10 College Majors that Earn the Least, According to a New Report


Getting a dream career and a corresponding degree is a great motivation for any student to do well in college. However, not all college degrees lead to a career that pays well, and according to a new report, some degrees actually pay less than others.

Seattle-based compensation research firm has released a new report that gives details regarding the highest- and lowest- earning majors. The report shows that STEM majors, such as Petroleum Engineering, Systems Engineering, and Actuarial Science, rank as the highest-paying majors, while majors on social occupations, such as Human Services, Child & Family Studies, and Early Childhood Education, are among the least-paying.

One thing that's highly noticeable, though, is that although those at the bottom of the list might pay lesser amounts compared to those on top, they're greatly beneficial to society - like Pastoral Ministry, Therapeutic Recreation, and Social Work.

"The trend that we see in the bottom majors in terms of earnings is they have a high societal benefit," Katie Bardaro, vice president of data analytics at PayScale, told U.S. News. "It just shows the philanthropic nature of these majors is there even though the monetary reward is not high."

This new report coincides with a study conducted among workers in Arizona. Based on that study, those in STEM fields earned higher than those in language, family, or ethnic studies. Still, having a college degree beats having only a high school diploma in terms of income brackets.

Here's a list of the 10 least-paying college majors, according to the Payscale report. Early Career Pay (ECP) means the median salary for alumni with a degree in that respective major, with 0-5 years of work experience. Midcareer Pay (MP) means the same, but with 10 or higher years of experience.

10. Elementary Education

Early Career Pay (ECP): $34,700

Midcareer Pay (MP): $48,900

9. Youth Ministry

ECP: $32,900

MP: $48,400

8. Human Development & Family Studies

ECP: $34,300

MP: $47,800

7. Therapeutic Recreation

ECP: $35,200

MP: $47,700

6. Social Work

ECP: $33,800

MP: $46,700

5. Human Services

ECP: $34,000

MP: $44,600

4. Child Development

ECP: $32,000

MP: $42,500

3. Early Child & Elementary Education

ECP: $34,800

MP: $41,900

2. Child & Family Studies

ECP: $31,400

MP: $40,700

1. Early Childhood Education

ECP: $30,700

MP: $37,500

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