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With the economy as bad as it is, even having a college degree isn’t enough to get by…

College graduates with student loans owed an average of $25,250 in 2010, an all-time high and a 5 percent increase, according to a recent report. What makes matters worse is that students graduating in 2010 faced unemployment of 9.1 percent, the highest annual rate on record, according to the Project on Student Debt’s report.

Given the grim figures facing college graduates, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify the seven occupations that require at least a college degree and pay the least.

Jobs that pay poorly and require a college degree or higher have at least one thing in common: the wrong industry. Some industries, including those in mental health, academic research, the arts and publishing tend to pay poorly. The entry level jobs in these fields and on this list do not pay well. Reporters starting out make less than $20,000 per year.

Many of the people employed in the jobs on our list will have a hard time paying off their student loans. The occupations on the list earn less than $40,000 annually. In every case, jobs paid far less to start. A quarter of the people employed as survey researchers, for example, earn less than $24,000 annually.

24/7 Wall St. examined wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics Database, to identify the major occupations that make less than $40,000 annually. BLS’s Occupational Outlook Handbook was used to identify educational requirements and long-term job prospects. O*Net Online, an independent career research and advisory site, was used to determine the percentage of people in each occupation with a bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD. The seven occupations on our list required a bachelor’s degree or more from most employers.

Our best suggestion for those going about to go to college would be to pick a major that you’re passionate about with the understanding that it may be tough for a few years while you attempt to move up past entry level.

For those who are about to graduate college, you may want to think about grad school and additional forms of education…just a thought.


Flip the script to see the list…



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