10 College Courses with the Worst Return on Investment

True, students are strongly encouraged to factor in passion or inclination when choosing a college course. However, the need for a financially sound career after college often tips the scale, with most high school graduates choosing a college education that likely lands them a high paying job thereafter, never mind if the course or the job itself doesn’t actually match their interest or skill set. It becomes a contest between passion and income potential. Sadly, the latter often wins.

Some people are lucky to have a job they love and which pays for what seemed like a lifetime’s worth of paradise, it’s like they’re on a paid vacation their whole working life. Sadly, a career that’s both financially sound and desirable is hard to come by for most of us. Worse, some people find out too late that the college education they’ve had wasn’t worth it, that they’ve invested so much on something that doesn’t truly pay off – financially or otherwise.
10. Communication
Tuition: P2,000-P110,000

Although media and communication jobs may bring you opportunities to be on television and become media personalities, know that some of today’s high-earning broadcasters, journalists and investigative reporters are old and gray, yet they’re still airing. This means that new batches of younger reporters barely have the chance to be on the limelight. More candidates, less opportunities and vacancies well because there’s no retirement age for people in the media. I mean, Kabayan Noli is still on TV after his MGB, political stint and all. He should retire, right?
9. Management
Tuition: P2,000-P100,000 per year

Unless you are among the cream of the crop in your batch (assured job after graduation) or an heir to a business, you might as well steer clear from taking up management courses. That is, if you want to earn a good salary starting on the first few years post-college. Perhaps your goal is to manage a business or a team, but understand that as a fresh grad, you’ll be the one being managed, not the manager. How many years until promotion? It all depends on your qualification and the opportunity you grab.
8. Pharmacy
Tuition: P3,000-P130,000 per year

BS Pharmacy may be a precursor to a medical course, but if you don’t have the means or the desire to become a doctor, you’ll likely end up working in some local drugstore, which really doesn’t pay as much. There’s a chance you can work in a medical-related firm as a customer rep or sales agent, but often that’s as good as it gets.
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7. Architecture, Arts and Design
Tuition: P600-P100,000

Architecture and design courses take up five years to complete, loaded with projects that require creativity, material procurement, and time. If you’re truly gifted, you’ll land a job with prominent design and construction firms, or perhaps start your own gig. As of the moment, architects are still fighting for exclusive rights to signing architectural blueprints as civil engineers continue to encroach into their professional practice. That said, architects are already competing against each other, add to that civil engineers, and the odds of earning a good income, let alone getting a job, are steep. As for painters, sculptors, etc. – they’re everywhere doing exhibits or murals, but as far as we know, there’s not much market for their products. Some even die penniless or got rich posthumous.
6. Criminology
Tuition: P5,000-P100,000

Our policemen and women endure four years of training and education to become the society’s protectors. For them to become able law enforcers, forensic scientists, correctional officers, or firefighters, they need to be intellectually, emotionally and physically prepared. Criminology is no easy college education because it involves studying criminal minds and activities, strategizing to preempt or prevent crimes, among others. But we all know how little they earn, and yet they put their lives on the line each time.
5. Education
Tuition: P5,000-P100,000

Teachers are the molders of future leaders, business magnates and even criminals. They play a critical role in shaping and developing today’s young generation so they become equip and mature to handle challenges during adulthood. Sadly, these teachers who sacrifice a lot just to be able to teach get very little pay. Some even need to spend their own money to procure books, exam papers and other resource materials.
4. Culinary
Tuition: P3,000-P270,000

Although mainly a vocational or short-term course, never underestimate the cost of getting culinary arts education. Learning and sharpening cookery may be a surefire way to work in some of the best kitchens in the country, or in the world (overseas and offshore included), but you’ll have to pay so much to earn a certificate. TESDA and other government-schools offer the course for a minimum fee, but then you’ll have to procure the ingredients yourself. If you have a quarter of a million pesos, enroll at Operation Brotherhood Montessori in San Juan, Metro Manila, and maybe you’ll be one step closer to running a Michelin-star restaurant.
3. Law
Tuition: P3,000-P84,000

Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) looks affordable, but you know you can take up the course only after you’ve earned a bachelor’s degree. That said, it’s takes double the amount of time and money spent. Plus, the grueling and expensive time taking a month-long bar exam. Once you graduate, you’ve become a multi-faceted individual and can get a job actually. Once you pass the bar, you’re officially an attorney. However, starting pay aren’t very promising – around P20,000 a month, plus fringe benefits. It’s not a glamorous career, considering there’s very little money or chance for promotion for those serious and sincere about providing public service.
2. Music
Tuition: P4,000-P130,000

You thought you can learn and do music as an autodidact? Sure, you can. But you must’ve at least some skill, yeah? If you’re very serious about a career in music, you know you’re in for a long, arduous haul. Pay up to P130,000 in tuition fees each year, buy your own musical instruments, pay your way to auditions. Do nightly gigs here and there for some cash. But honestly, it’s quite challenging for anyone to ever get to where Leah Salonga and Ryan Cayabyab are. Musicians and song artists are born to do music, some get rich, but most die trying (if you watch reality music/singing shows, you’ll know). If you’re just there for the cash, pray you have a super talented manager who can sell your brand, regardless if you sound like Anne Curtis.
1. Nursing
Tuition: P6,000-P150,000

Well, nursing. We have a chronic exodus of nurses going to North America, Europe, Middle East and other places mainly because money is there – outside the country. Nursing students endure sleepless nights and taxing days in school and in hospitals doing OJTs. Some even pay their way to getting credits just so they can pack their bags and go abroad. If they stay, they’ll work the same load as they had during training sometimes more, but earn very little, it cannot compensate for their sacrifice and hard work.

Knowledge is valuable, regardless of form or type. Always. But we know that life is short, and we don’t have all the time in the world to learn everything. Ideally, we all should have THE education that will profit us not only in terms of money but also in terms of personal development and enjoyment, and not waste valuable years taking different courses on trial an error.

It’s bad enough that you get a college education and then a job you don’t like. At least, it pays well. Perhaps you can find a way out of the rut with your savings. What’s worse is you land a job post-college that you hate and it barely brings food on the table.

If you’re a high school senior or someone looking for a college course to enroll in, we encourage you to check out this list. These are college courses that earn you the least money in the next couple of years. Don’t be disheartened, though, if the course you’ve set your heart and mind on is in this list, because then you have a very good reason to continue with your choice.

If you’re only after your income potential post-college and aren’t really interested in the course (or job prospects) per se, we suggest you steer clear from these courses. More importantly, we strongly encourage you to find a course that you like and will help you become productive and purposeful especially when you become part of the workforce. A good income is but a bonus (and a great motivation) when you find a job that doesn’t needlessly drain you, a job that brings meaning and fulfillment.

Note: Tuition Fees were derived from finduniversity.ph. This is of course more of an editorial. Please be guided accordingly.

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