So you are trying to decide which degree to pursue in college, but you are unsure which degrees actually land jobs. Don’t worry, many students are asking the same question.
When you finally get to choose your own education, it can be daunting by the hundreds of choices available at most colleges and universities. Should you pursue architecture, engineering, secondary education, art and dance, political science, pre-med, or business? What about the lesser-known degrees like forestry preservation and art restoration?
No matter what your interests are, you are probably wondering if your passions can also lead to a job that won’t make you struggling to pay bills for the rest of your life.
At Zippia, we are here to help you figure out the answers to those questions. So which majors actually have the highest unemployment rate?
- Library Science
- Metallurgical Engineering
- Nuclear Engineering
- Industrial Production Technologies
- General Social Sciences
- Geological And Geophysical Engineering
- Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
- Other Foreign Languages
- Cosmetology Services And Culinary Arts
- Studio Arts
With the move to the internet for all of our information, it’s no shocker that the need for librarians is dwindling. Even the libraries are moving to more cloud-based services like OverDrive and Libby.
Seeing social sciences and interdisciplinary studies on our list is no surprise either, as these degrees are notorious for being difficult in the job market.
But what about degrees like metallurgical engineering? Actually, what even is metallurgical engineering? Read on to learn more about our top 10 majors with the highest unemployment rate.
How we determined the hardest majors to get a job after college
Using Census Data from PUMS, we looked at the total number of people who graduated with each particular major.
We only considered people ages 22 – 25 that were no longer in school — you know, people right out of college looking for work.
Then using data for which of these people were employed versus unemployed, we came up with percentages for each major’s unemployment level, which we then used to rank each major. The higher a major ranks on this list, the lower its employment rating.
That’s all — pretty simple for this one. Below you’ll find a more complete breakdown of our top ten list, along with unemployment percentages for each major.
1. LIBRARY SCIENCES
Unemployment Rate: 11.77%
When is the last time you have been to a library after you graduated college? You likely cannot recall a time. Unfortunately for librarians, tech advances have led to a decline in job opportunity.
Librarians have a nearly 12% unemployment rate. That’s a sorry figure for any recent graduate.
However, if you do happen to land a job as a librarian, the pay isn’t that bad. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, library scientists make about $54k a year on average.
2. METALLURGICAL ENGINEERING
Unemployment Rate: 10.53%
So what is metallurgical engineering and why does it rank number two on our list?
Essentially, metallurgical engineering is the study of… metals. Engineers with this degree learn about mining, extraction, and processing of metals. Sounds important, right?
Computerization and mechanizing must be crushing this field, resulting in an unemployment rate of over 10% for degree holders in metallurgical engineering.
3. NUCLEAR ENGINEERING
Unemployment Rate: 10.11%
Like metallurgical engineering, nuclear engineering is another super important sounding degree with a high unemployment rate.
You would think that with the depletion of fossil fuels and our increased dependence on nuclear energy, we would need nuclear engineers. But somehow they have a 10% unemployment rate.
Perhaps the coal industry wants to keep them out until the earth is really in a mega crisis–perhaps computers are taking over engineering jobs. Either way, these degree holders are in somewhat of a job pickle.
4. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGIES
Unemployment Rate: 8.24%
Individuals with a degree in Industrial Production Technologies help engineers and other professionals best utilize natural resources. Again, another degree that seems extremely needed as our natural resources are quickly being depleted.
Around 8% of degree holders in this specialty are unemployed. Not a good sign for our coal stores.
5. GENERAL SOCIAL SCIENCES
Unemployment Rate: 7.65%
General Social Sciences– quite possibly the vaguest degree category on our list. General Social Sciences is a degree that takes classes from several liberal arts specialties and combines it together.
Not bad if you want a well-rounded liberal arts education, but possibly a bad decision for your bank account.
6. GEOLOGICAL AND GEOPHYSICAL ENGINEERING
Unemployment Rate: 7.26%
Like Industrial Production Technology and Metallurgical Engineering, this degree also is related to natural resource management. A person with a degree in Geological and Geophysical Engineering is trained in the extraction of natural resources.
Again, quite a useful skill in a world where life as we know it is dependent on natural resource use. However, like the former degrees, this one also has a dismal employment outlook. Degree holders in Geological and Geophysical Engineering face a whopping 7% unemployment rate.
Perhaps a degree in technology related to renewable energy is the key?
7. INTERDISCIPLINARY SOCIAL SCIENCES
Unemployment Rate: 6.88%
Like General Social Sciences, this degree pulls from several social science specialties. In theory, a degree that is interdisciplinary should produce more well-rounded students, but employers don’t seem to be too impressed.
Nearly 7% of graduates with degrees in Interdisciplinary Social Studies are unemployed. Perhaps doubling that with another major would have been a better decision career-wise?
8. FOREIGN LANGUAGES
Unemployment Rate: 6.22%
Next up on our top 10 list of majors with the highest unemployment rate is foreign languages. Most students couple a foreign language degree with another, so what happens if you focus only on learning another language?
Apparently a hard time finding a job. People with a foreign language degree on its own face a 6% unemployment rate. Unfortunately, students who study foreign languages also often study social sciences so they may be out of luck in the job department.
