Included among the 20 worst-paying college degrees are elementary education, special education, social work and child and family studies. That's the conclusion of the latest annual study of college degrees by Payscale, Inc. that compiled starting and mid-career pay for dozens of college majors.
Child and family studies earned the honors as the worst-paying college major. The average graduate earns a beginning salary of $29,500. What's equally discouraging is that the salary of someone in this field will barely budge after 15 years in the profession.
Food is another common theme for students who major in the worst-paying college degrees. Students who earn degrees in horticulture, dietetics and the culinary arts are more likely to end up struggling financially.
20 Worst-Paying College Degrees in 2010
College Degree Starting pay Mid-career pay
- Child and family studies $29,500 $38,400
- Elementary education $31,600 $44,400
- Social work $31,800 $44,900
- Athletic training $32,800 $45,700
- Culinary arts $35,900 $50,600
- Horticulture $35,000 $50,800
- Paralegal studies/law $35,100 $51,300
- Theology $34,700 $51,300
- Recreation & leisure $33,300 $53,200
- Special education $36,000 $53,800
- Dietetics $40,400 $54,200
- Religious studies $34,700 $54,400
- Art $33,500 $54,800
- Education $35,100 $54,900
- Interdisciplinary studies $35,600 $55,700
- Interior design $34,400 $56,600
- Nutrition $42,200 $56,700
- Graphic design $35,400 $56,800
- Music $36,700 $57,000
- Art history $39,400 $57,100
Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and she also writes for TheCollegeSolutionBlog. Follow her on Twitter.
Worst-paying college degree image by Lynn Fagerlie. CC 2.0.