The Forbes Article On The 10 Least Valuable College Majors Is Dead Wrong. Here’s Why:

I saw this article titled “The Least Valuable College Majors — In Photos: The 10 Worst College Majors” and had to click.

It’s backed up with unemployment statistics and wage figures generated by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) from the 2009–2010 American Community Survey.

WHAT SHOCKED ME

What shocked me when I started clicking through the article was that almost every industry they mention is incredibly important (and profitable). At least in my world as an entrepreneur.

The article eagerly implies that the wages are horrible and the unemployment is awful if you get a job related to one of these ten majors.

But what if that’s not the truth?

What if you could land a great job in that industry? (Or create your own in that space?)

What about entrepreneurs? Can they make money in those subjects?

The article also made me ask myself about college itself.

Is the goal of education to get a job?

Is the goal of education to create a job?

Or both?

What if the goal of education is character building, learning how to think and solve complex problems that improve the world (regardless of the major)?

In my opinion, these so-called “least valuable” and “worst” college majors are actually fueling cross-industry innovation.

If we discourage Millennials from being artists, photographers, filmmakers, writers, historians, musicians, philosophers, and fitness buffs (because of statistics), what will happen to the world?

What would happen to (dare I say it) the Internet?

THESE ARE THE 10 “WORST MAJORS” ACCORDING TO DATA

According to the article (and the stats to prove it!), here are the least valuable and worst college majors (ordered in the same way they were in the article):

1. Anthropology And Archeology

2. Film, Video And Photographic Arts

3. Fine Arts

4. Philosophy And Religious Studies

5. Liberal Arts

6. Music

7. Physical Fitness And Parks and Recreation

8. Commercial Art And Graphic Design

9. History

10. English Language And Literature

Do you agree?

I DON’T AGREE

If you (or someone you care about), decides not to go into one of these majors because they can’t make money, I suggest you think again.

Don’t let garbage stats (or valid stats interpreted in a nonsensical way) get you down and prevent you from living your dreams.

I know multi-millionaires (personally) in almost every one of these industries. I can also Google and find success stories for each of these industries instantly. So can you. (Thank you, Ms. Internet).

I’ve also started, consulted or coached people in companies in several of these industries that have been incredibly successful.

You shouldn’t measure success by the size of your bank account. Success is relative. This article, however, is telling people not to do something based on statistics that show you might not get a job doing it.

As an entrepreneur, I’m biased because I believe with the right ideas, resources and sales pitch you can put food on the table doing anything.

As far as being an employee is concerned, it’s not much different. Is it? You’ll most likely be working for a small business anyways.

In fact, Google taught me that 99.7% of all businesses in America are small businesses.

Statistics say that 50% of small businesses last 4–5 years.

Could that be why people in America are only in jobs for 4.6 years at a time?

At any rate, it takes a village of disciplines to raise a business. Do you agree?

We need people from every major.

I don’t know what the data is on people who actually get a job in the same field as the major they were in, but either way, I don’t believe that these “least valuable majors” are really the least valuable.

In fact, the least valuable perceived majors may be the most valuable in reality. I suppose it depends on how you look at it.

WHAT HIT ME THE HARDEST

What hit me the hardest personally was when they write that “Film, Video And Photographic Arts” is a bad choice for students. My wife is a photographer and crushes it. Also, many of my clients have made millions as creators for YouTube channels (not an exaggeration).

Then, when they said “Fine Arts,” “Music,” “Physical Fitness,” “Graphic Design,” and “English Language And Literature” are bad choices, I almost flipped my lid.

I’m an author, an online course creator, a strategic advisor and international business owner. If I weren’t working with people from these disciplines, I’d be nowhere.

A CALL TO ARMS!

Do you know people in these fields that are doing well?

Are you one of them?

If so, please share this article and comment below about the job and your experience so we can show students that they can make it in their field of their choice.

I believe this is an important cause.

LET ME BE CLEAR

This article is not a debate about whether college can make you more money or not. Please don’t make it about that.

This article is not about whether you should go to college or not.

This article is not even about whether entrepreneurs should go to college or whether a certain degree helps more in business and life than another.

(You can Google all that stuff and make your own choice based on your life plan.)

This article is about the fact that you can step into your talent, live your dream and make a killing in these industries (if you want).

