Advice » Salary & Benefits» Salary Information » Worst-Paying College Degrees ...
Worst-Paying College Degrees of 2012

Worst-Paying College Degrees of 2012

By Alida Moore,
In these days of rising tuition costs and ballooning student debt, some students choose college majors that will put them on a path to earning a high salary once they graduate. But not every major leads to a big paycheck, and not every student chases monetary rewards.

Based on data in its “2012-13 College Salary Report," online salary database compiled the following list of the worst-paying degrees of 2012. Why would anyone pursue one of these degrees if salaries are notoriously low in these fields? “According to our research, people in these majors typically believe their work makes the world a better place,” says PayScale’s lead analyst Katie Bardaro.

Curious as to which majors fall to the bottom for salary but often pay back in instrinsic rewards? Take a look:

Child and Family Studies
Median Annual Salary: $37,700

Many families are struggling in our current economy. Parents working multiple jobs to stay afloat financially might require assistance to ensure their children get the best opportunities in school. A child and family studies major often works as an advocate for such families, providing parents with the resources they need to help their children succeed.

Find child life specialist jobs.

Social Work
Median Annual Salary: $45,300

Social work is a major for those who care deeply. A career in this field, while not necessarily lucrative, offers a wide variety of workplace choices, including schools, nursing homes, hospitals and government agencies. This major is ideal for those who are champions for social justice.

Find social worker jobs.

Elementary Education
Median Annual Salary: $46,000

Many have called teaching one of the most rewarding professions of all. It’s no secret, however, that teachers do not pull in the highest salaries. However, if you’re considering majoring in elementary education, location matters. “Elementary school teachers can earn more than the national median salary for teachers of $40,600 depending on the state in which they work,” Bardaro says. “Typically, teachers in California, Massachusetts and New York earn median annual salaries of around $65,000.”

Find elementary education jobs.

Human Development
Median Annual Salary: $47,800

Human development majors spend much of their time studying the growth and developmental changes that occur across the human life span. Students who major in this field can go on to careers in counseling, education and public policy.

Find jobs in human development.

Special Education
Median Annual Salary: $48,900

“It takes a special kind of heart to work in special education,” says Lindsey Childress, guidance counselor at a north Texas middle school. Special ed majors typically work with students who have severe developmental disorders or learning issues, a job that can be both taxing and highly rewarding. According to PayScale’s research, 83 percent of people who major in special ed believe their current work makes the world a better place. Could that reward be priceless?

Find special education jobs.

Culinary Arts
Median Annual Salary: $49,700

The scent of a delicious dinner can bring people together and relax them in a way that few other things can. Those in the culinary arts get the opportunity to create that experience for people again and again. Whether you want to do the cooking yourself or own your own restaurant, majoring in the culinary arts offers you some heart- and belly-warming career options.

Find culinary arts jobs.

Athletic Training
Median Annual Salary: $49,800

Have you ever been to a sporting event where an athlete gets injured and a group of people rush over to help? One of those people is likely to be an athletic trainer, the person who diagnoses, treats and works to prevent athletic injuries. While many athletic trainers work in high schools or colleges, others are employed by professional sports teams, physicians’ practices or the military.

Find athletic trainer jobs.

Source: Salary data provided by online salary database Salary figures are for bachelor’s degree holders in a given major with at least 10 years of experience. “Job meaning” percentages are for all graduates with a bachelor’s degree in a given major. Salaries include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing. Education data is from

Latest Jobs

Posted: 06/30/2015
Posted: 06/30/2015
Fairview Heights, IL, 62208
Posted: 06/30/2015
Posted: 06/30/2015
Carson, CA, 90746
The Select Group
Posted: 06/30/2015
Raleigh, NC

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.12.0.54-318