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Here are a half-dozen college degrees that probably won't pay off in this economy – and one that will.

The following post comes from Joanne Guidoccio at partner site Christian PF.

You want what’s best for your children. If they have to spend more than 40 hours every week working they might as well do what they like, right? All of the life coaches of the world say that you have to find your passion and that makes sense. Few would argue that working at a job that you don’t enjoy is good for your health, but the world has taken a turn in recent years.

The turn is that a college degree far from guarantees you or your child a job. Because a bachelor’s degree has become somewhat of a cultural norm, the degree increases your chances of finding work but doesn’t assure it.

If the Occupy Wall Street movement is any indication, there’s a generation of college graduates that were rewarded with a degree and college loans and no way to pay them back. Today, taking a career path that you enjoy is important but making sure the path will lead to high-paying jobs is more important than ever.

For example, you’d expect a degree in drumming might not be the shortest path to a job, and you’d be correct. But they’re not at the top of the list compiled by The Wall Street Journal as the careers with the highest unemployment. Here they are, from lowest unemployment rate to highest.

1. Linguistics and literature

There is certainly a need for those who study language and literature but not right now. With a 10.2 percent unemployment rate, this liberal arts career path has seen a sharp decline.

2. Architecture

More than 10 percent of architects are currently out of work and with a real estate market that shows little sign of recovery, avoiding this degree program may be the best idea until the market recovers, the unemployed architects with experience go back to work, and demand picks up. That could be a long time.

3. Military technology

With the United States engaged in wars and other police actions all over the world, it may seem like those who design, build, or work with new military equipment would be in demand. The reason that 10.9 percent of military technologists are out of work is because Washington has drastically cut its defense budget and will continue to slash funding as the country deals with overwhelming debt.

4. Library science

Fifteen percent of librarians are out of work. If you no longer see a need to head to the library because of the Internet and your phone, you understand why. Libraries still serve a valuable purpose but as technology improves, this career may transition to a technology job.

5. Drummer

“Fine arts” doesn’t only include music, but if you were wondering where those with fine arts degrees fell on the list, they were No. 2 with an unemployment rate of 16.2 percent.

6. Psychology

Of the top 10 worst career paths, psychology careers held four of the 10 spots with clinical psychology coming in at No. 1 with a 19.5 percent unemployment rate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for psychologists will grow at an average pace but the amount of people graduating with psychology degrees has oversaturated the market. Those with doctorate degrees in psychology have the best chance of finding a job.

Bottom line

If you want your child to marry somebody with the hottest career of 2011, be on the lookout for a petroleum engineer. These high-demand jobs start at $127,000 per year.

Stacy Johnson

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