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The most and least valuable college majors — is yours on the list?

Alyssa Pry
Personal Finance Reporter

If you want to pick a major that pays big, consider the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math. According to a new study by The Cashlorette, people who majored in STEM subjects earned the most and had the best employment opportunities. All of the top ten most valuable degrees were granted to STEM majors, and and four out of the top five most valuable majors were in the engineering field.

The study found that petroleum engineering is the most valuable college major, with graduates earning a median income of $134,840, more than double the average of $62,217. The field also has an unemployment rate of just 2.38%, making the prospect of finding a job more likely than other majors.

Pharmaceutical sciences and administration ranked second on the list. Pharmacists have a median income of $116,642.

Geological/geophysical engineering, the study of extracting the Earth’s natural resources, came in third. People employed in this field have a median salary of $94,060 per year. Mining engineering and Naval architecture rounded out the top five most valuable majors.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is clinical psychology, which came in as the least valuable college major. In addition, clinical psychologists have a high unemployment rate of around 8% and make a median salary of $43,092, about 31% less than the average.

Popular majors such as business, history, liberal arts, and English were lower down on the list. Careers in the arts and humanities landed in the bottom five. The least lucrative majors: Studio and fine art, human services and community building, and composition and rhetoric, or the study of speaking and writing—all in the bottom five.

Before choosing your major, do your research and consider your future earning potential and employment opportunities.


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