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College majors that earn the least money

  • wohnai // Flickr
    1/ wohnai // Flickr

    College majors that earn the least money

    While undergraduate college students are encouraged to study what they love as opposed to chasing the disciplines most conducive to earning a high salary, most students take into account their potential future earnings—at least to an extent—when choosing a major. Of course it’s also true that one’s selected university coursework does not necessarily have to define their career choices, but there’s no denying that selecting a major is a decision that will impact one’s financial future in some ways. That being said, there are a plethora of good-natured people who are more interested in the smiles of those around them than the number of digits on their paycheck, and such is demonstrated in the regularity with which lower-earning college grads report happiness by way of their work, improving the world in a meaningful way.

    In taking a closer a look at the areas of study in which graduates earn less money, Stacker referenced PayScale research to compile a list of the 50 college majors that lead to the lowest mid-career salaries. PayScale defines a major’s mid-career salary as the median pay amongst graduates after 10 years working in their field. Read on to discover some college majors that students may want avoid if they’re looking to make a lot of money.

    RELATED: Click here to find out which college majors go on to earn the most money

  • Verda L. Parker // Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany
    2/ Verda L. Parker // Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

    #50. Community Health Education

    Early career pay: $37,600
    Mid-career pay: $57,600
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 82%

  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau // Flickr
    3/ Consumer Financial Protection Bureau // Flickr

    #49. Supervision & Management

    Early career pay: $38,200
    Mid-career pay: $57,200
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 57%

  • F. Rodricks // Wikimedia Commons
    4/ F. Rodricks // Wikimedia Commons

    #48. Instrumental Music Teacher Education

    Early career pay: $40,200
    Mid-career pay: $56,600
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 72%

  • Staff Sgt. Taylor L. Marr // U.S. Army
    5/ Staff Sgt. Taylor L. Marr // U.S. Army

    #47. Human Development

    Early career pay: $37,100
    Mid-career pay: $56,600
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 67%

  • Rocky T // Flickr
    6/ Rocky T // Flickr

    #46. Photography

    Early career pay: $38,600
    Mid-career pay: $56,500
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 34%

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District // Flickr
    7/ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District // Flickr

    #45. Music Teacher Education

    Early career pay: $37,000
    Mid-career pay: $56,500
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 64%

  • George // Wikimedia Commons
    8/ George // Wikimedia Commons

    #44. Painting

    Early career pay: $36,100
    Mid-career pay: $56,400
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 40%

  • Janet Lindenmuth // Wikimedia Commons
    9/ Janet Lindenmuth // Wikimedia Commons

    #43. Paralegal Studies

    Early career pay: $35,100
    Mid-career pay: $56,400
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 46%

  • Jeremy Thompson // Wikimedia Commons
    10/ Jeremy Thompson // Wikimedia Commons

    #42. Mortuary Science

    Early career pay: $42,100
    Mid-career pay: $56,300
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: N/A

  • Jim Varhegyi  // U.S. Air Force
    11/ Jim Varhegyi // U.S. Air Force

    #41. Women's Studies

    Early career pay: $40,300
    Mid-career pay: $55,600
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 60%

  • Robert T. Shields // U.S. Army
    12/ Robert T. Shields // U.S. Army

    #40. Rehabilitation Services

    Early career pay: $30,200
    Mid-career pay: $55,500
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: N/A

  • Alaska National Park Service
    13/ Alaska National Park Service

    #39. Recreation Administration

    Early career pay: $43,300
    Mid-career pay: $55,300
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 75%

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region // Flickr
    14/ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region // Flickr

    #38. Recreation & Leisure Studies

    Early career pay: $35,800
    Mid-career pay: $55,000
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 68%

  • Tom Watanabe // U.S. Navy
    15/ Tom Watanabe // U.S. Navy

    #37. Community Health

    Early career pay: $38,900
    Mid-career pay: $54,900
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 68%

  • Ekabhishek // Wikimedia Commons
    16/ Ekabhishek // Wikimedia Commons

    #36. Dance

    Early career pay: $37,900
    Mid-career pay: $54,800
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 61%

  • Maria Pinel // U.S. Army
    17/ Maria Pinel // U.S. Army

    #35. Health Services Administration

    Early career pay: $36,700
    Mid-career pay: $54,500
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 64%

  • Floris Oosterveld // Flickr
    18/ Floris Oosterveld // Flickr

    #34. Exercise Science

    Early career pay: $36,600
    Mid-career pay: $54,500
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 70%

  • Marko KZM // Wikimedia Commons
    19/ Marko KZM // Wikimedia Commons

    #33. Human Development & Family Studies

    Early career pay: $35,000
    Mid-career pay: $54,200
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 65%

  • ParentingPatch // Wikimedia Commons
    20/ ParentingPatch // Wikimedia Commons

    #32. African American & African Studies

    Early career pay: $41,900
    Mid-career pay: $54,100
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 45%

  • Port of San Diego // Flickr
    21/ Port of San Diego // Flickr

    #31. Athletic Training

    Early career pay: $36,800
    Mid-career pay: $54,100
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 79%

  • Brian Turner // Flickr
    22/ Brian Turner // Flickr

    #30. Music Therapy

    Early career pay: $36,200
    Mid-career pay: $53,700
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 92%

  • Daderot // Wikimedia Commons
    23/ Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

    #29. Theology

    Early career pay: $37,400
    Mid-career pay: $53,300
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 71%

  • Tulane Public Relations // Wikimedia Commons
    24/ Tulane Public Relations // Wikimedia Commons

    #28. Sculpture

    Early career pay: $35,500
    Mid-career pay: $53,200
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 39%

  • Grand Canyon National Park // Flickr
    25/ Grand Canyon National Park // Flickr

