College majors with the highest and lowest unemployment rates

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October 20, 2020
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College majors with the highest and lowest unemployment rates

For people who choose to attend college, deciding what to study is one of the most important decisions they will make. But with more and more class options appearing in the course catalog each year, choosing a field of study can be an overwhelming task to undertake. Even after identifying your main interests, there’s also the question of what you can do with a certain major. You may be passionate about a certain field, but what are the chances that it will lead to a prosperous, long-term career?

One thing is for sure — on average, people with bachelor’s degrees earn a salary of $59,124 per year.

Stacker compiled a list of the majors with the highest and lowest unemployment rates using data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Majors listed are ranked from highest to lowest unemployment rate, with ties broken by underemployment rate.

It’s important to note that this data represents a 2017-2018 average and was released on July 17, 2020. Median wages are for full-time workers with bachelor’s degrees. Unemployment and underemployment rates listed here are for recent college graduates—that is, people aged 22 to 27, who have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Early career graduates are composed of people aged 22 to 27, while mid-career graduates are people aged 35 to 45. Meanwhile, the share with a graduate degree is based on the working-age, adult population—people aged 25 to 65, with at least a bachelor’s degree. Those who are currently in school were excluded, and this data is updated at the beginning of each calendar year.

So grab a seat and see if the major you studied or are interested in made the list. Beginning at #74 and counting down to #1, here are the college majors with the highest and lowest unemployment rates.

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#74. Physics

- Unemployment rate: 7.7%
- Underemployment rate: 34.3%
- Median wage early career: $49,000
- Median wage mid-career: $95,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 69.1%

Because there is a gap in the job market for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, physics offers strong job security. Students in this major tend to find work at independent research labs and at universities.

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WICHAI WONGJONGJAIHAN // Shutterstock

#73. Mass media

- Unemployment rate: 7.3%
- Underemployment rate: 56.2%
- Median wage early career: $35,000
- Median wage mid-career: $62,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 18.2%

Employment in mass media fields is projected to grow by four percent from 2019 to 2029. Common jobs related to this path of study take place in various media environments, such as writing, editing, acting, and camera operation.

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#72. Miscellaneous technologies

- Unemployment rate: 6.4%
- Underemployment rate: 55.3%
- Median wage early career: $44,000
- Median wage mid-career: $75,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 18.0%

There has been a considerable shortage of STEM workers to fill available jobs within the past decade, giving miscellaneous technologies majors an advantage. The top occupations among miscellaneous technologies degree holders are software developers, sales managers, and civil engineers.

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#71. Anthropology

- Unemployment rate: 6.0%
- Underemployment rate: 54.2%
- Median wage early career: $33,600
- Median wage mid-career: $59,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 48.0%

Anthropology majors study the human experience from the past to the present, learning about human diversity and how human behavior and ideas are shaped by linguistics, biology, and more. Because of the broad nature of their studies, anthropology students are suited for careers in a variety of fields, from government positions (like forensic anthropology and cultural resource management) to public service (like historic preservation and museum curation).

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#70. Ethnic studies

- Unemployment rate: 5.9%
- Underemployment rate: 52.5%
- Median wage early career: $40,000
- Median wage mid-career: $65,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 48.8%

Ethnic studies majors develop an interdisciplinary approach to studying ethnic groups in society, allowing them to develop skills in writing, critical thinking, research, and cultural awareness. This gives them ample career opportunities within nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Common examples include social work, public relations, human service work, and probation officer work.

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#69. Political science

- Unemployment rate: 5.2%
- Underemployment rate: 49.7%
- Median wage early career: $42,000
- Median wage mid-career: $78,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 52.6%

In a 2019 interview with U.S. News and World Report, Pierre Huguet, CEO of admissions consulting firm H&C Education, described political science as “one of the most versatile degrees in terms of job opportunities.” This is because political science majors cultivate analytical and rhetorical skills that can translate to essentially any industry. However, students of this discipline tend to work in political and legal environments, and often find jobs as diplomats, lobbyists, political consultants, and lawyers.