This is not a “how-to” guide to living your dreams and making money with your passion.

This is simply an article to point out that you can live life on your own terms (and that statistics lie).

I’d also like to show an example or two of everyday people making it happen in these fields.

I’ll run some numbers to show you how you can make some money doing what you love as well. Again, not a “how-to.” Just the numbers in terms of revenue (not costs of doing business.)

We can keep the discussion going in the comments. I may not be able to respond to them all, but I’ll read them. Thanks in advance!

SCREEN SHOTS FROM THE ARTICLE AND MY THOUGHTS ABOUT IT

1. Anthropology and Archeology

If 10.5% of recent grads in Anthropology and Archeology are unemployed, that means that 89.5 are employed.

I’m not comfortable with the $28,000 annual salary. They should be making more.

However, from an entrepreneur’s point of view, could an anthropologist or archeologist make an additional $28,000 (or more) on the side or another way?

What about inviting 14 raving fans (or schools/orgs) to an excavation for a week for $2,000 a pop?

What about an online course for $200 to 140 people?

Easier said than done? I don’t know.

Google around and it looks like people are doing this stuff and doing well.

2. Film and Photography

If 12.9% of recent grads in film, video and photographic arts are unemployed, that means that 87.1 are employed.

I’m not comfortable with the $30,000 annual salary. They should be making more.

However, from an entrepreneur’s point of view, could a filmmaker or photographer make an additional $30,000 (or more) on the side or another way?

There are videographers and photographers charging $15,000-$50,000 or more per wedding. They are outliers, but it’s worth mentioning.

If a photographer wants to make $30,000, could there be a combination of services (portraits, prints, etc) for $1,000 a piece to 30 clients? That’s 2.5 clients a month.

What about one wedding a month at $2,500?

What about a workshop of some sort (in person or online) for 60 people (at one time or over time) for $500?

These numbers are not mind-blowing at all for professional photographers dropping $2,000-$5,000 or more on gear. In fact, these numbers are conservative.

3. Fine Arts

If 12.6% of recent grads in fine arts are unemployed, that means that 87.4 are employed.

I’m not comfortable with the $30,000 annual salary. They should be making more.

However, from an entrepreneur’s point of view, could someone in fine arts earn $30,000 (or more) on the side or another way?

Maybe we should first define “fine arts.” Seems pretty broad to me. So I did a search (this time on Yahoo! to keep things interesting.) Here’s what I found advertised as far as jobs you can get (or fields to enter) with a fine arts major:

  • Arts teacher
  • Digital and graphic design
  • Studio artist
  • Visual communication and media marketing
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Commercial illustration
  • Interior design
  • Industrial design
  • Retail sales and business
  • Fashion design and merchandising
  • Print, television or internet media
  • Web design
  • Humanistic disciplines and sciences
  • Law and medicine

I don’t need to tell you how you can make money doing these things, do I?

4. Philosophy and Religious Studies

If 10.8% of recent grads in philosophy and religious studies are unemployed, that means that 89.2 are employed.

I’m not comfortable with the $30,000 annual salary. They should be making more.

However, from an entrepreneur’s point of view, could someone in philosophy and religious studies earn $30,000 (or more) on the side or another way?

I did a little Googling around and found that the Internet seems to hate the idea of majoring in philosophy and religious studies because there’s no money in it. Again, success shouldn’t be measured by the size of your bank account.

However, how could a philosopher or someone who studies religion make more money?

Off the top of my head, I’m thinking seminars, speeches, workshops, courses, mentoring, group tours and books. All multi-million (billion?) dollar industries.

There’s work to it. Don’t get me wrong. You need to build an audience and learn how to appropriately monetize it.

Remember, there is a business model for everything.

Find someone you admire that is currently leveraging a business model you like and model them.

5. Liberal Arts

If 9.2% of recent grads in liberal arts are unemployed, that means that 90.8 are employed.

I’m not comfortable with the $30,000 annual salary. They should be making more.

However, from an entrepreneur’s point of view, could someone in liberal arts earn $30,000 (or more) on the side or another way?

Again, had to search out what someone in “liberal arts” does. Seems like there could be a wide range of jobs. Here’s what is see advertised:

  • Economist
  • Sociologist
  • Psychologist
  • Public Relations
  • Human Resources
  • Social Worker
  • Teacher

There’s a bunch more. It appears that some of the jobs would require additional education and certifications, but would you really tell someone you love not to get a liberal arts degree knowing that it could lead to one of these amazing jobs?

