These jobs aren't worth the cost of their degrees

As the costs of higher education increase for students in the U.S., it might be worthwhile to pick your degree carefully.

At a time when Americans are saddled with mounting student loan debt, the bad news for some is that the earnings potential associated with certain careers may not do much to offset the cost of their education.

GOBankingRates looked at the cost of different degrees, median salaries and potential earnings after 30 years, to determine which professionals may have a harder time getting by.

Here’s a look at some of the careers that didn’t seem to be worth the price of their degree:


1. Human Services Worker

In general, an individual that wishes to become a human services worker has a degree in psychology, which costs about $161,700.

A person in this job, however, can expect to earn an average salary of $28,060.

After thirty years, that comes out to about $841,800 – or $680,072 after education costs are considered. That leaves a human services worker with an average annual salary of about $22,669.

2. Daycare Center/Teacher

An education degree for this space typically costs about $171,132.

A typical salary for a daycare center teacher is $31,685. It would take more than five years for a person to earn enough to even pay off those education costs.

After thirty years, average earnings would equal about $950,535, or $779,403 factoring in the costs of a degree. Overall, that averages out to an annual salary of $25,980.

3. Painter/Illustrator

A fine arts degree will set a painter or illustrator back $182,352, meanwhile earnings after thirty years will only equal about $1.24 million.

After the costs of that education are factored in, the average salary is only equal to about $35,488 per year.

4. Graphic Designer

To become a graphic designer, you’ll also likely need a $182,352 fine arts degree.

The average salary for someone in this job is $43,056 per year. However, after accounting for the fine arts degree expenses, the average salary is closer to $36,978.

5. Associate Pastor

The average salary of an associate pastor is $45,976. To work in this field, you might need a religious studies or theology degree, which can set you back more than $190,100.

After working for thirty years, and paying off that degree, an associate pastor has an estimated $1,189,172 – equal to an annual salary of slightly less than $40,000.

Rounding out the top 10 jobs that GOBankingRates found may not be worth their cost in educational requirements are:

6. Chemical Dependency Counselor

7. Elementary School Teacher

8. News Reporter

9. Corrections Officer

10. Religious Educator