    #27. Parks & Recreation Management

    Early career pay: $38,400
    Mid-career pay: $53,000
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 59%

  • Mathieu Plourde // Wikimedia Commons
    26/ Mathieu Plourde // Wikimedia Commons

    #26. Horticulture

    Early career pay: $39,100
    Mid-career pay: $52,400
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 64%

  • University of Michigan's Ford School // Flickr
    27/ University of Michigan's Ford School // Flickr

    #25. Nonprofit Management

    Early career pay: $35,700
    Mid-career pay: $52,400
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 75%

  • Tanglewd // Wikimedia Commons
    28/ Tanglewd // Wikimedia Commons

    #24. Vocal Performance

    Early career pay: $38,500
    Mid-career pay: $52,300
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 58%

  • Sulfur // Wikimedia Commons
    29/ Sulfur // Wikimedia Commons

    #23. Pastoral Ministry

    Early career pay: $34,500
    Mid-career pay: $52,300
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 94%

  • Airman 1st Class Zachary Wolf // U.S. Air Force
    30/ Airman 1st Class Zachary Wolf // U.S. Air Force

    #22. Gerontology

    Early career pay: $36,700
    Mid-career pay: $51,900
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 83%

  • Senior Airman Brian Ferguson // U.S. Air Force
    31/ Senior Airman Brian Ferguson // U.S. Air Force

    #21. Communication Sciences & Disorders

    Early career pay: $38,600
    Mid-career pay: $51,800
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 81%

  • John S. Swanson // U.S. Air Force
    32/ John S. Swanson // U.S. Air Force

    #20. Special Education

    Early career pay: $35,900
    Mid-career pay: $51,800
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 75%

  • Catholic Diocese of Saginaw // Flickr
    33/ Catholic Diocese of Saginaw // Flickr

    #19. Youth Ministry

    Early career pay: $33,800
    Mid-career pay: $51,300
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 79%

  • U.S. Air Force photo Lea Johnson
    34/ U.S. Air Force photo Lea Johnson

    #18. Therapeutic Recreation

    Early career pay: $35,200
    Mid-career pay: $50,700
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 84%

  • Robert de Jong  // Wikimedia Commons
    35/ Robert de Jong // Wikimedia Commons

    #17. Bible Studies & Theology

    Early career pay: $33,500
    Mid-career pay: $50,500
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 71%

  • U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kiona Mckissack // Wikimedia Commons
    36/ U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kiona Mckissack // Wikimedia Commons

    #16. Counseling Psychology

    Early career pay: $36,200
    Mid-career pay: $50,100
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 51%

  • Douglas P. Perkins // Wikimedia Commons
    37/ Douglas P. Perkins // Wikimedia Commons

    #15. Home Economics

    Early career pay: $38,800
    Mid-career pay: $49,600
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 64%

  • US Department of Education // Flickr
    38/ US Department of Education // Flickr

    #14. Elementary Education

    Early career pay: $36,000
    Mid-career pay: $49,300
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 68%

  • George Bannister // Flickr
    39/ George Bannister // Flickr

    #13. Christian Education

    Early career pay: $33,500
    Mid-career pay: $48,500
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: N/A

  • GovernmentZA // Flickr
    40/ GovernmentZA // Flickr

    #12. Christian Ministry

    Early career pay: $33,400
    Mid-career pay: $48,400
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 88%

  • Kendl123 // Wikimedia Commons
    41/ Kendl123 // Wikimedia Commons

    #11. Counseling

    Early career pay: $36,700
    Mid-career pay: $48,300
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 90%

  • University of Michigan's Ford School // Flickr
    42/ University of Michigan's Ford School // Flickr

    #10. Social Work

    Early career pay: $34,000
    Mid-career pay: $48,300
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 76%

  • PROPaul O'Rear // Flickr
    43/ PROPaul O'Rear // Flickr

    #9. Biblical Studies

    Early career pay: $35,400
    Mid-career pay: $47,800
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 78%

  • U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 1st Class Carmichael Yepez // Wikimedia Commons
    44/ U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 1st Class Carmichael Yepez // Wikimedia Commons

    #8. Photojournalism

    Early career pay: $37,100
    Mid-career pay: $47,200
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 53%

  • Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kerryl Cacho // U.S. Navy
    45/ Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kerryl Cacho // U.S. Navy

    #7. Human Services

    Early career pay: $34,700
    Mid-career pay: $46,500
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 77%

  • Simon Fraser University - University Communications // Flickr
    46/ Simon Fraser University - University Communications // Flickr

    #6. Family Studies

    Early career pay: $35,400
    Mid-career pay: $44,500
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 69%

  • Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo // U.S. Air Force
    47/ Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo // U.S. Air Force

    #5. Child Development

    Early career pay: $32,300
    Mid-career pay: $44,000
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 77%

  • woodleywonderworks // Wikimedia Commons
    48/ woodleywonderworks // Wikimedia Commons

    #4. Early Childhood & Elementary Education

    Early career pay: $35,000
    Mid-career pay: $43,600
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 76%

  • Austin Community College // Flickr
    49/ Austin Community College // Flickr

    #3. Veterinary Technology

    Early career pay: $31,800
    Mid-career pay: $43,100
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 78%

  • Airman 1st Class Brittney Prescott // U.S. Air Force
    50/ Airman 1st Class Brittney Prescott // U.S. Air Force

    #2. Child & Family Studies

    Early career pay: $32,000
    Mid-career pay: $42,100
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 70%

  • Christine Cabalo // Wikimedia Commons
    51/ Christine Cabalo // Wikimedia Commons

    #1. Early Childhood Education

    Early career pay: $32,100
    Mid-career pay: $40,400
    Percent of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place: 75%

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