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#68. Computer science

- Unemployment rate: 5.2%
- Underemployment rate: 22.0%
- Median wage early career: $65,000
- Median wage mid-career: $96,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 32.8%

Computer science involves the study of software systems, and because technology plays an ever-increasing role in business, computer science grads are sought after in many industries (not just technology companies). Common jobs for these majors include data scientist, web developer, software engineer, and business analyst.

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#67. Fine arts

- Unemployment rate: 5.1%
- Underemployment rate: 56.5%
- Median wage early career: $35,000
- Median wage mid-career: $56,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 23.2%

Fine arts majors leave school with the ability to take on a host of careers within the art world. Those who focus on illustration techniques can become illustrators (whether for fashion, books, or films), while those who focus on design can become graphic designers or web designers. Other options include fashion design, painting, interior design, and more.

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#66. Sociology

- Unemployment rate: 5.1%
- Underemployment rate: 53.5%
- Median wage early career: $36,000
- Median wage mid-career: $60,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 36.8%

Because sociologists study social life and change, community interactions, and the scientific method, they head out into the job market equipped with crucial analytical problem solving and communication skills. It all depends on what field they’d like to specialize in—work as a human resources manager, urban planner, paralegal, teacher, or family planner are all par for the course.

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#65. Interdisciplinary studies

- Unemployment rate: 5.0%
- Underemployment rate: 49.3%
- Median wage early career: $38,000
- Median wage mid-career: $62,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 36.8%

The liberal arts curriculum of interdisciplinary studies incorporates various academic fields into a flexible degree that students are able to tailor to their interests. A more liberal arts-based curriculum may focus on humanities and social science classes, while a science-based program can emphasize STEM courses like engineering, computer science, and biology. This allows students to directly plan their degree out to set them up for multiple professional fields of their choice, whether it be media, science, or education.

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#64. Geography

- Unemployment rate: 5.0%
- Underemployment rate: 36.0%
- Median wage early career: $43,000
- Median wage mid-career: $65,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 33.7%

Geography majors study topics that span natural and social sciences, preparing them for careers in federal agencies, nonprofits, scientific research, and higher education. Students go on to find work as area specialists, cartographers, environmental planners, and more.

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#63. Architecture

- Unemployment rate: 5.0%
- Underemployment rate: 29.4%
- Median wage early career: $47,000
- Median wage mid-career: $75,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 39.2%

Architecture is essentially the art of designing and constructing buildings. It can be broken into subsets, such as research architects, landscape architects, and lighting architects. Architecture majors also gain the skills to work in art and design fields, in areas such as graphic design and textile design.

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#62. Information systems & management

- Unemployment rate: 4.9%
- Underemployment rate: 37.1%
- Median wage early career: $50,000
- Median wage mid-career: $80,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 24.7%

This degree combines computer technology with management decision-making methods, allowing graduates to design, evaluate, and implement computerized information systems. Students go on to work as computer specialists, programmers, and system analysts, among other things.

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#61. General engineering

- Unemployment rate: 4.9%
- Underemployment rate: 30.3%
- Median wage early career: $60,000
- Median wage mid-career: $86,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 36.4%

General engineering is a branch of technology and science concerned with the design, building, and maintenance of engines and similar structures. As such, general engineering degrees give students broad problem-solving and leadership STEM skills, allowing them to work in telecommunications, biomedical engineering, sensors and data processing, and other fields. General engineering degree holders often go on to become engineering technicians, engineering managers, industrial engineers, and urban planners.

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#60. Mathematics

- Unemployment rate: 4.9%
- Underemployment rate: 27.6%
- Median wage early career: $50,000
- Median wage mid-career: $80,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 51.2%

Employment in math occupations is expected to grow 27 percent from 2019 to 2029, particularly as government agencies and businesses continue to rely on big data (which math experts analyze). With their strong analytical skills and understanding of statistics and math, common mathematics major careers include cryptographer, economist, mathematician, and statistician.

