The 10 least valuable college majors

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/ShutterstockThe least valuable college majors are in the arts and creative fields.
  • The least valuable college majors may land you a dream job – but not your dream pay.
  • Bankrate recently took a look at the least valuable college majors. The top 10 were in the arts, and the creative and linguistics fields.
  • However, that doesn’t mean that obtaining a degree in a creative space isn’t a wise investment.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Sometimes, your dream job doesn’t always align with dream prospects and dream pay. And that depends on what degree you graduate with from college.

Financial education company Bankrate recently took a look at the most and least valuable college majors based on data from the US Census Bureau American Community Survey. Using weighted data, they determined the employment and unemployment rates and incomes for graduates for their first year out of college across 162 majors that employed at least 15,000 people. They also considered the number of college graduates who held a higher secondary degree.

The median income for all degree holders observed in the study was $US55,000, and the average unemployment rate was 2.8%. With the most valuable college majors in the STEM fields, it’s not all too unpredictable that the least valuable college majors fall into the arts and creative fields.

But that doesn’t mean graduates with degrees in those fields are doomed.

“Obtaining a creative arts degree, or miscellaneous arts degree or being in any sort of creative space is a terrific investment, and I would strongly advocate for it,” Philip Olson, who holds a theatre and dance degree, told Bankrate. “I would caveat that to say that if you get a degree in that space, expect to use it in a nontraditional way if you want to be successful.”

Below, see the top 10 least valuable college majors.


10. Cosmetology services and culinary arts

SergeyKlopotov/Shutterstock

Average income: $US35,000

Unemployment rate: 3.3%


9. Mass media

Associated PressWhite House counselor Kellyanne Conway talks with reporters at the White House in August 2019.

Average income: $US40,000

Unemployment rate: 6.0%


8. Music

Average income: $US36,000

Unemployment rate: 3.1%


7. Miscellaneous fine arts

Wang He/Getty ImagesA sculptural artist makes small figurine of Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un at his studio in February 2019 in Wuhan, China.

Average income: $US38,000

Unemployment rate: 5.7%


6. Film, video, and photographic arts

Evgeniy Shkolenko/Getty Images

Average income: $US37,000

Unemployment rate: 6.5%


5. Fine arts

WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock

Average income: $US37,000

Unemployment rate: 4.8%


4. Linguistics and comparative language and literature

GaudiLab/Shutterstock

Average income: $US40,000

Unemployment rate: 3.9%


3. Composition and rhetoric

Average income: $US37,800

Unemployment rate: 4.4%


2. Visual and performing Arts

Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Average income: $US32,000

Unemployment rate: 4.1%


1. Drama and theatre arts

Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Average income: $US35,500

Unemployment rate: 5.2%

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