A college degree can go a long way in helping you reach your financial goals. Statistics show that, in general, college graduates earn more than those without a college degree. But, you won’t reach financial security with just any degree. In fact, there are certain college degrees that do absolutely nothing for your career.
If you’re thinking about college, or have a child who’s going to be going to college school, it’s important that you realize not all college degrees are created equal. There are some degrees that will deliver a great return on investment or lead to profitable New York internships for higher work experience or global job offers. Then, there are those degrees that leave you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans looking high and low for anyone that will hire you. What’s the point in spending four years earning a degree only to spend four more years looking for a job you like?
It Depends On The Degree
We know that you’ll generally earn more money with a college degree. How much more you make make depends on the type of degree you get. There are basically four level of degrees you can earn. It takes two years to earn an Associate’s Degree, the most basic degree you can earn. An Associate’s Degree requires a high school diploma or GED. A Bachelor’s Degree takes four years to earn and also requires a high school diploma or GED. A Master’s Degree tends to take two years and requires a Bachelor’s Degree. Finally, a Doctorate Degree can be earned in two to five years and can require either a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree depending on the program.
In general, the higher the level of degree you earn, the more money you make. For example, a person who holds a Doctorate Degree would make significantly more than someone with an Associate’s Degree.
You won’t always earn more money with a Master’s Degree. In Is your degree worth million, Liz Pulliam Weston tells us that some Master’s Degrees, particularly those in liberal arts and social sciences, aren’t worth the time and money spent to earn them.
It Depends On The Major
Not only does the type of degree count when you’re considering career advancement, the major you choose will also have an impact. Some degrees won’t help you get a job at all. HolyTaco.com has a list of the 10 most worthless college majors:
- English Lit
- Music Therapy
- American Studies
- Art History
On the other hand, some majors just happen to be better for your career advancement because there is a higher demand for professionals in that field.
According to Scholarships.com, these are the 10 highest paying college majors (based on starting salaries for the 2005-2006 school year):
- Chemical Engineering
- Computer Engineering
- Electrical/Electronics/Communications Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Computer Science
- Civil Engineering
- Business Adminstration/Management
- Marketing/Marketing Management/Marketing Research
If you look closely at the two lists, you’ll see a key difference. The list of most worthless college majors includes more liberal arts majors, while the list of highest paying majors are engineering and business majors.
Then, there are some degrees that won’t get you far unless you continue on to a higher degree. For example, you might not find a job with a Bachelor’s in Biology, but if you continue on to medical school and become a doctor, your degree is much more valuable. Also, Colleges like South University SC also offer flexible certification programs, so feel free to check them out to see an example of how this process works.
It Depends On The Number of People Graduating With That Degree
If there are more graduates for a certain field than there are jobs available, then the value of your degree could go down. Employers have several candidates to choose from and you could be left looking for a job in an unrelated field.
Princeton Review says the most popular majors are:
- Business Administration
- English Language and Literature
- Communications Studies
- Political Science
- Computer and Information Sciences
Notice some of the majors on the most popular list fall under highest paying while others fall under most worthless. That lets you know that just because everyone else is majoring in something doesn’t mean that degree will get you far.
It Depends On The School
A good degree from a bad school can turn out to be worthless. It’s not even as bad as a getting a bad degree from a good school. At least in the latter case, you may be able to get a job based on the strength of your school’s name.
Some colleges don’t have the proper licensing to operate as colleges. For a college to be legitimate, it must be accredited by a nationally-recognized accreditation board. If you have questions about a school’s accreditation, you can search online at the U.S. Department of Education. Colleges have accreditation reviews periodically so just because a college is accredited today doesn’t mean it will be tomorrow. So, choose a school that has a solid reputation.
Every year, the U.S. News and the Princeton Review review and rank the top schools in the United States. If you’re considering a school, it’s a good idea to check one of these guides to see where your school ranks. I’d be wary of a school that falls at the bottom of the list, because the degree you receive there might not have much credibility.
To learn more about college, check out How to Pay for College. You’ll find out whether you even need to go to college, how to find the best college scholarships and even how to find an alternative to college.