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#59. Miscellaneous engineering

- Unemployment rate: 4.8%
- Underemployment rate: 30.1%
- Median wage early career: $60,000
- Median wage mid-career: $90,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 45.3%

Miscellaneous engineering is a catch-all term for engineering majors not classified by the National Center for Education Statistics (such as renewable energy engineering). Regardless of discipline, engineering majors learn critical thinking and analytical skills that are suited for a variety of engineering specialties, from civil engineering to chemical engineering.

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#58. Earth sciences

- Unemployment rate: 4.7%
- Underemployment rate: 40.1%
- Median wage early career: $47,000
- Median wage mid-career: $66,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 46.9%

Students who major in earth science often take classes in biology, physical geology, geochemistry, and mineralogy to learn everything about the Earth’s composition. Geoscience majors (which includes earth sciences students) are among the least likely to be unemployed after college, and make for some of the best-paid college graduates. Degree holders tend to go on to work as laboratory technicians, geophysicists, and geotechnical consultants.

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#57. Industrial engineering

- Unemployment rate: 4.7%
- Underemployment rate: 21.6%
- Median wage early career: $63,000
- Median wage mid-career: $90,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 39.6%

Industrial engineering majors study to become industrial engineers, who apply math, science, and engineering methods to system integration and operations. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median annual wage for industrial engineers was $86,990 in May 2015. Additionally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for industrial engineers is expected to increase by 10 percent from 2016 to 2026.

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#56. International affairs

- Unemployment rate: 4.6%
- Underemployment rate: 53.9%
- Median wage early career: $47,000
- Median wage mid-career: $72,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 42.8%

International affairs majors focus on the impact of politics, economics, and culture on global affairs. By studying issues that relate to politics, anthropology, sociology, economics, and more, they walk away equipped to analyze and communicate their findings around current international events. Graduates are typically drawn to globally-focused jobs in nonprofit and government sectors, pursuing jobs as international marketing specialists, foreign service officers, political analysts, and archivists, among other careers.

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#55. English language

- Unemployment rate: 4.5%
- Underemployment rate: 52.5%
- Median wage early career: $35,000
- Median wage mid-career: $60,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 45.0%

English language degrees produce graduates with some of the broadest career prospects, as studying vocabulary and language gives students generally strong, flexible analytical and writing skills. Many students go on to work in fields such as teaching, journalism, law, medicine, publishing, or the fine arts.

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#54. Commercial art & graphic design

- Unemployment rate: 4.5%
- Underemployment rate: 35.8%
- Median wage early career: $40,000
- Median wage mid-career: $62,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 11.1%

Commercial art and graphic design students learn to use visual imagery and design technology to help people visually promote themselves, their products, and/or their causes. Because this work involves frequent communication with clients, students must have great communication skills and be well-versed in the latest design technologies. The most common jobs for these degree holders include art director, designer, and photographer.

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#53. Criminal justice

- Unemployment rate: 4.3%
- Underemployment rate: 73.2%
- Median wage early career: $37,000
- Median wage mid-career: $60,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 22.6%

Criminal justice majors become proficient in research methods for criminology, the psychology behind criminal behavior, and criminological theory, as well as the employment of American criminal law. As such, many students go on to work as patrol officers, criminal investigators, police officers, and lawyers.

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#52. Liberal arts

- Unemployment rate: 4.3%
- Underemployment rate: 59.5%
- Median wage early career: $35,000
- Median wage mid-career: $60,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 28.4%

Liberal arts degrees encompass many fields, from literature and philosophy to history and psychology. “Regardless of the industry, we need people who can solve problems, write well, speak well, bring multiple perspectives to decision-making; we need people who are good managers, who are cross-culturally competent,” career services professional Robert Vega said. This broad course of study prepares students for careers in a variety of fields, like communications, sociology, psychology, and publishing.

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#51. Public policy and law

- Unemployment rate: 4.3%
- Underemployment rate: 57.6%
- Median wage early career: $38,000
- Median wage mid-career: $60,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 43.1%

Public policy and law majors learn to implement and develop policy and legal changes through empirical research and data analysis. To succeed, they learn to become active listeners who are pros at identifying specific problems and the needs of certain constituencies. Graduates often go on to become government relations managers, lawyers, program analysts, or community relations managers.

