Want a Job After College? Majors Most Likely to Get You There, and Not

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A recent report highlights the best (and worst) majors for giving graduates a chance of finding work.

If getting a job after graduating from college is important to you, you may want to rethink a major in architecture or journalism.

That’s according to a recent report from Georgetown University, which examined unemployment rates for recent college graduates by major. It found that although unemployment rates for grads are still high post-recession, they’re finally starting to come down, at least for most majors.

“Hard times are becoming better times for most college graduates, though how much better varies widely among college majors – and for Communications and Journalism majors, whose unemployment rates are still rising, better times have yet to arrive,” the report said.

Job prospects don’t look great for architecture majors either. The housing crash and reduction in construction activity during and post-recession left many architects out of work. The industry is still recovering. Recent architecture grads have a 10.3 percent unemployment rate, the highest of all college majors.

Still, even as the effects of the recession linger, college grads continue to have a wage advantage over high school grads. But again, the salary benefit is dependent on major.

“A promising find is that recent college graduates’ wage advantage has remained high in the post-recession economy, especially for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) majors,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, the director of Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce and the report’s lead author.

Report highlights include:

  • Best majors, based on unemployment rate. According to the report, the unemployment rates for recent college grads are the lowest for these majors: agriculture and natural resources (4.5 percent), physical sciences (5 percent) and education (5.1 percent).
  • Worst majors, based on unemployment. Architecture majors (10.3 percent) and arts majors (9.5 percent) had the highest unemployment rates for recent college grads.
  • Wages. Recent engineering grads earn about $57,000 annually; nearly double that of the average high school graduate. Meanwhile, “(r)ecent college graduates who major in arts, psychology, and social work earn $31,000 per year, only $1,000 more than the average high school educated worker,” the report said.

My degree is in journalism. I am one of a few of my college journalism classmates who are working in a journalism-related field. It’s a difficult field to make a living.

What do you think of the report’s findings? What influenced your choice of a college major? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

If you’re looking for a job, and not a college degree, watch this video to learn about some of the best paying career areas.

Stacy Johnson

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