30 Worst Paying College Majors for 2013

Some career paths after college just don't pay that well; to prove it, the rankings of these majors are based on data collected from 1,000 universities

College has started up again and many students are considering which major suits them best. Even those who have chosen an area of emphasis often change their minds once they have had a chance to sample the variety of college offerings. While pay potential isn’t the be all and end all for many students, knowledge, they say, is power. So it can’t hurt to know where different majors stand in that regard.

Earlier this year we took a look at the 30 Best Paying College Majors. This time around, we count down those that sit in the bottom quarter of the financial ladder. Many of them fall in areas that traditionally might be seen as more altruistic, like religion and the arts.

Still, as you look through the list, note that just because an occupation has low starting salaries, doesn’t mean there’s no room for growth. The major that finished fourth from last leaped to the middle of all majors by mid-career.

We used data from payscale.com, which information lists 129 majors on its site.

(Also check out Top 30 Colleges for Highest Starting Salaries and Top 25 Best Value Colleges.)

The rankings below are based on data collected from 1,000 universities and include graduates with bachelor’s degrees only. The universities surveyed include 88% of U.S. schools with an enrollment of more than 5,000. 

Take a look at the 30 Worst Paying College Majors for 2013:

Psychologist

30. Liberal Arts

Starting Salary: $36,600

Mid-Career Salary: $ 60,500 (Rank: 86th-tie)

29. Psychology

Starting Salary: $36,300

Mid-Career Salary: $60,700 (85th)

Actors on stage rehearsing

26 (tie). Photography

Starting Salary: $36,200

Mid-Career Salary: $55,500 (110th)

26 (tie). Theater

Starting Salary: $36,200

Mid-Career Salary: $55,500 (96th-tie)

Artist/Illustrator

26 (tie). Anthropology

Starting Salary: $36,200

Mid-Career Salary: $61,400 (83rd)

 25. Art

Starting Salary: $36,100

Mid-Career Salary: $57,100 (103rd)

Interior designer

24. Interior Design

Starting Salary: $36,000

Mid-Career Salary: $59,300 (91st)

22 (tie). Human Development

Starting Salary: $35,900

Mid-Career Salary: $48,000 (125th)

Musician

22 (tie). Public Health

Starting Salary: $35,900

Mid-Career Salary: $56,500 (106th)

20. Music

Starting Salary: $35,700

Mid-Career Salary: $51,400 (119th)

Hotel workers

20. Hospitality & Tourism

Starting Salary: $35,700

Mid-Career Salary: $62,600 (81st)

19. Drama

Starting Salary: $35,600

Mid-Career Salary: $56,300 (107th-tie)

Bible studies

18. Kinesiology

Starting Salary: $35,600

Mid-Career Salary: $60,400 (88th-tie)

17. Biblical Studies

Starting Salary: $35,400

Mid-Career Salary: $50,800 (123rd)

 Horticulturist

16. Criminal Justice

Starting Salary: $35,300

Mid-Career Salary: $58,400 (98th)

15. Horticulture

Starting Salary: $35,200

Mid-Career Salary: $50,900 (122nd)

Court room

14. Recreation & Leisure Studies

Starting Salary: $35,000

Mid-Career Salary: $51,900 (118th)

13. Paralegal Studies

Starting Salary: $35,000

Mid-Career Salary: $53,000 (116th)

12. Physical Education Teaching  

Starting Salary: $34,900

Mid-Career Salary: $56,300 (107th-tie)

11. Religious Studies

Starting Salary: $34,900

Mid-Career Salary: $57,900 (101st)

9 (tie). Athletic Training

Starting Salary: $34,800

Mid-Career Salary: $46,900 (126th)

9 (tie). Culinary Arts

Starting Salary: $34,800

Mid-Career Salary: $51,100 (120th)

8. Theology

Starting Salary: $34,000

Mid-Career Salary: $52,200 (117th)

7. Special Education

Starting Salary: $33,800

Mid-Career Salary: $49,600 (124th)

6. Animal Science

Starting Salary: $33,600

Mid-Career Salary: $55,200 (112th-tie)

5. Social Work

Starting Salary: $33,000

Mid-Career Salary: $46,600 (127th)

4. Broadcast Journalism

Starting Salary: $32,700

Mid-Career Salary: $68,800 (69th)

3. Exercise Science

Starting Salary: $32,600

Mid-Career Salary: $51,000 (121st)

2. Elementary Education

Starting Salary: $32,200

Mid-Career Salary: $45,300 (128th)

1. Child & Family Studies

Starting Salary: $30,300

Mid-Career Salary: $37,200 (129th)

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