Bachelor's Degrees With Depressing Career Prospects
You may have trouble getting noticed by employers if you major in one these fields.
Are you considering going back to school to widen your career horizons but don't know where to begin?
Before you set your sights on one particular major, you'll want to keep in mind that all majors are not created equal in the eyes of employers.
In fact, a recent "Hard Times" report from the Georgetown University Center for Education and Workforce, found that the risk of unemployment among recent college graduates was dependent on their major.
To help you sift through your options, we've gone through the "Hard Times" report to identify the degrees with the highest unemployment rates for recent grads - and some more promising alternatives.
Keep reading to learn more.
High Unemployment Major #1: Information Systems
Unemployment rate for recent grads: 14.7 percent*
In the digital age, it may seem as though all bachelor's degrees in the computer science field would be a safe bet. But numbers from the Georgetown Report suggest that this is not the case. In fact, the report found that recent grads in this major faced an unemployment rate of nearly 15 percent.
Why the depressing job prospects? The simple answer: Too many job applicants, not enough spots. "The market is saturated for this industry," says Hallie Crawford, a job search expert and certified career coach.
With the rise of technology, many people have opted to pursue information technology paths, says Crawford. And the influx of new candidates for positions within this field has made the job market very competitive, she says.
Unemployment rate for recent grads: 4.8 percent*
If you're considering pursuing a nursing degree, here's a pretty good reason why you may want to embrace this calling: The "Hard Times" report found that recent nursing grads have a healthy unemployment rate of less than 5 percent.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Nursing Program.
Why prospects are brighter: Besson says baby boomers and their aging parents are increasing the demand for medical services, which means more nurses are needed to handle the work. Nurses are needed in all settings, from hospitals to doctor's offices, clinics and nursing homes, she adds.
High Unemployment Major #2: Architecture
Unemployment rate for recent grads: 12.8 percent*
Fascinated by the Empire State Building? Chances are if you've thought about how to design a magnificent structure like this, you have considered majoring in architecture. Unfortunately, that may not be the best idea if you're hoping to find a job - especially when you consider the towering 12.8 percent unemployment figure for recent grads.
Why the depressing job prospects? Architecture is one of those feast or famine careers, explains Taunee Besson, owner of career consulting company Career Dimensions, in Dallas, Texas.
"Demand for architects tends to run in cycles. When investors are looking for opportunities to invest capital and the economy is doing well, there's a great demand for new commercial, residential and governmental buildings. During a recession the money dries up, and so do the projects for architects."
If you graduate with a bachelor's in architecture during one of those lean times, the outlook could get pretty depressing.
Unemployment rate for recent grads: 5.0 percent*
Do you want to one day teach children valuable lessons that could help build a better tomorrow? If so, you may want to consider pursuing a bachelor's degree in elementary education. As we've learned from the "Hard Times" report, elementary education majors have an unemployment rate for recent graduates of only 5 percent.
Why prospects are brighter: Elementary education graduates are highly needed because the population has grown and there aren't enough teachers to accommodate the growing demands, says Besson.
High Unemployment Major #3: Anthropology
Unemployment rate for recent grads: 12.6 percent*
If studying the origin and development of human behavior interests you, you may have thought about pursuing a bachelor's degree in anthropology. Unfortunately, if getting a job interests you, you're in for some disheartening news: According to the "Hard Times" report, recent anthropology grads face an unemployment rate of 12.6 percent.
Why the depressing job prospects? Anthropology has a supply versus demand problem, says Besson. She explains that the profession is small and therefore recent grads have a difficult time finding positions.
Anthropologists also often get the short end of the stick when it comes to funding research. "Anthropologists do fascinating work primarily under the auspices of colleges, universities and governments," says Besson. This creates a problem because anthropology departments must compete for limited funds with other fields which are more relevant to today and the future, Besson explains.
High Unemployment Major #4: Film, Video & Photography Arts
Unemployment rate for recent grads: 11.4 percent*
If you are into capturing images of the world surrounding you, then film, video and photography can be a great hobby. But if you're focused on a career, you may want to edit your education strategy before majoring in this area where grads are looking at an 11.4 percent rate of unemployment.
Why the depressing job prospects? "Film, video and photography arts is another major where the number of students interested in studying the subject exceed the positions available," says Besson.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, part of the reason pickings may be slim in this area is due to technology. Those looking to work in local TV, especially in news, have to keep in mind that automatic cameras have cut out some of the need for human work.
Another contributing factor, the Department of Labor says, may be the consolidation of roles in broadcasting. Field reporters who edit their own work, for example, could contribute to TV stations having fewer openings for editors.
Unemployment rate for recent grads: 5.8 percent*
Do you know the periodic table almost as well as you know the lyrics to your favorite song? Chances are you not only have a great memory, but also an interest in how substances react with each other. With recent chemistry grads having an unemployment rate of 5.8 percent, according to "Hard Times," a major in chemistry might be your winning formula for a bright future.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Chemistry Program.
Why prospects are brighter: Chemistry has tremendously improved our way of life and continues to offer new opportunities to grow the economy and provide jobs for many college graduates, explains Besson.
"Its applications are almost endless," she says. Some areas of growth, according to Besson, include medication, eco-friendly products and processes, and stronger and lighter weight building materials.
High Unemployment Major #5: Political Science
Unemployment rate for recent grads: 11.1 percent*
If you decide to pursue a political science degree, you should know you may spend more time campaigning for a job than working on a campaign post-graduation. According to the Georgetown Report, recent political science grads face an 11.1 percent unemployment rate.
Why the depressing job prospects? Most people with a poli-sci degree must go on to get a master's degree, as jobs are limited in the political arena without it, says Besson.
This matches the information provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, which says political scientists need a master's or a PhD in political science, public administration, or a related field.
Unemployment rate for recent grads: 5.9 percent*
Do you want a degree that shows you have a good business sense when it comes to investments? Then you might consider a bachelor's degree in finance. The "Hard Times" report says recent college grads in this field have a 5.9 percent unemployment rate.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Finance Program.
Why prospects are brighter: A bachelor's in finance is a great choice, according to Besson, because money is what makes the world go round.
She says a finance degree not only teaches you how to analyze and interpret financial numbers, but also about business transactions. To businesses, people who have a background evaluating the numbers that companies generate are valuable to the bottom line, adds Besson.
* All unemployment rates included here are from the 2013 Georgetown "Hard Times" study and are associated with recent college graduates of each major. The report defines recent college graduates as bachelor's degree holders ages 22-26.
** All potential careers and projected number of new jobs listed from the 2014-2015 U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook. The Department of Labor cites the associated degrees as common, required, preferred, or one of a number of degrees acceptable as preparation for the potential career. In some instances, candidates might require further schooling, professional certifications, or experience, before being qualified to pursue the career.
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