Best and Worst Majors for a Future Career

Find out what majors will help you later in life

If you’re looking to earn your BestDegrees_featuredbachelor’s degree, then you might be thinking about what to pursue. It turns out that some majors might be better equipped to get you a job in the future and help you earn more — while some majors won’t always put you on the path you were hoping for.

So before committing to a major, it’s important to do your homework and make sure it’s one that will give you the most benefit. Here are the best college majors when planning for the future and alternatives for the not-so-great ones:

Nursing – Salaries for registered nurses begin at a median of $55,400, with a 10-year job growth of 19.4 percent, not to mention nursing professions will expand at nearly twice the national average rate by 2022. Why?

“More elderly people will lead to a greater demand for health care,” says Matt Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass Technologies. And if you go on to get a master’s degree, you can qualify to become a nurse practitioner, which earns a median salary of $89,960.

Computer science – Getting hired right after graduation as an information security analyst or software developer won’t likely be an issue for you, with a whopping 2,078,624 annual online job postings. Grads who major in computer science typically begin at a salary of nearly $60,000 and work for some of the world’s fastest-growing industries. There’s also lots of room for growth, with a 36.5 percent projected 10 year job growth.

Actuarial mathematics – Actuaries typically start with a salary of around $58,700 and by mid-career are up to $120,000. In addition, actuaries are able to work manageable hours, with only three out of 10 working more than 40 hours a week. Most people who enjoy math will choose math as their major, but actuarial mathematics might be a better path to a job requiring skills in math, statistics, probability and finance.

Civil engineering – As one of the most in-demand job opportunities (with 259,495 online job postings a year), civil engineers start with a salary close to a respectable $55,000, and increase vastly from there. Civil engineering majors must enjoy math and science, as the career includes designing and supervising large construction projects, from airports to sewer systems and tunnels.

Finance – “There will always be demand for people who know finance,” says Sigelman. “But the emergence of big data has also made finance majors sought-after for a wide range of jobs involving analytics.” Sought after is right, with the annual online job postings being 1,181,973. The income is respectable, too, with the median salary being $67,520 and the top 10 percent of advisors earning more than $187,200.

Art history – With a degree in art history, you’ll likely earn an annual salary between $35,000 and $40,000. If you have a passion for art, a better bet might be to major in art education, and later get a master’s degree, which would qualify you for a postsecondary art teacher career, which has an average salary of $62,160. And that would make you the highest-paying non-administrative job in the art industry.

Horticulture – There’s not a big demand for experts in this field, with under 400 annual online job postings. Plus, the average starting salary comes in at $35,900, with a projected 10-year job growth of 19.3 percent. If you’ve always dreamed of a career in plant layout and are an expert in greenery, a major in landscape architecture might work better to your advantage. Landscape architects earn a median salary of $64,180 with a job growth rate of 14.3 percent.

Social work – “Those who choose [social work] as a major should know that it tends to be an underfunded side of the economy,” says Sigelman. With the starting salary being around $33,000, it’s definitely a needed and rewarding profession. A public administration major, though, might offer more opportunities at a higher income.

Photography – A photographer begins with an average starting salary of $36,200, and only has a projected 10-year growth of 4.3 percent. If you have a passion for photography, take a few photography classes, but major in film production. There are many professional photographers who can be successful with a high school diploma, but holding a film production major means your mid-career salary will be around $71,000, and you still get that time behind the camera.

Biblical studies – A bachelor’s degree alone in this major will net you around $50,000 mid-career, only increasing about $15,000 from the average starting salary. It might be a good idea to get a masters to become a philosophy or religious studies teacher, which is a solid career, but if you’re looking to begin a career right after graduating from undergrad, philosophy might be a more reasonable major.

Regardless of what you choose, let us help you with the financing.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Pros and Cons to Online Degrees

Why many are choosing — or aren’t choosing — online education

Going to college usedbankingon_e_a003015533 to mean packing up your belongings and heading to a university for four years to receive your continuing education. However, new opportunities have been available at a number of colleges for quite some time, and many modern-day students are taking advantage. In fact, there are currently more than four million people receiving an online education — and that number grows steadily each year.

“Online courses have a place, and they are here to stay,” says Andy Zucker, a senior researcher for Concord Consortium, a nonprofit pioneer in online education. That said, while there are many benefits to this type of education, there are also some negatives. If you’re considering receiving your degree online, be sure to weigh the pros and cons:


Cost – More often than not, the costs of taking online classes are lower than those associated with the traditional classroom. In addition, with online courses, you’re saving on expenses such as gas, parking, housing and campus food.

Also, sometimes universities request various fees such as lab or equipment usage fees, whereas an online education does not.

Convenience – “They can fit an education in when they have time for it, rather than when we decide to hold classes,” says Allen Gathman, associate dean for online learning at Southeast Missouri State University. If you’re someone who works better at 2:00 a.m. than 8:00 a.m. or you perform better after re-watching lectures, then an online education may be for you. Receiving your education online means you can do your work and review your notes whenever and wherever you please. These classes are also especially convenient if you’re working full-time or have children to tend to.

Helps shy students – “Some people are really reluctant to participate in class discussions,” says Gathman. “They won’t speak up in discussions on controversial subjects. With an online forum, they’re much more willing to write something than they would have been to say it standing up in front of people in class.” Also, Gathman says, “Forum discussions, if used well, can be much more thoughtful because students have more time to reflect and consider when they’re writing.”


Isolation – While you can still easily communicate with professors and students, getting your degree in the comfort of your home is just that — and that eliminates social interaction with others. That’s important because studies show that being involved on your college campus is important and can benefit students — and that’s simply not possible when getting your degree online. Whether it be joining clubs or just meeting students, interface with others doesn’t happen.

Too much freedom – Some argue that online courses may offer too much flexibility in that, if you don’t have good self-discipline, your work may never get done. “In terms of self-discipline, there’s no set time to show up, and when you do show up, there’s nobody feeding you the information,” says Gathman. “You have to budget your time, keep up with your work and actively participate more than in a classroom.” For many, it can be a hard transition from traditional school to doing work from your home, and that can hamper your abilities and grades.

Doesn’t accommodate the non tech-savvy – If you’re not the greatest with computers or have slow Internet connection, you may become frustrated and your studies could suffer as a result. Before signing up, be sure you’re someone who can handle such challenges and that you have back-up plans in case of a technological mishap (i.e. a close-by library, a friend or family member’s computer, etc.).

Regardless of what you choose, we can help you with the financing to help get you through it.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser
Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.