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Four Most Unemployable Majors

Jan 9, 2012 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

If you’ve been struggling to land a job after graduation, the problem may be more than a bad economy. It could be that your major is working against you. The type of major you choose does make a difference in how employable you are.

Some majors target industries where the job opportunities are shrinking. Others have been traditionally difficult to employ for a long time—or target glamour industries where competition is always high.

For some, the opportunities just aren’t there—and people holding these majors usually have to find positions outside their field of interest. Here’s a list of some of the more unemployable majors—according to a study of census data by the Wall Street Journal.

Fine Arts
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Miscellaneous Fine Arts” majors are unemployed at a rate of 16.2%. And when they are employed, they tend to get low-level jobs; the mid-career salary average as of 2010-2011 is only $60,300. Even in a good economy, jobs in the arts are tough to land; many jobs in the
fine arts, as in other artistic industries, tend to be “glamour”-type
jobs for which there is high competition and low pay. You may find
yourself doing something completely unrelated to your original intention
unless you’re willing to teach, have the business savvy to open a
successful gallery, or get lucky as an independent artist.

Library Science

College Grad

If you’re struggling to find work, it’s possible you may have faced an uphill battle even before the economy turned sour

If you want to get a job in a library—particularly in an academic research library, a major public library, or at a museum—it’s difficult to do without a library science degree. Because the American Libraries Association does not accredit Bachelors programs, many jobs require an MLS.

But the number of jobs available isn’t keeping up with the number of interested graduates holding degrees in library science. Possibly because funding for public libraries has been cut along with other public services in many states, the employment rate isn’t looking good for library science majors—15% of those holding this degree are unemployed according to Wall Street Journal census data.


The job market is down for most psychology majors according to the report, with a 10.3% rate of unemployment. It also zeroes in on specific types of psychology, some of which have unemployment rates significantly higher than a general degree. For example, educational psychology majors have an unemployment rate of 10.9%, 10.4% of industrial and organizational psychology majors are unemployed, and clinical psychology majors are out of work at a rate of over 19%.


The real estate bust has taken its toll on the job market for budding architects. According to the Wall Street Journal, unemployment for architecture majors is up to around 10.6%. Total numbers for unemployment in the field are a bit difficult to estimate, but they’re up around 20% in some communities—such as Phoenix, Arizona—as of 2010, according to the Architectural Record.

If you’re struggling to find work, it’s possible you may have faced an uphill battle even before the economy turned sour—depending on your major. Or it could be that the current economic climate has made things more difficult for you. Whatever the reason, seek out opportunities outside your traditional career path—and you may be able to find something that will help you get to the position you want eventually.


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