So what's wrong with getting a college degree majoring in, oh, say, Animal Science?
Seems like it could be a smart move. After all, the number of jobs in that field is expected to increase a healthy 13% between 2008 and 2018, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) 2012 Job Outlook study.
But look a little deeper. Total number of Animal Scientists in the U.S. in 2008: ~3,700. Total number of new jobs expected in the field between then and 2018: ~500. Total number of Animal Science majors graduating in 2008 and 2009: ...um, 80,756.
In the immortal words of Rick Perry, "Oops."
Then add to that the fact that Animal Science is so specific that the skills are virtually untransferable to any other field.
In other words, it's a great major...if your goal is to be overeducated for a job at Denny's. No offense. (My son loves Denny's.) Critical point to remember for any college student choosing a major: just because you can study it doesn't mean it's a field in which there are any actual jobs available.
So what's the good news for Photo majors? We weren't among the Top 5 on NACE's list of most useless college majors!*
Take that, sensible Moms and Dads of the world.
(Illustration originally posted on Photo.net by Sandeha Lynch in 2005)
*Granted, possibly not a lot farther down. But let's not go there.
UPDATE: Some people seem to be misreading this post. Nothing at all in the post says anything about the value of these jobs or the people who work in them, or the value of these fields to scholarship, society, or humanity, or even the value of studying whatever you wish to study. It's only about training for employment versus the possibility of securing employment that uses that training. That's all.
And, no criticism implied—I went to photography school, remember.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by SteveO: "I received my B.S. in photojournalism in 1976. Never got a job in that field, though I'm still a photography/graphic arts enthusiast. The past 25 years I've been working a small horse ranch. Animal science?"
Featured Comment by Jim Bullard: "HA! Been there done that. I went to college planning to be an art teacher and graduated (along with 2500 others) in a year when there were two (yes, two) openings statewide."
Featured Comment by Zeeman: "This Sociology major would like to share a toast with all of you Photo majors for also not topping the list."
Featured Comment by the other ian: "B.A. English. 'Nuff said."
Featured Comment by Gavin McLelland: "Every degree has some value outside its specific field and plenty of businesses just require you to have a degree. The question is which is worth more to you: a poor degree in accounting because your heart wasn't in it or a great degree in Photography, Scandinavian studies or Shipbuilding (my particular interest) because you could give it your all."
Mike replies: Good point. By the way, I have a couple of shipbuilding books I believe are fairly rare that I've been trying to sell. Any tips on where to sell them?