Worst majors for repaying college loans (and how to fix them!): Part 2

In our last post, we talked about the majors Veterinary Science, Zoology and Exercise Science–and how to take those studies and turn them into more profitable majors.

Another difficult major for repaying student loans, according to CheatSheets.com, is:

4.) Culinary Arts. Here’s the thing about cooking and the Culinary Arts: do not go pay $40,000 a year or more or anything close to it to go learn to cook.

Here’s how you get a job in the market for culinary work, or how you become a chef: you go work first. You apprentice under sous chefs and under main chefs first. You go find jobs in restaurants and you work your way up in the restaurant world. That’s really the starting point for that.

And eventually once you’ve gotten through enough jobs and then you’ve gotten to the point where you are looking at possible sous chef type of work, then it’s time to go to school. Then you go back to truthfully a two year college and refine your skills in a culinary arts.

You go get an associate’s degree in it because it’s about the work that you’ve actually done not the collegiate work for cooking. You’re really going to be backed by the chefs that you’ve worked for. And truth be told, they’ll tell you when you need to go back to school. They’ll be the ones that dictate that because they’re going to be the ones that hire you.

Education–and this is vastly important–education is always crafted by the environment in which it sits and by the jobs that are hiring out of it. So if somebody tells you to go back to school for something and they’ll hire you with it, that’s when you go back to school. If they don’t say that, then why in the world would you do it?

5.) Ministry and Theological Studies. This can be a touchy subject for some because a lot of people are called by the faith to really go back and work for the church work in youth groups. And I will back that to the nines, always.

The trouble we have with just straight up Ministry and Theology degrees is that again they are also liberal arts-based degrees–which are totally fine, but they don’t lead to jobs particularly. If there is something in the church that you would like to do, that’s a different story.

So think of this in this way: in this country we have two types of companies. We have for profits and nonprofits. Truthfully, they are the exact same things. They all need the same stuff. They all need human resources, marketing, accounting, finance. They all need these particular things. One is typically more socially oriented such as nonprofits churches things nature. And one is typical more for profit-driven. Both work and both need roughly the same things though. Churches are in the same boat.

So take the Ministry and Theology degree and pair it with an Accounting background, or something in Human Resources, or even if it comes to it in Music or something like that. You have to be careful about that because you don’t want to make it too generic. The best thing I would absolutely ask a student in that scenario to do is to go sit down with the administrative staff of their church and talk to them. Ask them what would it take to get hired tomorrow. Again, let the job define the education for you. There’s no reason for you to guess with this.

6.) Psychology. The number one thing high school sophomores and juniors walk in and say to me is,” I really like psychology. I just want to study people.” Totally fine. Again, define this further than that though.

What is it that you truly want to do with this? Because there’s a counseling section to this. There is a nursing side to psychology. There’s a business component. Truthfully if you really look at anybody’s job, it has to deal with people in some way. So there’s always a psychological component to it.

So when students talk about psych, this is just a term that they’ve heard every day while in high school. What we have to be able to do is take a look at that term and see how do we translate that for them combined with their other interests.

So here’s an example. I have a student that wanted to major in Psychology but she was really creative. She had a great aptitude for business, and she was pretty darn good at graphic design as well.

Take those interests–psychology, creativity, graphic design, business. Add them together and throw them in a business field. What do you get? MARKETING. That’s the backbone of marketing.

That’s the key to this, is that these interests that the students have aren’t the end all be all. In fact, the problem we see mostly today is that students take one of their interests (and you know they have multiple interests–we all do!), and shove it into a major. Well the truth is, you’re all of those interests, and you should be adding all of them up and seeing how do they combine and work together.

Marketing is the psychology of studying people and how best to sell to them. That’s everything she’s talking about when she says psych, creative, business, and graphic design. So that way, we can get that down to a tangible work that something that actually makes a decent income (depending on the school you go into–but that’s another conversation we could have! Call or email me if you want to discuss that one). And that’s how you want to combine this.

7.) Teaching. We could talk about where teaching is having a hard time as far as a salary is concerned. But the difference is, you can still make teaching work if you truly want to be a teacher. Now, teaching isn’t a fallback degree anymore. It was for a while. It is not that way anymore.

You have to want to be a teacher just like you want to have to be a civil engineer. But to make a teaching degree work, do NOT start out with early education degree (which right now yields less than $30000 a year, and the job market is flooded with them).

Instead think of it like this. Take the major. And then the specialization and then toss in a minor to complete it. So instead of just a bachelor’s degree in Early Education, think about it as bachelor’s degree in Early Education, a specialization in Intervention (mild to moderate, or moderate to severe), and a minor in the ESL or E-L.

Now you have a skill set that is combined within an actual job title which makes you both fluid but also rigid, dynamic in the same time. So now you can work in multiple situations as an early education specialist and you can actually earn more money doing so.

And that’s how you want to be able to look at this. That’s how you can take these majors as they’re describing it as worsts repayment for student loan debt and actually make them work. It’s just rerouting them and rethinking them for today’s economy and how to actually apply that to it in order to get the best return on investment for education.

This, and our last post on the subject, contain a lot of information. Don’t worry–in no way do we expect you to know all of this or understand it on your own! No one teaches us how to building a profitable higher education in this market. And, unfortunately, high school guidance counselors can’t possibly do this work–there’s not nearly enough time to spend with each student.

If you want specific advice for your high school or college student, anywhere in the country, we are happy to have a conversation with you.

And for more general advice, check out our blog and subscribe to our podcast. We are always updating them with valuable tips and information!

Let's keep this conversation going! If you have any questions or comments about this blog post, drop us a note below and we'll get back to you!