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Least Satisfying College Majors

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Some students start college with a major in mind while others have no idea what they’d like to study. Choosing a college major is a major decision (pardon the pun) and many students decide on the wrong one.

Psychology Majors Not Satisfied with their Careers

A recent Wall Street Journal study conducted by online salary and compensation information company Payscale.com between April and June 2010 found that only 26% of psychology majors are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their career paths.

The study, which only included respondents with jobs, could include people who went on to earn a graduate degree. It included 10,800 workers who got their bachelor’s degrees between 1999 and 2010.

The psychology majors that responded to the survey had a satisfaction rate 14 percentage points lower than the next lowest majors, economics and environmental engineering.

Some young psych majors may have discovered that there aren’t many job options for their major without a graduate degree, explained R. Eric Landrum, a psychology professor at Boise State University and author of Finding Jobs with a Psychology Bachelor’s Degree.

St. Louis-based career counselor Sue Ekberg, a former director of career services for Webster University, agrees. Undergraduate psychology majors that don’t continue on to graduate school tend to move to an unrelated field within a year, she said.

Chemical Engineering and MIS Majors Happy with their Careers

“Engineers tend to proactively choose their career path and can easily find a marketplace for their skills,” said New York-based career coach Bettina Seidman.

The study was conducted as part of Wall Street Journal’s Paths to Professions project and looked at jobs that are satisfying, well-paid and have growth potential. It examined people in a set of jobs that included industries such as health care, finance, and government.

College Major Satisfaction Study Results

Below you can find the percentage of college graduates, sorted by major, who answered “satisfied” or “very satisfied” to the question:

Overall, how satisfied are you with your current career path up to now?

  • Chemical Engineering 54%
  • Management Information Systems 54%
  • Accounting 50%
  • Advertising 50%
  • International Business 49%
  • Biology 48%
  • Business 48%
  • Health Care Administration 48%
  • Computer Science 48%
  • Engineering 47%
  • Finance 47%
  • Civil Engineering 46%
  • Other Majors 45%
  • History 44%
  • Political Science 44%
  • English 44%
  • Communications 43%
  • Marketing 43%
  • Economics 40%
  • Environmental Engineering 40%
  • Psychology 26%

For additional information about college majors and career opportunities, please visit the State University Comprehensive Career Profile List.

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Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.


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