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#50. Philosophy

- Unemployment rate: 4.3%
- Underemployment rate: 53.6%
- Median wage early career: $39,000
- Median wage mid-career: $62,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 57.9%

Philosophy majors are trained to engage with questions and theories surrounding free will, religion, morality, and consciousness, while learning to express their own philosophies and opinions. Professionals with undergraduate philosophy degrees tend to earn more than people with degrees in any other humanities field, and have the highest starting salaries of any humanities major. Typical careers for students vary, with many becoming financial analysts, paralegals, lawyers, or university professors.

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#49. Environmental studies

- Unemployment rate: 4.3%
- Underemployment rate: 50.2%
- Median wage early career: $38,000
- Median wage mid-career: $65,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 31.8%

Environmental studies majors are able to dissect the relationships between people and their environments using the problem-solving method and data-search strategies. Graduates tend to find work as environmental educators, policy analysts, environmental attorneys, and more.

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#48. General business

- Unemployment rate: 4.2%
- Underemployment rate: 55.0%
- Median wage early career: $45,000
- Median wage mid-career: $70,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 23.7%

General business majors leave school equipped with the ability to quantify data, evaluate the financial impact of certain decisions, and use business figures to back up their ideas. As such, they can look forward to careers as accountants, management consultants, and financial analysts, to name a few.

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#47. Biology

- Unemployment rate: 4.2%
- Underemployment rate: 46.1%
- Median wage early career: $37,000
- Median wage mid-career: $66,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 63.4%

Students of biology gain vital information about genetics and the functioning of the body, allowing them to apply scientific research and statistical analysis to biological careers. However, the ability to understand experimentation and analysis can be applied to many fields. Common career paths include becoming a microbiologist, biological technician, biochemist, or genetic counselor.

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#46. Economics

- Unemployment rate: 4.2%
- Underemployment rate: 39.5%
- Median wage early career: $55,000
- Median wage mid-career: $93,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 42.2%

Economics majors learn to produce economic forecasts and reports and advise on business strategy to a variety of clients, including individuals and financial organizations to companies and public bodies. Many graduate and work for various companies as economists, financial risk analysts, accountants, or economic researchers.

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#45. Family and consumer sciences

- Unemployment rate: 4.1%
- Underemployment rate: 40.6%
- Median wage early career: $32,300
- Median wage mid-career: $50,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 32.5%

People who major in family and consumer sciences learn to improve the quality of life for communities, families, and individuals by coming up with practical solutions to problems like food science, nutrition, family relations, and consumer economics. As such, graduates are regularly sought after for jobs as child caseworkers, adoptive caseworkers, housing counselors, and community service directors.

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#44. Chemistry

- Unemployment rate: 4.0%
- Underemployment rate: 37.9%
- Median wage early career: $42,000
- Median wage mid-career: $75,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 65.3%

Chemistry majors explore the ways in which the periodic table’s elements combine, a broad field of study that can lead to careers in medicine, research, the chemical industry, and others. Many become chemists, chemical engineers, pharmacologists, or biotechnologists.

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#43. Psychology

- Unemployment rate: 3.9%
- Underemployment rate: 50.0%
- Median wage early career: $35,000
- Median wage mid-career: $58,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 50.6%

Psychology students focus on studying behavior and mental processes, and because they learn basic methods to conduct research, reasoning, and problem solving, they can apply their skills to many career paths. Those who want to practice psychology as therapists or psychiatrists go on to graduate school, while undergraduates wishing to study law, medicine, and business walk away with applicable skills.

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#42. Health services

- Unemployment rate: 3.9%
- Underemployment rate: 44.4%
- Median wage early career: $38,000
- Median wage mid-career: $56,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 52.1%

Health services students leave school with important general knowledge of health and applied sciences, which gives them job opportunities in numerous aspects of the health care industry. A few pathways include health care administration, health law, health finance, and health care economics.

