15 Worst Professions to Pay Off Your Student Loans

Protestors in London march against increasing debt from student loans

Protestors in London march against increasing debt from student loans | Rob Stothard/Getty Images

The average college student graduates in a significant financial hole. In order to pay for college, student loans have become a de facto necessity for most. While it’s never been easier to find money to pay for school, the levels of student debt have also never been higher. And there’s no real plan to deal with it.

Meanwhile, those burdened by the weight of student loans are becoming more and more conscious of the doors their degrees open. Or don’t open, in some cases. A college degree isn’t a guarantee of a job, unfortunately, though that’s how many students think of it. While the saying once used to go something like “always shoot for your dreams,” it is now arguably morphing into something that resembles “always shoot for something that has the biggest payoff.”

Or enough of a payoff that you can scrape and crawl your way out of debt.

The jobs of today, however, are not the jobs of tomorrow. So, you’ll need to do some planning to make sure you choose a career path that will be economically viable. In order to figure out which jobs you should avoid, we dug through data from two sources, Bankrate and PayScale, to compile a list of jobs that provide the worst return on investment on their associated college degrees.

The Bankrate data uses education cost data from the National Center for Education Statistics and occupational data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Costs for undergraduate education take into account tuition, fees, and room and board of a four-year in-state public school with no scholarships, while graduate degrees costs are based off NCES data regarding tuition and fees for the specific area of study. In the following list, the final nine jobs are from the Bankrate report. The preceding six are from PayScale’s report.

Here are 15 career paths that will make it very difficult to pay off your student loans and crawl out of debt.

15. Exercise science

A trainer works with a client in a gym

A trainer works with a client in a gym | iStock.com

A degree in exercise science can be versatile, but the earnings (especially at first) leave a lot to be desired. Studying exercise science can lead to a degree as a trainer in fields related to physiology, or to a career in physical therapy. But again, if you plan on repaying student loans from an expensive school, this may not be a viable path.

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