Pre-Med or Liberal Arts?

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Now, as a young kid, this is one of the most easily answered questions one can be asked. The answers generally tend to be quite creative: fireman, princess, rockstar, marine biologist (some kids are intellectually ahead of others). However, this simple interrogative seems to take on a monumental new weight when asked to incoming college freshman. With hundreds upon thousands of different degrees, certificates, and programs out there, it is hard to know where to start, especially considering one of the most evil, manipulative, and important concepts that get silently attached to said question: income, moolah, denero, rupee, and in other words, money.

Talk about a headache. But, organizations such as Forbes, Daily Finance, and Time Magazine (sources of where this information was accumulated, sorted, and processed) believe they can at least give those indecisive students a point in the right direction. Let’s look at the top three and bottom three profitable college career paths.

For the top, engineering sits upon the throne specifically bio-medical engineering. With an almost nonexistent unemployment rate for degree holders, and a well over $115,000 profit-a-year margin for established persons in the field, it’s easy to see where this is an easy choice. Second place goes to any Doctorate Medical program; this encompasses things such as Oncology, Anesthesiology, various surgeon positions, and other related fields. Also, boasting a relatively low unemployment rate (below a 1% average) and profits of over $110,000, an easy second choice. Last on the throne of riches, this spot goes to Computer/Information Systems degrees (NOT graphic design or for that matter any aesthetic design branch). With profits floating around the $95,000 mark for established personnel, and having the highest influx of newly created positions, this degree provides an ample amount of job security and comfortable income.

Now for the good part the bottom three. At the top of the waste pile sits Philosophy. With income sitting around the $50,000 mark, this one doesn’t seem like it would be that bad. Let’s look deeper. The unemployment rate of this degree varies depending on the source (often due to sympathetically driven biases), but it is generally between 15-30%. The fact is there are just no jobs awaiting holders of this degree. Next is Anthropology. It shares much of the same stats and problems as Philosophy, having just no available jobs. Last but not least, the single least profitable and desirable career path. While it would be safe to say Liberal Arts, let’s be more specific: Art History. With an over 30% unemployment rate, profits being under the $35,000 mark, and almost no available jobs, it’s easy to see why this is thought of so low. Another very good question, and likely a cause to its low profit/desirability margin: what exactly does one do with this degree?

That is a question best left to another day.

Kristopher Reynolds
Staff Writer

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