17 College Majors That Put Kids On the Path to Underemployment

Forbes recently published a list of 17 college majors that carry high underemployment rates.

Grads in these degree fields find it hard to get the jobs they went to school for. They tend to make less money than they should be making, and a lot of them live with this discouraging realization: “I might have just wasted all that time and money I spent on college; I’m not even using the degree I worked so hard for.”

Help your kid stay off of the path to underemployment.

college major

17 College Majors That Tend to Lead to Underemployment:

  1. Physical Education Teaching: 57% grads are underemployed
  2. Human Services: 56% grads are underemployed
  3. Illustration: 55% grads are underemployed
  4. Criminal Justice: 53% grads are underemployed
  5. Project Management: 53% grads are underemployed
  6. Radio/Television & Film Production: 53% grads are underemployed
  7. Studio Art: 52% grads are underemployed
  8. Healthcare Administration: 52% grads are underemployed
  9. Education: 52% grads are underemployed
  10. Human Development & Family Studies: 52% grads are underemployed
  11. Creative Writing: 51% grads are underemployed
  12. Animal Science: 51% grads are underemployed
  13. Exercise Science: 51% grads are underemployed
  14. Heath Sciences: 51% grads are underemployed
  15. Paralegal Studies: 51% grads are underemployed
  16. Theater: 51% grads are underemployed
  17. Art History: 51% grads are underemployed

(This information is based on PayScale data collected from 962,956 workers between 3/21/2014 and 3/21/2016.)

But wait–there’s good news in this Forbes report too!

In every one of these college major fields, some of the graduates are working. A good number of them (in some cases almost 50%!) are employed in their career fields, fulfilling their potential, making money they’re happy with.

What sets the fully-employed grads apart from the underemployed ones?

One thing I know for sure–the grads who completed extensive job shadowing and multiple paid internships in their career fields are doing far better than those who failed to complete these important steps during college.

You can see two extremely helpful posts I’ve written about internships here and here.

If your kid loves a field with low employability, have him or her try this:

Take the advice of Gwen Burrow from Find Your Calling, who tells students: “Ask yourself–do you really need two or four years of full study in subjects like studio art, creative writing, or theater? Is that something you could do with just a few classes, plus practice on your own time?”

Your child could also consider combining the less desirable major with a potentially more lucrative minor. Combine a “health care administration” major with an accounting minor, for instance, or an “illustration” major with a marketing, advertising, or art education credential.

I’m not sure I’d advise your kid to pursue a college major in Studio Art, Theater, or Art History…

Those fields are notoriously difficult when it comes to finding full-time jobs after college.

But I can tell you this. Being strategic about job shadowing and interning can make the difference between depressing, low-paying, motivation-sapping underemployment and a truly fulfilling long-term career that makes perfect sense.

(Many thanks to Gwen Burrow from Find Your Calling for the help she gave me writing this article.)

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Must-Listen 9-Minute Dave Ramsey Rant Against Student Loan Debt

Caution, Though; Dave's Wrong About Two Things!

I love Dave Ramsey’s video rant about student loan debt, which you can watch at the link I’ve provided below.

(Listen for my favorite Dave line in this rant: “I missed where the lady got helped.”)

If you’ve got 9 minutes to listen to this while getting ready for work in the morning or while cooking dinner, please do!

As you listen, though, be aware that Dave Ramsey is wrong about two things:

1. Dave Ramsey’s wrong when he says that your in-state college or university is automatically your bargain choice.

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TONIGHT! This Free Event Could Save You TONS on College Costs

Ideal for Families With MIDDLE SCHOOLERS

Your kid’s in 6th, 7th, or 8th grade?  It’s time to set him or her free to feel jazzed and excited about college. Plus — as a parent– learn 8 things you can do right now to keep that kid’s future college costs low.

live event in Minneapolis

 

I’ll be covering all this in this free live event in Minneapolis tonight, January 10th, 2017.

Give your middle schooler (or high schooler!) a huge jumpstart on college.  Bring the kids and join me tonight for a free live event sponsored by Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis.

I’ll be covering these important topics:

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Buy LAUNCH Before 1/11/17 — Get Bonuses Worth $248

Today I’m announcing the extra bonuses your family will receive if you purchase LAUNCH by January 11, 2017.

LAUNCH

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Hear Jeannie Burlowski Interviewed on the “Hey, Sister!” Podcast

I was recently interviewed by Krista Gilbert on her “Hey Sister!” podcast. It was a great conversation, almost an hour, full of practical tips for anyone who loves a kid age 12 – 22.

To listen to the podcast, click on Episode 19 here.

Some of the topics we covered include:

  • Strategies not just for getting your child into college, but for getting him or her through college debt-free.
  • Why your local state university is probably not your child’s bargain college option
  • Why the lowest college prices may be at private universities that look only at the FAFSA financial aid form
  • Why “dual enrollment” is better than AP when it comes to earning inexpensive college credit in high school
  • How to spread the scholarship application process over 8 years rather than trying to do it all during the senior year of high school
  • How moms and dads can navigate the emotional difficulty of “letting go” of college-bound children with grace and faith and hope.

podcast

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What’s College Life Like on an Army ROTC Scholarship?

