The 24 college majors with the lowest starting salaries

Here’s one tip to remember when choosing a college major: Passion should always trump paycheck.

That’s especially important to keep in mind if you’re interested in working with children, since college majors like elementary education and child development have some of the lowest starting salaries.

PayScale, the creator of the world’s largest compensation database, recently looked at the starting pay for millions of professionals and sorted the results by college major to find who earns the least right out of school.

24. Criminal justice

Median starting pay: $US35,900

Median mid-career pay: $US58,800

Change from starting to mid-career: +48.4%

22. Drama (tie)

Median starting pay: $US35,800

Median mid-career pay: $US59,300

Change from starting to mid-career: +49.4%

22. Recreation and leisure studies (tie)

Median starting pay: $US35,800

Median mid-career pay: $US47,100

Change from starting to mid-career: +27.3%

21. Religious studies

Median starting pay: $US35,700

Median mid-career pay: $US70,000

Change from starting to mid-career: +64.9%

20. Hospitality and tourism

Median starting pay: $US35,600

Median mid-career pay: $US59,900

Change from starting to mid-career: +50.9%

19. Horticulture

Median starting pay: $US35,200

Median mid-career pay: $US47,700

Change from starting to mid-career: +30.2%

17. Animal science (tie)

Median starting pay: $US35,100

Median mid-career pay: $US58,500

Change from starting to mid-career: +50.0%

17. Paralegal studies (tie)

Median starting pay: $US35,100

Median mid-career pay: $US55,200

Change from starting to mid-career: +44.5%

16. Athletic training

Median starting pay: $US35,000

Median mid-career pay: $US45,900

Change from starting to mid-career: +26.9%

13. Special education (tie)

Median starting pay: $US34,500

Median mid-career pay: $US46,800

Change from starting to mid-career: +35.7%

8. Elementary education (tie)

Median starting pay: $US33,600

Median mid-career pay: $US45,500

Change from starting to mid-career: +35.4%

5. Early childhood and elementary education

Median starting pay: $US32,300

Median mid-career pay: $US40,400

Change from starting to mid-career: +25.1%

4. Child development

Median starting pay: $US32,200

Median mid-career pay: $US36,400

Change from starting to mid-career: +13.0%

3. Culinary arts

Median starting pay: $US31,900

Median mid-career pay: $US50,800

Change from starting to mid-career: +59.2%

1. Early childhood education

Median starting pay: $US29,700

Median mid-career pay: $US38,000

Change from starting to mid-career: +27.9

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