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#41. Performing arts

- Unemployment rate: 3.8%
- Underemployment rate: 63.0%
- Median wage early career: $35,000
- Median wage mid-career: $57,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 38.5%

Performing arts majors become proficient in areas of drama, music, and dance, allowing them to pursue many creative careers upon graduation. Jobs directly related to the degree include actor, dancer, music therapist, and community arts worker.

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#40. Business management

- Unemployment rate: 3.8%
- Underemployment rate: 58.8%
- Median wage early career: $42,500
- Median wage mid-career: $67,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 23.3%

Business management students can count on learning about organizational effectiveness, relationship management, and business principles. Many go on to work as sales managers, financial analysts, or account managers.

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#39. History

- Unemployment rate: 3.8%
- Underemployment rate: 54.0%
- Median wage early career: $38,000
- Median wage mid-career: $65,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 49.5%

Through learning to research and analyze the past, history majors are equipped to handle many careers where communication and critical thinking skills are crucial. People with undergraduate history degrees may go on to work as editors, policy analysts, or paralegals, while those who receive master’s or doctoral history degrees can take on jobs at universities or museums.

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#38. Overall

- Unemployment rate: 3.8%
- Underemployment rate: 42.6%
- Median wage early career: $42,000
- Median wage mid-career: $70,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 37.8%

No matter what they study, college graduates will nonetheless leave with better job prospects than those who didn’t attend. A 2019 Fast Facts survey found that the employment rate for 25- to 34-year-olds with college degrees was 87 percent, while the employment rate for 25- to 34-year-olds with high school degrees was 74 percent.

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#37. Chemical engineering

- Unemployment rate: 3.8%
- Underemployment rate: 22.7%
- Median wage early career: $68,000
- Median wage mid-career: $110,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 48.4%

Chemical engineering degrees prepare students for professional work in the development, design, and operation of chemical products. Graduates can then confidently pursue careers in the chemical, electrochemical, nuclear, and aerospace industries, among others. Many become chemical technicians, toxicologists, or chemists.

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#36. Aerospace engineering

- Unemployment rate: 3.8%
- Underemployment rate: 21.7%
- Median wage early career: $65,000
- Median wage mid-career: $102,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 51.8%

Aerospace engineering majors become confident in utilizing science and math to develop and design missiles, spacecrafts, and aircrafts—a skill that is always in demand. Common career paths are aircraft designer, military aerospace engineer, aerospace technician, and inspector and compliance officer.

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#35. Leisure and hospitality

- Unemployment rate: 3.7%
- Underemployment rate: 59.8%
- Median wage early career: $35,000
- Median wage mid-career: $60,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 32.0%

Leisure and hospitality students leave school with an in-depth understanding of how the hospitality industry operates, with proficiency in people management, service delivering, and leadership. It’s the fifth-largest employment sector in the U.S., with almost 17 million jobs. Possible jobs for degree holders include accommodation manager, conference center manager, hotel manager, or event manager.

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#34. Engineering technologies

- Unemployment rate: 3.7%
- Underemployment rate: 40.4%
- Median wage early career: $50,000
- Median wage mid-career: $83,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 25.4%

Engineering technology majors have a more narrowly-focused curriculum than their peers, focusing on the hands-on application of engineering tasks in a number of industries. In terms of career opportunities, the fields of environmental engineering technology and industrial engineering technology are growing rapidly.

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#33. Journalism

- Unemployment rate: 3.7%
- Underemployment rate: 39.7%
- Median wage early career: $40,000
- Median wage mid-career: $65,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 26.5%

Journalism majors are trained to research, report, and objectively communicate news for print, web, and/or broadcast mediums. They can pursue careers in magazines, newspapers, websites, and broadcast TV, working as reporters, editors, and content producers, to name a few.

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#32. Mechanical engineering

- Unemployment rate: 3.7%
- Underemployment rate: 21.3%
- Median wage early career: $65,000
- Median wage mid-career: $100,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 41.1%

Mechanical engineers are sometimes referred to as the general practitioners of engineering, because they are skilled at controlling motion, force, and energy through mechanical means. Emerging fields like biotechnology and nanotechnology are broadening the career opportunities for mechanical engineers.

