More and more adults are heading back to college. And not because they’re looking to gain a quick 15 pounds or play hacky sack all day, but because they want to obtain a degree that will help them advance their career and earn more for their family.

Most experts agree that a college degree vastly increases a person’s job prospects and potential salary earnings.  But it should be noted that not all majors will get you the outcomes you seek. To be blunt, some majors are a plain ol’ waste of your time and hard-earned money!

The following are 7 useless college degrees. These degrees will do very little in the way of setting you up for a bright future with numerous career opportunities that come with enviable salaries.

But be sure to read this entire article because, in the end, I’m also going to share some of the BEST college degrees to earn in 2021 and beyond. These degrees will help you meet your career and earnings goals.

  1. Advertising

Watch an episode of Mad Men and you’ll get a glimpse of how powerful Madison Avenue was at one time. Advertisements were the main currency of our consumeristic society, and ad execs were some of the top paid executives in the country.

But times have changed. Sure, companies of all sizes will always have to get their message in front of the right audience, but these days, fewer ads are being run on TV or billboards and more are run online.

If your heart is set on running your own ad agency one day, then focus on getting a degree in social media, search engine optimization, or other digital marketing specialties.

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  1. Anthropology or Archeology

Who doesn’t love watching an old Indiana Jones or Lara Croft movie on a Sunday afternoon? These characters make us fall in love with history and want to dig a hole in the backyard to see if any bones or treasures might be unearthed.

But as seductive as a career in anthropology or archeology might seem, the reality is, that these career paths are incredibly narrow and rely on luck as much as knowledge and skills gained. To get any real traction, one would almost need to gain their Master’s degree and then Ph.D. to be able to conduct research or instruct others. That’s a LOT of time in school and a LOT of money spent, with still a narrow career path awaiting you upon graduation.

  1. Communications

At some point in many of our lives, we’ve met a “communications major.” There is no denying that the art (or is it science?) of communication is incredibly important and a skill that many employers look for.

But a communications degree is a pretty broad one, and not necessarily one that will lead you to your dream job. For instance, traditional professions like a journalist or PR manager no longer even require a university degree.

There are other degrees that will include courses on communication, and these degrees will help set you up to be able to enter a variety of exciting and lucrative career paths. (SPOILER ALERT: I’m going to share one of these degrees in just a bit, so stay tuned!).

  1. Creative Writing

Michael Crichton. John Grisham. Kurt Vonnegut. Beyond being exceptionally talented, these writers all have something else in common: they didn’t major in creative writing! The truth is, you do NOT need a degree in creative writing to become a published (or self-published) author. What you need is a good imagination and a desire to learn your craft. And you can do that by reading great authors. In fact, reading great writing is the best way to become a great writer. Best to put that tuition money toward a Kindle! You’ll find you’ll save a TON.

And speaking of saving a ton of money on your tuition, it might be a good idea if I share some insider secrets with you on how you can do just that. But I’ll do it at the end, so be sure to keep reading!

  1. Library Science

The majority of library science majors go on to have careers as librarians. Not too shocking. What is shocking, or at least, certainly disconcerting, is the fact that libraries around the country are receiving less funding now than ever before. This means they can hire fewer and fewer librarians. While some library science majors may be able to get a job in database administration or information architecture, or even work in a specialized library, these jobs are few and far between.

  1. Art History

If you love art, you may have just gasped at this next college degree that I deem useless. But hear me out: More and more students are graduating with mounds of student loan debt. You had better be able to find a good-paying job right out of school to pay off that debt. And even still, it could take you years to do it.

Consider that it will cost you AT LEAST $50,000 to learn to tell the difference between a Manet and a Monet. And once you’ve graduated, your job prospects are slim to none. You’re looking at clawing your way to become a curator (a fleeting career path), or needing to go back to school to get your Master’s and/or Ph.D. so you can teach Art History to others. Sadly, most graduates with this degree find themselves working odd jobs to try and pay off those student loans.

Want to avoid student loans altogether? Say it with me… keep reading!

