If you had to list 5 worthless degrees . . .

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by NorCal, Aug 23, 2021.

  1. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I saw another opening several months ago. They also had a general social science opening that was up for years. That's lecturer pay, so I'm not surprised they've been having trouble filling openings. This is a small HBCU in the struggling state of Ohio, so it's probably all they can afford.
  2. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    Looked around their site, most of the positions were in similar pay ranges. Only position that even paid reasonable was an associate provost. It's a small HBCU in semi-rural Ohio, doubt they have significant budgets to play with and they're likely in an area where one could buy a decent home on that salary.
  3. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

  4. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    I was offered a Business Faculty position at a local Community College with a salary of $38,000 per year. As much I wanted to be in Academics full-time, I turned it down for a banking position making 6 figures and kept my Adjunct gig making $1,800 per 7 week course.
    chrisjm18 likes this.
  5. NorCal

    NorCal Active Member

    My bad, I don't login too often but I've been on maturity leave this week, so I've had more time lately. (it's a boy!)

    My view on the root cause of this issue was when the fedral government got into the student loan business. Short of a loan application where someone at the bank would look at the ROI, thus your ability to pay back the loan, and college majors were linked more toward gainful employment. Then the federal government got into the loan business, essentually cutting a blank check for tuition. And (for profit) colleges responded in kind by creating any and every underwater basket weaving program they could in order to capitalize on guaranteed federal moneis (Supply and demand) (early Univ. of Phoenix business model). Then the non-profit colleges followed suit shortly thereafter. I understand anybody who spent time studying (anything) will want to justify their decision. But I question the value of said degrees when they seem to offer little ROI other than being for personal/ educational benefit which doesn't result in a bottom line finacial benefit; just the opposite when the most likely result is just more student loan debt. I guess I side more with real world earner vs. career academics in that regard.

    Like the RE agent example discussed previously. Do you need a college degree to enter said profession; in most circumstances, the answer is no. Yet someone can enter that field, find success, and contribute that success to what? The degree they didn't need to enter that particular field? Is the argument that their degree somehow contributed to their present day success? How is that meassured? Maybe in a handful cases that is true, but that is proabbaly not the reality on the larger scale. Hence the argument, but when you look at the upcoming generation with limited career prospects, severe student debt, looking for government student loan bailouts. . . an argument can be made as to why some college degrees are useless. Career students/ acidemic types might argue, but that is why they reside in that space. They are paid to ask "what if" and philosophise things to death.

    I've always looked at college as the means to an end. I'm not a career academic/intellectual type, so I always stuggle to see the benefit of investing time and money into something that doesn't bear fruit in terms of earning potental. Some people argue that a byproduct of completing college (enter major here) is a huge confidence booster, an "achievement" which I guess is true--but again it just seems like a weak argument (to me) when all you have to show for it is little to no career prospects and a boatload of student debt. Again, my view on college has always been rooted in financial ROI and the means to an end. Gainful employment and the ability to pay back what you owe, and then provide for you and your family.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021
  6. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    My educated guess is that college majors weren't more directly linked to gainful employment back then. Most of these applied fields are relatively new. What was different back then is that mostly upper class and upper middle class people went to college. Others went and got a union job. Many of those jobs are now done in other countries, and the remaining blue collar jobs saw cuts in wages and benefits due to anti-union policies.

    Every socioeconomic class saw roughly the same rate of income growth from the 1950s through the 1970s. In the 1980s, income growth for the middle and lower classes mostly stagnated while growth skyrocketed for the upper class.

    Your chance of getting a bank loan to go to college back then was low, so most didn't. Sure, colleges were cheaper back then, even adjusting for inflation, but minimum wage was also $1 in 1960. Only 12% of men and 7% of women had college degrees in 1965. I'm looking through the years, and I don't notice a big jump in that statistic. There was a slow, steady increase.

    Vonnegut likes this.
  7. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    When I transitioned to education, my first full time salary was equivalent to that and with a higher teaching load.
  8. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Looking at your worthless degree list, I'm trying to see if the creation of those degree programs can be linked to the creation of the federal student loan programs. Psychology departments were established at universities in the 1800s. Criminal justice programs weren't created because of student loans. They were created because of federal grants made available to educate police officers.

    The Culinary Institute of America opened in 1946. The first college of communication was created in 1958, which predates the 1965 financial aid programs.

    APUS has an interesting selection of degree programs, but in general, I don't think for-profit colleges invent a lot of majors. I think it's the opposite. They stick to mostly applied or semi-applied fields and usually offer a limited selection of generic majors. They offer what's going to be popular and easy.
  9. cacoleman1983

    cacoleman1983 Active Member

    It boggles my mind the low pay we as educators earn. I was making $36,720 with a mid-level administrative role and the $720 came from two 1% raises in my 7 years of my service in that role. Before that, I was an adjunct. I've seen both the faculty side and the staff side in higher education and I no longer want to be part of either side. I am still an educator by heart and will find work or a business that will help me serve others in that capacity at some point. In my new career in Healthcare IT, I am already making $55,000 as a starting salary. That is roughly 50% more than the role I just left.

    It amazes me that they prefer candidates to have a Masters and sometimes a PhD for these faculty positions, yet pay them so little. Student Representatives at my former community college make $28,000 to $30,000 and that position requires a Bachelors but prefers a Masters.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  10. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Harsh topic. If you define "worthless" in its economic sense, a J.D. , unless from a few schools, does such horrific, long term financial harm to so many students who earn it that it should figure high on any list.
  11. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Incidentally, sanantone, the EA SEE exam isn't terribly difficult. You might consider passing it just as a personal challenge. I passed it in 2008 and have kept the EA license current even though as a lawyer I don't have any real need for it.
  12. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I wonder how its budget compares with public universities in rural Ohio that aren't HBCUs, but somehow I wouldn't be surprised if it's comparatively less.
  13. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

  14. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Some areas have very low cost of living so people might be ok with 30K. As there are many adjuncts making 20K a year, I can bet that this 32K position has a lot of good candidates with PhDs applying. Notice that this is not a permanent position.
  15. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I passed two of the exams years ago but didn't put in the time to study for the business exam.
  16. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't earn a master's or doctorate just to barely make it. Those wages can be obtained with less education.
  17. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    The quid pro quo nature of this discussion is surprising. There is a lot more to earning a good salary than the degree you earn. Conversely, there is a lot more to earning a degree than any resulting salary.
  18. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    At the same time, life can be miserable when you're poor. Imagine having student loan debt in the six figures or high five figures just to be stuck in an adjunct or full-time instructor position that pays $30k.
  19. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    The tenure track below requires a PhD from an APA accredited school in clinical psychology and pays 53K. Most PhD from APA accredited schools are very expensive so fore sure it will take a while before you pay your student loan. This assuming that you get the job, most people don't make it.

  20. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    There are funded PhD programs, but you're right about most not finding a full-time teaching position. There's plenty of work for clinical psychologists who want to practice psychology, and it pays more.

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