horticulture sector is marijuana production. Many horticulture graduates are seeking work in the medical marijuana industry as it booms. However, many growers don’t have horticulture degrees as it is not an essential qualification. Because any food growth operation is so big, there is not a huge demand for horticulturists. A farming consortium will hire one professional who will work on multiple farms.

For a lucky few, there are jobs at botanical gardens and in the gardens of the rich and famous. But these jobs are hard to come by, and you may be unlikely to find one in your lifetime. As the needs and desires of people have changed, the job market has had to adjust accordingly.

18. Paralegal

A paralegal should have formal education after graduating from high school. Many seek to complete a university degree preparing them for their chosen career.

A paralegal is responsible for assisting a lawyer. They help lawyers prepare for meetings or trial. Paralegals are tasked with preparations such as doing research. They research the facts of a case, or they research applicable case law. They write reports on their research for the lawyer to read. They also write reports on meetings with clients for the lawyer’s records. Paralegals draw up documentation on behalf of lawyers. They even file documents and other motions at the court.

An associate’s degree is the minimum requirement for a paralegal position in most instances. Some candidates undertake a bachelor’s degree in preparation for a career as a paralegal.

A paralegal should have a sound understanding of the law. During their studies, candidates complete general education courses in English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. There are also courses geared toward legal studies. They include legal research and legal writing. These are essential skills that a paralegal should have.

It’s important to understand that a paralegal is not a lawyer. A paralegal does a lot of ‘dirty work’ for a lawyer. The less exciting more entry-level work is reserved for the paralegal. A great deal of legal knowledge is required, but little money and even less recognition accompany it. The glory of the victory goes to the lawyer, not the paralegal who supported him/her every step of the way. The job of the paralegal is also being taken over by the internet which allows lawyers to do much of their research online.

19. Exercise Science

Although many young people see a potential career in fitness, the entire industry is not as lucrative as it seems. To work in exercise science, you pay a huge sum to earn a certificate, either through an independent course or a college program. It’s a hefty investment, especially when you consider how hard it is to get a well-paying in the industry. Even though jobs are plentiful in exercise science, they are not so lucrative as one might think.

The best chance to rise the ranks is to get a job as a personal trainer in a gym or fitness center. That way, you can practice your craft while earning some money. A downside is that your payment very much depends on the number of clients you have. The more clients you have, the more work you’ll have to do, and that’s not always great. Jobs in academia are also available, but only for the select few, making the field a bad investment to start with.

20. Music

If your major is music, prepare for a lot of hardships along the way. Even though your studies have been exciting and enticing, it’s hard to say if you’re able to have a sustainable career within the field itself. The reason why music is one of the majors with the worst ROI is that it simply doesn’t provide a single job, to begin with. A music major’s career revolves around sporadic gigs as a teacher in a music school or public school or a sound engineer at a studio or even a venue.

By looking at these jobs separately, there is nothing wrong at first glance. They each pay a lot of money, but hide a downside – you aren’t working on a regular basis; therefore, you will have to find new gigs every once in a while. Most employees say they value job security above everything else. Thus, music majors can go for months without a good gig. Not so good of an ROI.

21. Art history

In terms of textbooks and additional expenses, art history is an expensive study that requires the most financial resources. For someone who loves this field, studying and investing in his beloved craft won’t be a problem. Despite the initial enthusiasm, many art history majors have a rude awakening after they get their bachelor’s degree. This is due to a severely cripple work market, one that does not promote such a freedom of choice as one might think.

Furthermore, the only positions you’ll be left with are the one of an art teacher, a museum worker or an atelier manager. Of course, all of the jobs can pay quite nicely but are hard to come by. Therefore, art history is near the bottom of our worst ROI list.

22. Anthropology

Amongst most social studies-related majors, anthropology has one of the worst studying lengths. Although the line of work itself is interesting, the difficulty of study alone makes it one of the most challenging choices for a major. The low ROI stems from the fact that, just like art history majors, anthropology majors have a hard time finding jobs. The few ones available are very lucrative, but hard to come by.

This includes places in the HR department of a firm or a hiring consultant. As far as career is concerned, you will find it difficult to obtain a worthwhile position because people tend to hold their positions for a long time. In addition to such a situation, you need prestigious credentials and formidable work experience to be able to venture into the field of anthropology. The hardest studies and a lack of jobs make this profession one of the worst degrees in terms of ROI. Steer clear.

23. Radio & Television

Many young people have an interest in joining the media. An interesting job, full of challenges and thrills excites them. In some cases, yes, but in most cases the reality is different, and such a situation contributes to a bad ROI. A career in media involves a study program filled with challenging exams and somewhat exhausting practical work. Many people in the media are aware that a radio & TV degree is insignificant in comparison to experience.

