By Alida Moore
In these days of rising tuition costs and ballooning student debt, some students choose college majors that will put them on a path to earning a high salary once they graduate. But not every major leads to a big paycheck and not every student chases monetary rewards.
Online salary database PayScale.com
compiled the following list of 55K + paying degrees of 2012.
While the salaires for these majors aren't extremely high, people pursue them for more personal reasons. “According to our research, people in many of these majors typically believe their work makes the world a better place,” says PayScale’s Katie Bardaro, Director of Analytics at PayScale. “The other majors on our list are more about personal passion than about the desire for a large bank account,” Bardaro says.
Curious as to which majors fall to the bottom for salary but often pay back in intrinsic rewards? Take a look:Social Work
Median Annual Salary: $64,600
is a major for those who care deeply. A career
in this field, while not necessarily lucrative, offers a wide variety of workplace choices, including schools, nursing homes, hospitals and government agencies. This major is ideal for those who are champions for social justice.
Median Annual Salary: $64,100
If you have an eye for art and a sense of how to pull a room together, you might enjoy a career as an interior designer
. This major could allow you to work
with a design firm, or you could even go into business for yourself. Build a reputation for having impeccable taste and maybe your bank account could grow more than you thought possible.
Median Annual Salary: $62,500
While it might not pay to understand the nuances of Beowulf, majoring in English
can provide a window to some of the world’s best works of written art. Perhaps you won’t have the money to take a fancy cruise every year, but a job
as a copywriter could allow you to stretch your vocabulary muscles, while a job teaching could let you wax poetic about the characters in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales
Median Annual Salary: $61,600
Are you a people-watcher by nature? If you find yourself observing strangers, noting how they interact with the world around them, you might enjoy majoring in sociology.
And while this major might not buy you the fanciest car, you could find enjoyable work with the government or services industries. Using the communication skills you are likely to develop with this major, you could even look at a career in journalism or media.
Median Annual Salary: $57,800
is one of the romance languages, though scraping by from paycheck to paycheck might seem decidedly unromantic. Still, if you enjoy this classic language, you might find satisfying work in a variety of careers
, including sales, business, teaching, or as a translator.
Median Annual Salary: $55,900
If you are passionate about studying cultures from around the world, you might enjoy a major in anthropology
. People with this major go on to work in a variety of fields
. Some continue in anthropology, researching and studying. Others work in health, human services, or even at science museums.
Median Annual Salary: $55,900
They say it’s impossible to make money as a living artist. In today’s fast-paced world of technology, this is probably no longer true. Graphic design
students often are passionate about art, and many find work
in marketing. Whether you are creating company branding or designing a blog
, a day spent making art while being paid is likely to make any artist feel good.
Source: Salary data provided by online salary database PayScale.com. Salary figures are for bachelor’s degree holders in a given major with at least 10 years of experience. “Job meaning” percentages are for all graduates with a bachelor’s degree in a given major. Salaries include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing. Education data is from PayScale.com.