  1. Liberal Arts

I thought we’d end this list with a bang. Or at least with a degree you may be surprised to find out is really quite useless in the real world. The pros about a liberal arts degree are that it provides students with critical thinking and other soft skills. And hey, those are great to have.

The cons of this degree are that we are now living in a STEM-driven economy. Employers are looking for candidates with real vocational skills. The bottom line is, a liberal arts degree will no longer give you the return on your investment as it once did.

BEST College Degrees for 2021

Now let’s take a look at some of the BEST college degrees for 2021 and the foreseeable future. Why are these degrees the ones to put your time and money into? Here are a few different reasons:

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Economically Sound

You want to know that no matter what the economy does, you have job security. The following degrees will help you get a leg in those industries that see some of the fewest layoffs and are always looking to hire.

Ideal for Career Changes

As I mentioned, many busy, working adults are going back to school to get a degree that will help them make a lucrative career change. The following degrees can help adults make that career change, so they have professional fulfillment along with financial stability.

Flexible Learning

Let’s face it, busy adults don’t really have the time to learn in a traditional college setting. They simply have too many other priorities to commit to a schedule that is set in stone. The following degrees fit perfectly into an online learning environment, allowing busy adults to earn learn on their own schedule.

And now without further ado, here are some exciting college degrees that can actually help you reach your career and financial goals:

Business Administration

One of the coolest things about this degree is that it sets you up for a career path in numerous different industries. I mean think about it, all businesses, no matter what industry they are in, need someone to run the organization. A degree in business administration provides graduates with effective leadership skills and knowledge in areas such as human resource regulations, marketing, writing business plans and more.

Not only will a degree in business administration help you stand out from other job candidates, but, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for business administrators in 2020 was $98,890. Not too shabby!

Healthcare Administration

In the healthcare industry, doctors and nurses get all the glory. But the reality is, without healthcare administrators to handle the day-to-day operations of hospitals, nursing homes and urgent care clinics, doctors and nurses could never provide their services in the first place!

A degree in healthcare administration will prepare students to take on leadership roles within busy healthcare facilities. And here’s some terrific news: the healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing in the world, with more and more jobs created every year. And with an average salary of $106,000 a year, you’ll get a huge return on your education investment. Particularly if you follow the tips I’m about to give you that could help you save thousands on your college tuition.

Information Technology Management

Do you have a love of technology and a great way with people? Then you might be interested in a career as an information technology manager. This degree will give you the skills and knowledge so you can work as an IT project manager, IT director, or chief technology officer. Add to this the fact the BLS reports these professionals earned a median annual wage of $88,240 in 2019 and the field is projected to grow 11% in the next 8 years, and you’ve got a lot of reasons to give this degree your full attention.

Civil Engineer

When we look at the world around us, it becomes clear that someone was in charge of building all of the buildings, roads, and bridges we see. Well, that someone would be a civil engineer. Since infrastructure will always need to be built and rebuilt, there will ALWAYS be a need for civil engineers. Talk about job security!

While earning your degree in civil engineering, you’ll learn how to estimate project costs, analyze building material, ensure structural integrity and much more. Oh, and when you graduate, you can look forward to earning a median wage of $87,060, according to the BLS.


Got a head for numbers? Want the option of working for a major organization or running your own business out of your home? Then obtaining a degree in accounting and becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) may be the career path!

According to the BLS, employment of these professionals is expected to grow over the next decade, in large part due to globalization. The BLS also reports the median annual wage for accountants was $71,550 in May 2019 with the highest 10% earning more than $124,450. Crunch those numbers!

Can You Really Save Thousands on Your College Degree?

Yes, you really can! In fact, was started to help adults earn their degree cheaper, faster and easier than ever before. You could say we’ve hacked the system, and we’re prepared to share the secrets we’ve learned over the years that have helped our students save thousands and earn their degrees in a shorter amount of time.

Perhaps the best part is, is 100% free for you to use. Simply sign up and use our Smartplan to find schools that offer:

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What are you waiting for? Get started today.

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About the Author
Grant founded with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.