This article was originally posted here on August 15th, 2015. It was updated and reposted on March 22nd, 2018.

Military service isn’t for everyone.

But before you disregard the help that the U.S. military provides to college students, let’s look at a few details about it.

ROTC scholarships

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#1 Thing Employers ACTUALLY Want In a “Just Out of College” New Hire

Does your child believe that myth, “If I don’t attend a top school, I won’t get a good job when I graduate”?

(You can see the article I wrote debunking this myth here.)

The graph at the bottom of today’s post is going to make you both you and your child feel instantly better.

internships matter

For every kid who fears that their college isn’t good enough, here’s great news.

Today I’m featuring excerpts from a brilliant article written by Derek Thompson in The Atlantic.

Thompson boldly tackles the question:

“Do employers really care what college you went to? What do they actually look at when deciding whether or not to hire a new college grad?”

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Top 5 Lies We Tell Kids About College

Read This When Your Kid's in Middle School.

This post is a scary one. But read all the way down to the red print at the bottom and I’ll give you a boatload of hope about college.

college

1. “If you don’t get into a good college, you won’t be able to get a good job when you graduate.”

This statement is completely and utterly false. Let’s all be honest for just a minute. Don’t you know people who went to so-called “bad colleges” and they have great jobs? Let’s get even more honest. Don’t you actually know many, many, many people who went to so-called “bad colleges” and they have great jobs? Why do we purposely scare kids with this lie?

2. “You, of course, shouldn’t even consider technical school.”

The bias against technical school gets communicated to kids from the age of 12 on up in a thousand insidious ways.

The subtle message kids hear is: “Tech school is for kids who aren’t as smart as you.” “Tech school is for kids who can’t get into real college.” “We won’t even show you a catalog of job training programs available at a technical school. We don’t care if tech school would empower you to make really great money after only two years of training. We won’t even suggest the possibility of going to technical school first and then perhaps four-year college after that. You’re smart and you come from a good family — that automatically means four-year college or university for you.”

(To see my post on “Could Your Kid End Up Wealthier and Happier by Not Going to College?” click here.)

3. “Of course you’re going to take out $40,000 in student loans to go to college. Don’t worry, you’ll easily be able to pay those loans back with the excellent job you’ll get after you graduate.”

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Could Your Kid Get a Tech School Degree, and THEN a Bachelors Degree!?

This article was originally posted on this site on April 4th, 2016. It was updated and reposted here on January 10, 2018.

In 2015 I wrote about how some students could end up wealthier and happier by not going to four-year college after high school. It was a life-changing post for many. If you missed it, be sure to read it here.

But what about this great idea? Your kid could go to community or technical school in a fantastic, in-demand career field for two years and gain excellent, immediately-employable job skills . . . and then start work on a bachelors degree in a related field at age 20.

“Wait, a minute . . .” I can hear you objecting. “Who wants to go to college for six straight years, and not get finished until age 24? The credits my kid would earn in technical school probably wouldn’t transfer to a four-year college, right?”

technical school

You’re right, college credits don’t generally transfer from technical schools to 4-year bachelors degree programs. But imagine this. What if your 18-year-old teen had already completed two full years of bachelors degree college credit in high school at state expense — as I explain here? That teen could complete two years of technical school between age 18 and age 20, and then finish up a bachelors degree between the ages of 20 and 22.

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Expensive Education Leads to a Happier Life. True or False? (The Answer Might Surprise You.)

Your 12th grader is in tears, desperate for you to give him the go-ahead to attend an elite university that’ll cost him $950 per month for 10 years after college. You want him to be happy. Do you say yes?

girlwithchalkboard

Before you respond, you’ll need to be clear on the answer to this one question: “Is it really true that elite private education is so enriching that it automatically leads to a happier, more fulfilled life after college?” What does the research say?

In a 2014 NPR article entitled Poll: Prestigious Colleges Won’t Make You Happier In Life Or Work, Anya Kamenetz cites a Gallup survey of 29,650 college graduates of all ages that demolishes the argument that top college grads lead more fulfilling lives later in life.

Here are the top 6 surprises found in the Gallup data Kamenetz cites:

1. The college you attend doesn’t actually affect your future happiness after college. “When you ask college graduates whether they’re “engaged” with their work or “thriving” in all aspects of their lives,” Kamenetz writes, “their responses don’t vary one bit whether they went to a prestigious college or not.”

2. The college you attend doesn’t move the needle one bit on five separate measures of human happiness. Gallup pollsters asked college grads an array of questions designed to measure how well they were doing in regard to financial health, sense of purpose, physical health, financial security, close relationships, and community pride. The astounding finding? “(The results) did not vary based on whether the grads went to a fancy name-brand school or a regional state college, one of the top 100 in the U.S. News & World Report rankings or one of the bottom 100.”

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