I'm going to talk out of both sides of my mouth for a minute. And I know I’m not the first human being to do this. But all through the years, I've talked about the fact that when you're going to college or you're going to study a trade, you should pursue what you love and then figure out how you're going to make money from it, rather than chase education or training in a field that means nothing to you, but you think it's going to earn you a good income.
Now there's a third thing that I have not mentioned often, and it’s this: Do not feel pressured by a parent or family member to pursue a particular course of education just because it's what they do. You should do what you want to do, not follow in somebody's footsteps.
So, having said all that, there is a listing on Yahoo! HotJobs of the degrees that pay the absolute least amount.
Where do you earn the least? Drama. Fine arts. Hospitality and tourism. Education. Horticulture. Spanish. Music. Theology. Elementary education. And, the lowest degree of all in terms of pay, social work.
Interestingly enough, the way they measure this is not by what the starting annual salary is, but where you’ll be, salary-wise, midway through your career. And someone who is a social worker - and has been at it for decades - averages, even after all that time, just over $40,000 a year. A teacher in elementary education, mid-career, just over $42,000. Drama has the highest average of the 10 lowest, at just under $57,000 a year, mid-career.
With all of these jobs, you do them out of love. You don't do any of these because you think you’re going to get rich. But being rich comes in all different forms and flavors, and it's not just about money. And I would propose to you that someone who is taking one of those degrees that I just referred to, and loves what they do every day, is richer than somebody who goes for a degree just because the pay is high. (Incidentally, Yahoo! HotJobs also compiled a list of the highest-paying degrees. Engineering degrees of various types were generally the areas where people would earn the most.)
I know that for a lot of people, there’s a belief that money is all that matters. I promise you, once you're out there working, it's not.