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#31. Communications

- Unemployment rate: 3.6%
- Underemployment rate: 54.1%
- Median wage early career: $40,000
- Median wage mid-career: $72,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 22.8%

Communications students learn about effective communication and how to apply it to fields like media, law, business, the arts, and more. The analytical skills and problem-solving skills learned in this major can be applied to many fields, such as public relations, journalism, and marketing.

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#30. Finance

- Unemployment rate: 3.5%
- Underemployment rate: 37.6%
- Median wage early career: $55,000
- Median wage mid-career: $90,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 30.8%

Finance majors become skilled in working with businesses to improve operations through problem solving, financial planning, and investing. To do so, they master mathematical and statistical principles, as well as communication efficiency with clients. Common job titles for financial careers are financial analysts, financial examiners, and financial consultants.

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#29. Foreign language

- Unemployment rate: 3.3%
- Underemployment rate: 47.4%
- Median wage early career: $36,000
- Median wage mid-career: $63,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 50.8%

Although specific programs vary for each foreign language, the study of language teaches students to communicate effectively in another language, as well as understand its history and context. Foreign language students are often needed in government, international relations, and national security careers, as they possess the ability to analyze and understand international allies.

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#28. Nutrition sciences

- Unemployment rate: 3.3%
- Underemployment rate: 41.5%
- Median wage early career: $36,000
- Median wage mid-career: $56,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 47.7%

Nutrition science majors focus on health issues and dietary concerns surrounding food and eating, gaining knowledge of chemistry, biology, and the social sciences to do so. Many graduates become dietitians and nutritionists. Employment in the field is expected to grow 8 percent from 2019 to 2029.

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#27. Treatment therapy

- Unemployment rate: 3.3%
- Underemployment rate: 29.6%
- Median wage early career: $40,000
- Median wage mid-career: $65,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 46.6%

Treatment therapy programs prepare students to assess and treat people with mental, emotional, physical, or developmental disorders. Many go on to pursue master’s degrees for specific types of therapy, like art therapy, physical therapy, or occupational therapy.

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#26. Electrical engineering

- Unemployment rate: 3.3%
- Underemployment rate: 21.2%
- Median wage early career: $68,000
- Median wage mid-career: $100,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 46.4%

Electrical engineering majors become skilled at planning and developing electronic systems. Common career trajectories include becoming an electrical engineer, electronics engineer, or engineering manager. As a bonus, opportunities for electrical engineers are set to grow 6.7 percent between 2016 and 2026.

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#25. Art history

- Unemployment rate: 3.1%
- Underemployment rate: 56.2%
- Median wage early career: $43,000
- Median wage mid-career: $56,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 41.3%

Art history students develop strong visual and critical abilities, and are able to discern the historical, social, and political context of artistic works. Doing so allows them to gain strong editing and critical thinking skills, as well. Graduates tend to become museum curators, art librarians, or archivists.

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#24. Social services

- Unemployment rate: 3.1%
- Underemployment rate: 31.9%
- Median wage early career: $34,000
- Median wage mid-career: $45,200
- Share with graduate degrees: 48.4%

Social services majors study social welfare systems to understand how assistance programs assist disadvantaged people, as well as the challenges that they face. Although a master’s degree is required to become a clinical social worker, undergraduates often go on to work as caseworkers or mental health assistants.

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#23. Marketing

- Unemployment rate: 3.0%
- Underemployment rate: 52.1%
- Median wage early career: $45,000
- Median wage mid-career: $75,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 17.4%

Marketing students study the ways in which businesses maintain relationships with their target audiences through campaigns that create and deliver buying objectives. They also learn to brand and promote services to the public. Many graduates work as marketing managers, brand managers, or marketing research analysts.

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#22. Advertising and public relations

- Unemployment rate: 3.0%
- Underemployment rate: 46.8%
- Median wage early career: $44,000
- Median wage mid-career: $70,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 18.2%

Advertising and public relations majors are preparing for work in communications and mass media-related fields by learning to build campaigns and attract customers. Careers in the industry are projected to grow 5.6 percent from 2016 to 2026. Just a few of the jobs available to graduates are copywriter, media buyer, and account executive.

