The 6 worst college majors to choose if you want to make a lot of money in your first job, from psychology to hospitality

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The 6 worst college majors to choose if you want to make a lot of money in your first job, from psychology to hospitality
  • The New York Federal Reserve released a labor market report on college majors.
  • The report found that recent graduates with diplomas in these six majors are earning less than $40,000.
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There are six college diplomas that will leave graduates earning a median salary of $40,000 or less, five years after graduation, according to an analysis by the New York Federal Reserve.

There are six college diplomas that will leave graduates earning a median salary of $40,000 or less, five years after graduation,  according to an analysis by the New York Federal Reserve.
Top salaries typically belong to graduates in the technology and science fields.Barry Austin Photography

The analysis, published in February, took into account the earnings of recent college graduates and explored the labor market according to their college major. The New York Federal Reserve's data analyzed the median salaries of graduates aged between 22 to 27 years old in 2021.

The New York Federal Reserve found the six lowest-paying majors fall under social sciences and liberal arts. In comparison, the highest-paying majors are all in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM industries. Notably, chemical engineers took the top spot when it came to high wages, with a median salary of $75,000 five years after graduation.

Take a look at how much the lowest-paying majors are earning, according to the New York Federal Reserve's data. The unemployment and underemployment — the people who are working but not doing as much as they are capable of — rates for each are shared as well.

Entrants are arranged from the highest median salary to the lowest.

6. Performing arts

6. Performing arts
Performing arts can include dance, music, and theatre.REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

Median wage, early career: $39,000

Unemployment rate: 7.6%

Underemployment rate: 64%

Graduates of performing arts earn a median wage of $62,000 as a mid-career worker, per the New York Federal Reserve.

According to Indeed, a US-based employment website, some of the careers that performing arts graduates embark on include choreography, which nets a national average salary of $28,289 per year. On the higher end of the market, creative directors earn a national average salary of $75,687 annually.

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5. Leisure and hospitality

5. Leisure and hospitality
The leisure and hospitality industry include hotels, food and beverage, and tourism.Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock

Median wage, early career: $38,000

Unemployment rate: 5.3%

Underemployment rate: 58.6%

Graduates of leisure and hospitality management can expect to earn $60,000 in their mid-careers, per the New York Federal Reserve.

Some of the jobs undertaken by graduates include assistant general manager, which pays an average of $43,943 annually, and on the higher end, regional manager, which pays an average of $52,669 a year, per Indeed.

4. Psychology

4. Psychology
Psychology can be a broad field, encompassing jobs from psychiatry to business.Getty

Median wage, early career: $37,400

Unemployment rate: 4.7%

Underemployment rate: 47.6%

Psychology graduates can expect to earn $65,000 at mid-career, per the New York Federal Reserve.

Some the careers that psychology graduates embark on include therapy, which pays a national average of $67,600 a year, and psychiatry, which pays a national average of $219,482 annually, per Indeed.

According to Niche, psychology was the third most popular major for high school graduates in 2022.

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3. Social services

3. Social services
Social services often include counselling children and families.Richard Ross/Juvenile In Justice

Median wage, early career: $37,000

Unemployment rate: 3%

Underemployment rate: 27.7%

Social services graduates earn $52,000 at mid-career, per the New York Federal Reserve.

Careers that social services degree graduates typically embark on include community outreach, which pays a national average $42,103 a year, per Indeed. On the higher end, therapists earn $75,019 annually.

3. Family and consumer sciences

3. Family and consumer sciences
Family and consumer sciences careers span from nutrition to family services.Claire Price/Insider

Median wage, early career: $37,000

Unemployment rate: 8.9%

Underemployment rate: 47.9%

Family and consumer sciences graduates earn $60,000 at mid-career, per the New York Federal Reserve.

Some of the jobs family and consumer sciences graduates take on include community service officer, which pays an average of $28,259 annually, and nutritionist, which pays a national average $41,309 a year, per Indeed.

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1. Theology and religion

1. Theology and religion
Some of the jobs that theology and religion graduates undertake include being a pastor and missionary.Square One Media.

Median wage, early career: $36,000

Unemployment rate: 3.6%

Underemployment rate: 35.5%

At mid-career, theology and religion graduates earn a median of $52,000 annually, per the New York Federal Reserve.

Some of the jobs theology graduates undertake include being a pastor, which earns a median salary of $42,936 a year, and missionary, which earns a median salary of $82,268 annually, per Indeed.