6. Music

If 9.2% of recent grads in music are unemployed, that means that 90.8 are employed.

I’m not comfortable with the $30,000 annual salary. They should be making more.

However, from an entrepreneur’s point of view, could someone in music earn $30,000 (or more) on the side or another way?

Did you hear music today?

Someone made money because you heard that song. There are just too many ways to make money in music. Ideas range from teaching to courses to writing songs to selling albums to concerts to YouTube to products to commercials to basically…everything.

Music is almost as important as water in the 21st century.

7. Physical Fitness And Parks Recreation

If 8.3% of recent grads in physical fitness and parks recreation are unemployed, that means that 91.7 are employed.

I’m not comfortable with the $30,000 annual salary. (Why is it always $30,000?) They should be making more.

However, from an entrepreneur’s point of view, could someone in physical fitness and parks and recreation earn $30,000 (or more) on the side or another way?

Have you been on the Internet lately? Seems like 99% of ads are telling me to get strong and skinny. Someone’s making money there. Any gyms around your town? One of my clients build a base of loyal clients that pay him monthly and he earns six figures with just a handful of people.

Parks and recreation? Is that a forest ranger? Sounds awesome to me. They’re my favorite when I’m out camping. There’s more to it though.

What about planning the creation of parks for communities? Or providing or installing equipment for playgrounds? Turns out there is a ton you can do in this field.

Like, Recreation Program Supervisor; Park Manager; Health and Wellness Instructor; Field Instructor; Parks and Recreation Director; Camp Supervisor; Natural Resources Superintendent; Golf Course Manager; Aquatics Director, Urban Planners and more.

8. Commercial Art And Graphic Design

If 11.8% of recent grads in commercial art and graphic design are unemployed, that means that 88.2 are employed.

I’m not comfortable with the $32,000 annual salary. They should be making more.

However, from an entrepreneur’s point of view, could someone in commercial art and graphic design earn $32,000 (or more) on the side or another way?

I really don’t even know how this is a question. The anwers are the same as above. It’s all a numbers game. Let’s run the numbers:

Branding package for companies at $1,000 each for 32 companies (2.6 per month).

Let’s get crazy for a second, what if you became the outsourced graphic designer for a company (or companies) at $1,000 a month? What if you had ten of them? That would be $10,000 a month ($120,000 a year).

Let’s get really crazy. Okay? Just for fun. What if you had 10 clients at $10,000 a month? That’s $100,000 a month ($1.2MM per year).

You can’t just wish your way there. It takes time and work. However, the numbers add up. Also, I’m not just making these numbers up. I have clients doing this.

9. History

If 10.2% of recent grads in history are unemployed, that means that 89.8 are employed.

I’m not comfortable with the $32,000 annual salary. They should be making more.

However, from an entrepreneur’s point of view, could someone in history earn $32,000 (or more) on the side or another way?

The quick answer is yes. It all depends on what you want to do. I have a friend that has PhD in history and is killing it in his field. He gets to work with original documents and write books about what he finds.

But what if you don’t have a PhD in history? Are there other ways to make money with a degree in history?

Aside from the obvious ones that I’ve talked about a lot (like books, speeches, courses, workshops, courses and events), there’s massive business right now in genealogy (ancestry). There’s also a big business, from what I understand, in television and media around getting context and facts right.

10. English

If 9.2% of recent grads in English language and literature are unemployed, that means that 90.8 are employed.

I’m not comfortable with the $32,000 annual salary. They should be making more.

However, from an entrepreneur’s point of view, could someone in English and literature earn $32,000 (or more) on the side or another way?

I have a copywriter friend making millions. That’s advertising though. Those guys make crazy money.

There’s always writing books and movies, editing, etc. Those are obvious. What about teaching English as a second language — a global billion-dollar industry?

What about all those English and/or literature majors working in theater, screenplays and shows, etc? There is just too much opportunity in this space.

Conclusion

I hope this article will make you think the next time someone tells you not to go for a certain major because you can’t make money in it.

With the right mindset, offer and sales strategy, you can make money doing whatever you want.

If You Want More Ideas Like This:

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Thank you so much for reading! Make today the best day ever!