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The Five Best and Worst Degrees To Earn Today

Regardless of what your high school guidance counsellor said, start thinking about your future right away. Put extra thought in what you want to do for the rest of your life because it could determine your living situation and mental health. It’s important to understand what you are getting into when you sign up for your program, including job opportunities and potential salary.

Through extensive research, here are the five best and worst degrees you can earn in today’s constantly changing job market.


5th Best: Finance

Hourly Rate: $25.46

Salary: $58,876

Don’t let that salary fool you because reaching senior management in this career could mean a six-figure income. Graduates of the finance program can find jobs at trust companies, banks, credit unions and so much more, qualified to provide financial services like advice, accounting and even management. Whether you’re more of a financial planner or chartered accountant, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll earn a good income.


5th Worst: Journalism

Hourly Rate: $19.08

Salary: $42,340

According to, despite the ever-evolving industry, expanding through print, television, radio and even YouTube, this is not an easy industry to break into. Most entry-level reporters expect to make between $27,000 to $33,000 per year, if you’re able to secure a steady job. However, a journalist’s salary is often based on their own experience. So, the more years you put into the career, the higher chance you have to earn upwards of $50,000 a year.

Although, with the declining sales of print journalism continuing, graduates may need to think outside the box to really earn that penny. Some move to creating their medium including online newspapers, YouTube Channels and podcasts.


4th Best: Civil Engineering

Hourly Rate: $28.43

Salary: $66,017

Not an easy job to excel in, but if you do, you’ll be earning for what you know instead of what you do. Civil engineering projects are constantly opening up across the country, through many industries from residential and commercial construction, building inspector, civil projects and more. Starting salaries in this career start on the high end, usually ranging between $40,000 and $45,000. Not a bad start but, in a few years to a decade, you can be making upwards to $60,000.


4th Worst: Horticulture

Hourly Rate: $17.52

Salary: $49,495

For a job that involves a lot of hard work and a quality green thumb, you think they could be better paid. Salaries on this career path can expect to start at $30,000 or less, and while they can go up to approximately $50,000, that’s not the norm. This could be determined if you decide to go into work for the yourself, building a larger list of clients. On the bright side, even if you don’t go into business for yourself, there are many job opportunities out there including landscape designing, nursery maintenance, golf course maintenance and many more.


3rd Best: Law

Hourly Rate: $41.12

Salary: $74,004

Granted security jobs can only bring in as much as $25,000 to $35,000 a year, lawyers are well-known be high earners in the field. Experience lawyers can make nearly $75,000 a year on average and even that can grow depending on your firm and clients. If you have the quick-thinking, the passion and the charisma, you might have a chance to make it big in law.



3rd Worst: Visual Arts

Hourly Rate: $18.75

Salary: $30,000

Visual Arts can be a very inviting program to join. The ability to create whatever your heart desires through so many different mediums including painting, drawing, graphic designing and more. Unfortunately though, the truth of the matter is that this is an industry that enriches you with experience and pride, not money. Not to say that you cannot find great success in this field as an independent artist or painter, but that would involve a lot of luck. In reality, no matter what job you go into, whether that’s graphic designer/illustrator, gallery operator or art instructor, you’ll likely be making about $30,000 to start.


2nd Best: Optometry

Hourly Rate: $47.50

Salary: $87,468

Much like Civic Engineering, starting salaries for optometrists are quite high, starting at $41,000. However, with some more luck and experience, you could be making upwards of $90,000 a year. However, if you want to be a high earner in this field, it’s highly recommended that you try to start your own business and build your client list in an untapped area. If that’s not in the cards, there are still plenty of opportunities in retail optical dispensaries, medical clinics and contact lens clinics.


2nd Worst: Early Childhood Education

Hourly Rate: $17.00

Salary: $37,088

It maybe sad that early childhood educators earn so little, but this is actually an improvement because early childhood education was considered the lowest paying degree. The degree does open you up to a number of positions including early childhood educator, home child-care provider, child-care consulting and more but, unfortunately, the salaries are still quite low for this job market. Starting salaries only start at $27,000 a year and only go up to $33,000 according to According to, early childhood educators can earn about $37,000, which isn’t much better and probably a lucky salary in this career.


1st Best: Dentistry

Hourly Rate: $53.67

Salary: $116,847

And, surprisingly because of that other random fact about dentists, the highest earning degree you can strive for in this job market is dentistry/dental hygienist! This career can include cleaning teeth, taking x-rays, assisting with procedures and making moulds. Even though salaries for dentists are pretty competitive depending on career opportunities, this field still has one of the highest starting salaries at $50,000. However, going into business for yourself, along with some years of experience can earn you full six figures.


1st Worst: Culinary Arts

Hourly Rate: $14.29

Salary: $35,493

It’s hard to argue with the numbers but the fact of the matter is that Culinary Arts is one of the worst degrees you can earn in today’s job market. Yes, with more experience and skill, you can earn more salary but, in reality, the average salary for culinary graduates starts as low as $25,000 and usually go up to only $35,000. However, you are able to work in a number of different venues including restaurants, hotels, cruise ships and even a personal chef. Hopefully, if you choose this career path, your skill will be enough to live on.


By Kory Glover

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