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#21. Business analytics

- Unemployment rate: 2.9%
- Underemployment rate: 38.3%
- Median wage early career: $58,000
- Median wage mid-career: $90,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 24.7%

Business analytics majors leave school primed to implement and oversee data-driven business decisions by managing and analyzing datasets to make decisions. Common career pathways are business analyst, operations research analyst, and market research analyst.

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#20. General social sciences

- Unemployment rate: 2.7%
- Underemployment rate: 50.0%
- Median wage early career: $34,800
- Median wage mid-career: $55,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 37.3%

The general social sciences major is a multidisciplinary major that gives students a strong knowledge of issues relating to fields like psychology, sociology, statistics, and more. The field itself is expected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, and many graduates become statisticians, social scientists, or social science research assistants.

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#19. Miscellaneous biological science

- Unemployment rate: 2.7%
- Underemployment rate: 45.7%
- Median wage early career: $36,000
- Median wage mid-career: $60,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 60.1%

Students of miscellaneous biological science gain broad knowledge of disciplines within biology, allowing them to gain a more diversified view of the field and its specializations. Jobs available to them include research scientist, biotechnologist, and nature conservation officer.

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#18. Construction services

- Unemployment rate: 2.7%
- Underemployment rate: 28.9%
- Median wage early career: $60,000
- Median wage mid-career: $90,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 10.3%

Construction managers oversee projects of every type, from buildings to houses. Students within the major learn about the entire process, from building materials to surveying and blueprint reading. Related jobs are construction manager, site engineer, and building control surveyor.

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#17. Agriculture

- Unemployment rate: 2.5%
- Underemployment rate: 58.7%
- Median wage early career: $38,000
- Median wage mid-career: $70,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 20.8%

Agriculture majors learn the science of preserving and managing natural resources (particularly those related to animal husbandry and farming). They can look forward to careers as ranchers, dairy farmers, food scientists, and more.

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#16. Miscellaneous physical sciences

- Unemployment rate: 2.5%
- Underemployment rate: 35.2%
- Median wage early career: $50,000
- Median wage mid-career: $76,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 56.0%

Although miscellaneous physical sciences degree programs are structured to fulfill the subject matter competency requirements for teacher certification, the major also gives students practical experience with lab equipment and procedures. From 2016 to 2026, the miscellaneous physical sciences field is projected to grow by 8 percent. Common jobs for graduates include high school teacher, environmental scientist, and chemist.

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#15. Computer engineering

- Unemployment rate: 2.5%
- Underemployment rate: 21.3%
- Median wage early career: $66,000
- Median wage mid-career: $109,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 40.6%

Computer science deals with the design, building, and programming of computers, an exciting field as technology is constantly in demand and evolving. Students can look forward to careers as computer programmers, web developers, and computer systems analysts, to name a few.

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#14. Accounting

- Unemployment rate: 2.4%
- Underemployment rate: 24.1%
- Median wage early career: $50,000
- Median wage mid-career: $75,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 29.6%

Accounting students learn to maintain and analyze financial information so that they can consult with businesses’ upper management about important business decisions. These are great skills to have since every business needs accounting support. Other job opportunities besides accountant are financial examiner and finance manager.

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#13. Animal and plant sciences

- Unemployment rate: 2.3%
- Underemployment rate: 56.8%
- Median wage early career: $36,500
- Median wage mid-career: $61,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 36.6%

Animal science majors focus on the breeding and management of various animals and animal products, while plant sciences majors focus on breeding, cultivating, and producing plant products. Plant science majors often become soil scientists, agronomists, or biotechnologists, while animal science students often become animal nutritionists, ecologists, or geneticists.

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#12. Pharmacy

- Unemployment rate: 2.0%
- Underemployment rate: 25.6%
- Median wage early career: $40,000
- Median wage mid-career: $105,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 60.5%

Pharmacy students learn to fill patients’ drug prescriptions and ensure that they know how to take their medication safely. This is a strong field because patients will always need medicine. Pharmacists work in community, hospital, and independent business settings.

