A bachelor’s degree earns you nearly $500 more per week than a high school degree, and, according to the Social Security Administration, you’ll earn a whopping $180,000 to $260,00 more across your lifetime.
But not all degrees are created equally. In fact, if you’re not careful, that bachelor’s may not give you much financial advantage at all. The true ROI of a degree depends on the college you choose to attend, the amount of aid you get, the job market you enter, and many other factors. Generally, though, the below degree programs are some of the worst investments you can make.
What’s the ROI of a college degree?
According to FOX Business, your ROI is your return on investment — the amount you made thanks to your degree vs. the costs you incurred to get it.
To calculate the potential ROI of a college degree you’re considering, you’ll need to know how much the program costs (in full, including room, board, etc.), what the projected earnings are for that career path and the exact program/school, and how much in loans/debt, if any, you’ll need to cover your costs. The interest you’ll pay will factor in, too.
Here’s a formula you can follow once you have this data on hand:
Total Career Earnings / Total Spent on the Degree * 100 = ROI
A good way to compare degree programs is to calculate the potential 10-year ROI of each program. To see how earnings measure up between programs you’re considering, see the Department of Education’s College Scorecard website.
What degrees have the worst ROI?
The true ROI of a degree depends on the college you choose to attend, the amount of aid you get, the job market you enter, and many other factors. Generally, though, the below degree programs are some of the worst investments you can make.
It’s no secret that teachers aren’t paid well. But considering the costs of their education and future projections for the industry, the picture gets even bleaker. Let’s look at Alabama A&M as a good example. A student attending the public college’s teacher education program will pay about $88,000 for four years of schooling. They’ll also come out of it with about $33,000 in average federal debt. But upon graduation, they’ll make $25,400. To make matters worse, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects virtually no employment growth for primary and secondary school educators over the next 10 years.
Employment opportunities for radio and TV professionals, as well as reporters and correspondents, are on their way down. The BLS projects a 7.3 percent decline in radio/TV announcer jobs, and a 12.1 percent dip in reporting gigs by 2028. What’s more? These media professionals often pay a pretty penny for their degrees. Journalism and media students at Auburn University leave school with a $128K bill in tow and around $20,000 in federal loans. Average earnings for these grads is $35,000.