These are the Lowest-Paying Majors in 2024

Looking to be a millionaire? You might want to steer clear of some of the lowest-paying majors out there.
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Picture this: You strut across the graduation stage, diploma in hand, wearing a grin that says, "I survived finals, and all I got was this piece of paper." 

But what's waiting on the other side? That all depends on your major.

For some, degrees are golden tickets to plush lifestyles. For others, their paycheck may be lighter on the zeros.

While low-paying majors may not fill your wallet to the brim, they fill your life with passion, skills, purpose, and impact. Whether you're prioritizing paychecks or passion, knowledge is key. So, here's a full list of majors that come with a financial asterisk.

Majors that pay the least right after college

Theology and Religion: $36K

Social Services: $37K

Family and Consumer Sciences: $37K

Psychology: $37.4K

Leisure and Hospitality: $38K

Performing Arts: $39K

Early childhood Education: $40K

Elementary Education: $40K

Special Education: $40K

Miscellaneous Education: $40K

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Check out these mid-career salaries by major

These are the 10 majors with the lowest median salary for graduates who are 35-45 years old.

Childhood Education: $43K

Elementary Education: $48K

General Education: $51K

Theology and Religion: $52K

Social Services: $52K

Special Education: $52K

Secondary Education: $52K

Miscellaneous Education: $56K

Family and Consumer Sciences: $60K

Leisure and Hospitality: $60K

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Looking to be rich? Chemical engineers are the highest-paying majors. But they're not the only ones making bank; click here for the list of the top 10 highest-paying majors. 

Is It Worth It?

Keep in mind it's not all about money. If you're looking to pursue a traditionally low-paying major, here are some questions you can ask yourself to help determine if it's worth it:

  1. Passion and Interest: Does the field align with my passions and interests?
  2. Skill Development: Will it enhance my skills and knowledge for future opportunities?
  3. Long-Term Goals: How does it contribute to my career aspirations?
  4. Personal Values: Does it resonate with my ethical beliefs?
  5. Work-Life Balance: Does it offer the balance I seek?
  6. Job Satisfaction: Will you find fulfillment despite a lower salary?
  7. Networking: Does it provide networking avenues for my future?
  8. Job Market Trends: What are my growth prospects?
  9. Advancement: Can I progress within the field?
  10. Financial Considerations: Can I manage with a lower income?
  11. Job Security: How stable is this field?
  12. Non-Financial Benefits: Are there intangible rewards?

Remember that everyone's situation is unique, and what might be worth pursuing for one person might not be the same for another. It's essential to take a holistic view and consider how each factor aligns with your individual circumstances and priorities.

Harnessing Workplace Experience 

Regardless of your major's earning potential, gaining real-world experience is key. Secure internships, even if unpaid, to build valuable skills. Seek opportunities within your department or specialty, and consider part-time roles during the academic year. Departments often hire student assistants for teaching, lab work, or research, enhancing your skills for various roles.

As you navigate your career journey, remember that every experience contributes to your growth. You might need to think creatively to translate skills between jobs. Ready to gain real-world experience? Explore remote externships with leading brands.

Ultimately, your choice is about more than just money; it's about shaping a meaningful and rewarding path aligned with your aspirations and values.

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