Therefore, even if you manage to find a job, you will realize that it’s an exhausting one. Journalism is no small task and working on radio and television involves a lot of it. A position on the radio or tv almost always requires you to “take your job home” and do additional research as well as prepare for your tasks. Too much work with little to no job security and average pay rates equals a bad ROI most definitely.

24. English Language and Literature

A known fact in the linguistics world is that the most lucrative positions include work with rare languages. Where there isn’t a developed network for studying and teaching a language, people who are experts in that language tend to find a job almost immediately. For English, that’s hardly the case. When you take into consideration the complexity of the studies, you will realize why, along with poor job opportunities, English has a terrible ROI.

When you decide to major in English language and literature, you must be aware that it’s going to take a lot of work even to get a bachelor’s degree in this area. Concerning employment, you can always take up a job of teaching foreigners English online or traveling to the Far East to teach in a private or public school. Regardless, you won’t be getting rich with English any time soon, that’s for sure.

25. Engineering Technology

Since all eyes are shifting towards IT and programming in general, people are slowly seeing a drop-in demand for engineering majors. Still a bustling industry, engineering poses several good positions for young graduates, but they’re all hard to come by. In addition to this, the studies might be a little bit too demanding for some people, signalizing a bad ROI to start with. Majoring in engineering can be a good investment, but only if you are determined to work in academia.

Unlike many other areas, academia for engineering can be an excellent place to start, as the lack of interest has freed up a significant number of positions. For those not looking to work in academia, the future is bleak, especially without a master’s degree or a Ph.D. Therefore, the difficulty of studies and bad job opportunities turn to engineer into a bad educational investment.

26. Mathematics

Mathematics, more precisely theoretical mathematics, is a field that is full of knowledge, with options to expand that interest into mastering even more areas. Majoring in that area can prove to be a decision with a terrible ROI, because of several factors. To work in academia, you must be revolutionary and groundbreaking with your research, due to the highly developed properties of mathematics. Many students are thus discouraged from pursuing a career as a mathematician.

Your best options are to become a teacher in a school or to do number-related work for a private company. Unlike accounting, mathematics in their purest form, aren’t that applicable, creating a myriad of problems for graduates. If you want to study mathematics, you can improve the overall ROI of your education by taking up accounting and other related subjects. It can make your education both lucrative and profitable.

27. General social sciences

Social sciences, in general, don’t draw as much academic attention as they did before, which lead to a narrowing of the entire field. Since there is not much practical work left to be done, most social sciences majors, regardless of the branch, find difficult to work in their perspective branch. Linguistics, anthropology, philosophy and other fields have indeed suffered due to a rise in more applicable fields. Due to terrible job security, we can conclude that social sciences, in general, have an awful ROI.

Another factor in making social sciences a bad investment is the overall competitiveness when it comes to available positions. Despite academia-related interest waning, students deem these fields as easy ones. Therefore, they choose to study social sciences, despite the overall low ROI. Such a system is a direct result of today’s society which prioritizes degrees over actual expertise.

28. Earth Sciences

The argument which makes earth sciences a major with a bad ROI mostly revolve around the duration and difficulty level of programs available. There are many textbooks to be read, leading to many people abandoning their studies quickly. In addition to this, one must have serious lab work behind themselves, if they wish to join the academic ranks. Such a situation is very discouraging for young students, who don’t choose it as a major that often anymore.

If you want to commit to earth sciences, don’t take them up as your major. Combine geology with chemistry or paleontology as a major. That way, you will make your knowledge much more applicable. With natural sciences, you need to be versatile because many areas of expertise require cooperation and people experienced in only one area are not that valuable to the industry.

29. Mass Media

Here we have yet another area which has attracted many young people. A job in the most thriving industries seems like a dream come true to most, but is choosing mass media as a significant a good idea? Not really. Due to more and more people taking mass media up as a major, you have an increase in supply, but a significant reduction in demand. Therefore, graduates can’t find a job easily due to the inhumane competition in the market.

Therefore, mass media is considered a bad choice as a major, mostly due to its incredibly low ROI. You spend much more money going to college and supporting yourselves than you can earn in most cases. If you want, also combine mass media with another co-major. By doing so, you give your knowledge the property of applicability. Linguistics and psychology seem like an excellent choice to mix and match. Think about what interests you and then decide.

30. Drama and Theater Arts

A theater is a famous art form, but is a major with a good ROI? No. Although it is a sad occurrence, a theater is still the smallest of the seven arts and provides little to no job opportunities for drama and theater majors. Since it doesn’t rely on any multimedia devices or technological breakthroughs, the system has remained stagnant often. This is terrible news for people looking for a job.

Amongst your options is to be a theater historian, which many people don’t see as an attractive profession, to begin with. Directing is perhaps your best bet, but it’s hard to find work that gets paid, not to mention that job security is nonexistent. Just like with most social sciences, it’s best that you think of something that is both lucrative and interesting towards you. The ROI on drama and theater as majors is only expected to drop in the next few years.