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15 Worst-Paying College Degrees in 2011

The recent release of the annual list of the best-paying college degrees created a huge media splash. That's no surprise since it's the rare college students who don't want to make bank when they graduate.

If you missed my post on the best-paying college degrees, here it is:

20 Best-Paying College Degrees in 2011
What got short shrift, however, were the degrees that probably won't catapult you into a high tax bracket.

When you look at this year's list of the lowest-paying college degrees, which was provided to me by PayScale, it doesn't contain a lot of surprises. Three of the worst-paying degrees involve teaching or being involved in some way with children.

While I wasn't surprised that art and religious studies made the list, I was surprised to see multimedia and web design. Perhaps too many young people are getting into this field. And I assume they are competing with all the 15-year-olds, who can easily develop a website while playing Angry Birds and texting.

15 Worst-Paying College Degrees in 2011

Median Starter Pay Mid-Career Pay
  1. Child & family studies $29,600 $40,500
  2. Elementary education $32,400 $44,000
  3. Social work $32,200 $44,300
  4. Culinary arts $29,900 $46,800
  5. Special education $34,300 $47,800
  6. Recreation & Leisure $34,500 $49,100
  7. Religious studies $32,900 $49,700
  8. Athletic training $34,600 $50,200
  9. Public health $35,500 $51,700
  10. Theology $35,600 $52,000
  11. Art $35,300 $52,400
  12. Art history $38,300 $53,300
  13. Paralegal/Law $35,300 $53,500
  14. Animal science $33,800 $53,700
  15. Multimedia/Web design $40,400 $53,900
Lynn O'Shaughnessy is author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and she also writes her own college blog at The College Solution.
Worst-paying college degree image by Liz (
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