9. COSMETOLOGY SERVICES AND CULINARY ARTS
Unemployment Rate: 5.91%
Interestingly, our database couples degrees that allow you to study makeup with degrees that teach you how to make delicious food. Either way, these are degrees in the professional services sector.
Although many of us would probably gladly pay someone to make us amazing food, turns out there is not a huge job market for people with degrees in these fields. Nearly 6% of graduates with these degrees are unemployed.
10. STUDIO ARTS
Unemployment Rate: 5.88%
Last but not least comes Studio Arts. Often when you hear people say they are going to study art, you hear the usual, “so how are you going to find a job?”
But interestingly, the degrees with the highest unemployment rates are those that seem like a career no-brainer. We’re looking at you nuclear engineers.
While last on our list, professional artists still face a nearly 6% unemployment rate. That is two times better than those who have Library Sciences degrees, but still not the best.
Putting it all together
There you have it – the top 10 majors with the highest unemployment rates. So what are degrees that have some of the best job outlooks?
Pharmacology, Military Technology, Teacher Education, and Transportation Engineers are some of the many degrees that have high employment rates. But that shouldn’t prevent you from pursuing a degree in art or the social sciences.
Perhaps you just need to double major if you want a better job potential.
Detailed ranking of the 100 hardest majors to get a job (with unemployment rate)
- Library Science 11.78%
- Metallurgical Engineering 10.53%
- Nuclear Engineering 10.11%
- Industrial Production Technologies 8.24%
- General Social Sciences 7.66%
- Geological And Geophysical Engineering 7.26%
- Interdisciplinary Social Sciences 6.88%
- Other Foreign Languages 6.23%
- Cosmetology Services And Culinary Arts 5.91%
- Studio Arts 5.88%
- Visual And Performing Arts 5.36%
- Electrical Engineering Technology 5.32%
- Electrical, Mechanical, And Precision Technologies And 5.17%
- Miscellaneous Social Sciences 5.14%
- Environmental Science 5.09%
- Science And Computer Teacher Education 4.9%
- Fine Arts 4.87%
- Public Policy 4.6%
- Miscellaneous Fine Arts 4.52%
- Public Administration 4.5%
- Petroleum Engineering 4.29%
- Area Ethnic And Civilization Studies 4.21%
- Applied Mathematics 4.14%
- Criminology 4.09%
- Food Science 4.01%
- Miscellaneous Engineering Technologies 3.97%
- Oceanography 3.88%
- Neuroscience 3.88%
- Advertising And Public Relations 3.87%
- Philosophy And Religious Studies 3.87%
- Sociology 3.85%
- Molecular Biology 3.81%
- Social Psychology 3.8%
- Atmospheric Sciences And Meteorology 3.74%
- Drama And Theater Arts 3.69%
- Miscellaneous Biology 3.65%
- Health And Medical Preparatory Programs 3.57%
- Composition And Rhetoric 3.56%
- Health And Medical Administrative Services 3.53%
- Naval Architecture And Marine Engineering 3.52%
- Art And Music Education 3.46%
- Ecology 3.44%
- Actuarial Science 3.44%
- History 3.43%
- Geology And Earth Science 3.38%
- Intercultural And International Studies 3.36%
- General Medical And Health Services 3.35%
- Political Science And Government 3.31%
- Commercial Art And Graphic Design 3.28%
- International Relations 3.27%
- Liberal Arts 3.2%
- Mass Media 3.2%
- Film Video And Photographic Arts 3.19%
- Nutrition Sciences 3.16%
- Chemical Engineering 3.15%
- Engineering Mechanics Physics And Science 3.12%
- Information Sciences 3.09%
- Computer Networking And Telecommunications 3.04%
- Humanities 3.01%
- English Language And Literature 2.99%
- Anthropology And Archeology 2.98%
- Linguistics And Comparative Language And Literature 2.95%
- Journalism 2.94%
- Secondary Teacher Education 2.89%
- Soil Science 2.85%
- Community And Public Health 2.84%
- Communications 2.8%
- Business Economics 2.74%
- Architecture 2.73%
- Microbiology 2.72%
- Economics 2.7%
- Art History And Criticism 2.66%
- Psychology 2.65%
- Electrical Engineering 2.64%
- Hospitality Management 2.63%
- Physical And Health Education Teaching 2.61%
- Cognitive Science And Biopsychology 2.61%
- International Business 2.6%
- Materials Engineering And Materials Science 2.56%
- Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 2.56%
- Physical Fitness Parks Recreation And Leisure 2.55%
- French-German Latin And Other Common Foreign Language Studies 2.53%
- Business Management And Administration 2.52%
- Miscellaneous Business & Medical Administration 2.49%
- Criminal Justice And Fire Protection 2.38%
- Finance 2.37%
- Family And Consumer Sciences 2.37%
- Biology 2.35%
- Theology And Religious Vocations 2.33%
- Communication Technologies 2.33%
- Miscellaneous Health Medical Professions 2.27%
- Early Childhood Education 2.26%
- Music 2.26%
- Physiology 2.22%
- Marketing And Marketing Research 2.22%
- Biochemical Sciences 2.21%
- Social Work 2.2%
- Plant Science And Agronomy 2.16%
- Statistics And Decision Science 2.15%
- Forestry 2.11%
Via The Ladders