The Five Worst-Paying Majors

By on

We recently wrote about a Census analysis of college majors and lifetime earnings. Payscale has now taken a look at the five majors that pay the least…

The jobs that help people and make the world a better place don’t always seem to come with the heftiest paychecks. Not to pick on athletes, but it would take 35 elementary school teachers one year to earn the salary of a Dallas Cowboy football player*. And even if you aren’t gifted with a tight end, there are still high paychecks to be made. A petroleum engineering major can look forward to mid-career earnings of $163,000, typically. So why do people choose majors that pay so little?

In our 2012-2013 College Salary Report, PayScale examined 130 of the most common majors, according to job meaning and salary potential. We’ll start by looking at the five majors that pay the least:


There’s obviously a lot more to the report, which you can check out in the link above. But as for these majors, people pick them because they’re rewarding.

Sign up for our free newsletter

Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free! We'll also email you a PDF of Stacy Johnson's "205 Ways to Save Money" as soon as you've subscribed. It's full of great tips that'll help you save a ton of extra cash. It doesn't cost a dime, so why wait? Click here to sign up now.

Check out our hottest deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,194 more deals!

Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.