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#11. Special education

- Unemployment rate: 1.9%
- Underemployment rate: 11.2%
- Median wage early career: $40,000
- Median wage mid-career: $46,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 62.3%

Special education students focus on designing educational services and teaching children with learning disabilities or needs. These kinds of teachers are in high demand because many teachers lack proper credentials, with Boise State University’s Special Education Department chair Michael Humphrey saying that “this is a nationwide need.”

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#10. Biochemistry

- Unemployment rate: 1.8%
- Underemployment rate: 35.0%
- Median wage early career: $40,000
- Median wage mid-career: $80,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 73.0%

In this branch of STEM, lab workers perform research and work on drug testing and development. Biochemistry majors leave school with ample opportunities to create new technologies that can aid public health.

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#9. Nursing

- Unemployment rate: 1.8%
- Underemployment rate: 12.1%
- Median wage early career: $50,000
- Median wage mid-career: $70,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 27.1%

Hospitals and medical facilities always need skilled staff to care for patients, which consistently keeps nursing unemployment rates low. As baby boomers age and require more medical attention, even more nurses may be in demand, driving that rate even lower.

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#8. Secondary education

- Unemployment rate: 1.7%
- Underemployment rate: 22.7%
- Median wage early career: $40,000
- Median wage mid-career: $50,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 49.4%

Secondary school graduates leave school prepared to teach at the middle and high school levels. As of 2019, over 212,000 Americans in the labor force graduated with this type of teaching degree.

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#7. General education

- Unemployment rate: 1.7%
- Underemployment rate: 22.6%
- Median wage early career: $36,400
- Median wage mid-career: $47,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 48.1%

Students with a general interest in education can benefit from this degree, which teaches them the basic principles of education and educational psychology. This allows them the opportunity to work not only as a teacher, but also as an administrator, counselor, or public worker.

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#6. Elementary education

- Unemployment rate: 1.7%
- Underemployment rate: 15.4%
- Median wage early career: $36,000
- Median wage mid-career: $44,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 47.6%

Elementary education is one of the most common degrees in the U.S., with over 1.3 million degree holders. However, this large number of elementary education majors is clearly necessary for the country’s children, given the low unemployment rate for people in this profession.

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#5. Theology and religion

- Unemployment rate: 1.5%
- Underemployment rate: 47.0%
- Median wage early career: $34,000
- Median wage mid-career: $50,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 41.9%

Because over 76% of Americans are religious, many need spiritual leaders within their local communities. Therefore, it makes sense that students who focus on religion are some of the least unemployed graduates in the country.

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#4. Civil engineering

- Unemployment rate: 1.5%
- Underemployment rate: 19.2%
- Median wage early career: $60,000
- Median wage mid-career: $90,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 38.7%

Civil engineering majors become pros at designing and maintaining physical structures, like roads and bridges. Of all the engineering fields on this list, civil engineering graduates have the lowest unemployment rates.

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#3. Early childhood education

- Unemployment rate: 1.4%
- Underemployment rate: 19.6%
- Median wage early career: $34,000
- Median wage mid-career: $40,200
- Share with graduate degrees: 38.6%

Early childhood education graduates work with young children in preschools and daycares, helping them develop the social and intellectual skills needed to thrive in full-time school. Unfortunately, many are not particularly well-compensated compared to other majors with low unemployment rates.

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#2. Medical technicians

- Unemployment rate: 1.1%
- Underemployment rate: 52.0%
- Median wage early career: $45,000
- Median wage mid-career: $68,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 25.6%

Medical technician majors go on to work in laboratories and hospitals, using lab instruments, computers, and more to analyze and identify medical findings. It helps that medical technicians’ average annual earnings are more than double the average earnings for college graduates—$25,818.

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#1. Miscellaneous education

- Unemployment rate: 0.4%
- Underemployment rate: 21.6%
- Median wage early career: $36,000
- Median wage mid-career: $50,000
- Share with graduate degrees: 55.4%

Miscellaneous education majors learn to teach students at multiple age levels, which helps explain why this education field has the lowest unemployment rate. Currently, just over 100,000 Americans hold this sort of degree.

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